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Historic Attractions

The paths to understanding American history all converge in Philadelphia and its historic countryside. Even before William Penn founded the city and built his estate in Bucks County, Native Americans and Swedish colonists recognized the region as an attractive place for trade and settlement.

Here Americans defended their liberty, achieved technological success, and forged the ideals of the American Dream. Today’s visitor can enjoy the legacy from more than three centuries of political, economic, social, and cultural achievements — all within the Philadelphia area.

Featured Listings

  • Independence Hall

    Birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

    Independence Hall

    They risked everything — “their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor.” During the blistering summer of 1776, 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House and defied the King of England. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to shape the U.S. Constitution, finally creating one unified nation.

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  • The Liberty Bell Center

    Dramatic home of the internationally known symbol of freedom

    The Liberty Bell’s home on Independence Mall is as powerful and dramatic as the bell itself.

    The Liberty Bell has a new home, and it is as powerful and dramatic as the Bell itself. Throughout the expansive, light-filled Liberty Bell Center, larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images explore the facts and the myths surrounding the Bell.

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  • Independence National Historical Park

    The birthplace of American democracy

    The Liberty Bell Philadelphia

    Known as the birthplace of American democracy, Historic Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park (INHP) is located on the site of many of the seminal events that carried the nation through its founding as a global leader of democratic ideals.

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  • The Betsy Ross House

    The birthplace of the American flag

    Betsy Ross inside her home

    Did she or didn’t she? Ask Betsy Ross about her role in making the first American flag yourself when you visit the iconic home of America’s most famous flag maker.

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  • The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation

    Commemorating the lives of nine enslaved Africans at the nation’s first executive mansion

    The President’s House on Independence Mall.

    President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation explores the paradox of slavery and freedom at the nation’s first executive mansion, in which Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived during their terms and where nine enslaved people served the first president.

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  • The Johnson House
    Historic Site, Inc.

    Germantown’s vital stop on the Underground Railroad

    A reenactment at the Johnson House in Germantown.

    It’s easy to imagine 19th-century freedom fighters Harriet Tubman and William Still meeting at this Quaker home in Germantown, owned by four generations of the abolitionist Johnson family.

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  • Benjamin Franklin Museum

    Revitalized museum dedicated to the life and legacy of America’s favorite Renaissance man

    Outside the Benjamin Franklin Museum in the Historic District.

    Dedicated to the life, times and legacy of Philadelphia’s famous founding father, the Benjamin Franklin Museum is now open following a major two-year revitalization.

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  • Bartram’s Garden

    America’s birthplace of gardening

    Exploring Bartram’s Garden

    John Bartram purchased the 102-acre farm along the west bank of the lower Schuylkill River, three miles southwest of colonial Philadelphia, in 1728, and turned it into America’s first garden. Today, visitors can join a morning bird walk, catch a breeze along the River Trail, stroll through the upper kitchen garden and the fragrant flower gardens or visit the riverside meadow, brimming with grasses and wildflowers.

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  • Christ Church Burial Ground

    Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders

    Christ Church Burial Ground
    Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders
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  • Cliveden

    A grand Germantown mansion with a fascinating — and bloody — history

    One of the most lavish mansions of its era, Cliveden is stocked with furniture and artifacts designed to evoke Colonial times.

    Now a six-acre oasis in the middle of a bustling Philadelphia neighborhood, Cliveden was an estate in the suburb of Germantown built just before the Revolutionary War by the Chew family. One of the most lavish mansions of its era, Cliveden is stocked with furniture and artifacts designed to evoke Colonial times.

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  • Independence Seaport Museum

    An interactive museum exploring Philadelphia’s maritime heritage

    Sailing on the river outside the Independence Seaport Museum.

    With historic vessels to board, an underwater ROV to maneuver and a mock cannon to fire, Philadelphia’s maritime museum conveys what the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers have meant to the city over the years.

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  • Powel House

    A luxurious mid-Georgian 18th-century mansion

    Once the home of Elizabeth and Samuel Powel, an 18th-century power couple, the Powel House simply drips elegance.

    The home of Samuel Powel, Philadelphia’s first mayor, is the epitome of 18th-century elegance. On any given evening during its heyday, the guest list frequently included Washington, Adams, Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette and other luminaries.

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  • Physick House

    The 18th-century mansion of the “Father of American Surgery”

    Dr. Philip Syng Physick was one of the most accomplished physicians of his time, and a tour of his 18th-century mansion in Society Hill includes some of the medical and surgical tools he invented.

    Dr. Philip Syng Physick was one of the most accomplished physicians of his time, and a tour of his 18th-century mansion in Society Hill includes some of the medical and surgical tools he invented.

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  • Washington Square

    A leafy retreat with tree-shaded benches, located steps from Independence Hall

    Washington Square is one of William Penn’s original five squares set aside to establish parks for the public.

    Washington Square is one of William Penn’s original five squares set aside to establish parks for the public.

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  • The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent

    New and improved history near Independence Hall

    The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent holds a vast collection of over 100,000 pieces of history.

    The 1826 Philadelphia History Museum building, located just around the corner from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, has provided an exciting gateway into Philadelphia history for nearly 70 years.

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  • Declaration (Graff) House

    Where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence

    Inside the Declaration (Graff) House, Thomas Jefferson wrote the monumental Declaration of Independence.

    The all-important words that created a new nation were written by Thomas Jefferson at the home of Jacob Graff. Jr. Visitors can view first-floor exhibits and a short film regarding Jefferson’s endeavors at the home where he rented two second-floor rooms from Graff, a well-known bricklayer.

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  • Congress Hall

    Home of the U.S. Congress from 1790-1800

    Congress Hall is attached to Independence Hall on its west side.

    Congress Hall hosted two presidential inaugurations (Washington and Adams) and was the home of U.S. Congress from 1790 to 1800 when Philadelphia was temporary capital of the U.S.

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  • The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation

    Commemorating the lives of nine enslaved Africans at the nation’s first executive mansion

    The President’s House on Independence Mall.

    President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation explores the paradox of slavery and freedom at the nation’s first executive mansion, in which Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived during their terms and where nine enslaved people served the first president.

    View More
  • Independence Visitor Center

    All-in-one center for info, tickets to Independence Hall, tips from experts and more

    Independence Visitor Center

    Start your visit to Philadelphia at the Independence Visitor Center, where you can get personalized recommendations, tickets to popular attractions, souvenirs, maps and more.

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  • Peddler’s Village

    Charming countryside village just one hour from Philadelphia

    Peddler’s Village

    Peddler’s Village offers small town, colonial charm just one hour from Center City Philadelphia. Explore 65 independently owned and operated specialty shops, six restaurants, a 71-room inn, family-friendly attractions and exciting annual events.

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  • Once Upon a Nation
    Storytelling Benches

    History that speaks to you

    A storytelling bench in Historic Philadelphia

    May 28 – September 5, 2016 (select days)
    Discover the true stories scattered throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District in the places they actually happened with Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches.

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  • Mother Bethel AME Church Bicentennial Celebration Series

    The grand celebration of the church’s 200th anniversary

    Founded by the Reverend Richard Allen in 1787, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church is the mother church of the nation’s first black denomination. The current church building was constructed in 1889 and stands on the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African-Americans.

    July 1-5, 2016
    Mother Bethel AME Church hosts a bicentennial celebration with a two-part series of events in its founding home of Philadelphia.

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  • PoliticalFest

    A unique celebration of our nation’s history, government and the road to the White House

    PoliticalFest brings to the Convention Center a one-of-a-kind exhibit of our nation’s political history.

    In celebration of the Democratic National Convention that will be hosted in Philadelphia in July of 2016, the Pennsylvania Convention Center presents PoliticalFest, a unique celebration of our nation’s history, government and the road to the White House.

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  • Shofuso Japanese House and Garden

    Serenity and elegance in Fairmount Park

    The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden offers 1.2 acres of peaceful gardens and a ceremonial teahouse in Fairmount Park.

    Explore 1.2 acres of serenity and elegance in Fairmount Park, full of landscaped gardens alongside a ceremonial tea house and koi pond.

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  • The Liberty Bell Center

    Dramatic home of the internationally known symbol of freedom

    The Liberty Bell’s home on Independence Mall is as powerful and dramatic as the bell itself.

    The Liberty Bell has a new home, and it is as powerful and dramatic as the Bell itself. Throughout the expansive, light-filled Liberty Bell Center, larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images explore the facts and the myths surrounding the Bell.

    View More
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