Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood is the business and cultural center of the city. Center City is centered on City Hall, located in Penn Square, where Broad and Market Streets intersect. Center City can be divided into three distinct sub-neighborhoods: Market East, Avenue of the Arts, and Penn Center.
Market East is the area surrounding Market Street between the Old City neighborhood and City Hall. This neighborhood began seeing activity in the mid-1800s as Old City became too crowded, and became the true business center of Philadelphia after City Hall was built. Businesses slowly began moving inward from Old City towards City Hall, and train service to the Reading Terminal provided access from outside central Philadelphia. Businesses continued moving westward to Penn Center in the mid-1900s, and Market East saw some decline. Officials tried redevelopment of the area, which saw mild success. Today, the area is a shopping and convention center.
Avenue of the Arts is the section of Broad Street just south and just north of City Hall. This part of Broad Street was named because most cultural centers and facilities in Philadelphia are located along Broad Street near City Hall. The area is the theater and performing arts center for the city, and also contains many museums.
Penn Center is the business district to the west of City Hall. The neighborhood was a run-down residential area until the Pennsylvania Railroad abandoned their small Broad Street Station. The 30th Street Station and Suburban Station were built for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Broad Street Station was abandoned and demolished in 1953, and the above-ground railroad tracks along Market Street, known as "the Chinese Wall", were taken down. With the opening of the 30th Street Station and Suburban Station and their underground tracks, as well as the removal of the above-ground tracks, easily accessible land was opened up. Development began moving towards the stations, which made walking to work from the train stations easier for commuters coming from places in Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties.
Looking at City Hall and One Liberty Place from outside of the old Reading Terminal.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center, built in 1893. It was originally the Reading Terminal, meaning that it was the terminal for the Reading Railroad. The Terminal and Reading Railroad both ceased in 1976. The Reading Terminal was then used as a grand entrance for the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center from Market Street near 12th Street.
The William Penn Statue, sitting on top of Philadelphia's City Hall. The statue is 37 feet tall, and is the tallest statue on top of a building on the world.
Looking upward from Market Street at City Hall and the Market Street National Bank building.
Storefronts and an old iron advetisement on 13th Street.
St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, on 13th Street at Clover Street. The church was built in 1830, and both saints with Philadelphia connections have strong ties to the church. St. John Neumann was installed as the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia in the church, and his funeral was held in the church after his death. St. Katherine Drexel grew up just a few blocks from the church, and St. John the Evangelist was her home parish. St. John the Evangelist was a cathedral for 25 years in the 1800s, as it served as the seat of the Diocese of Philadelphia.
Businesses on 13th Street.
An old building on the corner of Sansom & Juniper Streets.
Stores on Walnut Street.
Walnut Square Apartments, on 13th Street. The building was finished in 1904 and was originally a hotel.
Buildings at Walnut & Juniper Streets, including the Witherspoon Building on the left.
The Witherspoon Building facade. The Witherspoon Building was built in 1897 by the Presbyterian Church, and is located at Walnut & Juniper Streets. The Witherspoon Building is Philadelphia's first skyscraper.
The Widener Building, on South Penn Square at Juniper Street. The Widener Building was built in 1915. It was on this site that the oldest photograph in the U.S. that still survives was made. A picture of the now-demolished Central High School was created on September 25, 1839.
Mitchell & Ness, located on Chestnut Street. Mitchell & Ness opened up in 1904 as a clothier for local sports teams, and eventually began supplying uniforms and gear to professional teams in Philadelphia and other cities. Mitchell & Ness is now known for its authentic vintage jerseys.
Macy's Department Store, located on Penn Square between Market Street & Chestnut Street. The building was originally the Wanamaker Department Store was was completed in 1911.
Looking up from the Grand Court of Macy's Department Store.
Macy's Department Store from Market Street.
The old Belleview Stratford building on Broad Street. The building started as the Belleview Stratford Hotel when it was completed in 1904, and was known as the "Grand Dame of Broad Street". The Belleview Stratford Hotel closed in 1976 when Legionnaire's Disease was found living in the air conditioning system.
The Union League of Philadelphia, founded in 1862 and built on Broad Street in 1865. The Union League was started to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln, President at the time.
Looking up Broad Street from Moravian Street. The Land Title Building is on the left. The building was the home of the Land Title Bank & Trust, the oldest title insurance company in the world, and was built in 1902.
The Wachovia Bank building on Broad Street. The structure was built in 1927.
Buildings on the east side of Broad Street.
The American Academy of Music, built in 1857. The building was the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The American Academy of Music, on Broad Street at Locust Street. The interior was restored to how it looked at around 1872, when Ulysses S. Grant was nominated for President at the Republican National Convention here.
The Merriam Theater on Broad Street, part of the University of the Arts. The theater was built in 1918 and opened as the Sam Shubert Theater.
The old Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, on Broad Street. The building was built in 1826 and is now part of the University of the Arts.
The Symphony House Condo building on Broad Street. The highrise was built in 2007 and is 350 feet tall.
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Broad Street at Spruce Street. The Kimmel Center was opened in 2001.
City Hall from Broad Street near the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
City Hall from Broad & Spruce Streets. The site of City Hall was originally the site of the city's waterworks.
The Wilma Theater, built in 1973 on Broad Street.
Looking up Broad Street at historic buildings lining the street.
City Hall from the intersection of Broad & Chestnut Streets. City Hall was built from 1871 to 1901.
The old Grand Trust Bank building, on Broad Street at Chestnut Street. The domed building was completed in 1908.
Looking up from the Grand Trust Bank building at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz-Carlton will be a condominium building located on South Penn Square and will be completed in 2008. The Ritz-Carlton is on the right.
The tower of City Hall from Market Street. The statue of William Penn sits atop the 547-foot tower. Just above the clock, statues of Swedes and Natives point south and north, respectively. This symbolizes William Penn reaching out to these groups, who had already settled in the area; the statues point in the direction where they lived when Penn first met with them.
The Market Street National Bank building, on the northeast corner of Penn Square and Market Street. The structure was built in 1930.
Detail on the eastern side of City Hall.
The Masonic Temple, on the eastern corner of North Penn Square and Broad Street. The Masonic Temple was completed in 1873.
Looking over part of Penn Square at the Comcast Center and the area west of City Hall known as "Penn Center".
Looking up at the tower of City Hall. William Penn is at the top of City Hall, facing northeast. City officials argued about which way the statue should face, and the compromise was to have the statue face northeast. To this day, many people are disappointed with this decision, as William Penn is now "condemned to eternal silhouette".
Looking at One Liberty Place, Philadelphia's tallest building at 960 feet until 6 months ago, from City Hall.
Looking across Reyburn Plaza at the old YMCA of Philadelphia, built in 1908, on the left, and One City Plaza, originally the United Gas Improvement Building when completed in 1898, on the right.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Broad Street at Cherry Street. The Academy is one of the oldest art institutions in the country, founded in 1805. The structure was built in 1876.
Detail on the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
More detail on the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Looking south at City Hall from Broad & Arch Streets.
Looking south down Broad Street from Cherry Street at City Hall.
The towers of the Arch Street Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built in 1869, the Masonic Temple in the center, and City Hall, on the right.
Skyscrapers of Penn Center, including One Liberty Place, Two Liberty Place, and the Centre Square buildings.
The Comcast Center and Verizon Tower from Broad Street.
A closer look at the Comcast Center and Verizon Tower from Broad Street.
Penn Center from Reyburn Plaza, just north of City Hall.
The old Market Street National Bank building from Broad Street, with the Masonic Temple on the left and City Hall on the right.
Skyscrapers of Penn Center, with John F. Kennedy Plaza in the foreground.
City Hall, located in the middle on Penn Square, which was called Center Square until 1829. Penn Square was William Penn's intended spot for Philadelphia's town hall, which is the main reason why officials chose the location when they prepared to move out of their original building in the Old City neighborhood.
The Love statue, placed in the park in 1976, with Suburban Station and The Phoenix condominium, in the old Insurance Company of North America building.
City Hall, the largest all-masonry structure in the world. It was the tallest proposed building in the world when it was planned, but since it took 30 years to build, the Eiffel Tower and Washington Monument surpassed City Hall in height before it was completed. City Hall was still the tallest functional building in the world when completed.
Suburban Station, built in 1930, on the left, and the old Insurance Company of North America skyscraper, built in 1925.
Looking up at Suburban Station on the left, The Phoenix on the right, and the Comcast Center in the background.
Looking up Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from John F. Kennedy Plaza.
A closer look at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was founded in 1876.
City Hall from 16th Street, with a plaza between Market Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard in the foreground.
Looking up at One Liberty Place from Market Street. One Liberty Place was built in 1987 and is 960 feet tall.
Looking up at the Comcast Center from 17th Street.
The Comcast Center from 17th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard. The Comcast Center is Philadelphia's tallest building at 975 feet.
The Comcast Center entrance on John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
Looking up at the Mellon Bank Center from Market Street. The Mellon Bank Center is 792 feet tall and was built in 1990.
The Verizon Tower, built in 1991 and 739 feet tall, is on the left. The Comcast Center, completed in late 2007, on the right.
Arch Street Presbyterian Church, on Arch Street at 18th Street. The church was built in 1855.
The spire of One Liberty Place is aligned with the dome of the Arch Street Presbyterian Church from the northwest corner of 18th & Arch Streets.
One Liberty Place, and the Mellon Bank Center, from 18th Street.
The William Penn statue is barely visible from 18th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
City Hall and the PSFS Building from along Market Street.
Businesses on Chestnut Street at 18th Street.
One Liberty Place on the left, and Two Liberty Place on the right.
Daffy's high-end clothing, on Chestnut Street at 17th Street.
First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, on Samson Street at 17th Street.
Looking straight up at One Liberty Place.
Looking east up Market Street at City Hall.
Suburban Station from John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Suburban Station began as a terminal for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and was built to replace the above-ground Broad Street Station.
The sun sets on William Penn's back.