If you love history, you will love your vacation to Old City Philadelphia. After all, its nickname is “America’s most historic square mile.” From touring the home of Betsy Ross, the maker of the first American flag, to roaming one of Old City’s many art galleries, you can’t go wrong with this vacation destination.
Old City Philadelphia spreads from 6th Street to the west, Front Street to the east, Walnut Street and Dock Street to the South, and Florist Street to the north. Unofficially, it also includes the area located above the Ben Franklin Bridge and the waterfront area along Delaware Avenue.
Although Old City Philadelphia encompasses just one square mile, it packs plenty of fun and interesting tourist attractions in that space. These include:
- African American Museum
- Betsy Ross House
- Christ Church Burial Ground
- Gilbert Stuart House
- Independence National Historic Park
- National Liberty Museum/We the People
- And many more!
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Many of these must see attractions are available on The Philadelphia Pass.
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Please note that not all attractions in this post are included on The Philadelphia Pass.
African American Museum
Old City Philadelphia’s African American Museum is the first of its kind in a heavily populated city in the United States. It houses four exhibition galleries containing rich, vibrant, and historic art produced by people of African American heritage.
One of its permanent displays is Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876. It features a narrated, interactive timeline of events as well as a hands-on children’s area for kids three to eight years old to experience everyday life during that 100-year period.
Getting in: African American Museum tickets are included with The Philadelphia Pass.
Betsy Ross House
Betsy Ross went down in history for stitching the first American flag depicting 13 stars and stripes to represent the original 13 colonies. She lived in a tiny house built more than 250 years ago and opened to the public in 1898.
You will learn the history of the flag, including how George Washington approached Betsy to sew it and how she suggested changing the shape of the stars. You will also learn more about the life of Betsy Ross and the house that helped to shape American history.
Getting in: Betsy Ross House tickets are included with The Philadelphia Pass.
Christ Church Burial Ground
Christ Church is the burial place of Benjamin Franklin as well as four other original signers of the Declaration of Independence. The church earned the nickname “The Nation’s Church” because so many famous historical figures associated with the Revolution-era worshipped there.
Built in 1695, Christ Church was the first Church of England Church as well as the place where the Episcopalian faith got its start. You may arrange a group tour at Christ Church seven days a week.
Getting in: Christ Church Burial Ground tickets for a self-guided tour are included with The Philadelphia Pass.
Signer’s Park/Gilbert Stuart House
You can see the work of Gilbert Stuart every time you look at a one-dollar bill. He painted the Athenaeum Head, the name of George Washington’s portrait on our federal currency.
See his Philadelphia home and visit Signer’s Park, where you can see a sculpture of the painting by visiting the historic site located at North 5th Street and Chestnut Street.
Getting in: Gilbert Stuart House is free to visit (you cannot go inside the home, however).
Independence National Historic Park
Independence National Historic Park is home to numerous historic and iconic landmarks. These include:
- Bishop White House
- Congress Hall
- Declaration House
- Dolley Todd House
- Franklin Court Courtyard
- Franklin Court Printing Office
- Free Quaker Meeting House
- Germantown White House
- Great Essentials Exhibit
- Independence Hall
- Liberty Bell Center
- Merchants’ Exchange Building
- New Hall Military Museum
- Old City Hall
- President’s House Site
- The first and second banks in the United States
- Washington Square
Getting in: Most buildings on the National Park Site are located between 2nd Street and 7th Street and offer free admission.
National Liberty Museum/We the People
The National Liberty Museum encourages people to discover how they fit into the story of liberty. You will view contemporary art pieces as well as hear the stories of our nation’s heroes.
Glass is the primary form of art on display here. It coincides with the museum’s message that the liberty of all people is as fragile as a piece of glass.
With literally dozens of attractions available in Old City Philadelphia, the biggest challenge you face is fitting in as many as possible.
Getting in: National Liberty Museum tickets are included with The Philadelphia Pass.
Add some of these things to do in Old City Philadelphia to make the most of your time in the area and inspire your vacation planning.
Don’t forget to pick up The Philadelphia Pass, to save up to 45% on combined admission prices. Bon voyage!
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