The city of Philadelphia, like the all-new 2020 Range Rover Evoque from Land Rover, is innovative and immediately recognizable. We drove the city-focused, compact SUV with fine artist and Philly local William Smith, who is always on the lookout for beautiful lines, unexpected treasures and perfect light. While driving through Pennsylvania’s largest city is always enlightening, seeing it through an artist’s lens results in uncovering many new, surprising or previously hidden places.
A pragmatic first stop, City Hall proves even more grand and vast than expected. The largest municipal building in the USA, Philadelphia City Hall takes up some 14+ acres and boasts 700 rooms. All this space and the architectural reliefs provide ample angles to view and photograph from. Building began in 1871 and it took 30 years to complete, but it was worth it: the elaborate structure is stunning inside and out, and was inspired in part by Palais des Tuileries in Paris.
From one opulent location to the next, the lavish XIX Restaurant at The Bellevue Hotel blends classic architecture, lush decor and contemporary cuisine. On the top floor of the century-old Bellevue building, the restaurant provides incredible views of the city from 19 floors up.
One of our favorite places in the city, The Rail Park is innovative, playful and keeps the people of Philadelphia as the first priority. The above-ground park can be an adventure of your choosing, as you wander over revitalized and reimagined rail lines—ultimately, three miles will be salvaged but at present it’s a quaint, quarter-mile section. In some pockets you’ll find bench swings and in others stations seats—all of which provide views. Perhaps most surprising, underneath the park is just as picturesque—with its mossy walled tunnels.
Just a few minutes by car, the Loews Hotel is housed in what was known as the PSFS Building—widely accepted as the country’s first-ever skyscraper. The ’30s-era 30-story tower was designed by George Howe and William Lescaze and is charming from the outside, but is worth taking a wander through too—whether into the lobby lounge or for a meal at Bank & Bourbon.
Located on Fairmount Avenue, Eastern State Penitentiary functioned as a prison from 1829 to 1971 and is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark (like the Bellevue and PSFS Building). With sky-lit cells and a long history, it’s a fascinating, moving and, at times, creepy place to visit. They’re open for tours seven days a week, and of course have some spooky events planned in October.
Race Street is a major road that lies between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. From Logan Square to Chinatown, the street eventually becomes the Race Street Pier, which sits parallel to and just below Ben Franklin Bridge. Along the way, there are countless places to visit—from galleries to restaurants—but the base of the bridge itself proves to be a striking backdrop for any portrait.
Driving out of Philadelphia is perhaps most picturesque across the Ben Franklin. The massive steel suspension bridge opened in 1926 and cuts an imposing, impressive figure over the Delaware River. At dusk we shot a few photos, before heading out of Philly, peering back at the city’s flickering lights.
The 2020 Range Rover Evoque is all about refinement—it’s entirely redesigned, but immediately recognizable. Check out A Refined Point of View for William’s photos and more videos from the Philadelphia stop on our tour of 10 American cities.