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City of Philadelphia

Historic Tours

While Parks & Recreation offers many opportunities to tour Philadelphia, several have a historic component that will indulge your interest in how the City's past affects us today.
"Greene Countrie Towne" Tour
Visitors to Center City Philadelphia can easily explore four of the public squares established by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme in 1683: Washington Square, Franklin Square, Logan Square and Rittenhouse Square. These green spaces have served as grazing land, Revolutionary War burial ground, public gallows, and much more. Each square is best experienced on foot.
1876 Centennial Exhibition Tours
For Grown-Ups

Tour Memorial Hall, the only major structure remaining from Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition at the Please Touch Museum in West Fairmount Park. This tour explores history, art and architecture. Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour filled with fun facts about the building, a view of the spectacular Centennial Model, and a restored 1908 Dentzel Carousel. Centennial Tours are available Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. or upon reservation.

Learn more about Centennial Tours.
Fairmount Park Historic Houses
On the banks of the Schuylkill River in East and West Fairmount Park stands a group of seven 18th- and early 19th-century historic houses established as rural retreats by prominent families of the city. Some of these homes functioned as working farms, while others provided an elegant, fashionable, and healthy summer retreat from Philadelphia’s urban environment, heat and periodic epidemics.

Beginning with Lemon Hill in 1844, the City gradually acquired these properties to establish Fairmount Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the country. Today, illustrating more than a century of style, fashion and domestic life, the houses provide a unique glimpse into Philadelphia’s rich history.

Learn more about visiting the historic houses.
The Water Works
For nearly two centuries, visitors have flocked to the Fairmount Water Works. Tucked just behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on the edge of the Schuylkill River, this National Historic Landmark is also where Philadelphia’s parks system began.

Group Tours

15 people or more with your own transportation can reserve step-on trained Philadelphia Museum of Art Park House Guides. Tours of select houses are available year-round. Ask about Holiday Luncheon and Festive Tea group packages!

Reservations required; please call: 215-684-7863