Meet outside the entrance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center at North Broad and Cherry Streets (129 N. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19107).
$10 Preservation Alliance Member
$12 Student (must show ID)
Free for children 10 and under accompanied by an adult
Experience the transformation of Philadelphia from America’s 19th century engine of industry to a 21st century capital of business and culture. This 2-hour tour explores Philadelphia’s diverse range of architectural styles and building technologies from the 1860s to the present, detailing the social, economic, and political forces that shaped the modern cityscape. It is divided into three parts:
Era 1 – Late Victorian / Post Civil War (1870 – 1890)
• A period of architectural eclecticism
• Stone-age building techniques (masonry) with lots of ornamentation
Era 2 – Birth of the Skyscraper (1890 – 1930)
• The adaptation of old forms to new functions (mass manufacturing)
• Steel-frame construction disguised behind traditional materials with some ornamentation
Era 3 – The Modern City (1930 – present)
• A period of Modernism & Post-Modernism
• Curtain wall building technique allows vast, minimalist, glass surfaces
Highlights include the spectacular Victorian interior of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA); the soaring central court of Philadelphia’s first department store, Wanamaker’s; and the atrium of the Comcast Center.
Meet outside the entrance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center at North Broad and Cherry Streets (129 N. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 map)
Purchase tickets online or go to the designated tour meeting place and pay your tour guide (cash or check payable to Preservation Alliance). Group size is limited to 20 people; those with tickets get priority. Tours run approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Tours run rain or shine.