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8.18.2019

One Liberty Place Observation Deck: Philly from the Top

Want to get a stunning view of the City of Philadelphia from above? The One Liberty Place Observation Deck is a wonderful place to check out to take in these views. Once you reach the observation deck on the 57th floor, you will not want to leave.
I want to start this article by saying that One Liberty Place is one of the most stunning skyscrapers to come out of the 80s. In a time when skyscraper designs often consisted of run-of-the-mill smooth glass walls with minimal differential between them, One Liberty Place stands out with its stylized walls that take heavy inspiration from the grand Chrysler Building in New York. Building a skyscraper of this magnitude in Center City Philadelphia in and of itself was an act of non-conformity. Prior to this point, a gentlemen's agreement stated that no building could exceed the height of the city's stunning City Hall at 548 feet. One Liberty Place stands at 945 feet and transformed the Philly skyline and lead towards superstition that building higher than City Hall lead towards a championship drought. When Comcast built its two Center City Towers that beat One Liberty Place in height, they placed a figurine of William Penn on the highest girder of each building, and the Phillies would go on to win the World Series in the year following construction of the first Comcast Tower in 2008, and following the completion of the Comcast Technology Center, the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018.

A view slightly northeast, giving a glimpse into what the statue of William Penn has seen for more than a century. Note the windiness of the Delaware River. Most of the horizon in this view is out in New Jersey.
A more north/northeasterly view of the city. The relatively flat topography of Philadelphia gives a seemingly endless view of the horizon. You also get a true sense on why Philadelphia's urban center is referred to as Center City instead of "Downtown," a point that is often lost upon outsiders to the city. The initial planning of the city by William Penn in the 1600s specifically called this part of his plan "Centre Square" and the following development and growth of the city has led towards what would typically be considered a downtown to be in the heart of the city. One Liberty Place stands right in the center of Center City and gives a great view of so much.
Another slightly northeast view.
A more westerly view, with a look towards the rail yards of 30th Street Station, the Schuykill River, the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. 
The rail yards at 30th Street Station, with a look at an NJ Transit train that is headed to the shore in Atlantic City.
A view over South Philly.
A look towards the CSX Railyards and the Navy Yard
A view of the stadiums. Citizens Bank Park is home to the Phillies and was in the midst of a Sunday afternoon game when this photo was shot. Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles and Temple Football, is next door in the background.
The CoreStates Center/First Union Center/Wachovia Center/Wells Fargo Center, the home of the Flyers, 76ers, and more.
Looking across the Schuylkill, you see historic and storied Franklin Field. This classic football stadium is an absolute gem. The current structure dates back to the 1920s and was home to some of the earliest radio and television football broadcasts, and home to the world famous Penn Relays in Track and Field. The Eagles played in the stadium from 1958 to 1970.
Franklin Field, with the Cathedral of College Basketball, the Palestra, to the right. The Palestra has hosted more NCAA games and tournaments than any other venue in existence. It was built in 1927 and is said to be the most important building for turning college basketball into what it is today. Philly's Big 5 basketball teams, Penn, Temple, LaSalle, St. Joe's, and Villanova Universities have basically shaped the evolution of college basketball, right at the storied Palestra.
Looking more downwards towards City Hall, Reading Terminal Market, Wannamaker's Department Store (Macy's), the PSFS Building (Loew's Philadelphia), the Ben Franklin Bridge, and more. Of the 360 degree views offered from this observation deck, this is probably my favorite because it shows the bulk of the old Center City and Chinatown architectural masterpieces.
We highly recommend checking out One Liberty Place. There is so much to see from the view that you will have a hard time leaving.

For more information on visiting, check out their website at www.phillyfromthetop.com

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