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Walkable Philadelphia

Date January 10, 2024

Walkable Philadelphia

Walkable isn’t just a buzzword in Philadelphia. It’s a way of life.

The city was named the 2023 Most Walkable City in the U.S. by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.  Consistently ranked among the nation’s most walkable cities, Philadelphia has block-to-block experiences just footsteps away from each other.

Philadelphia’s walkability is partly thanks to founder William Penn’s grid street plan. Penn deliberately chose this system for its navigational ease and to maintain uniformity among the city’s blocks. Today, his legacy allows visitors to effortlessly navigate Philadelphia while appreciating the city’s abundant green spaces and public parks.

Center City Philadelphia’s downtown spans from the Delaware River on the east to the Schuylkill River on the west. A walk from river to river to another along Market Street is just over two miles — accomplishable in under an hour.

And situated in the heart of Philadelphia’s downtown is the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Wall Street Journal ranked 30 of the nation’s largest convention centers and the Pennsylvania Convention Center claimed the #1 spot for walkability. The Center’s central location makes it the perfect launch pad to explore Philadelphia’s outdoor art, historic sites, and, most importantly, great food.

No matter your interest or the amount of time you have, Philadelphia offers something for everyone.

Explore Philadelphia’s Art

The City of Philadelphia is an outdoor art museum with murals, sculptures, and installations galore, many of which are just outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The “Paint Torch”, 1-minute walk

Across the street from the Broad Street entrance of the Convention Center is Lenfest Plaza, part of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and home to Claes Oldenburg’s “Paint Torch” sculpture. The Oldenburg classic is a 51 feet high paintbrush with a glob of paint that appears to have fallen onto the city sidewalk below. To explore more art, visitors can enter PAFA and marvel at a renowned permanent collection of historical, modern, and contemporary American art.

A massive sculpture of a blue, silver, and orange paintbrush towers over the sidewalk, with what appears to be a glob of orange paint on the sidewalk. A man is shown walking toward the sculpture. A crosswalk is shown in front of the sculpture, which is placed in between two buildings.

Claes Oldenburg’s Paint Torch stands 51-feet high on Broad Street across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Photo by K. Privitera for PHLCVB.

The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1-minute walk

Visit The Fabric Workshop and Museum across from the Convention Center. This free, acclaimed museum showcases the creation and innovation of contemporary art made with new materials and media. Stunning large-scale installations and hand-printed fabric textiles will stay imprinted in your memory.

LOVE Park, 4-minute walk

For more public art, head down Arch Street to see Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue in LOVE Park. Take a picture in front of one of Philadelphia’s most iconic locations or sit down and take in the city. The park regularly hosts pop-ups, festivals, and music performances, so you’re likely to see something special when you stop by.

A woman wearing auburn pants, a beige sweater, and a tan hat poses for a selfie in front of the iconic red LOVE sculpture in LOVE Park. People throughout the space are shown behind her.

LOVE Park. Photo by M. Zugale for PHLCVB.

Have Lunch, Philadelphia Style

You don’t have to venture far to try some Philadelphia food staples. Some of the best cheesesteaks, pretzels, and sweets are just a short walk from the Convention Center.

Reading Terminal Market, 1-minute walk

A trip to Reading Terminal Market is a culinary walking tour on its own. You’ll find over 80 merchants selling fresh meats and cheeses, baked goods, produce, and the widest variety of restaurants under one roof. Locals love the traditional Philadelphia cheesesteak and the classic DiNic’s roast pork sandwich. In addition to local fare, look out for a variety of international cuisines. Most vendors have counter seating — perfect for — or grab a table in the open seating area at the center of the market.

Not only does this local favorite have sandwiches, but also some of the city’s most popular sweets. Local dessert favorites include Termini Brothers Bakery for Italian specialties and Beiler’s for fresh donuts. While deciding on the perfect dessert, walk around and shop for nonperishable foods, crafts, and other gifts.

Neon signs light up over stalls inside of the historic Reading Terminal Market. Shoppers are shown in the aisle, workers are behind counters serving customers.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – November 18, 2016: Vendors and customers in Reading Terminal Market. The historic market is a popular attraction for culinary treats.

Chinatown, 3-minute walk

Down the street and under the Friendship Gate lives Philadelphia’s Chinatown, the second largest on the East Coast. Here you’ll find a treasure of hidden gem dining options including roasted duck, bubble tea, and stuffed waffles. Chinatown is also home to many neighborhood markets with a wide selection of sweets, packaged snacks, and dry goods.

A colorful archway called the Friendship Gate leads to Philadelphia's Chinatown. Cars are shown in the street, as people walk along the sidewalk across colorful stroefronts.

Chinatown Friendship Gate. Photo by J. McWilliams for PHLCVB.

Rittenhouse Square, 15-minute walk

Rittenhouse Square, one of Philadelphia’s original public squares, is southwest of the Convention Center. The park is home to fountains and public art, pop-up events, and a seasonal farmers market. For a truly exquisite dining experience, try one of the elite restaurants along the square. Its sidewalk-style seating and green backdrop will make you feel like you’re on a European excursion.

Discover Historic Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for being the birthplace of America, but there’s so much more to explore throughout the city. Walk along the same streets as history’s trailblazers as you journey to these landmarks.

The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, 2-minute walk

Philadelphia is known for its revolutionary history, but for a truly extraordinary experience, visit the Masonic Temple. A National Historic Landmark, the Temple was constructed in 1873 and is considered one of the great “wonders” of the Masonic world. The building is resplendent with artwork, frescos, stained glass, and sculptures. It’s a visual treasure waiting to be discovered.

A room is full of brown wooden benches with red velvet cushions matching the bright red carpeted floor. The walls are bright yellow and gold with ornate architectural details.

One of the many elaborate halls inside the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB

African American Museum in Philadelphia, 8-minute walk

The African American Museum in Philadelphia gives visitors a moving experience about the achievements and aspirations of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current day. Founded in 1976 in celebration of America’s bicentennial, it’s Among the permanent exhibitions is Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876 sharing the stories of Black Philadelphians during the first decade of the nation.

Independence National Historical Park, 15-minute walk

Eastward, near the Delaware River, is America’s most historic square mile, Independence National Historical Park. Almost two dozen historical sites tell America’s history, all within walking distance of each other. Certainly, you’ll want to see the Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall, but don’t miss the President’s House. It’s just outside of the Liberty Bell Center and Christ Church Burial Ground — the historic burial place of Benjamin Franklin along 5th Street. On the northern end of Independence Mall, explore the interactive exhibits at the National Constitution Center.

Independence Hall, a striking brick and white building appears in the distance. In front, there is the Presidents' House, a historic site filled with visitors. Lush, green lawns surround the buildings, with green trees off to the right and to the left. The sky above is bright with fluffy clouds.

Independence Hall and President’s House. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Looking for more walkable artistic, culinary, or historical experiences while staying in Philadelphia? Visit our things to do page to discover more.