Visiting the Rocky Statue and Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum

Visiting the Rocky Statue and Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

The Rocky Statue and Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are iconic cultural symbols of the City of Brotherly Love, and two of its most popular tourist attractions.

View from the Rocky steps, towards downtown Philadelphia.
View from the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The fact that a life-size replica of Rocky Balboa can be found mere steps from Independence Hall shows you just how seriously this city takes this Sylvester Stallone-created fictional boxer!

Rocky Balboa figure at the Independence Visitor Center in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Rocky Balboa figure at the Independence Visitor Center, in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The 1976 film Rocky, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, tells the tale of a blue-collar Philadelphia boxer (Rocky Balboa) who gets an unlikely shot at fighting the heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers).

Rocky t-shirts seem to be available in every Philadelphia gift shop.
Rocky t-shirts seem to be available in every Philadelphia gift shop.

The film was a critical and box office success, spawning a series of sequels, including the 1980 flick Rocky III, for which Stallone commissioned the creation of a bronze statue of Rocky for use in the movie.

In 1980, Sylvester Stallone commissioned the creation of the Rocky statue for the movie "Rocky III".
In 1980, Sylvester Stallone commissioned the creation of the Rocky statue for the movie “Rocky III”.

After filming was completed, Stallone donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia.

The Rocky statue was a gift of Sylvester Stallone to the City of Philadelphia.
The Rocky statue was a gift from Sylvester Stallone to the City of Philadelphia.

Visiting the Rocky Statue in Philadelphia

Since 2006, the Rocky statue has been located at the bottom of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it has become one of the “must-see” photo-ops when visiting the city.

Tourists waiting in line to get a photo with the Rocky statue.
Tourists waiting in line to get a photo with the Rocky statue.

I visited on a July afternoon when the museum was closed and only had to wait a few minutes to get my photo with the fictional boxer, but reviews I’ve read online suggest wait times can be considerably longer when the art museum is open.

The author posing with the Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
The author posing with the Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Visiting the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The reason the location of the Rocky statue is so appropriate is because in the original Rocky film, Rocky runs the art museum steps as part of his cardio training (something you’ll still see people doing to this day if you visit).

Standing at the bottom of the Rocky steps in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Standing at the bottom of the “Rocky Steps” in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I chose to leisurely ascend the steps and take in the view from the spot made famous in the film, which is impossible to miss.

The spot where Sylvester Stallone stood during the icon Art Museum steps scene in Rocky.
The spot where Sylvester Stallone stood during the icon art museum steps scene in “Rocky”.

And what a spectacular view it is!

View from the Rocky steps towards downtown Philadelphia on a July afternoon.
View from the Rocky steps towards downtown Philadelphia on a July afternoon.

I recruited a fellow tourist to snap a photo of me in the classic Rocky pose.

Striking a Rocky pose on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Striking a Rocky pose on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And of course I had to get the “sneaker shot” as well, though I managed that without assistance.

Literally standing in the footsteps of Rocky at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Literally standing in the footsteps of Rocky at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Don’t neglect to turn around – the Philadelphia Museum of Art is itself quite a work of art and architecture, resembling a Greek temple.

The Philadelphia Art Museum resembles a Greek temple.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art resembles a Greek temple.

The building was constructed with dolomite quarried in Minnesota, and completed in 1928.

Entrance to the Philadelphia Art Museum near the Rocky Steps.
Entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Final Thoughts

To this day, Rocky is considered one of the greatest sports films ever created, an enduring tale of a blue collar guy rising to fame due to hard work and determination in the face of seemingly-insurmountable odds.

Inscription on the base of the Rocky statue near the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Inscription on the base of the Rocky statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

That the fictional boxer has been embraced so completely by the City of Philadelphia, with popularity rivaling that of the Founding Fathers, is something uniquely “Philly”.

There are nearly as many Rocky souvenirs as Liberty Bell souvenirs in the gift shops of Philadelphia.
There are nearly as many Rocky souvenirs as Liberty Bell souvenirs in the gift shops of Philadelphia, a tribute to the fictional boxer’s enduring popularity.

And if you’d like to pay homage to Philly’s favorite fictional son, you’ll find both the Rocky statue and Rocky Steps on the southeast side of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, both completely free to visit!

Map to the Rocky State and Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Map to the Rocky State and Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Nearby Attractions

Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States!

Exploring Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both signed here, and today you can take a guided tour of what is arguably the most important and historic site in the United States.

The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside this room at Independence Hall.
The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside this room at Independence Hall.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.