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Opportunities in Philadelphia

Skyline of Philadelphia as seen from Swarthmore

The Philadelphia skyline from the dome of Parrish Hall.

Just 20 minutes from campus by train or a short ride by car, Philadelphia brims with untold riches. World-class but walkable, the city exudes passion and offers something for everyone.

Go see Renoir landscapes at—and take a dash up the stairs of—the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Get lost in the culinary technicolor of Reading Terminal Market. Catch Shakespeare in the Park in University City. Get moving to an indie band or DJ at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown. Catch some rays (or z’s) in Rittenhouse Square. Stroll the art galleries of Old City on First Friday, or have your hair raised at Eastern State Penitentiary around Halloween. Trust the process at a 76ers game.

Or, keep your options open.

“One of the coolest responses we kept hearing was that people enjoyed getting lost, not having a specific plan,” says Emma Kates-Shaw ’16, one of the founders of the SwatDeck program, which connects students to the city. “We really emphasize an organic sense of adventure to help build a broader sense of everything Philly has to offer.”

Among the highlights are the hundreds of concerts for which students can get free or discounted tickets each year. “The experience of attending concerts and master classes at the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, just to name a few, is absolutely priceless,” says Music Lecturer Andrew Hauze ’04.

Students can immerse themselves in art and theater, highlighted by the Barnes Museum and Pig Iron Theatre Company (which both happen to be run by Swarthmore alums).

The College also connects students to resources in Philly to turbocharge academic and career aspirations. Among them, the Early Novels Database collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College, the Education in Our Barrios project with North and South Philadelphia schools, and the Serenity Soular collaboration with Serenity House to provide solar power to North Philly.  

There are also summer employment and research opportunities at places ranging from the U.S. Mint to the nationally renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Tri-Co Philly Program

Tri-Co Philly is a collaborative program based in Philadelphia that offers urban-themed courses from a variety of academic disciplines.


Philadelphia Neighborhoods

From restaurants to museums and everything in between, the City of Brotherly Love has something for everyone.


Welcome to the City

“I think it’s really a very beautiful city with incredible details just waiting to be discovered by both the interested tourist and the well-seasoned city-goer.”
—Kailynfaye Witonsky ’16

Student in front of LOVE statue in Philadelphia