Center City, Philadelphia

Center City, Philadelphia
Neighborhood of Philadelphia

Center City Philadelphia showing the Pennsylvania Convention Center bottom left and City Hall upper right

Center City within Philadelphia
Country  United States of America
State  Pennsylvania
County Philadelphia
City Philadelphia
  Total 2.07 sq mi (5.4 km2)
Population (2010)
  Total 57,239
  Density 27,614.1/sq mi (10,661.9/km2)
ZIP Code 19102, 19103, 19106, 19107, 19146, 19147
Map of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania highlighting the City of Philadelphia prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854

Center City includes the central business district and central neighborhoods of Philadelphia, in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is the former City of Philadelphia prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854 which extended the city borders to be coterminous with Philadelphia County. Greater Center City has grown into the second-most populated downtown area in the United States, after Midtown Manhattan in New York City, with an estimated 183,240 residents in 2015.[1][2]



I-676 underground in Center City at 12th Street and Vine Street

Center City is bounded by South Street to the south, the Delaware River to the east, the Schuylkill River to the west, and Vine Street to the north.[3] This means that Center City occupies the boundaries of the city before it was made coterminous with Philadelphia County in 1854. The Center City District, which has special powers of taxation,[4] uses a complicated, irregularly shaped boundary that includes much but not all of this area, and also extends beyond it.[5] The Philadelphia Police Department patrols three districts located within Center City. The three patrol districts serving Center City are the 6th, 9th, and 17th districts.[6]

Neighborhood features

Among Center City's neighborhoods and districts are Penn's Landing, Old City, Society Hill, South Street, Washington Square West, Market East, Chinatown, Logan Square, the Museum District (located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway), Rittenhouse Square, Fitler Square, the Avenue of the Arts (South Broad Street), and Jewelers' Row.

The Philadelphia City Hall in Center City

Center City is home to most of Philadelphia's tallest buildings, including Philadelphia's City Hall, the second tallest masonry building in the world and until 1987 the tallest in Philadelphia, as well as the tallest building in the world for seven years. In March 1987, One Liberty Place broke the gentlemen's agreement not to exceed the height of the statue of William Penn atop City Hall. Since the completion of One Liberty Place, no Philadelphia major-league sports team had won a world championship for the next two decades, a phenomenon known as the "Curse of Billy Penn." In an effort to reverse the curse, a 3-foot statue of Penn was affixed to the top of the Comcast Center upon its completion as the city's new tallest building in 2007. On October 29, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series, effectively ending the "curse".

Logan Circle
Center City at night

Seven other skyscrapers now top the statue, including One Liberty Place's little sister, Two Liberty Place. The Comcast Center, which was completed in 2007, is now the tallest building in Pennsylvania, 30 feet taller than One Liberty Place. Two buildings now under construction — 1441 Chestnut and the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center — are also slated to be taller than City Hall. The latter would be the eighth-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the tallest outside of Manhattan and Chicago.

Other Center City skyscrapers include the BNY Mellon Center and the Three Logan Square, which houses a traffic camera used by the Philadelphia branch of the Westwood One MetroNetworks traffic service.

Across the street from City Hall is the Masonic Temple, the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, a legacy of the Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, many of whom were Freemasons; such luminaries include George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

While Philadelphia's population declined, Center City's rose 10% between 1990 and 2000.

In 2007, the city designated the area bound by 11th Street, Broad Street, Chestnut Street and Pine Street as the Gayborhood.[7]


External audio
One Day at Little Pete’s in Center City, 19103, 3:26, "Every Zip Philadelphia", WHYY[8]
A Photographer and A Friar Find Common Ground in Chinatown, 19107, 5:56, "Every Zip Philadelphia", WHYY[8]


Comcast Center

Sunoco has its headquarters in the BNY Mellon Center.[9] Cigna has its corporate headquarters in Two Liberty Place.[10] Aramark is headquartered in Center City.[11] Comcast is headquartered in the Comcast Center.[12] The law firm Cozen O'Connor has its headquarters in Center City.[13] Kogan Page has its United States offices in Center City.[14]

Lincoln National Corporation moved its headquarters from Indiana to Philadelphia in 1999.[15] In Philadelphia Lincoln was headquartered in the West Tower of Centre Square in Center City.[16] In 2007 the company moved 400 employees, including its top executives, to Radnor Township from Philadelphia.[15]

Government and infrastructure


The U.S. Custom House in Old City

The Philadelphia Fire Department operates 5 Fire Stations in the Center City area :

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Northeast Region Office is in the U.S. Custom House, a part of the Independence National Historical Park, in Old City, Center City.[17]

The William J. Green, Jr. Federal Building houses the Federal Bureau of Investigation Philadelphia Field Office.[18]

Diplomats' offices/Consulates

The Consulate-General of Italy in Philadelphia is located in the 1026 Public Ledger Building at 150 South Independence Mall West.[19] The Consulate-General of Panama in Philadelphia is located in Suite 1 at 124 Chestnut Street.[20] The Consulate-General of Israel in Philadelphia is located on the 18th Floor at 1880 John F. Kennedy Boulevard.[21] The Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia is located in Suite 310 of the Bourse Building off of Independence Mall.[22]

The Consulate-General of the Dominican Republic in Philadelphia was located in Suite 216 in the Lafayette Building at 437 Chestnut Street.[23] It closed on November 7, 2005.[24]


Public schools

School District of Philadelphia

Residents are within the School District of Philadelphia.

In 2005, to prevent the flight of middle-class families, the school district and the Center City District, an economic development agency, started a program that promoted public schools in Center City (including Rittenhouse Square and Society Hill) and adjacent areas in Fairmount, Northern Liberties, and South Philadelphia.[25]

K-8 schools that have attendance boundaries in Center City and areas around Center City include:[26]

Neighborhood high schools for Center City and the Center City area, located outside of Center City, include:[27][28][29]

Other high schools include:

Combined middle and high schools include:

Charter schools

Charter schools not operated by the School District of Philadelphia include:[32]

Private schools

Roman Catholic parochial schools

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia operates the following Roman Catholic parochial schools in the Center City area :

Other private schools

Church of the Gesu at St. Joseph's Preparatory School

Other private schools in the Center City area include:

Public libraries

The Free Library of Philadelphia operates the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street,[34] the Independence Branch at 18 South 7th Street,[35] the Philadelphia City Institute on the first floor and lower level of an apartment complex at 1905 Locust Street,[36] and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at 919 Walnut Street.[37]

Other institutions

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools is headquartered in Center City.[38]


Front entrance of Suburban Station.

Major highways

Local public transit

Intercity public transit

Interior of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station

Amtrak's primary Philadelphia station, 30th Street Station, is located immediately west of Center City, just across the Schuylkill River. SEPTA Regional Rail trains, New Jersey Transit Atlantic City Line trains, Market-Frankford Line trains, and subway-surface line trolleys also service 30th Street Station, and both Megabus and BoltBus stop on streets adjacent to the station.

As of 2016 Taiwanese airline China Airlines provides a private bus service to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for customers based in the Philadelphia area. This service stops in Center City in front of the Marriott Hotel.[39]

Center City Residents' Association

The Center City Residents' Association, originally formed in 1947 to prevent Rittenhouse Square from being turned into a parking lot, is a primary advocate for quality of life issues in Center City. Other community organizations of this type include Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Society Hill Civic Association, South of South Street Neighborhood Association, Washington Square West Civic Association,and the Queen Village Neighbors Association.

See also

Panoramic view of Center City skyline


  1. Maria Panaritis (April 22, 2015). "(Greater) Center City's population second only to Midtown Manhattan's". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  2. Mike Newall (April 23, 2015). The Philadelphia Inquirer Retrieved January 27, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. "The State of Center City 2015, page 4" Archived September 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "The State of Center City 2008" Archived September 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., The Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, May 2008.
  5. "Center City District Boundary Map". Center City District web site. Center City District. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  6. PPD Online Patrol Districts, Philadelphia Police Department.
  8. 1 2 "Every Zip Philadelphia". WHYY. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  9. "Contact Sunoco." Sunoco. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  10. "Directions to CIGNA Corporate Offices." Cigna. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  11. "Contact ARAMARK." Aramark. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  12. "Comcast 2008 Annual Review Archived November 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.." Comcast. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  13. "Philadelphia." Cozen O'Connor. Retrieved on November 11, 2009.
  14. "Contact." Kogan Page USA. Retrieved on 5 July 2011. "Kogan Page Publishers 1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100 Philadelphia, PA 19102"
  15. 1 2 Blumenthal, Jeff. "Lincoln sells Delaware Investments." Philadelphia Business Journal. Wednesday August 19, 2009. Modified Thursday August 20, 2009. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  16. "Contact Us." Lincoln National Corporation. June 22, 2000. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  17. "Northeast Regional Office." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on June 9, 2015. "U.S. CUSTOM HOUSE, 7TH FLOOR PHILADELPHIA, PA 19106"
  18. "Philadelphia Division." Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved on June 9, 2015. "William J. Green, Jr. Building 600 Arch Street, 8th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19106"
  19. "Welcome to the web site of the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia." Consulate-General of Italy in Philadelphia. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  20. "Panamanian Consulates in the U.S." Embassy of Panama in Washington D.C. Retrieved on February 2, 2009.
  21. "Consular Services: Consular Reception Hours." Consulate-General of Israel in Philadelphia. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  22. "Contactenos." Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  23. "Consulate Offices in the U.S." Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington, DC. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  24. "DR to close four consulates in the USA." Dominican Today. November 8, 2005. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  25. Snyder, Susan. "Selling schools - to families, A new campaign touts 20 Center City sites. Its aim: Retain the middle class. Schools pitch aims at stemming flight of the middle class." Philadelphia Inquirer. Monday August 22, 2005. City-D A01 Local. Retrieved on November 8, 2011.
  26. "Center City Public Elementary Schools." Center City District.
  27. "Center City Schools — Maps & Info Archived July 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.." Center City District.
  28. "A Guide for September 2007 High School Admissions." School District of Philadelphia.
  29. "A Directory of High Schools for 2009 Admissions." School District of Philadelphia. Accessed November 6, 2008.
  30. "Graduates of General George A. McCall School." Center City District.
  31. "Graduates of Albert M. Greenfield School." Center City District.
  32. "Center City Schools Maps & Info", Center City District (website), Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, archived from the original on 6 July 2007
  33. "Lenfest Campus." Mastery Charter Schools. Retrieved on September 10, 2012. "35 South 4th Street Philadelphia, PA 19106"
  34. "Central Library." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  35. "Independence Branch." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  36. "Philadelphia City Institute." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  37. "Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  38. Home page. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Retrieved on May 12, 2015. "200 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104"
  39. "Free Shuttle Service To/From JFK Airport." China Airlines. September 15, 2015. Retrieved on February 29, 2016.
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Coordinates: 39°57′07″N 75°09′50″W / 39.952°N 75.164°W / 39.952; -75.164

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