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“Walking Tour of Independence National Historical Park & Surrounding Area”

Independence National Historical Park
Ranked #14 of 469 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the most famous square miles in the United States, the park is home to the Liberty Bell, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Independence Hall.
Reviewed November 15, 2013

Over the years we have taken our many exchange students to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We have expanded our visit of the area and made our own walking tour. We just came back from a tour with this year's exchange student and his host family who told us they enjoyed our walking tour. So, I thought I would share it with others.

Start at Independence Visitor Center as soon as they open in the morning. Except for a few months in the winter you must get a timed ticket to take the tour of Independence Hall. If you prefer not to arrive so early, you can get timed tickets on-line for a cost of $1.50 each.

From the Visitor Center cross Market Street to the President's House Site and the Liberty Bell Center.

After viewing these cross Chestnut Street to visit Independence Square. The Great Essentials exhibit in the West Wing and Congress Hall tour can either be visited before or after your Independence Hall tour.

From Independence Square cross 5th Street on Chestnut and stop at the Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank of the United States.

From there continue on Chestnut Street to Carpenter's Hall.

After visiting Carpenter's Hall cross Chestnut Street and continue a short distance to the sign for Franklin Court. Turn left into the rear entrance of Franklin Court to view the "ghost house" in the courtyard. There is also a museum and gift shop to the left side of the courtyard. As you walk toward the front of the courtyard you will see the entryway. On the far side of the left building is the Old Print Shop where you can view historian/rangers using the printing press. If you leave by the front entrance you can view the Market Street houses. Turn right. On the other side of the entryway to the courtyard you will come to the Old Post Office.

Continue on Market Street. Cross the street at 3rd Street and continue on Market Street. On the left just before 2nd Street you will see Christ Church. Walk through the small park to enter the church. Historians are in the church to answer any questions you may have and to explain the various things in the church. A donation is requested; however, it is not required. Our exchange students always find the historians very informative so a donation is well worth the experience.

From Christ Church walk toward 2nd Street. Turn left on 2nd Street and walk 1 1/2 blocks to Elfreth's Allen on the right side of the street. Elfreth's Alley is known as the oldest residential street in the United States. Be sure to visit the even smaller street on the left that leads to a small courtyard.

Upon leaving Elfreth's Alley, backtrack on 2nd Street to Arch Street. Turn right onto Arch Street until you get to the Betsy Ross House on the right. There is a courtyard there with a fountain and grave site. You can also visit the gift shop and take a tour of the house (fee charged).

Turn right after your visit. At the corner of Arch & 3rd Streets, cross the street. Continue on Arch Street. You will arrive at the Arch Street Friends Meeting House (tours available - not sure if there is a fee) and then the Christ Church Burial Ground where you can see Benjamin Franklin's grave from the sidewalk or take a tour (fee charged) to also see other graves.

On the far corner of Arch and 5th Streets is the Free Quaker Meeting House at which point you are back to the Independence Visitor Center park.

If time allows the National Constitution Center offers many exhibits and events (fee charged).

I hope you all enjoy our tour as much as we do.

2  Thank infotohelp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"liberty bell"
in 802 reviews
"american history"
in 113 reviews
"visitor center"
in 106 reviews
"president's house"
in 23 reviews
"congress hall"
in 48 reviews
"founding fathers"
in 64 reviews
"long line"
in 30 reviews
"free tickets"
in 29 reviews
"timed tickets"
in 22 reviews
"across the street"
in 44 reviews
"piece of history"
in 23 reviews
"united states"
in 31 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 23 reviews
"ben franklin"
in 22 reviews
"old city"
in 23 reviews
in 207 reviews
in 150 reviews

1,492 - 1,496 of 2,327 reviews

Reviewed November 12, 2013

I checked out some other reviews and found some criticisms a little sad. Most were based on lack of awareness or even outright ignorance. To address just two misunderstandings - Federal shutdowns are not the fault of the park, and you shouldn't base criticism of the park on something over which they had no control. Also, most of the staff you see, other than Rangers, are contractors. They are not the federal employees everyone wants to take uninformed swipes at!
Getting beyond all that, there are few places where you can find such a concentrated history of our nation's beginning. Spend a day here with your eyes and ears open and you can get more than a school year's worth of American History. Travel just a little beyond the boundaries of the park and you can get an education that should cost you money - but doesn't.
My wife and I spent a full day and missed a few things. We will gladly return to fill in the gaps.

1  Thank HowlnBubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

The Visitor's Center is the place to start--go there first to get tickets to Independence Hall (free). The Liberty Bell building is free and no ticket required. Films in the Visitor's Center are good--we actually saw them at the end of our day before heading home. Everything in historic Philadelphia is within walking distance, so just park your car & put on your walking shoes. You can park in the garage underneath and walk right into the visitor's center. (Worth the cost to park there!) Park rangers give excellent tours of Independence Hall and Congress Hall. Sad to find out that the Todd House/Wright House were closed (due to the sequester cuts), but most of the sites were open and extremely interesting. Not to be missed if you have a day in Philadelphia.

2  Thank Pam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

Nice to wander about the area - dipping in and out of all the important museums. The area houses the liberty bell and independence hall - both free tours that cover so much important history and a must see. Constitution centre (fee) also worth seeing for its significance. Our friends missed it (as didn't want to pay the fee) which is a real shame for them.

1  Thank Haribo09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 10, 2013

This is where it all happened. Either learn your history first oo while you are there. Important site and well done.

1  Thank oli h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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