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Top 3 Self-Guided Walking Tours from the Pennsylvania Convention Center

October 7, 2019

Explore art, history and local foods with these self-guided walking tours starting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in the heart of Philadelphia.

If you are in between sessions or looking to fill a free afternoon, then use one of these self-guided walking tours, starting off in the center of Philadelphia, to experience the city. The Pennsylvania Convention 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.

1. Explore Philadelphia’s Outdoor Art

Philadelphia has more than 4,000 outdoor murals and sculptures throughout the city. In fact, there is so much to see all within walking distance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In fact, there are 3 murals directly across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Paint Torch 1-minute walk

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

Firstly, head across the street from the Broad Street entrance of the Convention Center and you’ll be right in charming Lenfest Plaza, part of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and home to Claes Oldenburg’s “Paint Torch” sculpture. While you are there, you’ll want to stop in to visit PAFA’s spectacular gift shop, which carries unique gifts and locally made items.

Portraits of Justice 1-minute walk

Portraits of Justice © 2018 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Russell Craig & Jesse Krimes, Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Than, head west out of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and turn left on Broad Street to find the “Portraits of Justice” mural within the Municipal Services Building.

Water Gives Life 1-minute walk

Water Gives Life © 2018 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Eurhi Jones & David McShane, 1300 Arch Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Another mural directly across from the Convention Center is “Water Gives Life,” which celebrates the connection between Philadelphia rivers and local flora. If you have more time, experience the city’s dynamic outdoor art scene on a Mural Arts Tour, by foot, bike, trolley or train.

If you want to explore more murals in Philadelphia than Click Here to learn more about Mural Arts in Philadelphia.

City Hall and Dilworth Park 4-minute walk

Dilworth Park photo by M. Fishchetti for Center City District.

If you have a break in between sessions or are looking for a good place to eat lunch outside, then find a seat in Dilworth Park adjacent to Philadelphia’s City Hall. This is this perfect place for people-watching, entertainment, and iconic architecture. Also, the park hosts events throughout the year so you may even be able to catch a show or shop local merchants.

City Hall photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Take a quick walk through City Hall to take in the stunning French Second Empire architecture. However, if you have more time, visit the City Hall Visitor Center, located in room 121 of the East Portal, and learn about the tours offered. You can take an interior tour and even tour the City Hall Tour. Learn More.

LOVE Park 4-minute walk

LOVE Park photo courtesy of PHLCVB.

After a stroll around City Hall, head across the street to see Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue in LOVE Park just across the street. While there, take a selfie to share with friends. This is one of Philadelphia’s most Instagrammable spots. Of course, there are many other Instagrammable spots in Philly, read more on where to snap a selfie.

LOVE Park photo courtesy of PHLCVB.

Last, walk across the park to see the newest art installation, the “I Love Philly” sign. The heart has flags from all over the world. It’s another perfect selfie back-drop.

2. Have Lunch Philadelphia Style

Reading Terminal Market 1-minute walk

Vendors and customers in Reading Terminal Market. The historic market is a popular attraction for culinary treats. iStock Standard License.

Because a trip to the Reading Terminal Market is a culinary walking tour on its own be sure to stop here. You could walk around for an hour looking at the food and gift options. You’ll find more than 80 merchants selling fresh meats and cheeses, baked goods, confections plus 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 flair, lookout for a variety of international cuisine. Most vendors have counter seating – perfect for solo-dining – or grab a table in the open seating area.

Reading Terminal Market photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Not only does this local favorite have sandwiches, but also some of the city’s most popular sweets. Save room to try local dessert favorites. Some favorites are Termini Brothers Bakery for Italian specialties, Beiler’s Bakery for donuts and more treats. While deciding on the perfect dessert, walk around and shop for books, crafts, and other gifts. If you are looking for the perfect gift to take home, check out the Pennsylvania Country Store – you can buy or send it home.

3. Discover Historic Philadelphia

If you have even more time or a free afternoon, then explore the historical sites of Philadelphia with this self-guided walking tour.

African American Museum in Philadelphia 8-minute walk

Photo by P. Loftland for PHLCVB.

First, head east on Arch Street to the African American Museum in Philadelphia. This is the first museum built by a U.S. city to house and interpret the life and work of African Americans. Stop into this museum to experience history and art and culture.

Independence National Historical Park 15-minute walk

Independence Hall and President's House photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Continue walking east and you’ll find America’s most historic square mile, the Independence National Historical Park. There are almost two dozen historical sites that tell America history, and all are within walking distance of each other. Certainly, you’ll want to see the Liberty Bell, some other highlights include Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, the President’s House and Christ Church Burial Ground — where Ben Franklin is buried. Pro-tip: you don’t have to enter all of these attractions to experience historic Philadelphia. View the Historic District Itinerary for even more detail.

Elfreth’s Alley 19-minute walk

Elfreth's Alley photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Finally, head over to the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street, a National Historic Landmark. In order to view the houses that date back to 1728 take a stroll up and down the alley. Also, this is a one of the other popular spots for a selfie.

While walking around this historic area you’ll find all types of unique shops from fashionable boutiques, local crafts, and other gifts. Cap off your walk with a stop at Franklin Fountain, a fully restored soda shop serving home-made ice cream. Don’t let chillier weather deter you – they also serve specialty hot drinks in the winter, including their own “Hot Milkshakes.”

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