Must See Historic Sites in Philadelphia, PA
When planning a trip to Philly you’re probably on a mission to see the amazing historic site, the Liberty Bell. After all, it is pretty famous. But, did you know that the Liberty Bell is in the middle of Independence National Historic park?
Independence National Historic Park has been around since 1948 and it consists of over 20 buildings on 55 acres of land. Talk about impressive. Check out a map here to start planning your visit. It’s tough to see everything so I’ve summed up my top 3 spots to see within the park. Certainly you should hit as many spots as you can but if you’re cramming everything into one weekend these are the 3 you need to visit.
General Park Tips
Most of the historic sites are free to enter but, Independence Hall requires a timed ticket (still free) to get into. Tickets can be picked up at the Visitor’s Center which opens at 8:30. The visitor’s center also has a cafe, restrooms and maps for the whole park. Most of the sites don’t open until 9 so you’ll have time to grab breakfast before you go. In the warmer months I highly suggest getting a portable breakfast and eating in the grass or on one of the many park benches to take in all of the sights. There are security persons and metal detectors to get into the buildings (at least the ones I went in) so be mindful of what you’re bringing with you. You’ll need to take off your jackets upon entering and put any coats and bags through a conveyor like at the airport.
If you’re American or have ever taken an American History class you’ll know this as one of the most historic sites in the USA. It’s the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, where the Articles of Confederation were adopted and where the US Constitution was enacted. In the west wing lies the original copies of all three of those documents. There is so much incredible history here that it’s my number one must see in all of Philadelphia.
Located within Independence Square, Congress Hall is exactly what it sounds like. From 1790-1800 this was home to congress and the senate while Philadelphia was the temporary US capitol. Both George Washington and John Adams has their inaugurations here. If that’s not enough history for you the Federal Mint, the Navy, and the First Bank of the US were all established here.
Located directly across from Independence square the Liberty Bell center is another must see attraction. The bell itself is located at the end of a long hallway sprinkled with everything you could ever want to know about the State House Bell (as it was originally called) and its famous crack. Believe it or not, the crack isn’t a crack at all, it was part of a repair job gone wrong! Be sure to ask the attendants any questions you may have; they know all that there is to know about the bell and its history!
There you go! The top 3 historic sites you need to see in Philadelphia. Yes, there are dozens more but these are the 3 you cannot leave town without seeing. Conveniently they’re all right next to each other so it makes for the perfect mid morning itinerary. Be sure to check out this review on the Sonesta Philadelphia if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Philly! Also, make sure you’re always looking for art, it’s everywhere in Philly. I even wrote a whole post about the best street art in Philly so you’ll have a guide!
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