Philadelphia, Pennsylvania audio tour: Philadelphia  Architecture Tour: From the Gilded Age to the Postmodern Present

Philadelphia Architecture Tour: From the Gilded Age to the Postmodern Present

Walking Tour

90 mins

About the Tour

Join me on a self-guided GPS audio tour that’ll open your eyes to the full range of Philadelphia’s architecture, spanning every American style from the 1850s to the present. One of the richest periods artistically, it was also one of the wealthiest. Mark Twain called these years the “Gilded Age” because America’s economy boomed and vast fortunes were rapidly made.

Gilded Age styles like Second Empire Baroque, High Victorian Gothic and Romanesque all compete for your attention on this tour. The styles they gave way to as we entered the 20th century are eye catching too, like Beaux Arts, Art Deco, and International Style. Then from the 1970s we enter the Postmodern era, where almost anything goes architecturally – and that’s where we still find ourselves today.

Some of the tour’s highlights include:

• Learning how to distinguish different architectural styles
• Discover some of the city’s finest public art
• Hearing stories about the most prominent architects of the Gilded Age
• Visiting a department store unlike most others

Along the way, I’ll tell you plenty of interesting but not strictly architectural stories about Philadelphia and its buildings too.

I look forward to having you join me on this adventure!

Tour Producer


Reid Addis

Reid Addis is a Registered Architect who has lived in the City of Philadelphia since 1978. While practicing architecture, he began teaching courses from 1980-1990 at Temple University, including a course on the History of Philadelphia Architecture. After taking a walking tour with famed City Planner Ed Bacon, Reid was inspired to give his students similar Philadelphia guided tours.

Currently residing in the Old City area of Philadelphia, Reid would love to introduce you to his city with a tour of Philly.

Major Landmarks

  • Masonic Temple

  • Philadelphia City Hall

  • Union League

  • Academy of Music

  • Comcast Buildings

  • Love Park

Directions to Starting Point

The tour begins on the west side of North Broad Street where it intersects with Cherry Street at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Masonic Temple, City Hall, Macy's, Fado Irish Pub, Max Brenner Chocolates, Liberty Place, Comcast Center, Love Park

Best time of day

10:30 a.m.


Be very careful crossing streets in Philadelphia as cars sometimes don't stop immediately for red lights.


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Philadelphia Architecture Tour: From the Gilded Age to the Postmodern Present