The historic Philadelphia sites attract visitors from all over the world. From the place where the Declaration of Independence was drafted to the site of the first Continental Congress to the Liberty Bell that symbolizes the very freedom we cherish – it’s all here.
The historic area encompasses approximately 15 city blocks, from Walnut Street north to Race Street, and 6th Street east to 2nd Street. This area is very walkable and there are plenty of parking options. On a nice day, you can walk the entire city and park anywhere from Penn’s Landing up to Boat House Row. If the weather is less than agreeable, you can hop on SEPTA and take advantage of Philadelphia’s mass transit system.
If you’re planning a day to visit the historic Philadelphia sites, here are the can’t miss areas you’ll want to see:
Cast in 1753 by John Pass and John Stow, it was made for the Pennsylvania State House, which is present day Independence Hall. The inscription on the bell is from the Bible and reads, “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10). The bell rang to announce public meetings and announcements. Abolitionists first coined the term, “Liberty Bell”, and the bell traveled around the country as a symbol of freedom. The Liberty Bell is located at 526 Market Street.. It can get crowded on weekends and holidays, so plan accordingly if you can.
Independence Hall is the most historic Philadelphia building. It literally marks the birthplace of freedom. It is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted; It’s Assembly Room witnessed the very first debates on human liberties and inalienable rights; and it served as the Nation’s Capitol from 1790 to 1800.
If you’re visiting Philadelphia, you’ll want to plan your trip around the availability / tour time for here. Independence Hall is located at 520 Chestnut Street. You can register for advance tickets on the NPS Independence Hall website
National Constitution Center:
Only 4 pages long, the United States Constitution changed the world we live in today. The first 10 amendments, Bill of Rights, offer rights, freedoms, and protections that no other sovereignty had dared in 1791 (date ratified). One of the few original copies that exist is on public display, here in the National Constitution Center.
This modern 160,000 square-foot facility has theaters, interactive programs, and much more. It’s located at 525 Arch St. and at the center of historic Philadelphia activity.
The above 3 areas are the big attractions, but by no means all-inclusive of all that there is to see & do. Our family also enjoys walking around Franklin Court (314 Market Street), the site of Ben Franklin’s house with a walk-thru area of this great inventor, debater, statesmen, and printer.
Some other attractions that I’d add to the list of things to see include the Betsy Ross House, Carpenters Hall, and the Declaration House. Also be sure to check out the activities scheduled for the day to see what lines up with your schedule and mood. We spent some time just outside of Independence Hall where the kids were able to play with some Colonial toys (hoop & stick, drums, etc…). And while there, the boys were ‘enlisted’ in the Colonial Army and trained to march in the newly formed platoon. Good time and lots of laughs!
If you have an appetite for some fine dining, founding-father-style, there is no better spot than Philadelphia’s City Tavern. Established in 1773, the City Tavern was the meeting place and unofficial caucus space of our Founding Fathers during our Country’s critical first years. It’s the location where Paul Revere came in to tell John Adams that the British had closed Boston harbor. And it’s hallowed walls heard much of the 1st Continental Congresses off-line debates. If you have time for a nice sit down meal, you can’t get any more Colonial than this!
Another idea that our family really enjoyed, was Ride the Ducks! This highly-entertaining amphibious journey takes you around the historic district and into the Delaware River for a ride your family won’t forget.
Have a great trip to Philadelphia!