Collaborators & Sponsors: Presented by the International Sculpture Center. Collaborators & Sponsors: Association for Public Art, The Atlantic Foundation, The Barnes Foundation, Digital Atelier, Eastern State Penitentiary, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Grounds For Sculpture, Moore College of Art & Design, Mural Arts Philadelphia, NextFab, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia City Hall Visitor Center, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, The Seward Johnson Atelier, The Skyspace at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, Traction Company, and The University of the Arts. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Above: Love Park featuring Love sculpture by Robert Indiana. Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™
There is something for everyone in the City of Brotherly Love. Founded by William Penn in 1682, its name is derived as a combination of the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos). Philadelphia was America’s first capital, and home to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Photo: Philadelphia's Magic Gardens by Isaiah Zagar. Kevin Burkett via Flickr.
Philadelphia, with a population of 1.6 million, is visited by over 42 million people each year. The convenient, grid-like streets make walking the easiest way to get around downtown. North-south running streets are numbered, and east-west streets are named after trees, while Front Street is 1st and Broad is 14th. At any point downtown, you can use the Northeast facing statue of William Penn, located atop City Hall as a guide.
The 28th International Sculpture Conference will take place in Center City, near Logan Square. Continue reading below to learn more about what Philadelphia has to offer during your stay.
Philadelphia has numerous museums, galleries, parks and gardens. The public art scene is prevalent throughout the city, with mosaic gardens, fountains and sculptures such as the iconic “LOVE” sculpture by Robert Indiana. This tribute to the city is located in Love Park, officially known as John F. Kennedy Plaza, located in Center City, Philadelphia.
Philadelphia also boasts architecture of nearly every single style of the last 300 years: Georgian, Palladian, Greek revival, Federal-style, Victorian and skyscrapers.
To browse an expansive selection of public artworks, please visit: http://www.associationforpublicart.org/explore/
Photo: Pat’s King of Steaks. Geno’s Steaks in the background. Photo courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Above: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia™
Logan Square is home to a number of iconic Philadelphia attractions. City Hall with its elaborate architecture and ornamentation is located in Logan Square. This sprawling building, the largest municipal building in the country, is adorned with carvings of allegorical figures and is capped off with a massive statue of William Penn, designed by Alexander Milne Calder. Programming for the 28th International Sculpture Conference will take place in Logan Square with panel discussions being held at Moore College of Art and Design. The conference hotel, the Philadelphia 201 Hotel, is also conveniently located in Logan Square.
Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art Sculpture Garden. Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™
The Barnes Foundation houses Dr. Albert Barnes’ renowned art collection—featuring 181 Renoirs (more than any other collection), 69 Cézannes (more than in all of France) and groundbreaking African art. The more than 3,000-piece collection focuses on French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, American and African art and sculpture, and it’s all hung in Barnes’ revolutionary and distinctive style.
For a complete guide on must-see attractions on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway click here.
Above: Rittenhouse Row. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™
Rittenhouse Square is where you will find high-end stores, locally owned boutiques, small galleries, theaters and entertainment, cafes, cocktail bars, and restaurants of all kinds. The one-square-block park that gives the neighborhood its name hosts year-round festivals, farmers’ markets, fairs, etc. which make it the city’s best-known park.
Photo: Rouge Restaurant. Photo by K. Ciappa for Visit Philadelphia™
On Walnut Street, between Broad and 18th Streets, is the popular Rittenhouse Row shopping district. Featuring high-end boutiques and trend-setting stores, this district offers bountiful shopping and fantastic neighborhood dining. Visitors can enjoy alfresco people-watching from heated sidewalk cafes well into the early winter if not year-round.
Above: Carpenter’s Hall. Photo by Jeff Fusco for PHLCVB
The Historic District of Philadelphia stretches from the Delaware River to 7th Street, and from Vine Street to Lombard Street. It is the birthplace of our nation, the place where our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
Photo: Independence Hall. Photo by R. Kennedyfor VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Old City, which is a part of the Historic District, is known as “America’s most historic square mile” with its cobblestone streets and 18th-century charm. Historical attractions include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley (known as “the nation’s oldest residential street” built in 1706) as well as modern attractions such as Franklin Square, home of the Parx Liberty Carousel, the infamous Franklin Square Fountain, a one-of-a-kind Philly Mini Golf course, and the renowned SquareBurger.
The Historic District also boasts fashionable boutiques, great restaurants, eclectic galleries, theaters, and vibrant nightlife.
On the First Friday evening of every month, year-round, art lovers fill the streets of this neighborhood and wander in and out of 40-plus galleries, most of them open from 5 to 9 p.m.
Bird Park, a pocket park on Third Street just below Arch, features changing installations by sculptors invited by nearby Gallery Joe.
Photo:First Friday, Old City. Photo by A. Ricketts for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Old City is filled with great restaurants, bars, lounges and cafes — Amada, Farmicia, Continental, Fork, and Cuba Libre are just a few of the great spots where you can enjoy dinner and drinks.
The Museum of the American Revolution is in the heart of Philadelphia’s Historic District. The museum is the country’s first venue dedicated solely to the exploration of the war that transformed a set of colonies into an independent nation. Besides fascinating historic art, artifacts and recreations, you can also see on display George Washington’s tent preserved from the battlefields.
Above: Chinatown. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Photo: Reading Terminal Market. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
The Chinese Friendship Gate welcomes people to Chinatown which is the residential and commercial hub of Philadelphia’s Asian community. Stretching over 10th Street and standing at 40 feet tall, the Chinese Friendship Gate is the first authentic gate ever constructed by Chinese artisans outside of China. After passing under the Gate, visitors to Philadelphia’s Chinatown can browse eclectic shops, enjoy neighborhood festivals and events, and dine on delicious Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Burmese cuisine.
The Reading Terminal Market, established in 1892 at 12th and Arch Streets, is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Here you can enjoy eating virtually every type of cuisine, from soul food to Asian and Middle Eastern dishes to authentic Philly Cheesesteaks. Over 30 sit-down eateries are scattered throughout the market. With more than 80 unique merchants in all, make sure when you visit the market you allot plenty of time to check out the vast assortment of handmade imported crafts, American quilts, cookbooks, expertly prepared foods, etc.
Photo: Mural Arts Tour. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™
Located on the edge of Chinatown along Vine Street, you will find the Colors of Light mural by artist Josh Sarantitis. The mural, commissioned in partnership with Asian Arts Initiative, uses the imagery of scrolls, young children, and a woman in profile to portray the neighborhood’s movement from past to future.
Philadelphia has more murals than any other city in the world. If you are interested in learning more, the Mural Arts Program’s two-hour trolley tours are an informative and entertaining way to see some of the city’s 3,500 murals. Click here for tour information.
Northern Liberties is also home to many of the city’s trendiest and friendliest bistros, vintage shops, record stores, and gastropubs.
One of Philadelphia’s most popular destinations that has even gotten the attention of the New York Times who calls the place “the hottest party in town”, is Silk City described as a diner/restaurant/bar/beer garden/nightclub hybrid. At Silk City you can get beer (or mojitos) and a burger and then spend the rest of the night dancing to your favorite tracks from the 90s.
Photo: Schmidt's Commons. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™
Also located in Northern Liberties is the Schmidt's Commons, designed after Rome’s famous piazzas. This beautifully landscaped, 80,000 square-foot, open-air plaza offers free events year-round, and draws live bands and food trucks. The Commons is surrounded by three new buildings including 35 artists’ studios and boutiques and four new restaurants.
If you want to grab a bite to eat in this hip neighborhood, there are plenty of options. Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat and Café La Maude are great choices for brunch. Local favorites for dinner include Standard Tap, a multilevel spot featuring a rotating menu of American eats and a variety of local beers on tap, and Heritage, a modern rustic restaurant with a seasonal locally-sourced menu, extensive beer menu, and live music every night.
Above: Washington Square. Photo by M. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Photo: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™
Historic Washington Square is one of William Penn’s five original squares. It sits just a few blocks from Liberty Bell Center. It is here that visitors from all over come to pay tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial honoring soldiers who fought in the American Revolution. The park also houses a clone of a tree that sprouted from a seed that went to the moon and back.
An absolute must-see is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens located on South Street. This artistic wonderland was created by local artist Isaiah Zagar. Zagar uses ceramic tile, mirrors and found objects to create colorful and unusual mosaic murals. If you are interested in Zagar’s work you can take a self-guided tour of the gardens or join the Mosaic Mural Walking Tour.
Washington Square West also includes Midtown Village and the Gayborhood. In Midtown Village you will find a handful of popular restaurants and shops along the 13th Street corridor.
Photo: Antique Row. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™
The Gayborhood sets itself apart with dozens of rainbow street signs that adorn poles throughout the area, along with many restaurants, bars, and boutiques catering to an LGBT clientele and their friends.
While in the neighborhood don’t forget to visit Jewelers’ Row on Sansom Street, boasting nearly 300 diamond and jewelry merchants, and Antique Row on Pine Street, the go-to spot for museum-quality furnishings, cute collectables and funky art objects.
Above: Longwood Gardens – Kennett Square, PA. Photo by Esther Westerveld via Flickr.
Explore the small towns that make up Philadelphia’s Countryside, like Phoenixville, PA, an old iron-industry town turned creative community, or Kennett Square, home to the internationally renowned Longwood Gardens. Both are about a 45-minute drive from Center City Philadelphia.
Prefer to do some hiking around? Head to Valley Forge, PA (35-minute drive), or head to Washington Crossing Park (45-minute drive), where you can cross the Delaware on a footbridge, for some history and nature.
Need a strong dose of retail therapy? Check out the King of Prussia Mall (40-minute drive), the largest shopping mall in the United States in terms of leasable space.
Visit the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA(1-hour drive). A collection of some 40,000 objects representing pre-industrial-revolution-era ways of living, and housed in a 6-story concrete castle, this unique museum encourages visitors to look at objects in a whole new way.
Princeton. Photo by Patrick Nouhailler
Want to explore a little bit of New Jersey? Delve into an extensive art collection by visiting Princeton University’s Art Museum in Princeton, NJ (1-hour drive). With a history extending back to the 1750’s and an art collection of over 100,000 works and constantly changing displays, this museum will not disappoint.
Or, visit the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ! About a 55 minute drive from Philadelphia, the Grounds for Sculpture has 42 acres to explore, filled with outdoor sculptures, indoor galleries, and tours of all sorts.
Photo: New York City. Photo by Aurelien Guichard via Flickr.
Check out the other big city in the area: NYC! If you want to extend your stay and explore more outside of Philadelphia, New York City is only about a 2-hour car ride away (96.7 miles Northeast from Philadelphia). There you can take in art museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, see a Broadway show, and sit down for some fine dining at the classiest restaurants.
Please indicate if you require any accessibility accommodations by contacting the events department at 609.689.1051 x302 or email@example.com. The International Sculpture Center is committed to ensuring that all events are accessible to all of our patrons.