Discover the Highest Point in Philadelphia

Written by Kathryn Koehler
Updated: September 9, 2023
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Before the advent of modern technology, professionals determined elevation through manual methods. These included leveling, trigonometric surveying, barometric pressure measurements, topographic maps, altimeters, and visual estimation. These methods relied on measuring height differences, angles, atmospheric pressure, or visual cues to establish elevation. While these methods proved accurate enough, they were less precise and more labor-intensive than today’s advanced technologies. Today, GPS, LiDAR, and satellite-based radar provide highly reliable and efficient elevation measurements. Advanced technology allows us to know beyond a doubt that the highest point in the city of Philadelphia is near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike. The aptly named Summit Street, at 146 feet (44 m), is the highest point in Philadelphia. It is located in Chestnut Hill. Continue reading to discover more about the highest point in Philadelphia!

A beautiful park located in Chestnut Hill East, Philadelphia

The highest point in the city of Philadelphia is in Chestnut Hill.

©Zachary Chung Pun/

The City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, is the most populous city in Pennsylvania. The city played a pivotal role in American history. Philadelphia was the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It is also where the drafting of the U.S. Constitution took place in 1787. Today, it features rich cultural heritage and iconic landmarks, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

The lowest point in Philadelphia is sea level. Philadelphia is located near the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Consequently, much of the city’s elevation is close to sea level. As mentioned, the highest elevation in the city is in Chestnut Hill on Summit Street. At 146 feet (44 m) it pales in comparison to the highest point in Pennsylvania. Mount Davis on the Allegheny Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains is the highest point in the state, at 3,213 feet (979 m).

Mount Davis

Mount Davis on the Allegheny Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains is the highest point in Pennsylvania.

©Zack Frank/

Discover the Highest Point in Philadelphia: Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill is a well-preserved neighborhood in Philadelphia with a rich history, cultural attractions, and vibrant community life. The area has a reputation for being a desirable place to live. Tree-lined streets provide a suburban-like atmosphere within the city. Chestnut Hill has many stately mansions, well-maintained historic properties, and green spaces. It also supports a vibrant commercial district with upscale shops and restaurants. Chestnut Hill is in the Northwest part of Philadelphia. Known for its architecture, the area features a mix of Victorian and Colonial Revival which contribute to its unique character.

Germantown Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Chestnut Hill, contains several boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Chestnut Hill is home to cultural attractions like the Woodmere Art Museum, and the Morris Arboretum, a beautiful public garden and arboretum. The neighborhood contains much natural beauty, with numerous parks and green spaces. Wissahickon Valley Park is nearby. The park offers over 50 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Anglers visit Wissahickon Creek, which park officials stock with trout.

While it has a suburban feel, Chestnut Hill is easily accessible to Center City Philadelphia via regional rail service on the Chestnut Hill West and Chestnut Hill East Lines of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). According to local resident and history-buff Frank Perch, “The extension of the railroad lines into Chestnut Hill in the 19th century greatly influenced the growth of the neighborhood as both an affluent suburb and a summer resort. The elegant Wissahickon Inn survives today as the main building of a private school, and the Philadelphia Cricket Club remains in operation.”

Street view of Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Germantown Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Chestnut Hill, has plenty of boutiques and restaurants.

©InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Discover the Highest Point in Philadelphia: Relatively Speaking…

So how does the highest point in Philadelphia stack up relative to other major cities? Philadelphia is generally not as high above sea level as other major U.S. cities. Philadelphia’s elevation varies across the city but typically ranges from sea level to 146 feet (44m) above sea level. This elevation is relatively low compared to cities in the Western United States. Denver, for example, is the Mile-High City due to its elevation of 5,280 feet (1,609 meters), one mile above sea level. Gulf Coast cities, like New Orleans, at 6.5 feet (2 m), are generally lower.

Denver, Colorado (I-25 / I-225 interchange):5,696 feet (1736 M)
Atlanta, Georgia (Kennesaw Mountain):1,808 feet (551 m)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(Brashear Reservoir at the top of Observatory Hill):
1,370 feet (417.5 m)
Dallas, Texas (Cedar Hill):830 feet (253 m)
Chicago, Illinois (Beverly, formerly Blue Island):672 feet (205 m)
Washington, D.C. (Mount Reno):409 feet (125 m)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Summit Street Chestnut Hill):146 feet (44 m)
Dover, Deleware:56 feet (18 m)
New Orleans, Louisiana (Couturie Forest Arboretum):6.5 feet (2 m)

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Zachary Chung Pun/

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About the Author

Kathryn Koehler is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her focus is on unusual animals, places, and events. Kat has over 20 years of experience as a professional writer and educator. She holds a master's degree from Vanderbilt University. When she is not writing for A-Z-Animals, Kat enjoys puttering in her garden, baking deliciously healthful treats for her family, and playing with her two rescue mutts, Popcorn and Scooter. She resides in Tennessee.

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