There’s no getting around it – Philadelphia has a pretty incredible skyline. Whether it’s from a vantage point on the South Street Bridge, one of the new skyscrapers in University City, or taking PATCO into the city, it’s almost impossible to not be in awe of Philly’s skyline views.
There are so many great spots for snapping a selfie with the Comcast Center in the background, but what if we told you that the best views of the city (and we mean the whole city) could be spotted from the Delaware River… on a boat?
We’ve put together a crawl through the historic Old City District below, hitting all the must-see sites representing Philly’s history you might have missed on your field trips, the must-eat treats you HAVE to try, and the BEST way to catch the city’s skyline views – on the Spirit of Philadelphia, a cruise that leaves from Penn’s Landing year-round.
Oh, and the best part? Everything outlined below is totally accessible by public transportation. Start the journey by taking the Market-Frankford line eastbound to the 5th Street Station stop. (Coming from the ‘burbs? Check out our how-to guide for public transportation in and around Philly!)
1. When you hop off the subway, you’ll be in the hub of our country’s history – this is where it all began! Take a tour of Independence Hall, stop by the Liberty Bell, check out the First and Second Banks of the United States, and if you have time, head to the Museum of the American Revolution. It’s one of Philly’s newest and most popular museums, and you can get $2 off admission with your student ID!
2. They say it’s good luck to toss a penny onto Benjamin Franklin’s grave, and with a semester full of exams and papers to write, a little luck can’t hurt, right? Pay one of our Founding Fathers a visit at his grave, located at 5th and Arch streets. Don’t forget a penny! “A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
3. Christ Church was founded in 1695. Yes, you read that correctly! At more than 320 years old, this historic building has so many stories to tell. It’s open every day, and there’s no admission fee (though small donations are appreciated). Bonus: if you’re there on a Wednesday between 2 and 7 p.m. (May-November), stock up on fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market.
4. Did you know that ice cream was invented right here in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin? Take an ice cream break on your journey through Old City with homemade treats at Franklin Fountain. Walking into the ice cream parlor, located at Front and Market Streets, is like taking a step back in time. Staff clad in bow ties and old-timey clothes create ice cream sundaes, milk shakes, egg creams, phosphates and thirst-ades (those last three were items served in the 1920s that the Franklin Fountain makes today!) and they’re absolutely delicious.
5. After a full day of exploring Old City, you’re just in time to catch the sunset over the city skyline from the Spirit of Philadelphia, which leads cruises year-round from a dock in Penn’s Landing. There’s an outdoor deck with a lounge and open-air bar, making it the perfect spot for sororities and fraternities, organizations, campus clubs and sports teams. Taking a cruise with the Spirit of Philadelphia promises a unique, photo-worthy way to see the city and try something new with friends, family or classmates. Have visitors in town? Parents taking a trip to the city? If you’re looking for a fun, fresh experience, find it on the water! Get your tickets today.
Beyond its beautiful skyline views, Philadelphia has some incredible history that’s worth learning about while you’re going to college here. That way, when friends and family come to visit, you can impress them with historical facts, and show them all the best spots to post to their Insta Story! Follow Campus Philly on Instagram for even more facts about Philly, exciting events to attend, and more reasons why we love this city as much as we do.