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Curated City Guide

University City, located adjacent to Philadelphia’s Center City across the Schuylkill River, is home to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University campuses, and the hub of several medical institutions and independent scientific research centers. 

We partner with local non-profits and community organizations, theaters and cultural centers to celebrate their events. Complimentary tickets to most events are offered, so you can easily be engaged and feel an immediate connection to the University City community.

Visual Arts

Philadelphia's visual arts scene is a window into its culture and soul. Revel in historic and modern exhibits, paintings and sculptures, small and oversized artifacts - all important, visually stunning, and unforgettable.

Exterior of  Barnes Foundation art institute at night

Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation is an art collection and educational institution promoting the appreciation of art and horticulture. Initially a private collection boasting the largest accumulation of Renoirs and Cézannes, the Barnes Foundation maintains and displays one of the finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings.

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Esther Klein Gallery

A sector of the University City Science Center, the Esther Klein Gallery uses the creative arts as a platform to explore the relationships between art, science and technology. The gallery is home to exhibitions, artist talks, panel discussions, performances and special events.

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Institute of Contemporary Art

The University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art is preeminent venue for contemporary art and culture. A non-collecting art museum, ICA is free for all to engage and connect with art of our time.

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Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Founded in 1805 as the first art museum and school in the United States, PAFA celebrates the transformative power of art and art-making. The institution offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art.

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Philadelphia Museum of Art

One of the largest art museums in America and a Philadelphia landmark, the Philadelphia Museum of Art houses a world-renowned collection of works, encompassing over 240,000 objects that span 4,000 years. By connecting people with the arts in rich and varied ways, the Museum invites visitors to see both the world and themselves anew.

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Rodin Museum

With nearly 150 bronzes, marbles, and plasters, the distinguished collection housed in the Rodin Museum represents every phase of Auguste Rodin’s career. As one of the most revered destinations on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Rodin Museum offers a verdant, intimate setting in which to enjoy some of the world’s most renowned masterpieces of sculpture.

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Performing Arts

Whether you're a fan of dance, movement, theatre, or music, Philadelphia's penchant for performing arts will fulfill your artistic spirit and leave you standing in applause.

Academy of Music

Philadelphia's cornerstone of the arts, the Academy of Music is the oldest opera house in the country still hosting performances. Managed by the Kimmel Center, this historic 2,600-seat proscenium theater is home to Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Broadway Philadelphia.

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Annenberg Center for Performing Arts

As the University of Pennsylvania’s home for the performing arts, the Annenberg Center connects diverse audiences with visionary artists and innovative ideas, engaging both the University and the greater Philadelphia community in transformative artistic experiences.

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Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Center City, the Kimmel Center engages the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education. The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, including the Academy of Music & Merriam Theater, represents over 160 years of rich history for the performing arts along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.

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Merriam Theater

The Merriam Theater is Philadelphia's most continuous location for touring Broadway show theatre. This 1,840-seat proscenium theater is one of the three venues that consitute the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, serving as home to "Kimmel Center Presents."

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Walnut Street Theatre

Recognized as oldest theatre in the United States, the Walnut Street Theatre serves to sustain the tradition of professional theatre and contribute to its future viability and vitality. With nearly 50,000 season ticket holders, it is also the most subscribed theatre company in the world.

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World Cafe Live

World Cafe Live is an independent multi-level music venue in the University City District that features a casual dining/listening space, a large concert venue, and WXPN's radio studios. World Cafe Live hosts local, national, and international artists through ticketed events, including XPN's Free at Noon concert series.

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Science & History

The birthplace of America and American medicine? Not only was the Declaration of Independence adopted and signed in Philadelphia, but the city is home to the nation's first hospital and medical school. There's something for the historian and scientist in us all.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the oldest natural history museum in the Americas. The excitement and wonder of the natural world come to life for visitors of all ages through hands-on exhibits, live-animal shows, video presentations, dynamic speakers, special workshops and classes and evening programs with environmental themes.  

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The Franklin Institute

Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of the oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the country. TFI provides resources that help people to connect with science and technology in creative ways that resonate with learners of all ages and backgrounds.

*Unique offerings & discounted admission available to hotel guests

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The Mütter Museum

America’s finest museum of medical history, the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments. The museum helps the public understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body, and to appreciate the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease. 

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National Museum of American Jewish History

The National Museum of American Jewish History, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, presents educational programs and experiences that preserve, explore, and celebrate the history of Jews in America. The Museum connects people of Jewish decent more closely to their heritage, and inspires in people of all backgrounds a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American Jewish experience and the freedoms to which Americans aspire.

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Penn Museum

Since 1887, the Penn Museum has transformed understanding of the human experience. Dedicated to building connections between cultures, the Museum welcomes everyone to uncover the ancient past, gain an understanding of our shared humanity, and find one’s own place in the arc of human history.

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University City Science Center

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is mission-driven nonprofit that commercializes promising technology, cultivates talent and convenes people to inspire action. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. 

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Athletics

Philadelphia is made for sports lovers. Even if you aren't a fan of the five professional franchised sports, there are many places in West Philadelphia that can get you into the sporty spirit.

 

Daskalakis Athletic Center

Known as the "DAC", the John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center houses Drexel University's intramural and intercollegiate athletic programs, as well as the U.S. Open Squash Championships. The facility includes a six-lane swimming pool, five squash courts, a golf center, and a gymnasium.

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Franklin Field

Franklin Field is the of Pennsylvania's stadium for football, track and field, and the home of the Penn Relays. The U shaped stadium is one of Penn’s main campus landmarks, occupying nearly the entire block on which it sits, and facing the main part of the campus.

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The Palestra

One of the most storied sporting venues in the country, The Palestra is a historic arena and the home gym of the Penn Quakers athletic teams, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Often called the Cathedral of College basketball, The Palestra is now the oldest major college arena still in use today and has hosted more games, more visiting teams and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility.

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Penn Park

Located to the east of Penn’s academic campus, Penn Park features 24 acres with athletic fields for active visitors alongside lawns and meadows for those who prefer to relax and unwind. With two athletic fields, a multipurpose stadium, tennis center, seasonal air structure, and picnic areas, facilities can also be reserved for private games and events.

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Outdoor Attractions

Discover Philadelphia's landscape by strolling along its riverbank, wandering through a national landmark garden, or exploring the latest food vendors and performances at The Porch. Traditional green spaces need not apply.

Bartram's Garden

Bartram's Garden is a 45-acre National Historic Landmark operated by the John Bartram Association in cooperation with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. It is a destination and an outdoor classroom, living laboratory, and membership organization for ever-expanding audiences.

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Cira Green

Located in the University City District, Cira Green at Cira Centre South is the city’s first elevated park. Tucked between the Evo Tower and the FMC Towers, Cira Green is a 1.25-acre oasis perched 11-stories atop the parking garage, offering breezy lounge space, entertainment, food, and events year-round.

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Philadelphia Zoo

Like many other Philadelphia landmarks and institutions, the Philadelphia Zoo is an American first. The region’s leading family destination and one of the area’s foremost conservation organizations, Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered.

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The Porch at 30th Street Station

The Porch, located on the south side of 30th Street Station, features lunch from rotating food trucks, pop-up performances, lush landscaping, outdoor drinks in warmer weather, and plenty of places to relax.

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Schuylkill River Trail

Voted as the country's Best Urban Trail in 2015, the Schuylkill River Trail is a recreational path that runs 30-miles along the Schuykill River. The trail connects to the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, a 460-foot-long ramp off the South Street Bridge with scenic overlooks along its path.

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The Woodlands

The Woodlands’ 54-acre undulating landscape is at once a one-of-a-kind 18th-century English pleasure garden, 19th-century rural cemetery, and a modern green oasis for its neighbors in bustling University City and West Philadelphia.

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