Photos, story by Cassie Hepler
Are you a daredevil who loves heights? Or a scaredy cat who would rather look at Google maps?
Well, now you can have both in one spot with one of Philadelphia’s newest attractions, One Liberty Observation Deck and fly high 57 stories in a comfort-controlled floor with views from all angles. Those who want to plaster themselves against the window are good to go and those who prefer to remain in the middle ground won’t sweat too hard.
The Deck is located at the peak of One Liberty Place, the iconic Helmut Jahn-designed skyscraper 883 feet above street level. It is now the tallest standing attraction in Philly and presents a semi-new view of Philly From The Top (check out the brunch experience on this restaurant list). The observatory offers panoramic views of the city-scape with interactive technology. Think Google maps complete with our version of Where’s Waldo? Go ahead, try to find Philly Jesus.
But enough with the babbling, on with the view!
Visitors enter on the first floor from the Shops at Liberty Place or the Courtyard Entrance at 1650 Market Street.
Designed for selfies, these guys knew what they were doing with this iconic Philly street stop inside the foyer.
From there an escalator takes you to the second floor where tickets are purchased and the adventure begins. Be sure to get some trinkets which are totally Philadelphia and will delight locals and visitors alike.
Greeted by the larger-than-life, size 96 feet of Philadelphia’s founding father, Benjamin Franklin’s is a theme throughout One Liberty Observation Deck. We immediately thought why was the wicked witch’s feet popping through the ceiling? Thunder clouds and bolts of lightning sizzle in the sound track of a rumbling sky.
The express elevator to the 57th floor is a 75 second ride to the top where a drone video of Philly sets the stage. As the elevator door opens, the bust of Ben Franklin welcomes visitors to the main attraction… and the feet finally make sense.
And so does the kite with neon string that wraps around the sculpture and winds its way down. ‘Cuz Ben Franklin got frazzled by electricity, remember?
With an open floor plan and floor to ceiling windows, 360 degree views offer vantage points of all of Philadelphia, over the bridges to New Jersey, down the river to Delaware and as far as the eye can see.
You can see Christmas Village and Love Park down below to the right.
General Manager Evan Evans explained that they had to spend roughly a year building and polishing the structure. These beams above, is how the beam on the right used to look, were sanded down to show the smooth beams themselves, giving a more industrial feel – and a more secure feeling as well.
Right above this area if you go all the way to the corner of the window, you can see the very tippy top of this tower. That is where a very adventurous photographer grabbed all the panoramic views you can see via the
Six multi-lingual, interactive touch-screen kiosks feature a panorama of the cityscape that allows visitors to explore and personalize their Philly From The Top experience. Zoom in on a point of interest or find a favorite Philly locale to learn more. In three “Chair Zones” or audio boxes with benches, guests hear distinctive, memorable stories about Philadelphia culture, music and sports told by famous Philadelphians: WXPN’s Michaela Majoun, “The Geator with the Heater” Jerry Blavat and 97.5 The Fanatic sports radio personality Mike Missanelli.
One of our favorite views, the sister tower shines bright in the hazy warm winter background.
The Deck will be open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and has a capacity of 275 people. The elevator can accommodate 24 people at a time and admission will be staggered.
We especially loved this reflection of the city with, well, the city. The day we visited, workers were polishing up the windows on the inside and offering insight on how many buildings they work on – inside and out. Imagine hanging from these rafters?
Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the door with general admission starting at $14 for youth (ages 3 – 11) and $19 for adults. Student, group and tour operator rates are available at discounted prices. School groups from within Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington and New Castle counties can take advantage of a limited time offer of only $8 per student for 2016 field trips.
General Manager Evan Evans understands social media photography, posting and sharing experiences with friends and followers with Philly curated music, mural, mosaics, famous artists, images with the suggested hashtag #TheRealPhilly. And people (including Evans) loves the Philly Phanatic!
“One Liberty Observation Deck was designed to create an authentic, visually rich experience that expresses the unique vibe of Philadelphia as a place and culture,” explained General Manager Evan Evans. “The visitor experience is creatively choreographed over three floors that engage visitors at every turn and provide incredible photo opportunities.”
And on the green screen at Ben Franklin’s huge green feet, you can choose a background to save your memories and not have to scale a skyscraper in the process.
A lovely corridor with reflective surfaces is a selfie lovers dream.
Just a reminder of where you just came from – and how high it really is, sometimes it pays to look up.
One Liberty Observation Deck is owned and operated by Montparnasse 56. The development of Philadelphia as a global tourism destination and flourishing metropolitan hub led Montparnasse 56, a global company specializing in the operation and development of tourist attractions, to choose the city for its second U.S. site. The group now has five exceptional tourism sites including the 56th floor and panoramic terrace of the Montparnasse Tower in Paris (France), the observation deck and revolving restaurant at the Berlin TV Tower (Germany), Crocodile Zoo and Nature Preserve in the south of France, 360 CHICAGO and One Liberty Observation Deck.
One Liberty Place and the Shops at Liberty Place are owned by Metropolis Investment Holdings.
For more information visit www.PhillyFromTheTop.com and follow on social media: Facebook – www.Facebook.com/PhillyFromTheTop; Twitter – www.Twitter.com/PhillyFromTop (@PhillyFromTop); Instagram – www.Instagram.com/PhillyFromTheTop (@PhillyFromTheTop).