Philadelphia Hospitality, a 30-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to providing visitors with unique and distinctive travel experiences, is putting out the welcome mat for two spectacular weekends Friday through Sunday, October 5 through 7 and 12 through 14 by offering a variety of behind-the-scenes and special access tours and tastings focusing on more than a dozen historical and cultural treasures on and around Broad Street-- from Temple University to the Avenue of the Arts to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
More than a dozen special tours include City Hall, Kimmel Center, the Wanamaker Organ, Union League, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and other iconic sites. Tours include meet-and-greets with celebrity chefs, local personalities and city officials. All tours are guided and offer an opportunity to see and experience places familiar and not so familiar with a behind the scenes look! A full list of tours is available on the Philadelphia Hospitality website, tours include:
Philadelphia’s City Hall: Past, Present and Future
Date: Friday, October 12
Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m. (City Hall interior tour)
Price: $15.00 (includes refreshments)
Description: Get an insider’s look at the country’s largest and most elaborate seat of municipal government. Completed 30 years after construction began in 1871, City Hall is still the world’s highest masonry load-bearing structure consisting of 88 million bricks and thousands of tons of marble.
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (City Hall exterior and office of the Deputy Mayor)
The tour will continue across the street to 1515 Arch Street to the office of Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Director of Commerce for a view overlooking City Hall, Dilworth Plaza and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Date: Saturday, October 13
Time: Noon – 2 p.m.
Description: The Wanamaker Grand Organ at Macy’s has been thrilling shoppers every business day since 1911. Built for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the organ has more than 28,000 pipes, which range from ¼ inch to 32 feet long and are located throughout the building – all controlled by the organist using six keyboards and 729 controls at the console above the Grand Court.
Kimmel Center/Academy of Music
Date: Sunday, October 7 & Sunday, October 14
Time: 10 a.m. - Noon
Description: Go behind-the-scenes at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the crown jewel of the Avenue of the Arts. Get a performer’s-eye-view from the stage of the magnificent Verizon Hall; learn about the architectural nuances of this home to the Philadelphia Orchestra and six other resident performing arts companies. Then, walk a few blocks to the Academy of Music, “the oldest opera house in the U.S. still used for its original purpose,” where you will tour the grand lobby, Stage Door Canteen, Ballroom and Auditorium with its beautifully restored crystal chandelier.
Septa Transit Museum
Date: Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, October 13
Time: Museum and store hours are 10-3 p.m.
Price: Free (self-guided tour)
Description: This museum presents the heritage of the Philadelphia area's transit system. Among the many attractions are a 1947 trolley, transit memorabilia, and photographs.
Wells Fargo Museum and Building
Date: Friday, October 5
Time: 4:00-5:00 Wells Fargo Museum/5:15-6:00 Montgomery & McCracken Law Library
Price: $10 (includes refreshments)
Description: Located in the historic 1928 Beaux-Arts Wells Fargo Building, this interactive museum connects the California Gold rush with the Philadelphia Mint, tying together the history of Wells Fargo and the rich heritage of the eastern United States.
Date: Saturday, October 13
Time: 11 a.m.- Noon
Price: NOT YET DETERMINED
The Union League, one of the country’s leading private clubs, was founded in 1862 to support Abraham Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War. Explore this historic building and its extensive Civil War collection of books and rare editions, manuscripts and artifact. Note: Dress Code.
Tours are ticketed and vary in price. Some tours are free. For more information including tour description, times and tickets, visit Philadelphia Open House or call 215/790-9901.