Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia

Destination Guide Philadelphia - Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia, PA

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City Hall

City Hall
City Hall

© Michael Gray

The Philadelphia City Hall, although built in 1871, had its origins in William Penn's founding of the city in 1682. Penn's original city plans called for five parcels of land to be public squares with a centrally located "Center Square" reserved as a site for public buildings, which is now the site of the City Controllers office.

Atop the building sits a city icon: the enormous bronze statue of city founder William Penn, one of 250 sculptures created by Alexander Milne Calder that adorn the building inside and out. At 37 feet, this statue is the tallest atop any building in the world.

In fact, for many years City Hall was the tallest building in Philadelphia under the terms of a "gentlemen's agreement" that forbade any structure from rising above the William Penn statue, although the building lost its distinction in 1987 when the massive One Liberty Place was completed. Lore has it that this broken agreement is the cause of the infamous "Curse of Billy Penn", which purportedly has prohibited any major-league Philadelphia sports team from winning a championship since 1983.

City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States, containing over 250 pieces of marble sculpture and motifs. This National Historic Landmark is the home of the three branches of local government -- the Executive (Mayor's Office), the Legislative (City Council), and the Judicial Branch's Civil Courts (Court of Common Pleas).

Attraction Information

  • Visiting:
  • The City Hall tower has an observation deck open to the public. Tours are given Monday through Friday, starting at 12:30pm. For more information, please visit Room 121 at the East City Hall Entrance.
  • Children under 2: Free
  • Location:
  • 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd (Broad Street and JFK Boulevard) Philadelphia, PA
  • Contact:
  • Phone: 215-686-2840
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