Sandwiched between Columbus Boulevard and the Delaware River on the east side of Philadelphia, Penn's Landing is skinny in shape but important in stature. The waterfront area served as the 1682 landing spot for William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania colony, making it a must-see spot for any American history buff.
Today Penn's Landing is a vibrant neighborhood marked by art and culture. Most tours of historic Philadelphia include a stop at Penn's Landing. Hop-on hop-off bus tours allow visitors to disembark at Penn's Landing and spend as much time as they like exploring the riverfront. Here you’ll find the Independence Seaport Museum, a maritime history site with a floating restaurant and ships to explore, including a World War II–era submarine and a Spanish-American War–era cruiser.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There’s an ADA-compliant ramp leading from Market Street down to Penn's Landing for those in wheelchairs.
- Restrooms are located below the Chestnut Mall and the Pagoda, just south of the stage on the Great Plaza.
- All events at the Great Plaza are held rain or shine; they’re also wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
- Visitors can bring chairs and blankets to any events or concerts at the Great Plaza.
How to Get There
Penn's Landing is located about two miles (3.2 kilometers) from the city center, just off Exit 20 on I-95. You can also take public transit; multiple SEPTA bus routes serve the area, as does the SEPTA rail (take the Blue Line to the Second Street Stop). Parking at Penn's Landing is scarce along Columbus Boulevard; there are paid lots, but they tend to be pricey.
When to Get There
Although some events in Penn’s Landing are seasonal, the Independence Seaport Museum is open year-round, as is the Delaware River walkway, which offers views of New Jersey across the water. In winter, the Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest has ice skating, fire pits, cozy cabins, and a kids lodge. In summer, events are held at Spruce Street Harbor Park and Race Street Pier. Festival Pier and the Great Plaza, a concrete labyrinth along the river, both host festivals and events.
Visiting Nearby Old City
Old City, one of Philadelphia’s most exciting neighborhoods, is set just across Columbus Boulevard from Penn’s Landing. You’ll find plenty of great restaurants, shops, and historical landmarks, including the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House.