Top 5 Sky-High Vantage Points
The best places to go in Philly when you’re looking for observation deck-like views
Did you know that Philadelphia’s City Hall has an observation deck at the top of its 500-foot tower? It does — and it’s awesome.
And while the city’s tallest building — the Comcast Center — unfortunately does not have a publicly accessible one, there are a few other spots around the city that offer amazing views from perches on high. We’re talking about hundreds of feet in the air. You just have to know where to look.
And that’s what we’re here to help with. Below are five places around the city that offer spectacular sky-high views of Philadelphia. And many of them are restaurants and bars. So grab some friends, pick a date, and go toast to the city while capturing a photo and Instagram that is sure to be memorable.
City Hall Tower Observation Deck
The City Hall Tower Observation Deck is one of Philadelphia’s undeniable hidden gems. The views from the top of the tower are unbeatable and admission is only $6.
The only actual observation deck on this list — located at the top of City Hall, some 500 feet above the ground, and at the base of the giant bronze statue of Billy Penn — the City Hall Tower Observation Deck is open Monday through Friday.
The observation deck offers some pretty amazing, 360-degree views of Philadelphia. You can look east past the Convention Center, over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and into New Jersey. You can look north and south all the way up and down Broad Street, at 12 miles one of the longest straight streets in country. You can look northwest out over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Fairmount Park. And you can look west into the heart of the Philadelphia skyline.
Visit the tower at the end of the day during the winter and you just might catch the beginning of spectacular sunset over the city.
The City Hall Tower Observation Deck is pretty much a must-visit, even for locals who have been here for a while. After all, how often do you get the chance to enjoy a view like this? (Photo by J. Zale for Visit Philadelphia)
Timed tower tour tickets are available at the Tour Information Center located in the East Portal of City Hall in Room 121. For more information or to arrange a group tour, call (215) 686-2840.
For more information on the City Hall Tower Observation Deck, click the button below.
For a more comprehensive look inside City Hall, visitors can go on a two-hour, public tour highlighting the art, architecture, tower and building history. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)
R2L Restaurant and Lounge
R2L is located on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, offering sweeping views of the city to the west, south and east. (Photo courtesy R2L)
A sleek, sophisticated restaurant, bar and lounge soaring 37 floors above the city at Two Liberty Place, R2L is a must-visit if you’re looking for a dinner and/or drink with a view.
R2L is 500 feet off the ground in Two Liberty Place, the third tallest building in Philadelphia. With its bird’s-eye views of Philadelphia and creative American cuisine by Chef Daniel Stern, R2L is one of the city’s most spectacular culinary experiences.
R2L’s bar and lounge area is called Bar 2L and it’s a great spot to go for a drink and a light bite while catching the sunset.
Visit for happy hour Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and enjoy great deals on snacks and drinks. The city views are always complimentary.
Click the button below for more info on R2L.
Perched on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, R2L is a picture-perfect, Art Deco-inspired restaurant and lounge with sweeping views of Center City. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
Nineteen (XIX) at the Bellevue
During the warmer months, Nineteen actually opens its outdoor balconies for guests to take advantage of alfresco dining hundreds of feet in the air, offering incredible views of the city and the skyline. They’re amazing. (Photo courtesy Nineteen)
Nineteen, the restaurant, cafe, bar and lounge atop the Hyatt at the Bellevue, is a stunning and elegant addition to Philadelphia’s dining scene. But it’s not just for formal dinners — Nineteen also boasts a comfortable side that is casual yet sophisticated.
One of the most dramatic features of Nineteen is its lofty location on the Bellevue’s top floor — the 19th to be exact. Taking advantage of said altitude, large, floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the city’s skyline and beyond.
Nineteen is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch seven days a week. Its bar and lounge is open seven days a week as well.
And note that you do not need to be a hotel guest to visit Nineteen. The restaurant, bar and cafe are all open to the public.
During the warmer months, Nineteen actually opens its outdoor balconies for guests to take advantage of alfresco dining hundreds of feet in the air, offering incredible views of the city and the skyline. Sitting on the balconies is highly recommended.
One suggested time to visit Nineteen is for their popular Sunday brunch service, which begins with continental pastries, smoked salmon, charcuterie and sushi; continues with a selection of bunch entrees; and concludes with an impressive dessert table of cakes, parfaits and more. There are also mimosas and Bloody Marys along the way.
Click the button below for more info on Nineteen.
Nineteen, the bar and restaurant on the 19th floor of the Hyatt at The Bellevue Philadelphia, offers exceptional service, a sophisticated atmosphere and delicious food. The breathtaking views of the city are complimentary. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)
Top of the Tower
Top of the Tower is open for Sundaybrunch as well as during Center City District’s popular summertime promotion, Center City Sips.
Top of the Tower is located at the top of Three Logan Square, the fifth tallest building in Philadelphia. A special event space that previously hadn’t been open to the public, Top of the Tower now offers residents and visitors two opportunities to check its sky-high views.
In 2013, for the first time ever, Top of the Tower participated in Center City District’s very popular summertime promotion, Center City Sips. Every Wednesday from June through September, the Top of the Tower opens its doors for a special happy hour party with specials on wine, cocktails, beer and appetizers.
And now, every Sunday, Top of the Tower offers SkyBrunch, the “highest” brunch option in the city. The service encompasses a vast array of delicious buffet-style options from Metropolitan Bakery granola to pecan-smoked bacon to crème brûlée French toast to oyster and crab claw shooters.
The cost of $50 per person ($25 for kids 12 and under; free for kids 5 and younger) covers all of this plus a brunch cocktail. Even better: Top of the Tower will donate $1 from every cover at SkyBrunch to Clean Air Council, ensuring that that very pretty view stays clear for future generations of brunchers.
Located on the 50th floor of the building, Top of the Tower is the highest spot on this list at more than 600 feet above ground.** (** Highest for now. See below.)
For more on Top of the Tower, click the button below.
The view from Top of the Tower at night, looking north out over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and beyond. (Photo courtesy Top of the Tower)
One Liberty Observation Deck
At long last, Philadelphia will soon have a proper observation deck.
At long last, Philadelphia will soon have a proper observation deck.
Scheduled to open in fall 2015, One Liberty Observation Deck will provide Philadelphia with panoramic bird’s-eye views of the city from the 57th floor of One Liberty Place in downtown Philadelphia.
Now under construction, Montparnasse 56 (or M56) — a Parisian-based company that operates observation decks in the John Hancock Tower in Chicago and the Montparnasse 56 Tower in Paris — is building the observatory, which will also include interactive elements and artistic installations.
Tickets to One Liberty Observation Deck will go on sale online just before opening, and general admission will be $14 for youth (ages 3-11) and $19 for adults.
Click the button below for more information.
Bonus Round: The Top-Floor Restaurant and Lounge at the Very Top of the Forthcoming Comcast Innovation and Technology Center – COMING SOON
The new Four Seasons Hotel in the new Comcast Tower will boast a breathtaking new restaurant located on the top floor of the building, offering awesome, unparalleled 360-degree views of the city. (Image via Comcast)
So the news about the new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is pretty awesome. For so many reasons — the jobs and economic impact, the impressive architecture, the new hotel, adding a new skyscraper to the city’s skyline… — but one of the elements that has us the most excited is the top-floor restaurant.
Yes, the restaurant that’s going to be located on the very top floor of the building — the 59th floor — offering unbelievable panoramic views of the city.
When completed in 2017, the new Comcast tower restaurant is going to be on a whole new level. To put its height in perspective, the City Hall Tower Observation Deck is 500 feet above the ground. R2L is also 500 feet up. This new restaurant in the Comcast Tower is going to be some 900 feet(!!) above the ground.
It’s going to be the highest publicly accessible point in Philadelphia. And with that are going to come some breathtaking views and photo ops.
And while we know it’s going to take three years to build this thing, we are currently having some trouble containing our excitement.
Here’s an idea of what the skyline will look like once Comcast’s newest building is complete. (Image via Comcast)