Anchored by the Pennsylvania Convention Center, this bustling district is also home to the nation’s first art museum and art school, one of the city’s most sought-after dining destinations, and some of the most iconic artwork in Philadelphia. The district is also just steps away from the Chinatown, Spring Arts, and Washington Square West neighborhoods.
Snap a selfie in front of Robert Indiana’s famous statue in LOVE Park before heading across the street to Dilworth Park, which hosts special events including an outdoor ice-skating rink from November to March. Admire the hundreds of Alexander Milne Calder sculptures that adorn City Hall, including the 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn – the largest statue atop any building in the world. To learn more about the nation’s largest municipal building, join an interior tour offered by Independence Visitor Center or journey to the observation deck beneath William Penn’s feet on a tower tour. Tickets for both experiences can be reserved at the City Hall Visitor Center. NOTE: Due to COVID-19, interior and tower tours of City Hall are currently on hold.
Admire more public art nearby, including two sculptures by Claes Oldenburg, Paint Torch (128 N. Broad St.) and Clothespin (S. 15th and Market Streets). You can also learn more about prominent murals in the area, like Tree of Knowledge, Water Gives Life, or Start From Here, on a walking tour led by Mural Arts Philadelphia or on your own by using the program’s digital map as a guide.
Visit the Fabric Workshop and Museum, a cool modern art exhibition space, whose unique artist-in-residence program has resulted in an archive of one-of-a-kind collaborations with internationally renowned artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Kara Walker. Stroll through the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the first art museum and school of fine arts in the country, showcasing a vast collection of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings and sculptures. Schedule a tour of the grand Masonic Temple of Philadelphia, home to a museum space filled with rare artifacts, including many linked to Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
Shop local and national brands in the expansive new Fashion District Philadelphia, opened in 2019, spanning three city blocks. After shopping, bowl a few frames at Round 1, or explore the immersive, interactive art installations at contemporary gallery space, Wonderspaces – both found within the Fashion District’s one million-square-foot building. More shopping awaits at nearby Macy’s, which occupies the historic Wanamaker Building – home to one of the country’s first department stores. At the store’s center you’ll find the world’s largest pipe organ, which still performs daily and is joined by a special light show around the holidays.
EAT & DRINK
A truly impressive display of the city’s food culture, Reading Terminal Market — America’s original farmers’ market — includes 80-plus diverse food vendors, from Pennsylvania Dutch baked goods to Middle Eastern specialties to local classics. For a taste of multiple vendors, embark on an expert-led tour of the venerated market with Taste of Philly Food Tour.
For elevated American dining (think dry-aged cowboy steak and potatoes), Bank & Bourbon at the base of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel is unmatched. The restaurant also serves its own house barrel-aged spirits. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant along Market Street serves fresh tank-to-pint beers alongside a menu of classic American pub fare. Federal Donuts serves up fried chicken, donuts, and coffee out of the bottom floor of the Canopy by Hilton hotel, also home to The Wayward – an American brasserie with a French-inspired menu filled with fresh seafood and cocktails.
A short, seven-minute walk from the Pennsylvania Convention Center will bring you to Chestnut Street, where you’ll find Bru Craft & Wurst – serving German fare alongside a robust draft list – and neighboring Tradesman’s – specializing in BBQ dishes served in a sports bar setting. Behind each, on tiny Drury Street, you’ll find McGillin’s – the city’s oldest continuously operating tavern – which has been pouring drinks and serving classic pub fare since 1860. Back at the Fashion District, sip on wine while enjoying live music at City Winery’s 40,000+ square foot, multi-venue Philadelphia location. Other nearby dining options include the Hard Rock Café, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and the dozens of restaurants in Chinatown.
Thanks to its centralized location, there are no shortage of hotels in the Convention Center District and surrounding areas, with over 13,500 hotel rooms within a short walk of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Attached to the Pennsylvania Convention Center at the corner of Broad and Arch streets, the Aloft Philadelphia Downtown features 179 loft-inspired guestrooms in the historic Liberty Title Building. The Le Meridien Philadelphia is just one block away and offers sweeping views of Center City in many of its over 200 rooms.
Nearby, you’ll find Philadelphia’s largest hotel, the Marriott Downtown, which boasts 1,408 rooms (including 76 suites), a restaurant, bar and fitness center, and is connected directly to the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Grand Hall via a sky bridge. Just across Market Street from the Marriott, the Loews Philadelphia Hotel occupies the former home of the 33-story PSFS Building – the nation’s first internationally-designed skyscraper – and features 581 recently remodeled rooms as well as a recently updated spa and fitness center.
One of Philadelphia’s newer hotel options, Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia Center City, is found along 12th Street inside the historic and completely renovated Stephen Girard Building. Another newer property, The Notary Hotel, Autograph Collection, can be found just off the northeast corner of iconic City Hall, presenting state-of-the-art systems with unique architectural details. The neighboring Residence Inn Philadelphia Center City offers apartment-like suites with apartment-like amenities, including dining and working areas. For more tips on choosing a hotel in Philadelphia, click here.