The high ropes course may always have its place in the world of corporate team building, but it has been dethroned by the clue-driven race. While the shared thrill of fear does have a strong bonding effect, so do the shared fun, problem solving, and competition inherent in these races, called by different companies the Amazing Race, Scavenger Hunt, Funquest, etc. You solve some clues and you’re off to tour the city and take videos of the vice president of sales beating his chest like Tarzan by a gorilla statue and the CFO Riverdancing with strangers. You’ll make and strengthen friendships with your coworkers when you’re all playing like kids, and Philadelphia is one heck of a playground. Here are the best areas of the city to play in.
Center City offers the best feel of the city with plenty of highrises as well as older buildings. Philadelphia’s City Hall might be the most spectacular in the US, and there are excellent views of it all along Broad Street. Center City is where the tallest buildings and biggest crowds are, but it also boasts some of the city’s iconic art (most notably the LOVE sign) and best open spaces in Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square—valuable space for team challenges. Recently updated races will also run through Rail Park, an elevated green space with beautiful walkways, artwork, and stunning views of the city, not to mention a small forest atop a walking tunnel! Although there are plenty of outstanding restaurants for smaller groups at the end of the event, the one difficulty of a Center City race may be finding (or paying for) space for a larger group.
Between 18th Century buildings and narrow cobblestone streets, you might feel more like you’re racing in Europe than the US in Philadelphia’s Historic District. Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited street in the nation, and Independence National Historical Park is home to several of the oldest historic buildings in the country (including Independence Hall, the Birthplace of the Nation) and the exquisite 18th Century Garden. On the east side, Penn’s Landing offers beautiful views of the Delaware River, boats sailing and in harbor, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Close-by Spruce Street Harbor Park has plenty of fun oddities such as giant chess and cargo nets for lounging, and it always seems to be festively decorated for something. All told, Old City gives the best historic feel for the city and the greatest variety of sights.
The museum district is a proud and distinct part of Philadelphia that is pretty isolated by major roads from the rest of the city. A scavenger hunt here feels more like a race through a park (albeit a park with busy roads) than one through a city. Museum Mile is home to some stunning architecture and art. Run up the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an iconic view of the city, but take a quick walk down to the Schuylkill River for the most spectacular view around: the Fairmount Water Works. Museum Mile is full of columns and marble and other majestic things to see, but there are also plenty of opportunities for creative challenges like playing chess with Rodin’s Thinker, doing parkour at Paine’s Park (a riverside skatepark) or sparring with the Rocky statue. Museum Mile is a great space for a scavenger hunt, but as boundaries would have to be on the narrow side, it’s best for a hunt of 60 or fewer people.
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