Franklin Square


Squares in Philadelphia

In the late 17th century, William Penn planned the creation of five open public parks in central Philadelphia. These original squares include:

  • Centre Square (became the site of City Hall)
  • North East Publick Square (renamed Franklin Square)
  • Northwest Square (renamed Logan Square)
  • Southwest Square (renamed Rittenhouse Square)
  • Southeast Square (renamed Washington Square)

historic philadelphia carousel

North East Publick Square

This square is located directionally northeast from what was previously Centre Square (now City Hall), and was originally used for grazing animals, military training activity and armament storage. North East Publick Square was renamed Franklin Square in 1825 in honor of founding father Benjamin Franklin, who is fabled to have conducted his famous experiment involving the use of a kite and key in the discovery of electricity while in the Square. The square is also located only blocks away from the famous Independence National Historical Park landmarks.

historic philadelphia bolt lightning

Bolt of Lightning

While it is not known the exact location where Franklin performed his famed experiment, Isamu Noguchi designed a large sculpture named Bolt of Lightning, which commemorates Franklin’s contributions to science and our modern understanding of electricity. The stainless steel art piece was erected in 1984 and faces the square on 6th Street.

Franklin Square Re-dedication

In 2006, Historic Philadelphia, Inc., a non-profit organization, rededicated the park, now complete with several enjoyable family-friendly features, including the Parx Liberty Carousel, playgrounds and Philly Mini Golf. The 19th-century Franklin Square Fountain was restored and its workings were upgraded to modern technology. Visitors can now enjoy a tasty meal at SquareBurger, celebrate birthdays and special events or just enjoy the beautiful setting of Franklin Square.

Upcoming Events


Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Open Daily through December 31, 4 - 8 pm (Closed Christmas Day)

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival is Philadelphia's #1 destination for electrifying holiday fun! Here's a quick snapshot of this week's special events and activities!

  • Kids' Craftivity Hours
    Mon. - Thurs. 4 - 5 pm
    Kids can make a variety of FREE holiday-themed crafts to take home!

  • Holiday Market
    Daily, 4 - 8 pm
    Shop for the perfect holiday gift from a selection of local artisans at the NEW Holiday Market, produced in collaboration with PHAIR.

  • Food Truck Fridays
    Friday, Dec. 19, 4 - 8 pm
    Enjoy delicious bites from local favorites Just Jackie's Food Truck & Luscious Bakery.

  • Lightning Bolt Holiday Express
    Sat. & Sun., Dec. 20 & 21, 4:30 - 7:30 pm
    All aboard for a special holiday train ride around the Square!
    Adults: $5, Children: $4

  • Santa Saturdays - Milk & Cookies with Santa
    Saturday, Dec. 20, 4 - 5 pm
    Enjoy Milk & Cookies with Santa as he tells some of his favorite stories in the indoor, heated Pavilion from 4 - 5 pm. (Tickets: $10).

  • Santa Saturdays - Jingle & Mingle with Santa
    Saturday, Dec. 20, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
    Bring your wish lists to the Square and pose for photos with the man in red from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. FREE

    Santa Saturdays are sponsored by Di Bruno Bros.

  • 101.1 More FM Holiday Fun Days
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 5 - 7 pm
    More FM, the official radio partner of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, brings music and games to the Square! FREE

  • Seasonal Sounds
    Enjoy performances from local musicians and dancers during selected Electrical Spectacle intermissions! FREE! Featuring this week: A Cappella Pops (4 - 8 pm).

Franklin Square Holiday Festival Weather

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Pictures from the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

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Colonial Pub Crawl

We sing. We toast. We drink! Cheers to the spirits of '76 on this Colonial pub crawl. Join us for a Thursday evening romp through Historic Philadelphia with appetizers and drinks!

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Liberty 360 in the PECO Theater

Experience a 360-degree 3D journey through the symbols of our nation’s freedom.

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Featured Video

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Group Information

Group Activities, Tours, and Unique Experiences

Plan your group trip to Historic Philadelphia with unique experiences from the Betsy Ross House, Franklin Square, Lights of Liberty, and Once Upon A Nation! From interactive Storytelling tours and Philadelphia-themed mini golf to performances by historic reenactors and dazzling 360 shows, it's all listed right here!

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