Address: 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Philadelphia is an amazing city. There’s rich culture and relatively easy parking. Independence Hall is where the leaders of this British colony gathered to form a “more perfect union” that became the United States of America. Sure, Washington DC is the capitol, but it all started here. This is where the colony leaders eventually agreed upon a constitution and a resolution to separate from Britain. Before it was Independence Hall, it was known as the Pennsylvania State House and one of the only buildings large enough to accommodate everyone. I’m sure they had barns and other buildings better, but I’m glad they chose this building over a barn.
The Independence Hall is part of a larger multi-acre park located in downtown Philly. Much of the area is maintained by the US National Park Service (Don’t forget to bring your National Parks Pass). If you’d like to see the Liberty Bell, you can pretty much just show up any day (as long as it’s not too close to July 4th). But if you want a tour of Independence Hall you’d better book early at Recreation.gov. There’s a >$2 fee to book your tour (per person) and it’s relatively easy to change your tour time if needed. The tour allows for pictures and takes you upstairs and around the grounds.
There are no tickets necessary for the free tour of the Liberty Bell center. The best place to park is at the Independence Mall underground parking structure. The fee is minimal. I think I paid about $8 for 4 hours which isn’t bad for a large city.
Make sure you explore while downtown. Visit the National Constitution Center, First National Bank, The US Mint and Federal Reserve. Get a famous Philly Cheese Steak. Be warned, they don’t call them PHILLY cheese steaks there. They’re just cheese steaks. Washington Square park is a 5 minute walk. Benjamin Franklin’s home is a wonderful museum. The fist US post office. Martha Washington’s home. There are some fantastic museums and art galleries around downtown. If you’re up for a longer walk, I’d recommend the famous Reading Market, City Hall, the Philly Museum of Art, Masonic Temple tour, and my favorite; just walking around the quaint city streets and taking in the sights and sounds. If you’ve got a car, Valley Forge is about an hour’s drive away. If you need to shop, the King of Prussia mall is near Valley Forge and quite large (there are actually two malls side by side).