August 1, 2017

Philly's Top Sites Say "Hola" To Spanish-Speaking Visitors

Historical Attractions Offer Programming, Tours & Guides In Spanish

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The world’s only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution, the National Constitution Center. Photo by G. Widman for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Barnes Foundation displays one of the world’s the finest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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A family gets up close to the famously cracked Liberty Bell to read the inscriptions. Photo by D. Cruz for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Spanish-speaking visitors to Philadelphia can feel truly welcomed at many of the region’s attractions, thanks to a wealth of bilingual docents, translated audio guides and multilingual written materials. Each year, more than two-and-a-half million domestic leisure visitors to Greater Philadelphia are of Hispanic/Latino origin (source: Longwoods International). Accordingly, the region’s historical and cultural sites cater to Spanish-speaking guests.

History:

  • Eastern State Penitentiary – Spanish-speaking visitors catch every sound effect or eerie-sounding narration while creeping through the fortress-like former American prison. Both the main audio tour and a written translation of the tour—which guests read while listening to the original, theatrical, English version—are available. 22nd Street & Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org
  • Independence Hall, Congress Hall and Old City Hall – For those travelers touring America’s first federal government buildings, a two-page Spanish guide available at the National Park Service desk at the Independence Visitor Center (IVC) introduces parts of these famous historic sites. What’s more, Spanish-speaking tourists can read up on the park and the buildings it manages on the park’s website. Chestnut Street between 5th & 6th Streets, nps.gov/inde
  • Independence Visitor Center (IVC) – Multilingual Visitor Services Representatives can assist with all trip-planning needs at the official visitor center for the Greater Philadelphia region. Visitors can speak with Spanish-speaking staff and pick up the National Geographic Traveler-produced Philadelphia Official International Guide™ Descubra Filadelfia, which offers both broad and in-depth looks at the essential city. 6th & Market Streets, (800) 537-7676; City Hall, Broad & Market Streets, (215) 686-2840; Sister Cities Park, 200 N. 18th Street, (267) 514-4760; Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, (800) 537-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
  • Liberty Bell Center – A tour through the iconic Liberty Bell Center inspires visitors by telling the story of how liberty came to be in the United States—and how people seek freedom around the globe. The site’s free, 10-minute video about international struggles for liberty is translated into Spanish, as is a one-page brochure about the Liberty Bell itself. After hours, Spanish-speaking tourists can listen to a brief audio recording about the Bell outside of the building on the east side. 6th & Market Streets, nps.gov/inde
  • Mural Arts Philadelphia – Thanks to this program, Philadelphia is globally known as “The City of Murals.” By arranging for a Spanish guide, Spanish-speaking art lovers can be inspired on a private walking or trolley tour of a selection of the city’s thousands of public art works. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 128 N. Broad Street, (215) 925-3633, muralarts.org
  • National Constitution Center – Before touring the world’s only museum about the U.S. Constitution, visitors can head to the museum’s website for a visitor’s guide in Spanish and other languages. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
  • National Museum of American Jewish History – Visitors immediately notice a striking glass facade reflecting the accessibility of the museum, the open nature of America and the fragility of democracy. Inside, the museum offers private, guided tours in Spanish, as well as in Hebrew, Russian, French and ASL. Those interested should call ahead to arrange. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
  • One Liberty Observation Deck – The attraction offers visitors a “Philly from the top” experience at 57 floors above street level. Six multilingual, interactive touch screens feature a panorama of the cityscape, where Spanish-speaking visitors can zoom in on a point of interest or find a favorite Philly locale to learn more in their native language. 1650 Market Street, (215) 561-DECK (3325), phillyfromthetop.com
  • Please Touch Museum – Many of the children’s museum’s temporary exhibits are bilingual, in English and Spanish. Visitors are advised to check the museum’s website before touring for the most current temporary exhibits. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University – The natural history museum provides Spanish translation upon request (preferably in advance) for museum tours and general inquiries. From September 30, 2017 through January 15, 2018, the exhibition Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies will be on view with text panels in Spanish and English. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000, ansp.org
  • The Franklin Institute – Before touring one of America’s most celebrated museums, visitors can head to the museum’s website for an interactive map in English and Spanish. The map allows guests to explore exhibitions, find amenities and plan their route. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park – The second national park to offer a Spanish cell phone tour is the site of General George Washington and his army’s famous winter encampment. The free tour consists of two- to three-minute messages that share information about the park’s monuments and attractions and can be accessed by calling (484) 396-1015. A Spanish map of the park is available at the visitor center. 1400 Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, (610) 783-1099, nps.gov/vafo

Art & Culture:

  • Barnes Foundation – With 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis and 7 Van Goghs, along with textiles, metalwork and African sculpture, the Barnes Foundation is one of the world’s greatest art repositories. Pre-booked groups can request a translator for docent-led collection tours. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200, barnesfoundation.org
  • Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Spanish speakers can marvel at the impressive performing arts venue during a guided English-language building and theater tour while following along with a written translation in Spanish. Free tours begin daily at 1:00 p.m. 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 790-5800, kimmelcenter.org
  • Penn Museum – Artifacts from the centuries before the Spanish arrived in South America fill the Mexico and Central America Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania’s museum of archaeology and anthropology. Pre-Colombian monuments and Mayan hieroglyphics join a giant sphinx, Chinese crystal ball and special exhibitions as reasons to visit. Spanish tours require three weeks’ notice. A Spanish map is due out October 2017. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum
  • The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) – America’s eldest museum and art school is known for its collections of 19th– and 20th-century American artwork and its school of fine arts. Guests can call ahead to make arrangements for Spanish tours of PAFA’s spectacular art galleries. 118-128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art – Upon entering, Spanish-speaking guests can acclimate themselves by picking up a building and gallery map in Spanish and talking to bilingual staff members for more information about exhibitions, ticketing and directions. 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
  • Reading Terminal Market – The famous indoor market offers a simplified version of their English directory translated into Spanish. It’s exactly what visitors need to navigate the stands selling meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, Amish delicacies and Philly classics. 51 N. 12th Street, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org

Tours:

  • The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia – This self-guided tour, which stops at more than 30 sites throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District, includes a printed guide of 13 different foreign-language tour translations, including Spanish. To obtain the tour, all it takes is an advance request via email. (215) 525-1776, theconstitutional.com/tours/self-guided-tours
  • Philadelphia Personal Tours – For a top-rated historical tour through Philadelphia, as voted on by the Philadelphia Concierge Association, Spanish-speaking tourists can hire Philadelphia Personal Tours, led by Tom Walker. The informative and fun private tours navigate town by car or limo and include an interpreter (costs $40 per hour above the price of an English tour). (215) 327-5413, philadelphiapersonaltours.com
  • Philly By Night Double-Decker Bus Tour – This tour, available on select Big Buses in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German and Mandarin, whisks visitors after dusk past lit-up attractions in a one-and-a-half-hour timeframe. The single stop lets passengers climb the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art—the perfect spot to take in the city’s electric skyline. Walk-ups are welcome; reservations recommended. 12th & Filbert Streets, (215) 389-TOUR, phillytour.com
  • Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours – Bright red open-top buses make 27 stops in a 16-mile city loop, passing dozens of attractions during a narrated, 1.5-hour tour. One-, two- or three-day passes come with off-and-on privileges and automated, earphone-based translation in Spanish, French, German and/or Mandarin, ensuring every attraction gets its due. The Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall E., (215) 922-2300, phltour.com
  • Philadelphia Trolley Works – Private tours of Center City Philadelphia are available with a Spanish-speaking guide. Groups can charter a private trolley or double-decker bus with a guide or book a private walking tour. Guests can choose a Philadelphia Trolley Works vehicle, a walking tour or a tour guide in their own vehicle. 5th & Market Streets, (215) 389-TOUR, phillytour.com
  • Philadelphia Zoo – Home to more than 1,300 animals, the zoo offers Spanish-language, docent- led tours by reservation (for an additional $5 per person, daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Whether visitors are interested in learning about the mating habits of big cats, what rhinoceros eat or the zoo’s history, they have plenty of guided tours from which to choose. 3400 Girard Avenue,(215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org
  • Specialty Tours – Custom-designed, private walking and driving tours through Philadelphia and the region are this company’s specialties. Spanish-speaking guides are available for an additional $25. Tours are offered in six languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. (215) 625-7980, specialty-usa.com

Horticulture:

  • Longwood Gardens – Serving as one of the nation’s largest public gardens, Longwood Gardens enlightens Spanish-speaking horticulture-lovers with a free brochure that provides descriptions of the garden’s highlights, the story of how the garden evolved and logistical information to help them navigate. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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