The largest municipal building in the country and the finest example of the Second Empire style
City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States, containing over 14.5 acres of floor space. It is an architectural treasure inside and out. The public rooms are among the most lavish in the City. The City Council Chamber, the Mayor’s Reception Room, Conversation Hall and the Supreme Court Room are the most ornate.
The exterior is covered with sculpture representing the seasons and continents, as well as allegorical figures, heads and masks. All of the sculpture was designed by Alexander Milne Calder, including the 27-ton statue of William Penn atop the tower. The tower was the tallest building in Philadelphia until 1987. Its observation deck, which is open to the public, provides a panoramic view of the city.
In his original 1682 design for the city, William Penn set aside the Center Square for public buildings, but it took 200 years before the square was used for that purpose. The first City Hall was located at 2nd and Market streets, then moved to 5th and Chestnut streets when the Independence Hall complex was built.
The present City Hall on Center Square was begun in 1871 and took over 30 years to complete. John McArthur Jr. was the architect and supervised construction with the assistance of Thomas U. Walter. The first floor is built of solid granite — 22 feet thick in some places — supporting a brick structure faced with marble. The 548-foot tower is the tallest masonry structure in the world without a steel frame.
Monday – Friday, Guided tours available at 12:30 p.m.; Tower Observation Deck open Mon – Fri, 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. For tours and tower admission go to Room 121.
A bronze plaque inside the north portico contains William Penn’s Prayer for Philadelphia, written in 1683 as he was departing for England.
Tower Tours are reserved specifically for school groups from 9:30 a.m. until noon, Mon – Fri.
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Latest City Hall Stories from Uwishunu.com
March 31, 2014With Art Philadelphia: Top Picks For April 2014 Art Happenings In And Around The City
January 7, 2014The Art In City Hall Program Presents Eco + Fashion, A New Sustainability-Themed Exhibition, Through February 28
November 5, 2013The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator Brings Fashion To City Hall In The Sustaining Fashion In Philadelphia Exhibit, Through December 6
October 17, 2013Tonight Picks: Opening Night Of The Philadelphia Film Festival, The Premiere Of The Pennsylvania Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Season, The 215 Festival, Pre-Halloween Events Around The City And More
October 3, 2013The Mural Arts Program Presents A Dinner For 900 Guests, 70 x 7 The Meal, Act XXXIV, This Saturday, October 5 At New Location, Thomas Paine Plaza At The Municipal Services Building
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In the neighborhood
1305 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
- Rodeway Inn Center City
- Residence Inn Philadelphia Center City
- The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
- Loews Philadelphia Hotel
- The Independent Hotel Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
- Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
- Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City
- DoubleTree By Hilton Philadelphia Center City
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Museums & Attractions
18th and Walnut Streets Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
- Prince Music Theater
- The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia
- Henry J. Cadbury Library
- Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
- Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs
- Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
- The Wilma Theater
- LOVE Statue
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Restaurants & Dining
21 S. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Garces Trading Company
- Reading Terminal Market’s Pennsylvania Dutch Festival
- Percy Street Barbecue
- Tommy DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef
- National Mechanics
- Tria – Wine Beer & Cheese Café
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