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Eakins Oval, Philadelphia

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#58 of 72 in Sightseeing in Philadelphia
Landmark Tourist Spot
Eakins Oval is a traffic circle in Philadelphia. It forms the northwest end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway just in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with a central array of fountains and monuments, and a network of pedestrian walkways.This loop of road usually carries a large volume of traffic, as it connects the core of the city with Fairmount Park, Kelly Drive (formerly East River Drive), and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive (formerly West River Drive). During parades and other major municipal events such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and large concerts such as Live 8 Philadelphia and the Budweiser Made in America Festival, the roadways are shut down to automobile traffic and the oval becomes center stage for the gathering.The oval was part of urban planner Jacques Gréber's design for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which he proposed in 1917.The oval is named for Thomas Eakins, Philadelphian, world-famous realist painter, and fine arts educator.The southeastern part of the oval serves as a parking lot; it was originally part of the Parkway until traffic modifications isolated it in the 1960s.The Washington MonumentJust inside the northwest edge of Eakins Oval, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs, stands the Washington Monument fountain. It was commissioned and designed by sculptor Rudolf Siemering. The sculpture was dedicated in 1897 at the Green Street entrance to Fairmount Park. It was moved in 1928 to its present location after construction on the parkway was completed. In 1997, work to restore the statue began under the direction of Margo Berg of the Philadelphia Art Commission. Over the years, the sculpture had come loose from its base, and the fountain had ceased to function properly. The restoration was completed in June of the same year, 100 years after it was dedicated.
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29 reviews
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4.5
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  • If you are driving to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you cannot miss going in the Eakins Oval. It is the traffic circle right in front of the museum. There are several fountains and monuments within ...  more »
  • Now I can say I've seen only in movies! Beautiful surrounded by green boulevards that surround it with the skyline in the background and the mythical stairway admired in the Museum of art like Rocky setting.
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  • Top of the Art Museum steps have a good view of this attraction. With the whole of the architecture Museum and the Benjamin Franklin PWY the horizon becomes quite beautiful. Good for photos.
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  • During the summer, they had a great pop up park here. Whenever that comes back, I recommend going. Lots of fun and games.
  • An iconic location in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, and at the beginning of the museum mile. During the spring and summer months, the fountain is on and it is a lovely place to sit and relax.
  • Always great events going on and you can't beat the views! Bring you kids, family and friends!
  • Summer is the best time to hang out on Eakin's Oval as they have organized activities every Wednesday through Sunday night. A different theme everyday but a pop-up beer garden each and everyone so how can you go wrong. Then, in front of the Art Museum, three fountains worth visiting with the keystone being the George Washington Monument in the center.
  • Great place to walk and bike. Always people there, alot of activities year round, great views. Nice park behind the Art Museum on the Schuykill River and Boat House Row. Public Restrooms also. EvenThe President was there!

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Where to stay in Philadelphia

Most of Philadelphia's hotels cluster around the compact city center, ensuring quick and easy access to major tourist sights and activities. The only drawback to staying in this area is the lack of free parking, so if you're exploring by car, considering booking into a bed and breakfast in one of the city's residential blocks. Visitors planning on longer stays can also consider several apartment hotels, offering spacious furnished units with complimentary Wi-Fi, free bike rentals, and access to rooftop terraces.
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