A Guide to Philadelphia’s Historical Sites
Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and the Birthplace of the United State of America. For people who are fans of history, Philadelphia’s Historic District offers a unique opportunity to walk through the city’s famed cobblestone streets; the same streets where our founding fathers experienced many pivotal moments in American History. With so many different, historic buildings and sites to see, it’s easy to miss one! Don’t pass over a single stop on your visit to Philadelphia with our comprehensive guide of historical sites to see.
Most people have gone their entire lives without seeing the Constitution in person, but still, the document has such a dramatic influence on their lives. For those who do not know, the United States Constitution binds and governs American society as we know it. Similarly, the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, provide the framework to American civic life. For the few that have seen the Constitution in person, possibly in a high school history class, another visit to the National Constitution Center can never come too soon.
Through interactive exhibits, short films and interesting artifacts, the National Constitution Center brings history back to life. From the creation of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights to the current impact on American society, everyone can learn something new at the National Constitution Center. Even young children visiting the museum will enjoy interacting with the 42 life-sized replica statues of the Constitution’s signers.
The National Constitution Center’s hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. all other days.
Renowned as an inventor, scientist, writer and thinker, Benjamin Franklin is celebrated at the museum that bears his name. Visitors can learn about the different hobbies of the Renaissance man, view many of his inventions and learn about how the ideals he celebrated still influence American society today. Interactive exhibits and computer animations make this a fun pick for families with children.
Additionally, outside the current museum stands a metal “ghost house,” which shows the original location of Franklin’s home and print shop.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tickets are required for admission.
A visit to the Museum of the American Revolution can lend context to your Philadelphia historical tour. This museum traces the colonies from foundation through the Revolution. Exhibits on George Washington, including the military tent he used during the Revolutionary War, show the commanding side of the man who became The United States of America’s first president. Along with historic artifacts, you will find artworks from the colonies, soldiers’ diaries and military weapons.
The Museum of the American Revolution is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the last entry is granted one hour before closing. During summer evenings, the museum offers extended hours.
Seamstress Betsy Ross is widely credited with making the original American flag. Her home, which dates from the 1740’s, is open to visitors. It’s a fascinating sight for its diminutive doorways and small rooms. Historical interpretation brings the past to life and allows travelers to learn more about the mysterious woman who agreed to create the flag when asked by George Washington. This is one historical site that’s great for all ages, as there is special programming for children.
Betsy Ross’s House is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, March through November 30, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday December 1 through February 28.
Weighing more than 2,000 pounds, the Liberty Bell is an icon of freedom worldwide. The large, cracked bell originally sat atop the site of the Pennsylvania colony’s provincial assembly, and rang out in July of 1776 to announce that the Second Continental Congress had voted for independence.
The bell was later adopted as a symbol of freedom and liberty by the abolitionist movement. During the Cold War, Americans looked to the bell as a symbol of American ideals. The Liberty Bell Center displays the bell and includes a History Channel documentary about the icon, so you can learn about the bell’s creation, history and meaning.
Admission to the Liberty Bell Center is free, and no tickets are required. Liberty Bell Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Independence Hall is where the Second Constitutional Congress convened in 1776 and where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Today, park rangers lead informative tours of the site and bring history to life with colorful anecdotes. Original documents and artifacts, such as the chair George Washington sat in, are on display.
During peak season, which is from March to December, tickets are required to tour Independence Hall and are best reserved in advance. If you did not plan ahead, you have a few options during your visit. Same-day tickets are released starting at 8:30 a.m. Plan to arrive shortly thereafter to get your preferred time. Annual free days include July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. During January and February, and on summer evenings after 5 p.m., no tickets are required.
The Philadelphia Mint offers a deep dive into something many people take for granted: Coins. The Philadelphia Mint manufacturers currency coins, commemorative coins and medals. On a free tour of the Mint, you will learn about the production of coins, from the design phase through die cutting and coin production. Coin buffs can’t miss the shop, where you can purchase commemorative coins. While you can buy U.S. coins online anytime, the Philadelphia Mint is one of the only places you can handle the coins.
The U.S. Philadelphia Mint is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Mint adds Saturday hours to their rotation.
Want to Retire in the City of Brotherly Love?
If you love visiting Philadelphia, consider retiring in the city, which offers activities and entertainment for all ages. PPH offers independent living, rehabilitation and skilled nursing in Philadelphia. For nearly 130 years, we have provided high-quality senior care to our valued residents. To learn more about our senior living community, contact us.