Penns Landing, the supposed site of William Penn's
first landing in Philadelphia in 1682, is now an important Philadelphia
attraction. Situated on the Delaware River opposite
Camden New Jersey,
Penns Landing Philadelphia is a sculpted park that stretches
for several blocks along the waterfront, from Market Street
(near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell) to South Street.
Interstate 95 separates the park from center city, but several pedestrian walkways bypass this busy highway. This separation from the city hindered development along Penns Landing for many years. To revitalize Penns Landing Philadelphia officials have encouraged the development of several attractions. The largest and most fascinating is the Independence Seaport Museum (211 South Columbus Boulevard), dedicated to telling the rich story of the region's maritime history. The price of museum admission (about $10 for adults, but free from 10am to noon every Sunday) includes admission to two historic vessels moored at Penns Landing. The USS Olympia was an important symbol of President Theodore Wilson's "gunboat diplomacy" and is the only remaining ship from the U.S. fleet that defeated Spain's navy in the Spanish American War (1898). The USS Becuna is a fine example of a Philadelphia-built World War II submarine.
Other ships moored along Penns Landing Philadelphia include the 1883 wooden tall ship Gazela and the 1902 iron tugboat Jupiter, maintained and operated by volunteers of the non-profit Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild. At the south end of Penns Landing rests Moshulu, a 1904 trading vessel now converted into a stylish and elegant restaurant overlooking the water.
Penns Landing is the perfect place in Philadelphia for a summer stroll, but the park is also a good place to visit in the winter months. From Thanksgiving until the end of February Penns Landing ice skating rink is open for the public and for private parties. Penns Landing ice skating takes place on an Olympic-sized rink overlooking the Delaware River with views of the entire city skyline. Penns Landing ice skating offers several two-hour skating sessions a day; skate rental and food and drink concessions are available.
Some of the best Pennsylvania events take place at Penns Landing Festival Pier. Several organizations present free concerts at Festival Pier during the summer. Penns Landing concerts, some of which feature nationally renowned bands, are often free. Special family orchestra shows are presented on Sundays and several Philadelphia radio stations hold free Penns Landing concerts. Other promoters organize all-day musical festivals or paid admission Penns Landing concerts. The park is a great place to see a summer show, with great views of the river and the spectacular Ben Franklin Bridge and Philadelphia skyline and a cooling breeze off the water. Visitors to Penns Landing concerts should take the pedestrian walkway over Chestnut Street at the north end of the park.
The Riverlink Ferry, which leaves from Penns Landing, carries passengers to Camden New Jersey. Camden's Tweeter Center is another great venue for concerts, a large outdoor amphitheater with a great view across the water to Philadelphia.
To help bring visitors to Penns Landing Philadelphia city government has encouraged several hotel companies to build along the waterfront. The Hyatt Regency at Penns Landing is one of the best Philadelphia hotels, with rooms overlooking the water or the city skyline and a location within easy walking distance of Old City and many Pennsylvania attractions.
No Pennsylvania vacation is complete without a stroll along Penns Landing Philadelphia.