Things to Do in Philadelphia - page 2
Once the most famous prison in the world, Eastern State was initially renowned for its Enlightenment-inspired efforts to reform inmates rather than merely punish them. Eventually, this system was abandoned in favor of solitary confinement and a Death Row block. But the once-genteel penitentiary allowed one of its most notorious inmates, Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone, to keep a private cell with fine antiques and oriental carpets.
When Eastern State’s unique wagon-wheel-shaped building was completed in 1829, it was the most expensive public structure ever built. It was a tourist attraction from the start, and remains so today. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and closed in 1971, the building and its many art installations are consistently being restored and preserved by a variety of architects and artists.
Dating to the late 17th century as part of William Penn’s original five-square city plan, this gracefully manicured park was renamed in 1825 for local astronomer, inventor and surveyor David Rittenhouse. Long one of Philadelphia’s most desirable addresses, in our modern era it’s surrounded by luxury apartments and shops.
Well connected to buses, the SEPTA rail and the trolley, the surrounding neighborhood is full of historic architecture and cultural institutions. Attractions include the Mütter Museum and the treasure-filled Rosenbach Museum & Library, as well as the Curtis Institute of Music. Look for the ornate Victorian House set at the northwest corner, and various bronze sculptures of animals scattered throughout the park.
The park is managed and supported by the Friends of Rittenhouse Square, a non-profit group who, among other activities, stages a series of free concerts in the park during the summer.
More Things to Do in Philadelphia
With 14 ½ acres of floor space, this is the largest municipal building in the United States. Built on one of five squares designated by founding father William Penn as Center Square, its Old City site once marked the geographic center of Philadelphia.
Begun in 1871, this imposing Second Empire masterpiece, with its 22-foot-thick exterior walls, granite floors, marble columns and 548-foot masonry clock tower, took 30 years to complete. Hired by architect John MacArthur, Jr., Scottish-born sculptor Alexander Milne Calder spent 20 years creating 250 bronze and marble sculptures for City Hall, the greatest achievement of his career.
Perfect for those with kids looking for a break from historical sites, the Philadelphia Zoo is a great and easy place to spend an afternoon. Over 1,300 different animals, many of them rare and endangered, call this zoo home. The Philadelphia Zoo is recognized world wide for successfully breeding animals that are difficult to breed in captivity.
Whether you take the kids to check out Carnivore Kingdom, The Reptile and Amphibian House, Big Cat Falls, or the Rare Animal Conservation Center, the Philadelphia Zoo offers you rare glimpses of animals you wouldn't be able to see anywhere else. And seeing as it is in Philadelphia, the zoo of course has some historical significance as well- it was the nation's first zoo.
Things to do near Philadelphia
- Things to do in Pennsylvania
- Things to do in Amboseli National Park
- Things to do in Newark
- Things to do in New York City
- Things to do in Delphi
- Things to do in Brooklyn
- Things to do in Baltimore
- Things to do in Long Island
- Things to do in Washington DC
- Things to do in New Haven
- Things to do in Boston
- Things to do in Niagara Falls & Around
- Things to do in Toronto
- Things to do in New Jersey
- Things to do in Maryland