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

November 12 - December 31, 4:00 - 8:00 pm

Experience the magic of the holidays and celebrate traditions new and old at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival. From November 12 - December 31, dazzle in the more than 50,000 lights as they shimmer, dance, and illuminate the Square in alternating shows every 30 minutes (4:30 - 8 pm) during the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show; warm up with comfort food, local beers, and hot beverages at Ben's Bites & Brews; and shop for special holiday gifts at the Holiday Market.

Click here for more information on Franklin Square events »

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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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