15-ton Sphinx and its surrounding pillars and gateways at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

©Norman Wharton/Alamy Stock Photo

Penn Museum


U Penn's magical museum, the largest of its type in the US, contains archaeological treasures from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Mayan world and more. In April 2018 its new Middle East galleries opened, part of an ongoing transformation of the institution that will see various parts of it under wraps until around 2020.

Take a moment or two to admire the building's eclectic 19th-century architecture and design, which includes a Japanese gate, arts-and-crafts brickwork, a rotunda, public gardens, sculptures by Alexander Stirling Calder and a koi pond. The Stoner Courtyard is the location for a series of outdoor summer concerts.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Philadelphia attractions

1. Arthur Ross Gallery

0.16 MILES

This small visual-arts gallery presents between four and six different shows a year covering a variety of media. On the first Wednesday of each month at…

3. Blanche P Levy Park


This green space, ringed by mainly Gothic Revival structures, is dotted with public art including a 1899 bronze of Benjamin Franklin by John Boyle; Split…

5. Institute of Contemporary Art

0.36 MILES

Worth a stop if you're in the area, this place usually hosts two exhibits at a time, from retrospectives to themed group shows. An impressive Virgil Marti…

6. Cira Green

0.58 MILES

Hidden in plain sight is this grassy 1.25-acre park that's atop the parking garage of the Cira Centre South complex. It's a pleasant spot to relax and…

7. Schuylkill Banks

0.58 MILES

This wonderful outdoor recreation area covers around 8 miles of Schuylkill River, mostly on the east bank from below the Fairmount Dam through the heart…

8. Woodlands

0.62 MILES

This National Historic Landmark is a 54-acre cemetery that was once the country seat of William Hamilton, who hailed from a family of wealthy colonial…