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PennTracks Walking Tours

NSO 2008 > Orientation Events > PennTracks Walking Tours

For the next four years, Philadelphia will be your home away from home. Did you know that until 1820, it was the country's largest city? Most people know that the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed here in the late 18th century, but the city's history began long before that, and continues to this day.

Philadelphia's celebrated restaurants serve everything from cheesesteaks to the best French cuisines, its museums include some of the finest art in the world, and its charming, walkable streets are filled with history. Take time during NSO to explore your new home for the next four years.

During Orientation, your RAs and GAs will have copies of the maps and will give them to you on your tours. Check back soon, and you will find printable versions of the walking tour maps of some of the city's various neighborhoods. These maps include some of the most intriguing sites to be seen all over the city -- there's so much to discover!

PennTracks Walking Tours were designed and developed by Poor Richard's Walking Tours. The Gayborhood Tour was designed and developed by Penn's LGBT Center. Additional tours, designed by the NSO Orientation Staff, are also available.


  • West Philadelphia
    West Philadelphia began as the site of summer homes for colonial elites and then became Philadelphia's first suburb in the late 19th century. Once people were able to commute via the streetcar, it was possible to live across the Schuylkill River. Lined with Italianate, Victorian and Queen Anne "cottages," the neighborhoods today house faculty and students of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Art Museum District
    This tour will take you from the Penn Bookstore, through Drexel University and the Powelton Village section of West Philadelphia, over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Rocky!), and down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This tour, like this city, is oozing with culture, but also gives you a little ethnic flavor and history to keep you on your toes.

  • Avenue of the Arts
    Philadelphia has been a cultural Mecca for over two hundred years. There is great theatre, ballet, opera, and music abounding in this city, and the Avenue of the Arts is the cultural spine. This tour will take you down that spine, and also through City Hall, the splendor of Chinatown, the unrivalled Reading Terminal Market, and through the hidden neighborhoods of Philadelphia that even the locals don't know about!

  • Chinatown
    This tour will take you through the Asian cultural center of the entire Philadelphia region. Chinatown offers a variety of amazing cuisines including Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Burmese, Laotian, Malaysian, and Vietnamese. Each one is unique, so you won't know which is your favorite until you've tried them all. Chinatown offers much more than just great restaurants. Through this tour you will see churches, temples, artwork, and a concert hall among other highlights.

  • Historic Philly
    This tour will take you through the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who lived in Philadelphia when they were laying the groundwork for a new nation. But you will see more than Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. This tour will also visit 18th century churches, 19th century factories that became 20th century apartments and art galleries, and the hippest restaurants of the 21st century.

  • Rittenhouse Square
    This tour will take you through the Victorian neighborhoods that surround Rittenhouse Square and into the finest shopping and dining in the city. Along the way you will see parks, sites from movies, countless restaurants, many churches and why Philadelphia is one of the most beautiful cities in the country!

  • South Philly
    This tour will take you down to South Street, into the heart of South Philly and its largely Italian neighborhoods and through the famous Italian Market. It continues through the oldest neighborhood in the city, Queen Village, and then up and down the eclectic and energetic South Street. Along the way, you will find the best cheesesteak, water ice, seafood, pizza, and cookies in the city, so come hungry.

  • The Gayborhood
    This tour encompasses the Washington West "Gayborhood," the heart of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community. It features nightclubs, sidewalk cafes, theaters, and community centers. Some say the LGBTQ rights movement began in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1964, when, outside of Independence Hall, the first "Annual Reminder" was held protesting America's treatment of gays and lesbians. Since then, the LGBTQ community has become integrated with the entire city, but this neighborhood remains its most vital scene.

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    New Student Orientation | 3702 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | 215-898-7000 | nso@pobox.upenn.edu
    This page last updated on: July 17, 2008 10:32 AM EDT | Copyright © 2008
    July 17, 2008 10:32 AM