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Franklin Square, Philadelphia

#11 of 27 in Parks in Philadelphia
Park · Hidden Gem · Landmark
Franklin Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn when he laid out the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1682. It is located in the Center City area, between North 6th and 7th Streets, and between Race Street and the Vine Street Expressway (I-676).

Penn included this piece of green space in his original city plan as one of five squares, although the park was slow to develop because it was a marshy land. Originally, the park was a place for settlers to meditate and set a virtuous behavior to set a proper example. The park was supposed to be landscaped to have settlers understand the value of nature. In the 1920s, the park was abandoned and the surrounding area became known locally as the “tenderloin”, with an entertainment district featuring taverns and bordellos, and became a place for individuals experiencing homelessness to sleep on the park's benches, resulting in its reputation as Philadelphia's "skid row". In 2003, Historic Philadelphia, Inc. renovated the park by adding commercials and houses to attract tourists, which in turn helped the park back to its originality. Tourists are now able to enjoy the renovated park, family-friendly attractions, and the surrounding nature. Franklin Square is restored to its original plan as William Penn wanted the park to be used.
It is now managed by Historic Philadelphia, a non-profit organization.
Franklin Square was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1981.

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Franklin Square reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
257 reviews
  • We decided to attend the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO at Franklin Square. Once we got into Philly and near the area, we started looking for the actual park. Signage was....  more »
  • My family and I traveled awhile to get there, find parking and then walk several blocks only to find out after waiting that there would be no light show this evening (Dec 19) due to a wedding in the.....  more »
  • We happened upon this beautiful square in downtown Philly as we were out and about walking around. It is beautiful. Well worth visiting and sitting a bit to relax. Well maintained. Don't let the.....  more »
  • This Japanese lantern Festival event was so beautiful!!! And they had a show with traditional dancing. The lanterns were really big and luminous. The people were very friendly at the gate. There’s lancers you can step on the light up and photo spots. There’s one lantern you could take a picture with that gives you illusion of you wearing wings. They also have a big gigantic heart for a very romantic picture.
  • It was well worth the time spent here. There were live shows where people showcased their talents and skills on stage. There was this beautiful show where the artist was effortlessly changing his face colorful face to another, that needed real tact and skill. I was thoroughly intrigued with his performance and waited for about an hour to watch that one more time. Must see! Highly recommended.
  • A modest-sized area for family fun. It has at least 2 food vendors, 1 alcoholic beverage vendor, a fountain with a nice water show (with light show after sunset), and more importantly: a children's playground. Let the kids run wild, have a nice lunch or evening snack, then go home when the kids are exhausted. Winning at life.
  • Franklin Park was wonderful. The light show ... Beautiful. Very comfortable ... Could have fallen asleep in the blue chairs. Good music. A real nice place to just hang out.
  • Pros- Small children will like it (7yrs and under). If you just need something to do with the kiddos and have no clue what, go for it. Costs around $20pp if you want to play mini golf and ride the carousel. There was a food truck and a couple of concession stands but don't expect dinner. Good place to tire your kids before bed. If they enjoy it just smile and pretend you do too. Cons- if you are just visiting for a few days you are not missing anything if you skip it. Everything on the playground squeaks horribly and when they are all going at the same time this may take you to migraine city. The swings are so low to the ground that they are practically touching it. It is just a park and is in no way close to an amusement park or major gathering spot if that's what you are seeking... being just a park the carousel, mini golf, and fountain are a nice touch though. But I didn't find it to be a must see attraction. If you go by the pics on the website you may be really disappointed.

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