Historic District Itinerary

Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continuously-inhabited residential street in America. Photo by Kyle Huff for PHLCVB.


You won’t miss out on your fill of American history in Philadelphia during the federal government shutdown.

The city known as “America’s birthplace” has something for every history buff.


  • Start at the Independence Visitor Center, providing information, free amenities, Philadelphia-themed souvenirs, and ticket sales for more than 100 attractions and tours that are also open, in the Historic District and throughout the region.

 

  • Exit the visitor center onto Market Street and cross the street to stroll the President’s House Commemorative Site. Circle around the back of the Liberty Bell Center to gaze upon and snap a photo of the iconic symbol of freedom through the glass window. Then, take a photo in front of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted.

 

  • Head down Chestnut Street to Carpenters’ Hall, the site of the First Continental Congress in 1774. Then, on to the Museum of the American Revolution, for a primer on America’s beginnings and an overview of the historical sites located throughout the Philadelphia region.

 

  • Lunch options include City Tavern, where costumed servers will bring you authentic Colonial dishes. Try an authentic Philly cheesesteak at family-owned Campo’s on Market Street in Old City. Visit the historic Bourse, once home to the nation’s first commodities exchange market. The 123-year old building has been restored to its original glory and lives on as the home to an artisanal food hall with nearly 30 food and drink vendors.

 

  • See where George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross worshipped at Christ Church. Visit the nation’s first post office and print shop and the remains of Ben Franklin’s Market Street home outside of the Benjamin Franklin Museum and then wander through Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously-inhabited street in America.

 

  • Visit the Betsy Ross House where the Philadelphia patriot believed to have made the first American flag – and see how working-class people lived in Colonial Philadelphia.

 

  • Head up Arch Street and pass Christ Church Burial Ground and see Ben Franklin’s grave. Experience making money at the source with a free, self-guided tour of the U.S. Mint, which includes a view of coining operations from 40 feet above the factory floor. Reservations are not required for this 45-minute tour, available to the public Monday through Friday. Explore the dramatic story of the U.S. Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present at the National Constitution Center.

 

MORE AMERICAN HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The National Museum of American Jewish History: The only major national museum dedicated to telling the story of the Jewish people in America from 1654 to present. 
  • National Liberty Museum: See an exact replica of the Liberty Bell that you can touch at this museum that celebrates American heroes and the ideals of freedom, honoring more than 1,000 outstanding individuals of all ethnic backgrounds.
  • Battleship New Jersey Memorial & Museum: Tour the Navy’s most decorated warship and visit simulated operations areas spanning five deck levels.
  • The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia: See more than 20 sites on a 75-minute walking adventure through Historic Philadelphia. Group tours year round.
  • Fireman’s Hall Museum: Located in a restored firehouse, the Fireman’s Hall Museum features all the history and heroic moments of firefighting in Philadelphia. Visitors can peruse the museum’s various exhibits and attend its public programs.
  • Independence Seaport Museum: Explore the region’s maritime heritage with interactive exhibits, magnificent ship models and more than 14,000 artifacts. Visit Admiral Dewey’s 1892 cruiser Olympia and the World War II submarine, Becuna.
  • Once Upon A Nation: The sights and sounds of Colonial Philadelphia come alive through a cast of storytellers who take to the streets sharing Philadelphia’s rich past through interesting tales.
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia: Explore the history and stories of African-American people and those of the African Diaspora.

 

Many historic attractions are not impacted by the federal government shutdown. Follow #OpenInPHL for updates on what’s open and what’s not.


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