Society Hill is home to several sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Society Hill Synagogue, built in 1829 by one of the architects who designed the US Capitol, and the Merchant’s Exchange Building, a Greek Revival masterpiece designed in the early 1830s. Washington Square and Head House Square are two of the original five squares laid out by city founder William Penn, while Bouvier’s Row (on 3rd and Spruce Streets) is notable as the site of three Victorian brownstones owned by the family of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Several Philadelphia city tours—by foot, Segway, and horse-drawn carriage—visit Society Hill, particularly those focused on the city’s history, offering a good way to check off multiple attractions in one tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
With its collection of historic buildings, Society Hill is a must-visit for architecture buffs.
The best way to experience Society Hill is by simply wandering around the streets.
It’s easy to include a stroll around Society Hill as part of a day of sightseeing, since it’s located just a couple blocks south of Independence Mall.
As a residential neighborhood, Society Hill itself offers a few lodging options.
How to Get There
Part of the area known as Historic Philadelphia, Society Hill lies between the Delaware River to the east, 8th Street to the west, Walnut Street on the north and Lombard Street to the south. The closest SEPTA station is 5th Street Independence Hall, which is around a 15-minute walk away.
When to Get There
Visit during the day to check out the shops and art galleries, or in the evening to try out some of the restaurants and bars. Headhouse Farmers Market, the oldest farmers’ market in Philadelphia, is held every Sunday, weather permitting.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
On the Delaware River waterfront, Spruce Street Harbor Park is often said to be one of the United States’ best urban parks. Free and open to the public from spring through fall, the park is known for its hammocks where visitors can chill out—plus its floating barges serving Philly-inspired eats, beer garden, and selection of games including bocce and shuffleboard.
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- St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
- First Bank of the United States
- Powel House
- Dolley Todd House
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Independence National Historical Park
- Second Bank of the United States
- Library Hall (American Philosophical Society Museum)
- New Hall Military Museum
- Museum of the American Revolution
- Carpenters' Hall
- Delaware River
- Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Philadelphia Old City Hall
- Independence Seaport Museum