Visitors Center: 301 S. Columbus Blvd. near Spruce St.,
Penn always dreamed of building an attractive waterfront area lined with trees, but it didn’t actually happen until about 300 years after he set foot in this area.
Vacant and dilapidated until the late 1960s when the city and developers saw its potential, Penn’s Landing is now home to a recreational park, several historic attractions, modern dining and entertainment options, and expensive condominiums.
It includes roughly 10 blocks along the Delaware River from Vine Street to South Street, and four footbridges connect it to Old City and Society Hill over I-95.
While you’re there, check out the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1926. Designed by Paul Philippe Cret, who also did the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it was built to connect Center City with Camden, New Jersey. A lighting system added for the bicentennial celebration makes the view especially beautiful at night.
Near Market Street, you can tour the Gazela (215/923-9030) when it’s in port. The 177-foot vessel, built in 1883, was originally a Portuguese fishing boat. It was used as late as the 1960s for cod fishing in Canada and still sometimes sails.
Nearby, the Great Plaza at Chestnut Street is home to a tiered amphitheater that hosts numerous festivals including a New Orleans–inspired festival on Memorial Day and a weekend-long blues festival in July. In summertime, concerts and events are often held here, including the fireworks display for the Sunoco Welcome America Independence Day celebration. Inscribed stones in the ground highlight Philadelphia  as a “City of Firsts.”
A few blocks south, check out the World Sculpture Garden, containing an obelisk celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival; Sphere, a 16-ton 8-foot-circumference monolithic stone from Costa Rica; a totem pole from Canada; a cow sculpture from India; and a bronze statue of William Penn at age 38, among others.