10 Top-Rated Historic Attractions in Philadelphia That You Should Not Miss (2022)
When you are in the city of American Birth, you should never miss exploring the Historic attractions and landmarks. The Historical Attractions in Philadelphia are undoubtedly the largest contributing factor in shaping the Nation as well as the tourism here. Whether it is the Iconic Independence Hall or the most famous Liberty Bell, Philadelphia houses some of the prominent historical attractions of the United States. No matter whether you are a history buffs or a fan of old days stories, the state of Philadelphia is full of opportunities.
Travelers from all around the world, specifically the ones who are curious about American History, unarguably mark Philadelphia as their favorite city. On a beautiful sunny day, you can walk in the footsteps of the Founders of the United States, or in case the heat rises, you can peacefully enjoy the vibes of historical museums in the city. Of course, the first thought about metropolitan Philadelphia is slightly different today, but once you begin shuffling pages back in time, the picture changes completely.
10 Top-Rated Historic Attractions in Philadelphia That You Should Not Miss
To get into details, have a look at our ultimate itinerary.
1. Independence Hall
When we talk about History and historic places in Philadelphia, nothing is ever greater than Independence Hall. It is where the Independence and Constitution of America were debated, drafted, and adopted. Anyone who is a nationalist must someday visit this historic civic building and learn how the United States was actually formed. Because Independence Hall still is a highly prominent and functional government structure, visitors can only get inside via guided tours. You would have to pass a few securities screenings as well. Tours here begin every 15 minutes and last no longer than half an hour. Visitors are allowed to see the Assembly Rooms where the birth of America was officially declared. Apart from that, visitors can explore the exteriors freely.
2. Liberty Bell
The most popular Historic attraction in Philadelphia, you cannot miss the Liberty bell while visiting Independence Hall. Liberty Bell is American Independence’s iconic symbol that has been an important part of the journey. It depicts freedom and justice and is in existence since 1751, over two centuries now. The bell has one verse from the Bible engraved on it stating, ‘Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants’. It has rung several times during its functional lifetime, but after 1915, it hasn’t been on the roads again due to its physical condition. Today, you can come and view this iconic symbol on a first-come, first-serve basis (no entry fee required).
3. Christ Church
One of the oldest attractions in Philadelphia and most historic shrines of America, the Christ Church is a must-visit. It is an Episcopal Church, founded back in 1695, though the building you would see today was built in the mid-1700s. It is also one of the two buildings that have held all 56 signers of the declaration of Independence. Christ Church has been in service for the last 322 years, and since that, it hasn’t missed a Sunday Prayer yet. If you have still haven’t been here, make sure you pay a visit inside and learn stories about Washington, Franklin, and several other individuals from the Colonial Era. Also, if you want to spend some time in a warm and peaceful environment, there isn’t a better place around than the Christ Church. Image Source:
4. Christ Church Burial Ground/Cemetery
Christ Church is not only the spiritually prominent sight, but there’s much more for you to explore here. From Benjamin Franklin to the four fathers of Independence (the four others who signed the declaration of Independence) all were buried here. Located on the outskirts of the town, Christ Church Burial ground is where hundreds of notable Revolutionary, Post-Revolutionary, and colonials are resting afterlife. One of the popular visiting traditions here is, Visitors, toss a penny through the formerly locked gates to honor Benjamin Franklin, and you can find a lot of them doing the same every day. When here, walk through the old pathways, view the old headstones, and pay homage to those who formed the Nation you live in today.
5. Betsy Ross House
A must-visit tourist attraction in Philadelphia, the Betsy Ross House is located in the Old City neighborhood. Wondering about its historical importance? The Betsy Ross House is known as the ‘Birthplace of American Flag’ as the first flag of the U.S.A. was sewed here. The house today is still alive with the sounds and sights of the 18th century. Here you can also visit the Betsy Ross burial in the courtyard right next to or shop for memorabilia from the nearby shop. Tours here are operated on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day, and a few other nationally important days. It is also one of the cheaper museums where you can learn about prominent historical stories that though aren’t preached much about.
6. Elfreth’s Alley and Museum
An exceptional example of early American buildings, the Elfreth’s Alley is one of the must-see historical attractions in Philadelphia’s historic city. It is basically a historic street with 32 houses on either side, with houses number 124 and 126 being home to the Elfreth’s Alley Museum. Out of all the 32 homes, only the two museum homes are open for public exploration today. Within this one single street, you can come along 300 years of History from 1703 till now. Elfreth’s Alley is also the oldest continuously inhabited street in the United States. All throughout the year, here, you can enjoy the historical re-enactments and demonstrations along with several other fun festivities and events. Fête Day in early June and Deck the Alley in early December is one of the prominent events to attend.
7. Valley Forge National Historical Park
A must-visit historical site in Philadelphia, the Valley Forge National Historical Park is a prominent site of the American Revolutionary war. It is a site of winter encampment 1777 to 1778 of the Continental Army. Later on, it became a National historical park in 1976, and since then, the entire 3,500 acres have been explored by over 1 million visitors every year. There’s so much to see inside the park, including memorials, museums, recreated encampment structures, historic buildings, along with recreational centers. Apart from the well-laid stop, there are 26 miles of hiking and biking trails that take one along a beautiful journey of nature and its belongings. Wildlife watching, fishing, and boating are other popular activities inside the park.
8. Eastern State Penitentiary
If you are a Pennsylvanian, you must surely have heard about the Eastern State Penitentiary. Once the most expensive and popular prison in the world, the Eastern State Penitentiary today serves as a prominent historical landmark. Presently visitors from all over the Nation come here to explore the haunting world of crumbling cellblocks; however, doing so is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience on its own. During its time of operations, the prison has held the most notorious criminals of America, including some world-known gangster Al Capone. Walking through the cells, you can hear the stories of inmates via audio narrated by the actor Steve Buscemi. If you happen to celebrate Halloween in Philadelphia, consider visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary and enjoying one of the Nation’s scariest walk-through affairs.
9. National Constitution Centre
The most hands-on history museum in America, the National Constitution Centre, is a must-visit historical landmark when in Philadelphia. These 160,000 facilities are home to several historic artifacts though the one highlighted amongst them are the few copies of the first public printing of the Constitution. The museum is right next to (two blocks away) the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and serves as both museum and educational hubs for the Nation. The Cast brown statues of the founding father of the United States and other men are notedly the prominent feature here, and you can find visitors getting clicked with them. The exhibit of Civil War is another excellence here.
10. Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square is a neighborhood and public park, notedly one of the few highest-income urban neighborhoods of the United States. The History of this neighborhood dates back to the early 1800s when the five Centre City public squares were laid by the founder of Pennsylvania, William Pen. After multiple names, Rittenhouse Square got its permanent name after the popular astronomer and clockmaker, David Rittenhouse. From a historic perspective today, you can see the Lion Crushing a Serpent sculpture and Paul Manship’s Duck Girl, both made of bronze cast by the popular artists of the time. Albert Laessle’s Billy, Evelyn Taylor Price Memorial Sundial, and Cornelia Van A. Chapin’s Giant Frog are another historic valuable here. Though not just historical, Rittenhouse is a hub for fun, entertainment, and engaging activities.
Important TIP: Most of the historical attractions in Philadelphia, including the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, and other places of National importance, are always under high-security surveillance. While visiting all such places, make sure you do not carry along any controversial object, or it might land you in trouble.