Top Five Sky-High Vantage Points in Philadelphia
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.
1. City Hall Tower Observation Deck
One of the best kept secrets in Philadelphia.
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 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and admission is just $6.
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.
City Hall Tower Observation Deck
City Hall – Broad & Market Streets
2. Level 33 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel
A limited time-only restaurant at the top of the historic PSFS building.
The Loews opened an amazing limited-time-only restaurant on the top floor of their hotel offering guests unbeatable views of the Philadelphia skyline.
This winter, the Loews Philadelphia Hotel opened up a limited-time-only restaurant on the hotel’s 33rd floor — Level 33 Restaurant and Sky Lounge — and it has instantly become a cocktail and dining destination.
The Loews Hotel is located in the historic PSFS building, the first skyscraper ever built in the City of Brotherly Love, rising 490 feet into the air. The hotel is currently undergoing ground-floor renovations.
Rather than offer hotel guests a makeshift restaurant during the hotel’s renovation process, the Loews opened a full-service restaurant and lounge, complete with both a dining room and devoted bar area. And the best part — they put it on the top floor of the hotel, so guests could enjoy amazing views of the city while eating, drinking and lounging.
When to Visit
Note that you do not need to be a hotel guest to check out Level 33. Level 33 is open to the public.
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and Saturday and Sunday brunch, the modern American pop-up restaurant dishes a wide range of fare including small plates like charred octopus or ahi tuna with white soy to entrees like a beef tenderloin salad or Arctic char with Swiss chard.
Plus, guests can arrive anytime just for cocktails at the Sky Lounge. Bartenders pour a full range of sprits, wine and beer from 11:30 a.m. through 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Protip: Head to Level 33 for happy hour, available from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Happy hour coincides with “magic hour” for capturing the perfect photo of the skyline.
Limited Time Only
Visit soon! Level 33 is only going to be open through March 15, 2014 as the Loew’s new permanent restaurant, Bank & Bourbon, will open on March 16 on the ground floor of the hotel.
The view from the 33rd floor of the Loews is amazing during the day and at night. So it’s great that Level 33 is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND drinks.
Level 33 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
An awesome restaurant, bar and lounge located 37 floors above the ground.
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.
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)
50 S. 16th Street
Two Liberty Place
4. Nineteen (XIX) at the Bellevue
A beautiful restaurant, bar and cafe located on the top floor of the historic Bellevue on Broad Street.
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. It’s bar and lounge is open seven days a week as well. (Exact hours are here.)
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.
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)
XIX (Nineteen) at the Bellevue
200 S. Broad Street
5. Top of the Tower
Head here for a Center City Sips experience in the clouds.
Top of the Tower is not always open to public but during Center City District’s popular summertime promotion, Center City Sips, Top of the Tower swings opens its doors for everyone to enjoy its incredible city views.
Top of the Tower is a special event space that is not normally open to the public, located at the top of Three Logan Square, the fifth tallest building in Philadelphia. However, they made this list because in 2013 for the first time ever, they participated in Center City District’s very popular summertime promotion, Center City Sips. Every Wednesday from June through September, the Top of the Tower would open its doors for a special happy hour party with specials on wine, cocktails, beer and appetizers.
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.)
We hope they continue to open their doors for publicly accessible events like Center City Sips in 2014.
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)
Top of the Tower
1717 Arch St, 50th Floor
6. Bonus Round: The Top-Floor Restaurant and Lounge at the Very Top of the Forthcoming Comcast Innovation and Technology Center – COMING SOON
An “observation deck” on a whole other level.
Talk about a game changer — the top-floor restaurant and lounge located on the 59th floor of the new Comcast tower will be the highest publicly accessible place in Philadelphia by some 400 feet(!). This is an early rendering of what it could look like. (Image courtesy 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. Level 33 at the Loews is just under 500 feet. 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 by approximately 400 feet. 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.
The new Four Seasons Hotel will occupy the top floors of the building — visible here where the cutout starts about two-thirds of the way up the building — with a restaurant and lounge gracing the very top floor of the 1,121-foot building.
The New Four Seasons Hotel in the forthcoming Comcast Innovation and Technology Center
Coming in 2017
1800 Arch Street
More Rooftop Bars
All of these restaurants and bars are hundreds of feet in the air, but Philadelphia has several more that are closer to the ground.
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