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20-Plus Selfie Spots and Photo Ops in Philadelphia’s Historic District

Snap eye-catching photos in Philly’s original city

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Taking a selfie at the Liberty Bell
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As America’s first World Heritage City (as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities), Philadelphia’s Historic District offers a stunning setting for photos that both celebrate the past and embrace the present.

Whether you travel with a suitcase full of camera equipment or prefer your easy-to-use smartphone, it’s time to let the world see the Historic District through your personal lens.

Read on for our guide to the prime photo material – and adventures – to be had in Philadelphia’s Historic District.

01

The Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall

A two-for-one photo deal

— Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia

As one of the nation’s most symbolic pieces of history, the Liberty Bell still resonates as an excellent photo opportunity. Surrounding it, soaring glass walls offer dramatic and powerful views of Independence Hall, situated just across the street. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed at the grand historic building – dating back to 1732 – making this a spectacular backdrop to any Liberty Bell photo.

Where: Liberty Bell Center, 526 Market Street

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02

The colorful hammocks at Spruce Street Harbor Park

Come for the photo opportunities, stay for the hammocks (and a beer!)

— Photo courtesy of DWRC

Spruce Street Harbor Park has been lauded as one of the best urban parks in the country. The colorful rope hammocks that drape from tree to tree provide a fun backdrop for Philly photos. Snap a shot of your crew to capture the larger scene at Spruce Street Harbor Park, or post a selfie of yourself relaxing in a hammock to make your friends jealous.

Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard

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03

The XOXO chairs at Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest

A post shared by Stephanie 🎀 (@mamasnicks) on

What’s better than kicking back in a comfortable Adirondack chair next to a picturesque river? Getting your picture taken in a giant one at Blue Cross RiverRink or at Spruce Street Harbor Park. When you need a break from lounging in a hammock or roller skating, this photo op should be your next stop.

Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard

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04

Independence Mall from the incline near the Independence Visitor Center

One of the best views of a monumental and quintessential Historic District attraction

— C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

The small incline near the Independence Visitor Center may not catch your eye at first, but it happens to offer one of the best spots to get a clear view of Independence Hall, creating an elevated spot from which to take outstanding photos of Independence Mall.

Where: Independence Visitor Center, 599 Market Street

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05

The Assembly Room at Independence Hall

Picture this: where both the Declaration of Independence AND Constitution were signed

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The historic magnitude of Independence Hall comes together in the Assembly Room, where the Founding Fathers debated and and signed the Declaration of Independence and, 11 years later, the U.S. Constitution. If you’re standing at the back of your tour group, don’t worry — you’ll be able to get an unobstructed view once the crowd thins.

Where: Independence Hall, 1 N. Independence Mall W.

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06

Interacting with History Makers throughout the district

Costumed characters to take you (and your selfie) back in time

Kid and reinactor at Independence Hall Kid and reinactor at Independence Hall
Independence Hall — Photo by Visit Philadelphia

As you stroll through Philadelphia’s Historic District, keep your eyes peeled for 18th- and 19th-century re-enactors who bring history to life all over the neighborhood. For the best chance of snagging a photo with Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and others, hang out near The Betsy Ross House, the Free Quaker Meeting House, Independence Visitor Center or Carpenters’ Hall.

Where: Signer's Garden, 434-498 Chestnut Street

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07

Race Street Pier and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge walkway

Beautiful bridge views and sunrise captures

— R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

At the Delaware River waterfront, Race Street Pier juts out almost directly below the beautiful Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The pier offers gorgeous views all day, but it’s worth waking up early to get an unforgettable shot of the sunrise. Afterwards, take a stroll across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, lined with a walking path perfectly suited for capturing views of the river — and the skyline.

Where: Race Street Pier, Columbus Boulevard & Race Street

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08

Elfreth's Alley

The nation's oldest continuously inhabited and incredibly charming street

— Photo by Visit Philadelphia

What better way to capture the historic spirit of the neighborhood than to snap a pic of Elfreth’s Alley, a street that seems frozen in time? Named for blacksmith Jeremiah Elfreth, this tiny cobblestone road remains much the way it looked when it was first built in the 18th century, making it a fantastic photo op.

Where: 126 Elfreth's Alley

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09

Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center

Snap a selfie among life-sized statutes of our Founding Fathers

— G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

At the National Constitution Center, stand among Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the rest of the Founding Fathers as they debate the very document we live by today. Signers’ Hall features life-sized bronze statues of the 42 men who signed the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

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10

A cheesesteak at an Old City eatery

Save that iconic sandwich goodness to your photo catalog

— B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Provolone and mushrooms? Wiz wit? Pick your pleasure and chow down on one of Philadelphia’s most famous culinary creations: the cheesesteak. Head to a local spot like Campo’s Deli or Sonny’s Famous Steaks and snap a pic before you start eating your sandwich – chances are it won’t last long after you take your first bite.

Where: Campo's Deli, 214 Market Street

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11

Philadelphia History Museum's giant map of Philly

Mark your territory on the world's largest walkable map of the city

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Enter the main gallery of the Philadelphia History Museum, look down and you’ll find yourself staring at the world’s largest walkable map of the City of Brotherly Love. Find your favorite neighborhood and snap a photo from above, or move to the periphery to get the whole map in your shot.

Where: Philadelphia History Museum, 15 S. 7th Street

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12

The XOXO Statue at the Independence Visitor Center

A photogenic statue you can walk all over

A post shared by Marty Figuerres (@martyfigz) on

The Independence Visitor Center is an all-encompassing resource for sightseeing information, but if you’re looking for a place to get a perfectly framed photo, step just outside. Sit, stand or climb on the bright red XOXO statue east of the building for a clear shot with Independence Hall in the background.

Where: Independence Visitor Center, 1 N. Independence Mall W.

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13

The Continental Army Muster

Selfie with a soldier, anyone?

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All summer long, kids can pick up a (wooden) rifle and  learn musket and marching etiquette much like the Continental Army would have engaged in during the 18th century. Snag a spot next to one of the costumed re-enactors for a great photo-op.

Where: Second Bank of the United States, 420 Chestnut Street

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14

Museum of the American Revolution

An expansive collection of art and artifacts from the nation’s Revolutionary Period

Museum of the American Revolution exterior Museum of the American Revolution exterior
— Photo by J. Fusco for the Museum of the American Revolution

Honoring America’s war for independence, the Museum of the American Revolution is packed with eye-catching exhibits, and the display of cannons out front makes a fantastic photo op with the museum’s facade in the background.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

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15

Hanging out on Morgan's Pier

Eat and drink outdoors amid bridge and waterfront views

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Named after George C. Morgan, a construction worker who is said to have been the first person to cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Morgan’s Pier opens for business each spring. This alfresco eatery and bar offers stellar river views with the famous bridge in the background.

Where: Morgan's Pier, 221 N. Columbus Boulevard

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16

Exploring Franklin Square

A carousel, Philly-themed mini golf and more photo-ready material

— J. Holder for Visit Philadelphia

For a spot with seemingly endless photo opportunities, head to Franklin Square, one of William Penn’s original five planned urban parks. The park’s photo-ready attractions include a Philly-themed mini golf course, a working fountain and the famous Parx Liberty Carousel.

Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street

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17

John Barry Statue in Independence Square

Recreate an American naval hero’s iconic pose

John Barry, the father of the American Navy, stands larger than life in Independence Square near Independence Hall. For a picture with the iconic clock tower in the background, say cheese in front of his statue. Or, for an added dose of fun, gaze into the distance and point to mimic Barry’s pose.

Where: Independence Square, 111 S. Independence Mall W.

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18

Olympia on the Delaware River

Snag a photo in front of the nation's oldest floating steel warship

— Courtesy of the Independence Seaport Museum

Originally launched in 1892 and now stationed at the Independence Seaport Museum, the Olympia is the nation’s oldest floating steel warship. While you’re aboard the massive ship, snap a pic alongside a member of the “crew” — a group of passionate volunteers in period maritime costume.

Where: USS Olympia, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard

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19

Skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest or Winterfest

Get your camera ready as you cruise along the waterfront

Whether you ice skate (at Winterfest) or roller skate (at Summerfest), a spin around the Blue Cross RiverRink is a not-to-be-missed photo op. Point the camera east for a Delaware River backdrop or shoot looking north for views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

Where: Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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20

Riding in a swan boat at Penn's Landing

Colorful paddle boats that call for a ride and a photo

— Photo courtesy of M. Stanley for DWRC

Philadelphia has always been a city of seafarers. While you’re here, take to the water in a swan boat. Available to rent through Paddle Penn’s Landing at the Independence Seaport Museum, these colorful paddle boats beg to be captured. Even novice boaters can partake in the fun and try out their sea legs in a section of the river removed from normal water traffic.

Where: Penn's Landing, 101 N. Columbus Boulevard

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21

The flag raising at The Betsy Ross House

Let the kids help hoist the American flag

— M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

As the story goes, in 1776 a widow named Betsy Ross made history by designing and sewing the first American flag. Visitors can stop by the famous seamstress’s former home to watch her raise her almighty flag, and kids can get into the picture by volunteering to help with the process. Flag-raising festivities take place in the warmer months from 10-10:15 a.m. daily.

Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

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22

The Dream Garden mosaic in the Curtis Center

A nearly 50-foot-long mosaic full of photogenic allure

Dream Garden painting Dream Garden painting
— Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

In the lobby of the Curtis Center, more than 100,000 individual pieces of glass make up Dream Garden, a 49-foot-wide work of art. Due to the nature of the medium and the atrium’s natural light, the masterpiece photographs differently as the sun moves throughout the day.

Where: Curtis Center, 601 Walnut Street

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23

Chihuly’s Flame of Liberty at the National Liberty Museum

A radiant red two-story glass sculpture

National Liberty Museum National Liberty Museum
View Dale Chihuly's 21-foot glass sculpture, Flame of Liberty, at the National Liberty Museum. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

You needn’t venture to Las Vegas or Seattle to pose alongside a larger-than-life glass installation from Dale Chihuly. The artist’s eye-catching Flame of Liberty is on permanent display at the National Liberty Museum, representing the fragile nature of our freedoms.

Where: National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street

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The Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall
The colorful hammocks at Spruce Street Harbor Park
The XOXO chairs at Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest
Independence Mall from the incline near the Independence Visitor Center
The Assembly Room at Independence Hall
Interacting with History Makers throughout the district
Race Street Pier and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge walkway
Elfreth's Alley
Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center
A cheesesteak at an Old City eatery
Philadelphia History Museum's giant map of Philly
The XOXO Statue at the Independence Visitor Center
The Continental Army Muster
Museum of the American Revolution
Hanging out on Morgan's Pier
Exploring Franklin Square
John Barry Statue in Independence Square
Olympia on the Delaware River
Skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest or Winterfest
Riding in a swan boat at Penn's Landing
The flag raising at The Betsy Ross House
The Dream Garden mosaic in the Curtis Center
Chihuly’s Flame of Liberty at the National Liberty Museum
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