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One Liberty Observation Deck

Posted on Monday, December 7, 2015
See Philadelphia from an entirely new perspective.
 

The History

For nearly a century, Philadelphia’s City Hall reigned over Philadelphia as the tallest building in town. That distinction came to an end in 1987 and since then, nearly a dozen buildings have been constructed that have surpassed the height of Philadelphia’s City Hall.  Despite this, for many years, Philadelphia’s City Hall remained the home of the highest public observation deck in the city.  City Hall's observation deck allows visitors to see the city from over 500 feet above ground level from City Hall’s clock tower, just beneath the 37 foot tall statue of William Penn that tops the building.  Now that the One Liberty Observation Deck has opened, you'll be able to see Philadelphia from higher than ever before, 883 feet above the ground. Fittingly, this observation deck will be located in the same building that became the first to surpass City Hall in height nearly 30 years ago, One Liberty Place.
 
One Liberty Place is among the most iconic buildings in Philadelphia.  Plans for the building were first announced back in 1984 and initially many Philadelphians were against the building and breaking the city’s height limit.  Prominent Philadelphian city planner Ed Bacon believed the height limit in Philadelphia made the city unique and was a big reason for the city’s bustling streetscape and livability.  In the end the boost in jobs the project would create and the building’s impressive design won out. Construction began on May 13, 1985.
 
A Sculpture of Ben Franklin greets visitors to the 57th floor of the One Liberty Observation Deck
 
The building was officially completed on August 17, 1987.  Upon its completion, One Liberty Place surpassed City Hall in height and became the tallest building in Philadelphia.  At 945 feet tall, One Liberty place stands over one and a half times taller than City Hall. The Liberty Place development also includes a sister tower, Two Liberty Place, which itself stands at 848 feet tall.  Connecting the two towers is an indoor mall, the Shops at Liberty Place, and a 14 story Westin Hotel.
 
Despite its great height and amazing views, for many years the only people who got to see those great views were those working in offices within the tower.  With the creation of an observation deck, these views will finally be accessible to everyone.
 

What to See

When you first arrive at the bottom of the One Liberty Observation Deck, you’ll come upon a large sculpture of a pair of feet whose legs stretch up into the ceiling above. Upon your arrival to the top of One Liberty Place you’ll see that those feet belong to none other than Benjamin Franklin, as a large sculpture of his head is what greets you as you step off of the elevator.  From the top of Liberty One’s observation tower you can see miles in just about every direction.  To the east you’ll be able to see all the way to New Jersey.  To the west you’ll be able to see West Philadelphia and the campuses of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.  To the south you’ll be able to see the miles and miles of row homes in South Philadelphia and to the North you’ll be able to see the only two buildings in Philadelphia taller than One Liberty Place; the Comcast Center and the currently under construction Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.  In all directions you’ll get the kinds of remarkable views that you can only get when you’re 57 stories and nearly 900 feet up in the air.

 
William Penn atop City Hall is in the foreground with the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in the background
 
Interactive computer displays using iPhilly Zoomfinder technology allow you to identify all the landmarks you’re spotting in the distance.  Shown in brilliant HD quality, the displays also give some information about each attraction.  You can learn about the nearby Rittenhouse Square that sits only blocks away or Valley Forge which is barely visible in the distance, nearly 25 miles away.  If you move to the southern side of the observation deck you’ll be able to make out the Philadelphia Sports Complex, miles away to the south.  Feel free to enjoy this view while sitting in a replica of the penalty box that sits in the Well Fargo Center where the Philadelphia Flyers play.  While you sit, Philadelphia sports announcers help you reminisce over the long history of Philadelphia sports.  
 

Insider Tips

After enjoying the sky-high views from the observation deck at One Liberty Place, why not head next store and enjoy a sky high meal?  In Two Liberty Place there is a restaurant called R2L that has amazing views.  While not quite as high up as the viewing tower for One Liberty Place, the views at R2L are still spectacular.  The restaurant is located on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place and is 500 feet above ground level!
 
R2L has more than just grand views though; the restaurant itself has drawn rave reviews as one of the most renowned in Philadelphia.  Philadelphia chef Daniel Stern ensures that the food is just as spectacular as the views.  For a truly special experience, check out what time sunset occurs and reserve a time then.  The views at R2L are always great but nothing tops the view of the sun setting on Philadelphia.
 
Views of the BNY Mellon Center and the Comcast Center
 

How to Get There

Guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour who wish to travel by foot should walk west down Arch Street from the National Constitution Center, then make a left on 17th Street.  One Liberty Place will be on your left hand side after you cross Market Street.
 
One Liberty Place is also easily accessible by public transit as it is located just a couple of blocks west of subway stops for both the Market Frankford Line and the Broad Street Line.  While street parking is scarce in the vicinity of the One Liberty Place, there is no shortage of parking garages in area for those who wish to drive.
 

Hours

Daily: 10:00am to 10:00pm

Additional Information

1650 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA
215.561.3325
 
 
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