Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

May 10 2016

Iconic Landmarks Recount Philadelphia's Political History

Independence Hall, Carpenter’s Hall & Other Locations Provide The Backdrop For The 2016 Democratic National Convention

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.

Here are a few iconic locations with deeply rooted connections to the American political process:

Declaring Independence:

  • The first organized grumblings of discontent with the British crown bubbled up when delegates from 12 colonies assembled in Carpenters’ Hall for the First Continental Congress in 1774. The contentious meeting resulted in a defiant trade embargo against England and inspired Patrick Henry’s fiery oratory. An acclaimed example of Georgian architecture, Carpenter’s Hall still displays the delegates’ chairs and the original banner carried during the 1788 Constitutional parade. 320 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-0167,
  • Each night, after delegates argued and debated their next move, Thomas Jefferson retired to his rented rooms in the High Street home of Jacob Graff to contemplate the colonies future. In what is known as the Declaration (Graff) House, Jefferson drafted what would become one of the world’s most influential documents, the Declaration of Independence. 7th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305,
  • Risking “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor,” 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House, now Independence Hall, defying both the blistering summer heat of 1776 and the King of England to launch the colonies to independence. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states convened in the same hallowed building to shape the U.S. Constitution, creating a unified nation and designing a form of government never before seen. 520 Chestnut Street, (215) 965-2305,
  • When the British army occupied Philadelphia, they took over the Powel House, relegating its protesting owners, Elizabeth and Mayor Samuel Powel, to the servants’ quarters. Years later, delegates to the Continental Congress of 1787 continued their sometimes vehement debates at the Powel House as they framed the U.S. Constitution. The fourth amendment banning unreasonable search and seizure speaks directly to the Powel’s experience. 244 S. 3rd Street, (215) 627-0364,
  • During the summer of 1776, the Founding Fathers wrapped up their daily discussions at the State House and decamped to City Tavern, where they practiced the fine art of politics over a meal and mugs of ale. Reopened in 1976, City Tavern recreates that Colonial dining experience as staff attired in 18th-century dress serve 18th-century victuals and beverages. 138 S. 2nd Street, (215) 413-1443,

A Fledgling Nation:

  • If the walls of Congress Hall could talk, they’d provide the lowdown on the debates that took place when representatives and senators from the fledgling nation assembled here. Located next to Independence Hall, the House of Representatives met on the first floor (Lower House), which looks as it did for John Adams’ inauguration in 1797, with desks for 106 representatives from 16 states. The Senate convened on the second floor (Upper House) in more elaborate quarters that boast carpeting adorned with an American eagle encircled by the seals of the 13 original states. 6th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 965-2305,
  • When the Yellow Fever epidemic swept through the city in 1793, President Washington decamped to his country home in Germantown, about 10 miles from Old City. There, at the Deshler-Morris House, also known as the Germantown White House, he met with his cabinet and conducted business, and returned the next year for a summer escape.
    5442 Germantown Avenue, (215) 596-1748,
  • One of the first rulings on states’ rights was decided at Old City Hall in 1793, when the Supreme Court heard the case of Chisholm versus Georgia. At issue was whether the central government had jurisdiction over the state of Georgia and if “the people of the United States form a nation.” Ultimately, it was agreed that Georgia was subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court. 5th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 965-2305,
  • Before becoming a gallery featuring more than 100 portraits of 18th- and 19th-century political leaders, military officers, explorers and scientists, the Second Bank of the United States, chartered by Congress in 1816, was the focal point of the banking wars between financier Nicholas Biddle and President Andrew Jackson. Strongly believing the bank was unconstitutional and a threat to republican ideals, Jackson’s anti-bank stance was a critical campaign issue and one reason he defeated opponent Henry Clay. Chestnut Street between 4th & 5th Streets, (215) 965-2305,
  • America’s favorite Founding Father was also one of the most politically adroit. At the Benjamin Franklin Museum, visitors can follow the life of the statesman/diplomat/inventor and his influence in shaping governmental policy in America and abroad. 317 Chestnut Street, (215) 965-2305,

An Evolving Country:

  • Independence Square has long been the focus of individuals and groups exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and speak freely. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke on Independence Square, as did Susan B. Anthony, who interrupted the Fourth of July centennial celebration to deliver the Women’s Declaration of Rights. In 1965, the first organized gay rights demonstration took place in front of Independence Hall. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Chestnut & Walnut Streets, (215) 965-2305,
  • The paradox of a nation fighting for its freedom while allowing the practice of slavery is told in The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Marking of a New Nation. Built over the remains of the executive mansion, where President George Washington resided and held nine enslaved people, the open-air memorial utilizes timelines, videos and archaeological fragments to depict this powerful and challenging story. 600 Market Street, (215) 965-2305,
  • The Liberty Bell Center recounts the history of the world’s most famous bell, from its role of summoning lawmakers to session and alerting citizens of public meetings to serving as an international symbol of freedom and justice. The inscription “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” inspired abolitionists in their quest to eliminate slavery, suffragists in their fight for women’s rights and leaders worldwide in the fight for civil rights. 526 Market Street, (215) 965-2305,
  • At the National Constitution Center, visitors experience artifacts, live performances, interactive exhibits and special exhibitions, including one of 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights. It’s the only institution in America where people of all perspectives across the country and around the globe can debate, celebrate and educate themselves about one of the greatest visions of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. The interactive Headed to the White House exhibition, on view through November 8, 2016, takes visitors through the electoral process, from the moment a candidate announces their campaign to the presidential swearing-in ceremony. Visitors will discover how elections have evolved over time, create and star in their own ad campaigns, work with an interactive speech coach and take a seat behind the desk in the Oval Office. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

  • E-mail

Related Releases

Jan 19 2018

31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions In 2017

Fact Sheet

Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2017. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk*.

Historical Sites & Attractions:
1. African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP)* – Founded in 1976, AAMP is the first institution in a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The core exhibit Audacious Freedom takes a fresh, bold look at African-Americans’ role in the founding of the nation; other exhibits and programs explore the history, present and future of the African diaspora in the U.S. 701 Arch Street, (215)

Jun 19 2017

A First-Timer's Guide To Philadelphia

Iconic Sites & Bites Give Visitors An Experience That’s Distinctly Philly

From its fascinating museums and vibrant parks to its national historic sites and famous (and delicious) food, Philadelphia offers plenty to see, do and taste. First-time visitors need to do some planning to fully experience what the City of Brotherly Love is all about. Here’s the ultimate guide for those who are new to the country’s first World Heritage City:

Historical Hotspots:

  • Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence. Eleven
May 10 2017

What's In Old City And Along The Delaware River Waterfront?

Two Historic District Neighborhoods Offer Restaurants, Art Galleries, Nightlife, Shopping—And History

Located just next to Independence Mall, where the country’s Founding Fathers declared liberty and built a free nation, Old City, part of Philadelphia’s Historic District, boasts charming cobblestone streets and plenty of 18th-century charm—along with an independent streak that’s evident in everything from its owner-operated shops to its edgy art scene.

Its proximity to the Liberty Bell, Penn’s Landing and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge make Old City a favorite for out-of-towners as much as for the residents who call it home. People love the neighborhood for its fashionable boutiques, great restaurants, eclectic galleries, boundary-pushing theaters and vibrant nightlife.

Feb 21 2017

Essential Revolutionary War Sites Surround Philadelphia, Headquarters Of The American Revolution

Sites Throughout The Region Recount America’s Fight For Independence

Long before the first musket shot was fired in Lexington in 1775, the seeds of the American Revolution were taking root in Philadelphia as colonists declared their independence and began preparing for war. Since the April 19, 2017 opening of the Museum of the American Revolution, visitors are discovering the complex and sometimes painful path to independence—a story that’s told both within the museum’s walls and at sites and attractions scattered throughout Philadelphia, the headquarters of the Revolution, and its surrounding countryside.
For visitors eager to delve into this tumultuous time in history, the Museum of the American Revolution—located in

Feb 16 2017

Alexander Hamilton's Legacy Remains Strong In Philadelphia's Historic District

Visitors Can Go Beyond Broadway & Follow Hamilton’s Philadelphia Footsteps

Freedom fighter, statesman, financial genius, adulterer. Fans of the blockbuster hit Hamilton know some of the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, but there is plenty more to discover in Philadelphia’s Historic District. The new Museum of the American Revolution, opening on April 19, 2017, will offer a glimpse into the Hamilton-Washington bro-mance. A tale debuting this summer from the Once Upon A Nation storytellers will get to the root of the fatal Hamilton-Burr duel. And in Independence Hall, National Park Service rangers often regale visitors with accounts of heated debates Hamilton engaged in about the U.S. Constitution. Just beyond the

Jul 5 2016

A First-Timer's Guide To Philadelphia

Iconic Sites & Bites Give Visitors An Experience That’s Distinctly Philly

While Philadelphia offers a variety of authentic and top-notch attractions, exploring this vibrant city takes some planning—especially for first-time visitors. With so much to see, do and taste, it’s challenging for a novice to know where to begin in the country’s first World Heritage City. From the historic Liberty Bell to the deliciously indulgent cheesesteak, here’s a look at Philly 101:

Historical Hotspots:

  • Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Jun 16 2016

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:

  1. 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
May 20 2016

Nighttime Is The Right Time To Return To Philadelphia's Historic District

Music, Dancing, Tours & More Add Modern Twists To The Original City After Dark

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.:

Family Fun:
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

Dec 21 2017

What’s In The Neighborhood?

Washington Square West

Washington Square West is a historic Center City neighborhood named for a 17th-century park and including the vibrant enclaves of Midtown Village and the Gayborhood. Named “Southeast Square” in 1682, Washington Square originally served as a grazing pasture, potter’s field and gathering spot for early African-Americans—who dubbed the park “Congo Square”—on the edge of the original city of Philadelphia. Today, modern residences surround the park, now home to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, a sycamore moon tree and a steady stream of visitors. To Washington Square’s north are the 150 jewelry merchants of Jewelers’ Row.