Releases: Expanded View
Fact Sheet: Historic Philadelphia Trail
The birthplace of the nation is rich in history—and plenty of it. Philadelphia's Historic District Trail guides visitors to 24 essential sites in the area, which spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard Streets. This is the original city. It boasts serious historical cred, but it’s also home to buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, owner-operated boutiques and pushing-the boundaries art galleries.
Here is the 24-stop essential guide, available at visitphilly.com/historic:
- Visitors can head to the Independence Visitor Center to pick up their timed tickets to Independence Hall and get expert Philly tips. 6th & Market Streets, (800) 537-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
- The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation tells the stories of Hercules, Oney Judge and the other enslaved people who served George and Martha Washington. The open-air site is open until 10 p.m. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- It doesn’t make a sound, but its message rings loud and clear: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” The inscription on the cracked but mighty Liberty Bell is one reason it became a symbol to abolitionists, suffragists and other freedom-seekers around the world. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- Independence Hall is where it all happened. Where the upstart colonies declared independence and where representatives from a young nation framed its Constitution. Check out the original copy of the U.S. Constitution in the adjacent West Wing. 6th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- It’s all about science, art and history, so it’s no surprise that the American Philosophical Society (APS) was another of Ben Franklin’s ideas. Exhibitions come from APS’s collection of nearly 14 million early American manuscripts, maps, Native American languages, scientific instruments and more. 104 S. 5th Street, (215) 440-3400, amphilsoc.org
- The National Museum of American Jewish History brings to life the 360-year history of Jews in America. Among the treasures in the free first-floor gallery are Einstein’s pipe and Spielberg’s first camera. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
- Coming soon! In 2017, the Museum of the American Revolution opens with immersive galleries, dynamic theaters and recreated environments that bring to life the events, people and ideals of the founding of the United States. 3rd & Chestnut Streets, (215) 253-6731, amrevmuseum.org
- Inventor. Statesman. Postmaster. Printer. The story of the life and accomplishments of America’s favorite Founding Father are revealed at Franklin Court, which includes a museum, printing office and post office that still marks mail with a “B. Free Franklin” hand-stamped postmark. 322 Market Street, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- The Second Bank of the United States paints a picture of America’s roots. The walls are lined with portraits of the nation’s earliest movers and shakers. Just steps away is the First Bank, which although closed to the public, boasts a photo-worthy exterior. 420 Chestnut Street, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- Spying. Upheaval. Revolution. Those feisty colonists fanned the flames of independence during the First Continental Congress at Carpenters’ Hall. 320 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-0167, carpentershall.org
- Ahoy, matey. The Independence Seaport Museum is the place for boat-loving visitors. The Cruiser Olympia and World War II submarine Becuna are also part of the experience.
Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org
- Whatever the season, there’s always something fun going on at Penn’s Landing—situated along the Delaware River, where founder William Penn first arrived in Philadelphia. Think festivals, concerts, free movies, beer gardens, yoga, roller skating and ice skating. Columbus Boulevard between Chestnut & Spruce Streets, (215) 922-2386, delawareriverwaterfront.com
- Christ Church is nicknamed “America’s Church” for good reason. George Washington, Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin and John Adams worshipped here, and Reverend Absalom Jones was ordained here. Nearby is the who’s who burial ground of the Colonial era. Tossing a penny on Franklin’s grave is a favorite tradition. Church, 20 N. American Street; Burial Ground, 5th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-1695, christchurchphila.org
- It doesn’t get more charming than Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest continuously inhabited street, where visitors tiptoe along the cobblestones and explore the quaint museum. 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley, (215) 627-8680, elfrethsalley.org
- What’s a Colonial widow to do when she has an upholstery shop to run, a family to raise, a (very tiny) household to run and a flag to sew for a new nation? The answers are at the Betsy Ross House. 239 Arch Street, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
- They were only four pages, but they changed the world. At the National Constitution Center, visitors can take the presidential oath of office, sign the U.S. Constitution and learn about the American way of government. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600, constitutioncenter.org
- Wheee! A carousel ride is just part of the fun at Franklin Square. Philly-themed mini-golf, playgrounds, a burger stand and lots of family-friendly events make this one of the liveliest of William Penn’s five original squares. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
- At The African American Museum in Philadelphia, artwork and artifacts showcase African history and culture of the Diaspora. Octavius Cato, Richard Allen and other trailblazers tell their stories through modern-day video technology. 7th & Arch Streets, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
- Such a tiny house (by 21st-century standards) to hold such big ideas. Known as the Declaration House, the home of Jacob Graff hosted Thomas Jefferson as he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Hours are limited; information on tour times is available at the Independence Visitor Center. 7th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- Visitors can stroll on the world’s largest walkable Philadelphia map at the Philadelphia History Museum and then check out the exhibits that show how Philly got to be, well, Philly. 15 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830, philadelphiahistory.org
- History permeates the atmosphere at Washington Square, a former animal pasture and burial ground. Today it’s a peaceful and popular place for picnicking and playing. 6th & Walnut Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
- Pay homage to A.M.E. Church founder and first bishop Richard Allen, who is buried at Mother Bethel. In the church museum, sacred artifacts trace the denomination’s roots from a small congregation to an international presence. 419 S. 6th Street, (215) 925-0616, motherbethel.org
- Anyone who thinks our forefathers were stodgy should think again. Scandal erupted at the Physick House when the wife of Dr. Phillip Syng Physick, father of American surgery, left him. The Powel House was the scene of a splashy celebration honoring George and Martha’s big 20th wedding anniversary. Physick, 321 S. 4th Street, (215) 925-7866, philalandmarks.org; Powel, 44 S. 3rd Street, (215) 925-2251, philalandmarks.org
- At the National Liberty Museum, glass sculptures depict our fragile freedom. Explore stories of heroes who used their own liberty to expand freedom for all. 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800, libertymuseum.org
In spring 2016, Drexel University and VISIT PHILADELPHIA® launched a new campaign—Historic Philadelphia—to celebrate America’s most historic square mile in the country’s first World Heritage City, as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Focusing on the attractions and neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill and the Delaware River Waterfront, the campaign celebrates Philadelphia’s incomparable place in early American history and the vibrant original city neighborhoods.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, visitors can engage with costumed history makers, hear stories of the real people of independence and take part in colonial reenactments. And every day of the year, they can tour, shop, dine and drink in the area just like the founding fathers and mothers once did. For more information about all there is to see and do in Historic Philadelphia, go to visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com.
Fact Sheet: 31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions
* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2015. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia*, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African
New Reasons To Visit Historic Philadelphia This Summer
Philadelphia’s historic district—now called Historic Philadelphia—simmers with summer excitement as the city’s oldest neighborhood debuts new activities and exhibitions. Visitors launch their very own presidential campaigns in Headed to the White House at the National Constitution Center, and the Independence Seaport Museum mischievously observes sailors’ lives from the 20th century through today. Along popular Penn’s Landing, outdoor hangouts Summerfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park promise more fun than ever, and Fourth of July bash Wawa Welcome America injects fresh components to a good old-fashioned block party.
A two-day Historic Philadelphia Pass makes the must-dos even easier—and more affordable. The pass,...
Nighttime Is The Right Time To Return To Philadelphia's Historic District
As day turns to dusk and museums and landmarks close for the night, Philadelphia's Historic District is just gearing up for a night of fun. Theaters, play places and ghost tours keep youngsters amused until pajama time, while beer gardens, dance clubs and live music venues entertain the over-21 crowd well into the wee hours.
Here’s how the Historic District buzzes with activity long after the clock strikes 5 p.m.:
End-of-day play at Franklin Square includes an award-winning playground, eclectic carousel and 18-hole mini-golf course with scale versions of iconic Philadelphia landmarks (open until 9 or 10
Historic Philadelphia Timeline, 1681 To 1801
- King Charles II grants William Penn the Charter of Pennsylvania, which includes an immense tract of land as settlement of a debt owed to Penn’s father, Admiral William Penn. The King names the colony Pennsylvania in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn begins plans for his “holy experiment” and hopes it will be the “seed of a nation.” His Commonwealth will assure religious tolerance, fair trials, freedom of speech and enlightened laws.
- William Penn leaves England, sets sail across the Atlantic and arrives in Philadelphia, his “City of Brotherly Love.” Find more information at the Philadelphia History Museum,
Celebrate A Red, White And Blue July 4th In Philadelphia
Birthdays deserve big celebrations—and nobody will celebrate America’s 240th better than Philadelphia, the city where it all began. June 27 through July 4, 2016, Wawa Welcome America! will rock the town with red, white and blue festivities that culminate in a four-day weekend of free concerts featuring Tony-nominated Leslie Odom, Jr. of Broadway’s monster hit Hamilton, Bryshere Gray, also known as Yazz, of TV’s blockbuster Empire and myriad more stars of all stripes. The eight-day celebration also includes three dazzling fireworks shows, the Historic Philadelphia Block Party, parades, patriotic ceremonies, not to mention chance encounters with our Founding Fathers...
Aspiring Citizens Get Study Help With New Americans Trail
Prepping for the U.S. citizenship test is no small task, but Philadelphia’s self-guided New Americans Tour makes learning easier—and a whole lot more fun. The city contains approximately half the answers to the 100-question citizenship test study. This means aspiring citizens and others students of U.S. history can glean the knowledge they seek simply by paying visits to Philly’s historic sites and attractions. Best place to start: the Historic District, the original city—and a very pedestrian-friendly one at that. The trail is available at visitphilly.com/newamericans.
Here’s a look at the 16 tour spots:
- Betsy Ross House,
Iconic Landmarks Recount Philadelphia's Political History
When delegates gather in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention in summer 2016, all eyes will be on the nation’s birthplace. Having hosted numerous political conventions, including the 2000 Republican gathering and the 1948 conventions for all three parties (Democratic, Republican and Progressive), Philadelphia is accustomed to being in the political spotlight. It was here where disgruntled colonists created a new form of government. Today, many of the places where those meetings, debates and activities took place still stand in Historic Philadelphia, an area that spans from the Delaware River Waterfront to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard Streets....
40+ Of Philadelphia's Best Vantage Points
Filled with sensational skyline views, beautiful vistas and stunning street scenes, Philadelphia is easy on the eyes—and the lenses. Photographers and videographers covering Philadelphia for a quick news story, a full-length feature or just because have no shortage of vantage points to choose from in this city between two rivers—the Delaware on the east and the Schuylkill on the west. Here are more than 40 VISIT PHILADELPHIA-approved vantage points and insider tips for capturing just the right angle at each of them.
*Also good for man-on-the-street interviews
In Center City:
- One Liberty Observation Deck: New attraction, 883 feet
Now Playing In Philadelphia: Big Events & Openings
With 2015 comes plenty of reasons for visitors to plan a trip to Philadelphia. In fact, The New York Times ranked Philly at the #3 spot in its influential article of the
“52 Places to Go in 2015.”
So what’s on the calendar for the rest of the year? The Tall Ships festival, showing off a dozen historic ships on the Delaware River waterfront; Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, featuring 80 works by a who’s-who of painters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Down the Rabbit Hole: Celebrating 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland at...