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Reading Terminal Market is an attraction in itself, as is the Italian Market if you're exploring South Philadelphia.

Mural, Mural, on the Wall

The Mural Arts Program (MAP) was established in 1984 as a component of the Anti-Graffiti Network. Today, Philadelphia has more than 2,800 murals, more than any other city. The MAP says it works "to help beautify the city; help create a sense of community; and turn graffiti-scarred walls into scenic views, portraits of community heroes, and abstract creations."

The paintings can be quite striking, from the inspiring Symbols of Change,  by Don Gensler, at 2110 Market St. to the psychedelic Larry Fine,  by David McShane, at 3rd Street and South, to the nostalgic South Philly Musicians, by Peter Pagast, at Passyunk Avenue and Wharton Street. They range in size from small one-story designs like Fringe Festival, by Tom Judd at 35 N. 2nd St. to eight-story projects like Common Threads by Meg Saligman, at Broad Street and Spring Garden. Each takes about 2 months to complete and costs from $15,000 to $25,000.

You can find a virtual gallery, with walking tour suggestions, and a schedule of trolley tours at www.muralarts.org or by calling tel. 215/685-0750. The 2-hour trolley tour takes place Saturday and Sunday at 10am ($25 for adults, $23 for seniors 65 and over, $15 for children 3-10, and free for children 2 and under; tickets available at Independence Visitor Center). U. Penn has assembled a mural database at www.cml.upenn.edu/murals.

Here are more highlights:

  • All Join Hands, by Donald Gensler, at Broad and Spring Garden streets, features faces and a poem titled "When the City Is at Peace," a collaboration of the artist, youths coming out of detention and long-term placement, and students at Ben Franklin High School.
  • Children of Philadelphia, by Burt Dodge, at 16th and Fitzwater streets, depicts children with a preacher, with the city as a backdrop.
  • Untitled, by Keith Haring, at 22nd and Ellsworth streets, features the artist's iconic colorful figures.
  • Peace Wall, by Mural Arts Program director Jane Golden and Peter Pagast, at 29th and Wharton streets, lovingly portrays children's hands overlapping.
  • Pride and Progress, by Ann Northrup, at 13th and Spruce streets, is a large, elaborate tribute to the gay community.
  • Philadelphia on a Half Tank, by Paul Santoleri, near the airport at 26th Street and Penrose Avenue, is a vivid pastel portrait of the city on the side of an oil tank.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.