Known for its importance to the founding of America, Philadelphia is the fifth most populated city in the U.S. and also one of the most culturally and historically-rich (the only World Heritage Center in the U.S.) We arrived on a Saturday afternoon (this was a few years ago!), and after settling down in our hotel, we spent an hour walking around downtown.
The next day, we headed towards Historic District, where we first stopped by Declaration House. It was here where Thomas Jefferson toiled away for weeks drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 — in the museum, you’ll be able to see a copy of this Declaration, as well as Jefferson’s bedroom and workroom. A three-minute walk away is President’s House, where Washington and Adams lived in before the White House was built. Behind that is the Liberty Bell, the iconic symbol of American independence: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Before the crack that forever silenced the bell, it would be used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and alert citizens of any public meetings or announcements.
Independence Hall is also close by — and really, all these buildings are just a few minutes walk away from each other — but make sure you get tickets (free, by the way) at the Visitor’s Center. Inside, you’ll be given a quick tour of the hall and see where the Constitution was signed. Once you exit the hall, don’t leave too quickly — to the left is another small building where you’ll find copies of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution and the Declaration. Then, you can stay for another short tour of the old State House, where the Pennsylvania government would meet and the public could come and watch these sessions. And finally, behind all of this, lies the grave of Benjamin Franklin.
We managed to stop by quite a few attractions the first day, and I’ll write up another post about our second day later on, so be sure to tune in for that (which, of course, will include food!)