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.
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.
City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States, containing over 14.5 acres of floor space.
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.
At 548 feet, the tower was the tallest building in Philadelphia until 1987.
Its observation deck, accessible during guided-tours, provides a panoramic view of the city.
The observation deck provides a panoramic view of the city.
— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
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.
And every winter, the Rothman Ice Rink opens at Dilworth Park, offering residents and visitors the chance to ice skate in the shadow of City Hall.
Every winter, the Rothman Ice Rink opens at Dilworth Park, offering residents and visitors the chance to ice skate in the shadow of City Hall.
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
City Hall Tower Tour with 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.
Note: Tours require timed tickets available online (click button below) and at the City Hall Visitor Center.
City Hall Tower Tour
Tours are available every 15 minutes, weather and capacity permitting Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. and select Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
City Hall Interior Tour with Observation Deck Access
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. The City Hall Interior Tour also includes the Tower Tour. Tours leave at 12:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Call (267) 514-4757 for advance reservations or group visits (credit card required).
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.