Photo by A. Burolla for PHLCVB
Photo by A. Burolla for PHLCVB

Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Architectural Walking Tour


Explore the City of Neighborhoods with the Preservation Alliance guided walking tours. Our talented volunteers will make sure you see and hear the past, present, and future of the Philadelphia region as expressed through the city's unique and fascinating architecture.

Underground Philadelphia: Subways, Railways, & Stations
June 28 @ 10 a.m. Meet at Angel statue, main concourse near east entrance of 30th St Station

Discover the Philadelphia Plan which gave us two Art Deco masterpieces, the monumental 30th Street Station and Suburban Station, the first all-underground rail terminal. The tour starts at 30th Street Station and proceeds via trolley (token provided) to 19th St. From the Comcast tower lobby descend into an underground concourse network to The Gallery, before ending at Reading Terminal and the Marriott Hotel. Along the way, lament the loss of Broad St. Station and learn about the 1905-mid-50s trolley and subway lines, the Broad Street subway (1928), the Commuter Rail Tunnel (1984), and the former Reading Terminal, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Northern Liberities
June 28 @ 2 p.m. Meet in front of Liberties Restaurant, 705 North 2nd. St

William Penn stipulated that 10,000 acres north of the original city become “liberty lands.” Once home to many of the city’s breweries, this funky, culturally diverse neighborhood today is the home of many artists and writers. See the old and the new and make note of the many little neighborhood eateries along the way.

Gilded Age Philadelphia
June 29 @ 6 p.m.  Meet at the steps of the Bellevue, 200 S. Broad St
.
Experience Philadelphia in the Gilded Age when wealthy industrialists turned to architecture to express money and power. See the opulent Bellevue Stratford Hotel, now a mixed-use office building and luxury hotel; the Ritz Carlton Hotel, originally the Girard Trust Bank; and the acclaimed PSFS Building, now the Loews Hotel. Learn how all three have been architecturally maintained and transformed into new uses.

Post-Industrial City: Callowhill West District 
July 2 @ 6 p.m. Meet at Starbucks at 20th & Callowhill St.

This 1.5-mile tour focuses on a four-block-wide swath of the city between Vine and Spring Garden Streets from 20th St. to Broad.  The considerable history of this part of the city going back to the early 1700s will be discussed.  Learn how this neighborhood—a country estate in the early 18th century – played an important part in the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793 and later became the center of American locomotive production, as well as home of the third Philadelphia Mint, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Community College of Philadelphia. 

Society Hill Stroll
July 5 @ 10 a.m. Meet at Northeast Corner of 2nd & Spruce St.
 
Society Hill received its name from the “Free Society of Traders” who were granted a strip of land in this area by William Penn in 1683. Take a leisurely walk through this country’s largest, intact collection of original colonial and post-colonial residential architecture. Learn about this neighborhood’s mid 20th century renewal efforts and its contribution to establishing Philadelphia as a “livable” city.

Bankers Row: Architecture and Finance in Philadelphia
July 5 @ 2 p.m. Meet at 2nd St. at Welcome Park 

In the early years of the new Republic, Philadelphia was the nation’s financial capital, home to the first stock exchange (1790), the Bank of the United States, the US Mint, the first securities exchange, the first commodities exchange, and other early banking and insurance institutions. The epicenter of this activity was Chestnut Street in Old City, where important early institutions were housed in architectural treasures, ranging from Greek Revival “temples” to later brick and limestone buildings such as The Bourse Building and the US Customs House. Explore the history of this important part of Philadelphia by visiting notable architectural landmarks, visible evidence of Philadelphia’s early financial prominence.

Victorian Washington Square West
July 6 @ 2 p.m. 

Many of Philadelphia’s most beautiful townhouses are located along Spruce and Locust Streets in this Center City neighborhood east of Broad Street. Marvel at the Gothic Revival windows, Queen Anne Revival turrets, balconies, bays, garlands and gables designed by many prominent Philadelphia architects.

Around Washington Square
July 9 @ 6 p.m. Meet at Tomb of the Uknown Soldier, Center of Washington Square

Walk around one of William Penn’s original planned public parks. Learn how this square served as a burial ground for over 1,200 Revolutionary War soldiers, then as a potter’s field before receiving its present name in 1825. See The Athenaeum, the first Italian Renaissance building in the US, and learn how the Square became home to the publishing industry in the early 20th century. Today, many of the former office buildings are being transformed into residences as Washington Square serves as an important gateway to the nearby residential Society Hill neighborhood.

Art Deco
July 12 @ 10 a.m. Meet at entrance to Liberty Place, 17th & Chestnut Sts.
This popular early 20th century style, synonymous with the Jazz Age, has been described as having one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Its sleek appearance foretells the debut of Modernism while its use of Mayan and Aztec motifs echoes the past. Among Philadelphia’s outstanding examples featured on this walk is the flamboyant WCAU Building on the 1600 block of Chestnut Street, now home to the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Bella Vista
July 13 @ 2 p.m. Meet at 10th and South St.

Bella Vista (“beautiful view”) is a vibrant, historic residential neighborhood and home to the famous Ninth Street Market, AKA the Italian Market, one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating open-air markets. The tour will highlight the lively neighborhood’s architecture, diverse ethnic mix, and social changes.

City Hall to City Hall
July 16 @ 6 p.m. Meet at Northeast corner of 5th & Chestnut Sts.

Where else but Philadelphia can you view three centuries of American architecture along a single street on just one tour? The tour begins at Independence National Historical Park in front of the Old City Hall, which housed the Supreme Court when Philadelphia was the capital of the nation. The tour concludes at City Hall on William Penn’s original Center Square, once the tallest building in the world. In between, the astounding variety of Philadelphia’s 19th century and early 20th century commercial architecture is revealed.

Old City
July 19 @ 10 a.m. Meet at the benches, N. 2nd St. at Elfreth's Alley

Explore colonial Philadelphia and walk some of its original streets. See famous Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied street in the US, and experience the walking/mercantile city, as well as a later generation of Victorian structures. Learn how this area remained the center of Philadelphia’s commercial, retail and governmental activities until the city finally moved “westward” to Center Square in the mid/late 19th century. 

Rittenhouse Square East
July 19 @  2 p.m., Meet at pool, center of Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia’s most fashionable address was developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Enjoy today’s ambiance and compare the grand homes designed for the robber barons to the understated, elegant residences on Delancey Street.

Ben Franklin's Philadelphia
July 20 @ 2 p.m. Meet at entrance to Franklin Court, 312-22 Market St
.
Celebrate the 300th anniversary of this most famous “adopted” Philadelphian’s birth by following in his footsteps through colonial Philadelphia, beginning at the site of his home and print shop, Franklin Court, creatively commemorated by Venturi and Rauch with John Milner Associates in 1976. Explore the other significant sites of the birthplace of our nation and learn how American architecture, too, was born here. Discover some of the earliest style-conscious public buildings: Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival. Then learn about the recent new projects that have transformed Independence Mall.

Chestnut Hill
July 23 @ 6 p.m. Meet at Chestnut Hill Academy’s South parking lot on the South side across from the tennis courts on W Willow Grove Ave

Take a leisurely stroll through this bucolic “Garden City” neighborhood, a suburban setting within the city limits. Learn how the Pennsylvania Railroad extension to this area, spearheaded by Henry Howard Houston in the 1880s, created this style-conscious development and later, with his son-in-law, George Woodward, continued it into the1920s. Explore this haven of late Victorian, Arts & Crafts, English Cotswalds and Modern residences and see how it emerged as a desirable and complete neighborhood.

Classicial Philadelphia
July 26 @ 10 a.m. Meet at Pennsylvania Hospital Gate 

Discover the Philadelphia known as “The Athens of America” in the early 19th century. Hear about some of this country’s greatest neo-classical architects and learn why they turned to ancient Greece for inspiration in designing buildings for the new American democracy. Significant highlights include the Second Bank of the US and the Merchant’s Exchange, both designed by architect William Strickland.

July 26 @ 2 p.m. Society Hill Sacred Sites
Meet at gate of St. Peter's Church, 3rd & Pine Sts.

Because of its Quaker origins, Philadelphia has long been hospitable to worshipers of many faiths. See history come to life when visiting reclusive St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, classical Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Romanesque Revival Mother Bethel Church, Georgian St. Peter’s Church, and Gothic Revival St. Mary’s Church.

July 27 @ 2 p.m. Jewish Immigrant Philadelphia
Meet in front of Society Hill Synagogue, 418 Spruce St. 

Relive the Philadelphia experience of Eastern European Jews who settled along South Street in the late 19th century. Explore their humble synagogues and homes and learn about their thriving marketplaces that became prominent businesses.

July 30 @ 6 p.m. Underground Philadelphia: Subways, Railways & Stations
Meet at Angel statue, main concourse near east entrance of 30th St. station

Discover the Philadelphia Plan which gave us two Art Deco masterpieces, the monumental 30th Street Station and Suburban Station, the first all-underground rail terminal. The tour starts at 30th Street Station and proceeds via trolley (token provided) to 19th St. From the Comcast tower lobby descend into an underground concourse network to The Gallery, before ending at Reading Terminal and the Marriott Hotel. 





 


 

Tickets are available for sale at the Independence Visitor Center. 

Hours

10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
July: Saturdays
2:00 p.m.
Julye: Sundays
6:00 p.m.
July: Wednesdays

Pricing

Society Hill Stroll: July 5 at 10 a.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Bankers Row: Architecture and Finance in Philadelphia: July 5 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00

Victorian Washington Square West: July 6 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (ages 10 and under ) Free

Around Washington Square: July 9 at 6 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (ages 10 and under ) Free

Art Deco: July 12 at 10 a.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Avenue of the Arts: July 12 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Bella Vista: July 13 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

City Hall to City Hall: July 16 at 6 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Old City: July 19 at 10 a.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Rittenhouse Square East: July 19 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Ben Franklin's Philadelphia

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Chestnut Hill: July 23 at 6 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Classical Philadelphia

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Society Hill Sacred Sites: July 26 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children Free

Jewish Immigrant: July 27 at 2 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Underground Philadelphia: Subways, Railways & Stations

Adults $10.00
Students $8.00
Children (Ages 10 and under ) Free

Live Chat