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City Hall

The largest municipal building in the country and the finest example of the Second Empire style

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall Credit: J. Smith for GPTMC

Description

City Hall Visitor Center
Open Monday-Friday
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Holiday Hours
Saturday, November 29 and December 27
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Tower and Observation Deck
Timed tickets required
Monday-Friday
9:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

City Hall Interior Tour
Tour lasts approximately two hours
Monday-Friday
12:30 p.m.

Overview

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, accessible during guided-tours, provides a panoramic view of the city.

Tours and Observation Deck Access

City Hall’s observation deck, located underneath the statute of William Penn, offers breathtaking views of Philadelphia from the center of the city. Get a special behind-the-scenes glimpse of the clock tower as you ride up to the observation deck. Timed tickets are required to visit the City Hall Tower as tours leave every 15 minutes.

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. Tours leave at 12:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Call (215) 686-2840 for advance reservations or group visits (credit card required).

Dilworth Park and Rothman Ice Rink

Located at the foot of City Hall, Dilworth Park has undergone a major — and awesome — transformation.

On September 4, 2014 the park reopened as a modern and welcoming outdoor space, making the underutilized concrete plaza into a green, pedestrian-friendly public space with new plantings, lawns, a programmable fountain, a cafe with outdoor seating and two iconic glass entrances to the underground concourse.

Plus, the transformation continues with the premiere of the brand-new Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park, which will officially open on Friday November 14, 2014, and remain open through February 22, 2015.

For more information on Dilworth Park and the Rothman Ice Rink, click the button below.

Dilworth Park

History

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.

Admission:
Tower only
Adult: $6
Senior (over 65), Students, Youth, Military: $4
Children under 3: Free

Interior Tour
Adult: $12
Senior (over 65), Students, Youth, Military: $8
Children under 3: Free

Insider Tip

A bronze plaque inside the north portico contains William Penn’s Prayer for Philadelphia, written in 1683 as he was departing for England.

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