UPenn Campus Tour

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

UPenn signage

UPenn Campus Tour

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is an emblem of scholarly excellence, deeply rooted in history and brimming with contemporary vibrancy. Nestled in the heart of Philadelphia, UPenn’s iconic campus is an invitation to traverse the corridors of academia, innovation, and culture. A UPenn campus tour is your gateway to immersing yourself in the intellectual legacy of one of America’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

Is the UPenn campus open to the public?

Is the public allowed access to the University of Pennsylvania campus?  Visitors are encouraged to spend time on the UPenn campus to observe the myriad of ways in which Penn’s richly diverse community injects energy and discovery into the university’s venerable structures and cutting-edge facilities. The college selection process should begin with a visit to the institution’s campus. One of the most effective ways to learn more about the university and get a feel for what it is like to be a student there is to take the UPenn campus tour.

Campus Visits

Take a first-hand look at Penn by participating in one of the university’s campus tours. To begin, a member of the admissions staff will facilitate a live conversation with you about the academic landscape and the opportunities that are open to students. After that, current students will take you on a tour of the campus while they talk about their individual experiences of college life at Penn.

Self-Guided UPenn Campus Tour

You can explore Penn’s campus at your own pace by either downloading the Adora Experiences app or texting Tour UPenn to the number 58052. You also have the option to follow along with the printable version of the self-guided tour.

Campus Visit COVID-19 Guidelines

Visits to the Penn campus by prospective students and their families are always welcome. Please take some time to go over the guidelines and policies outlined below as you get ready for your visit to the university.

three students talking to each other while face masks

  • Masks are not required while on campus, but they are encouraged to be worn.
  • Registration is required for campus tours, and each tour can only have one registrant and two guests (three total visitors per party). Additional guests cannot be accommodated at this time.
  • The university strongly encourages all visitors to the campus to be fully vaccinated.
  • Visitors are reminded that they have an impact not only on the Penn community but also on the community of West Philadelphia before their arrival on campus; visitors are strongly encouraged to view the University’s COVID-19 Page for Visitors and travel guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the City of Philadelphia.

Does UPenn have a virtual tour?

Is there a way to take a tour of UPenn online? There is no need for concern if you are unable to participate in the guided UPenn campus tour. The university offers virtual options for you.

Virtual information sessions

You will participate in a live discussion led by admissions staff about the academic climate at Penn as well as the numerous opportunities that are open to students. This session will also provide insight into how to best prepare for the application process and how to proceed with it.

Student-led virtual tours

A virtual campus tour will be given by current students who will provide an insider’s perspective on life at Penn. Even if you’ve already been on a walking tour of the University of Pennsylvania campus in person, this interactive experience will show you new facets of student life on campus.

Academic programs & school sessions

At UPenn, there are four undergraduate schools in addition to some unique coordinated dual-degree (CDD) programs. These programs allow students to earn two bachelor’s degrees simultaneously from two different schools. Representatives from each program will discuss highlights of the curricular offerings and community resources provided by each program.

Group of students standing next to a building.

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Penn Engineering
  • Penn Nursing
  • The Wharton School
  • Coordinated Dual-Degree Programs (CDD)

If you are unable to attend a session that is being held live. Through the Penn Admissions channel on YouTube, prospective students can obtain additional information regarding Penn’s four undergraduate schools and its CDD programs.

How long is the UPenn campus tour?

How long does the tour last around the Penn campus? The tour of the University of Pennsylvania campus lasts about an hour. Please read over the COVID-19 visit guidelines before coming to campus. Check out the website of the university to learn the times and dates of the events that are coming up.

What can you see at UPenn?

Where can you find the best views at Penn? The University of Pennsylvania (also known as Penn or UPenn for short), which holds the distinction of being the first university in the United States, can trace its roots back to the year 1740.

This history is intricately intertwined with the city’s colonial past and the establishment of the United States. In the beginning, this prestigious university was known as the College of Philadelphia. It was one of the nine colonial colleges that were chartered before the United States Declaration of Independence and were established by Benjamin Franklin himself. Today, it is a member of the Ivy League.

Young woman standing in the middle of the school ground with her classmates.

The bustling heart of West Philadelphia and the academic epicenter of the entire region, the University of Pennsylvania’s 299-acre campus incorporates 12 schools with expansive college greens, recreational spaces, and heritage architecture. The campus is also home to many recreational spaces and heritage architecture.

Check out the pieces of information that are provided below to get a better understanding of the attractions that are located on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Perelman Quadrangle

On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania is a location that is referred to as both the Perelman Quadrangle and Perelman Quad. As a result of allegations of sexual misconduct that took place in February 2018, the name was changed to Penn Commons.

Event spaces are dispersed throughout Penn’s campus, except the Perelman Quadrangle, which is centered around a plaza that is located between Houston and College Hall.

Houston Hall

Houston Hall is one of the best spots to see on a UPenn campus tour. Houston Hall, which was constructed in 1895, serves as Penn’s student union and is considered by some to be the first such building in the United States.

In 1978, Houston Hall was recognized as a property that contributed to the historic significance of the University of Pennsylvania Campus and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Houston Hall is home to several dining options (including a cafeteria and other eating establishments), as well as study rooms, auditoriums, and a large number of meeting rooms and offices.

College Hall

The University of Pennsylvania’s West Philadelphia campus is home to several historic structures, including the oldest of which is College Hall. The university’s previous home was on Ninth Street in Center City, Philadelphia, before the construction of the current building.

Thomas Webb Richards was the architect responsible for the building, which was finished in 1873. The presence of green serpentine stone in the structure’s construction accounts for its distinctive green color.

On February 14, 1978, College Hall was included in the National Register of Historic Places as a historic building. In addition to that, it is a property that helps contribute to the historic character of the University of Pennsylvania Campus Historic District.

Fisher Fine Arts Library

Between the years 1891 and 1962, the University of Pennsylvania’s primary library was located in the Fisher Fine Arts Library. The renowned Philadelphia architect Frank Furness was responsible for designing the massive Venetian Gothic structure made of red sandstone, brick, and terra cotta. The building is a part fortress and part cathedral (1839–1912).

A library in UPenn

The design of the library is incredibly forward-thinking: the circulation to the building’s five stories is done through the tower’s staircase, which is separated from the reading rooms and the stacks. Thus, the library is a must-see place during your UPenn campus tour.

The Main Reading Room is a spacious enclosed area that is made of brick and terra cotta and is separated from the Rotunda Reading Room, which is two stories by an arcade. The former lecture hall that is now used as an architecture studio is located two stories above the Rotunda Reading Room.

Fisher-Bennett Hall

Bennett Hall is located at a somewhat unusual site, which is the juncture of three streets (Walnut, 34th, and the diagonal of the former Woodland Avenue). Because of its location, the building’s layout is also somewhat unusual, with the main facade of the building being on the beveled corner. The actual height of the building, which is dependent on the slope of the site, ranges anywhere from four to six stories.

The principal facade is symmetrical and is dominated by a central tower that sits above the main entrance. The principal facade also features articulated decorative buttresses that are topped by corner spires. Below the battlement that runs along the top of the roof, the tower is framed on either side by windows that are two stories tall.

The Button (sculpture)

Another interesting thing to see on your UPenn campus tour is the Button. The Button, or Split Button as it is referred to officially, is a piece of modern art that can be found in the middle of the University of Pennsylvania campus. Claes Oldenburg, a Swedish sculptor who specializes in creating life-size sculptures of commonplace items, was the mind behind the design of this piece.

There is a myth that Benjamin Franklin, the founder of the University of Pennsylvania, is responsible for creating “The Button.” This myth is primarily spread by students at the University of Pennsylvania. Near the sculpture is a monument depicting Benjamin Franklin in a seated position.

According to urban legend, when this man of considerable girth sat down, his vest button fell off and rolled across the Locust Walk at the University. It eventually came to a halt and broke in half, which led to the creation of the sculpture we see today.

Van Pelt Library

The Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library is the primary library on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. This building is also referred to as the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center and simply as Van Pelt.

The year 1962 marks the year that construction began on the building that was designed by architects Harbeson, Hough, Livingston, and Larson. It encompasses a total area of 201,215 square feet on the ground (18,693 m2). In addition to serving as the primary library on campus for the social sciences and humanities, it is also home to the Ormandy Music Library, the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the Lippincott Library of The Wharton School.

Quadrangle Dormitories

At the University of Pennsylvania, the Quadrangle Dormitories, also known simply as “The Quad,” are a collection of 39 dorms that are joined together. The majority of the homes were built between the years 1894 and 1912 and were designed by the architectural firm of Cope and Stewardson.

The houses were designed in an exuberant Neo-Jacobean version of the Collegiate Gothic style. The dormitories cover an area that is bounded by 36th to 38th Streets, as well as Spruce Street and Hamilton Walk (Pine Street). Hence, the houses are one of the best spots during the UPenn campus tour.

To the west of the Memorial Tower on 37th Street, the houses on the north side of the street follow the diagonal of what was formerly Woodland Avenue but are now Woodland Walk. These houses, along with the houses on the south side, form a long triangle. Between the years 1895 and 1971, only male students were allowed to reside in the dormitories.

There are now three college houses that make up the Quad. They are the Fisher Hassenfeld College House (to the west), the Ware College House (in the center), and the Riepe College House (east). Known as “first-year communities,” they are home to approximately 1,445 students as of this academic year (2017).

Provosts Tower

The Provosts Tower, which has seven stories and can be found on 36th Street just south of Spruce Street, serves as a landmark for the entrance to the Lower Quad. This residence hall was constructed in 1912 and, according to some accounts, was given its name in honor of William Smith, who served as the university’s first provost from 1755 to 1779 and again from 1789 to 1991.

Provosts Tower in UPenn

Smith had a significant impact on the early formation of the college that would later become known as the University of Pennsylvania during his lengthy tenure as president of the institution.

This structure is essentially a memorial to all of the provosts who have served the University of Pennsylvania. The sculptor Edward Maine carved the limestone ornament, which features plaques honoring each of the first 12 provosts and twin “headboards” with the Coat of Arms of Pennsylvania at the parapet. The ornament can be found at the top of the parapet. A two-story library and lounge are located on the fifth floor of the building.

Irvine Auditorium

The Irvine Auditorium is another interesting stop on your UPenn campus tour. Irvine Auditorium hosts live performances. It was constructed between the years 1926 and 1932 by the firm of Horace Trumbauer, who was a prominent architect in the Philadelphia area.

Originally constructed for the Sesquicentennial Exposition in 1926, the nearly 11,000-pipe Curtis Organ at Irvine Auditorium is notable for being the world’s 22nd-largest pipe organ (by ranks). The organ was given to the university in 1928 after being donated. May of 1929 marked the opening of the new structure.

An urban legend on the Penn campus asserts that the structure in question was the design project of a Penn architecture student who received a failing grade for their work. He was compelled to give up architecture to pursue a career in business, in which he eventually accumulated a large fortune. Years later, when it came time to write his will, he left a sizable bequest to the university, but it was contingent upon the completion of his project.

Penn Museum

Since its establishment in 1887, the Penn Museum has been a participant in more than 400 research projects located all over the world. The excavation of Nippur, which is located in what is now Iraq, was the first project undertaken by the museum.

At approximately seven feet in height, four feet in width, thirteen feet in length, and 12.9 tons, the authentic Sphinx on display at the Penn Museum is the largest one of its kind in all of North America (made of solid red granite). Thus, you should not miss the Penn Museum while taking the UPenn campus tour.

During an excavation in the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, Egypt, in 1912, a British archeologist named Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie found the Sphinx. The Sphinx was guarding a temple at the time of its discovery, and it was believed that it protected the temple from evil.

Since Penn contributed to the funding of Petrie’s expedition, Petrie offered it to Penn, and Penn subsequently arranged for it to be moved to a museum in 1913. In 2019, the sphinx was relocated to a more prominent location to attract more visitors.

Franklin Field

Franklin Field is a sports stadium that can be found on the eastern edge of the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to serving as the venue for the Penn Relays, it is currently used by the University of Pennsylvania for the sports of football, track and field, and lacrosse. In the past, it was also used for field hockey, soccer, and baseball.

Additionally, it serves as the location for Penn’s commencement ceremonies, provided the weather cooperates, as well as a recreation area for Penn students, as well as a venue for intramural and club sports such as touch football and cricket.

The speech given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in which he accepted the nomination for a second term as president offered by the Democratic Party in 1936 took place in the stadium as its designated location.

The Palestra

The Palestra is a historic arena that serves as the home court for several collegiate sports teams, including the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the volleyball teams, the wrestling team, and the Philadelphia Big 5 basketball team. It is also known as the Cathedral of College Basketball.

It first opened its doors on January 1, 1927, and can be found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 235 South 33rd Street. The location is on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania and is close to Franklin Field in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia. It has been said that the Palestra is “the most important building in the history of college basketball” and that it “changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built.” Both of these statements are true.

a female student smiling in front of the camera and carrying her stuff

The UPenn campus tour may be one of the things that pique your interest in attending the university. UPenn is one of the eight private Ivy League universities. The university’s admissions policy reflects its consistent ranking among the top ten in the country. You will require aid from college admissions professionals like AdmissionSight if your objective is to be admitted to UPenn.

We at AdmissionSight have more than ten years of experience helping students navigate the challenging admissions process so they can enroll in the best colleges in the world. Feel free to schedule a consultation session today.

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