Tourists riding in a horse drawn carriage in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Exploring Philadelphia: Must-See Attractions for History Buffs

Tourists riding in a horse drawn carriage in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Exploring Philadelphia: Must-See Attractions for History Buffs

From the Liberty Bell to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there is plenty to see during your visit to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia boasts a rich history. From the First Continental Congress held in Carpenter’s Hall to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Betsy Ross’ creation of the American flag, The City of Brotherly Love has deep roots that date back to the founding of America. Whether you want to snap a selfie with the Liberty Bell between meetings or visit the site where the nation’s first two presidents lived at the end of your business day, you can count on Philadelphia’s must-see attractions to show you the past is alive and well.
With historical reenactments, lively tour guides, and a public transportation system that takes visitors around the historic district, the city offers plenty of opportunities to go exploring any day of the week. Whether it’s your first visit or your fifth, you can’t miss these historical hotspots.

The Liberty Bell

Once intended for use at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell — with its famous crack — is a national symbol. Now located in an exhibit at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, the bell is open for visits seven days a week. Admission is free, and you should probably expect to spend an hour exploring the area. An adjacent museum with exhibits chronicles the Liberty Bell’s use throughout history and shows a short History Channel film.

The Liberty Bell with tourists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Source: Shutterstock

Independence Hall

As the site of early congressional meetings and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Independence Hall was at the very center of the American Revolution. After the war, it housed the three branches of the U.S. government. View the original rooms just as they were laid out in the 1700s, and be sure to take a peek at George Washington’s “rising sun” chair in the Assembly Room. The building is a free museum that is open every day, except Christmas. Hours vary by season, and tickets are available onsite.

Betsy Ross House

Originally the home and upholstery shop of Betsy Ross, the seamstress of America’s first flag, the Betsy Ross House is now a thriving museum. Whether you want to experience cooking like a colonial or making five-point stars, you can take advantage of numerous interactive exhibits featured in the home. The site also features several personal items belonging to the Ross family, and the tour guide version of Betty Ross is onsite most days to entertain children with tales of the colonial era. The museum is open daily from early March to the end of November.

American flag waving in front of historic home of Betsy Ross in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Source: Shutterstock

The President’s House

The President’s House sits on the site of the original presidential house where George Washington and John Adams lived. The open-air museum honors the enslaved African-Americans who lived and worked at the site. The free 24-hour site showcases illustrated timeline panels and powerful short videos that take visitors through the history of the property, the building of a nation, and the paradox of slavery under the roof of a house that stood for freedom.

City Tavern

If historical sightseeing makes you hungry, stop by City Tavern to experience colonial dining at its finest. The tavern’s entire menu focuses on authentic 18th century dishes. Try delicious turkey pot pie or West Indies pepperpot served by friendly waiters dressed in authentic period garb. Don’t forget to try some colonial baked goods with your meal, and stop by the gift shop after dining. City Tavern has rotating hours depending on the season, so be sure to call or book a reservation online in advance.

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