Penn Walking Program: Cultural Walking Tour

This roughly two-mile walking tour will take you to some of the many interesting cultural sites on and around Penn’s campus, and explain a bit about each one. Additional information, such as hours of operation and admission fees, if applicable, are generally available from each location’s website (listed below).

Click the map below for a larger version

1. University City District (UCD) Office

3940 Chestnut St.:

Stop by the UCD office to pick up an area map and visitor’s guide (On Saturday and Sunday, maps and brochures are available at the adjacent police station). The Art Deco UCD building was once the site of a Horn and Hardart Automat.

Exit the office and turn left. Walk to the intersection of 40th and Chestnut Streets and make another left. On the southeast corner of 40th and Walnut Streets, you will see the Walnut West Library, built in 1906 by Andrew Carnegie, and now a branch of Philadelphia’s Free Library. Walk south and turn left onto Locust Walk. St. Mary’s Church will be on your right. Approximate walking time: 5 minutes. 

2. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at Penn

3916 Locust Walk:

St. Mary’s was completed in 1873 on land originally owned by William Hamilton, who developed much of the area west of the Schuylkill River in the early 19th century. St. Mary’s is now on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania and serves as both a community center and as a place of worship.

Continue east on Locust Walk to see several notable sculptures. The first is Covenant, which spans Locust Walk at 38th Street. On the other side of the bridge is a bronze sculpture of a seated Benjamin Franklin, which dates to 1987. Make a left at the intersection of 37th and Locust Streets and walk one block north to Walnut Street. Turn right and continue to the intersection of 36th and Walnut Streets, then make a left and walk to Sansom Street. The Institute for Contemporary Art will be on your left. Approximate walking time: 10 minutes.

3. Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

118 South 36th St.:

Founded in 1963, the ICA hosted Andy Warhol’s first museum exhibition. The Institute features the work of both emerging and established artists.

Exit the ICA and turn right. Walk south back to Locust Walk, and make a left. At the end of Locust Walk is Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture, an icon of American pop culture. In front of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library is the Split Button. Claes Oldenburg, creator of the Clothespin in front of City Hall, designed this campus favorite. The Fisher Fine Arts Library is the red brick building at the edge of campus. Approximate walking time: 5 minutes.

4. Arthur Ross Gallery

1st floor of Fisher Fine Arts Library, 220 South 34th St.:

Housed in the Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania, the Arthur Ross Gallery offers year-round exhibits, lectures and children’s programs. If you can, take time to also explore the Fisher Fine Arts Library itself. Designed by famed Philadelphia architect Frank Furness and built in 1890, the Library is one of Penn’s most distinctive architectural treasures.

Exit the library and walk down the stairs to your right. Go around the building and walk down the stairs that lead to 34th Street. The entrance to the Kroiz Gallery is on the landing. Approximate walking time: 1 minute.

5. Kroiz Gallery of the Architectural Archives

Lower level of Fisher Fine Arts Library, 220 South 34th St.:

The Architectural Archives catalogs the works of hundreds of architects from the 18th century to the present, including such luminaries as Louis I. Kahn, Paul Phillipe Cret, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Each year, four to six exhibits of archived material are on display in the Kroiz Gallery.

Exit the gallery and walk down the stairs to 34th Street. Turn right and head south to Spruce Street. Turn left at the intersection of 34th and Spruce Streets, and stay on South Street past 33rd. The museum will be on your right, across the street from Franklin Field, which opened in 1895. Approximate walking time: 5 minutes.

6. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

3260 South Street:

Founded in 1887, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was the first anthropological museum on an American university campus. This renowned museum houses one of the largest collections of its type in the country.

Exit the museum on South Street, and make a left. Walk to 33rd Street, and make a right. Walk north to Chestnut Street. Make a right on Chestnut Street, and walk east to 32nd Street. Drexel University Main Building will be on the north side of Chestnut Street at 32nd Street, next to the pedestrian mall. Approximate walking time: 10 minutes.

7. The Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery

3rd floor of the Drexel University Main Building, 3141 Chestnut St.:
This gallery, one of several exhibiting Anthony J. Drexel’s extensive art collection, is located in Drexel University’s Main Building. The building was completed in 1891 and still features its original façade and multi-story arcaded interior court. Note the archway above the main entrance with busts of the arts and sciences, including Bach, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Newton, and Jefferson.

Exit the building and turn right. Walk to 32nd Street and make another right. Head north through the campus of Drexel University to the intersection of 32nd and Market Streets. The Paul Peck Alumni Center is to your right. Approximate walking time: 3 minutes.

8. The Paul Peck Alumni Center

Southeast corner of 32nd St. and Market St.: 

The Peck Alumni Center was designed in 1876 by Frank Furness. It was originally known as the Centennial Bank, built in conjunction with the International Exposition in Fairmount Park commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Make a left on Market Street and walk west to 33rd Street. Approximate walking time: 5 minutes.

9. The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery

1st floor of Nesbitt Hall, Northeast corner of 33rd St. and Market St.:
Located in Nesbitt Hall, home to Drexel University’s College of Media Arts and Design, this gallery features work of faculty, students, and alumni as well as distinguished artists outside the Drexel community.

Walking tour map and site descriptions courtesy of the University City District.