Top Permanent Light Displays in Philadelphia
Displays lighting up the region
Get a different view of the city after the sun sets with spectacular light displays at area attractions.
Discover the dazzling lights of the Cira Centre, the scenic waterfront glow of Boathouse Row or the grand illumination along the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in a few of our favorite light displays in and around Philadelphia.
The Neon Museum of Philadelphia brightens up the Center for Architecture, as well as bars, restaurants and public spaces throughout the city, with its little-known and privately owned tribute to the history of neon signs. The organization owns more than 100 signs that date back to before the 1950s.
Details: 1218 Arch Street | (215) 569-3186
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge’s visibility from 10 miles away and its proximity to myriad public gathering spaces in Philadelphia and major urban centers in New Jersey makes it a prime canvas for an LED row of lights that dots the bridge span on both sides and changes and moves depending on the season or the holiday. Sometimes the lights appear to “chase” the passing commuter trains that traverse the bridge, and other times they glow in varying colors—red, white and blue for Independence Day and green for a major Philadelphia Eagles playoff game, for example. Seven Schuylkill River bridges are also permanently illuminated—part of the legacy of the city’s Millennium Philadelphia celebration in 1999.
One of Philadelphia’s most memorable nighttime vistas is that of Boathouse Row, made up of a dozen sculling clubs that line the Schuylkill River behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2009, new full-color, energy-efficient LED light nodes were hung to showcase the intricate architectural details of the clubs. Now a drive or stroll along the river results in an eye-popping lighting marvel that normally glows white but can change to celebrate a holiday or civic celebration, a charity appeal or a significant professional sporting win.
Details: 1 Boathouse Row
West Philadelphia’s first office tower digitally programs its 1,500 LED lights to reflect city pride in major holidays, local events and sports teams. The Cira Centre’s 29 floors shine with light shows that may appear red for a Philadelphia Phillies’ championship win or pink to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Details: 2929 Market Street | (215) 397-1562
As the scientist who discovered electricity, Ben Franklin would surely be proud of the three-minute multi-media presentation that envelops the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial statue at The Franklin Institute. At the top of each hour, the Benjamin Franklin Forever show, comprised of digital projections, theatrical lighting and audio effects, tells a deeper story about the man whose intellect and curiosity spawned so many discoveries and institutions.
Details:222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu
Avenue of the Arts (South Broad Street) is the first street in America to light multiple buildings in a coordinated display of sound and light. Using LED fixtures with an almost infinite selection of patterns and colors, Center City District illuminates the facades of a dozen historic buildings with programs that range from soothing seasonal palettes to exciting visual and audio shows. Also illuminated nightly on Broad Street: the City Hall clock and tower, topped by city founder William Penn.
Details: (215) 731-9668