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Rocky Steps & Rocky Statue - Photo Opportunity

Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2014

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No trip to Philadelphia is complete without making the mad dash to the top of the Rocky Steps and posing with the Rocky Statue

The History

For decades, the 72 stone steps known today as the “Rocky Steps” were simply the way to get to the The Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in the entire country, home to over 300,000 works of art spanning 2,000 years.

The "Rocky Steps" leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Then in 1976 the motion picture “Rocky” was released, and the steps suddenly became famous. While training for his big fight, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is depicted in an intense training montage that culminates with Rocky ascending the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Upon reaching the top, Rocky celebrates as the cameras pan to show Philadelphia’s Skyline in the background as Rocky jumps up and down with his arms in the air, stretched in triumph.  


In “Rocky II,” Rocky once again embarked on a training montage that ended up becoming more famous than the one that preceded it.  In this montage, Rocky runs all over Philadelphia as excited children join him until once again the montage culminates with Rocky ascending the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Rocky Steps were also subsequently used in the films Rocky V and later Rocky Balboa.

Rocky Statue

Rocky Statue

In 1980, Sylvester Stallone commissioned A. Thomas Schomberg to create the Rocky Statue for the Rocky III movie that came out in 1982. The Rocky Statue is a 10 foot tall, 2 ton bronze statue of Sylvester Stallone, as the character of Rocky. After the filming was completed, the statue was left to the City of Philadelphia and stood at the top of the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. However, the placement of the statue set off a debate on whether or not the movie prop could be considered “art” and deserved to be in front of a world class art museum. A compromise was eventually reached and today the Rocky Statue has a permanent home just to the right at the bottom of the Rocky Steps where it has turned into one of Philly's top tourist attractions.

Pose with the Rocky Statue

What to See

Listen, you can’t just see the Rocky Steps, you absolutely have to run up them. There is a reason why this scene has struck such a cord with people from all around the world.  Rocky’s story of an underdog who tries his hardest has resonated with a lot of people and they can’t help but imitate Rocky’s inspiring run up the steps.  Whether the films are among your all-time favorites or you haven’t seen them even once, ascending the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as fast as you can is an absolute must.  

Sure, you may not be training for a heavyweight boxing championship fight, but regardless of the challenges you face, they all seem a little easier after you’ve climbed these famous steps. Standing at the top, with Philadelphia’s majestic skyline in front of you, it’s hard not to feel as though you’re on top of the world.

Rocky Statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

After you’ve completed your mini training montage also be sure to take a picture with the Rocky Statue at the bottom of the Rocky Steps to the right.

Rocky Statue

Insider Tips

Head to the top of the Rocky Steps and stand in his footprints - literally.  Look for the in-ground stone with "ROCKY", and the footprints.

Rocky Steps - Rocky's Footprints

Running up the Rocky Steps feels all the more triumphant when done at the end of a taxing run.  Skip the hotel gym and take a jog through the streets of Philadelphia, ending triumphantly at the top of the Rocky Steps.  A writer for Philadelphia Magazine actually took the time to map out the path of Rocky’s jogging route in Rocky II if you want to mimic the training montage exactly.  Be forewarned though, apparently Rocky really liked to run; his running route was measured at 30.61 miles, longer than a marathon!

Rocky Steps, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Celebrating Rocky's Routine

If you want to purchase an official Rocky Statue collectible directly from A. Thomas Schomberg, the artist who created the Rokcy Statue, visit www.rockystatue.com.

How to Get There

For guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour who wish to walk to the Rocky Steps, they are located just over 2 miles away from the National Constitution Center where our tours both begin and end.  The most direct route is to make a right onto Arch Street as you leave the National Constitution Center and walk until reach the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and make a right.  You can’t miss the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the end of the Parkway.  The walk takes roughly 45 minutes though Rocky could probably run it in 5.

For guests of The Constitutional Bus Tour of Philadelphia there is no need to worry about traveling to the Rocky Steps.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the stops on our tour and guests often have the opportunity to exit the bus and run up the Rocky Steps before continuing with their tour.

The Rocky Steps can also be reached via public transit.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art is served by the 48 Bus which travels along Arch Street and has a stop in front of the National Constitution Center.  Visitors can also arrive at 30th Street station and walk to the Rocky Steps in roughly 20 minutes.  30th Street station is accessible by subway, regional rail, and Amtrak trains.

Those who drive can find parking on site at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Street parking is limited but can be found in the vicinity (be sure to pay the parking kiosks if necessary).

Sylvester Stallone - Rocky Statue, Credit: PennLive


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Additional Information

The Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

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