Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
Built in a Roman-Corinthian style of architecture—with a grand façade, vaulted dome, ornate main altar, eight side chapels, and large main sanctuary—the cathedral is modeled after the Lombard Church of St. Charles (San Carlo al Corso) in Rome. Prominent local architect Napoleon LeBrun designed the 2,000-seat basilica and its Palladian facade, and interior frescoes were painted by Constantino Brumidi, an artist known for his work in the U.S. Capitol Building. The crypt beneath the main altar contains the remains of most of Philadelphia’s bishops and archbishops.
You can learn more by taking a walking tour that includes a stop at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The cathedral is also a stop on many hop-on hop-off sightseeing tours, making it easy to squeeze in a visit among Philadelphia’s many other historic attractions.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is a must-visit for history and architecture lovers.
- There is usually a Cathedral Ambassador on hand in the Basilica to answer general questions.
- You can download a free 20-minute audio tour onto your device.
- Informational brochures are available at the entrance.
How to Get There
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is centrally located in Philadelphia, a short stroll from Logan Square and within easy reach of most major hotels and attractions including the Franklin Institute and City Hall. The closest train station is Suburban Station, a 5-minute walk away.
When to Get There
Opening hours are Sunday 8 am to 7:30 pm; Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm, and Saturday 9am to 6:30pm. On Federal Holidays only the cathedral chapel is open for the 9am Mass. A guided tour is offered after the 11am Sunday Mass, beginning in front of the Side Altar of the Sacred Heart, located to the right of the Main Sanctuary—note that these tours are not offered when other events are taking place, such as baptisms. Check beforehand.
Logan Square At the center of Logan Square, which the cathedral overlooks, is the Swann Memorial Fountain. Designed by Alexander Stirling Calder, the fountain features large bronze turtle and frog sculptures spouting water toward the center. It is a summer tradition for locals to take a dip in the fountain’s cooling water.
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