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15+ Awesome National Park Sites in Greater Philadelphia

Check out some the area’s coolest national parks

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All over Philadelphia, national parks and historic sites connect the past, present and future.

In addition to plenty of fresh air and green space that places like Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area provide, Philly’s packed with national park sites that offer incredible sightseeing and learning opportunities right in the heart of the city. From The Liberty Bell Center, housing the nation’s most famous bell, to Independence Hall, birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the national park offerings in the region make it obvious why Philadelphia was declared America’s first World Heritage city.

Below, find a guide to some of the coolest national park sites to help explorers get started on planning their next adventure. For a complete list of all of the national parks in Pennsylvania and beyond, click here.

01

The Liberty Bell Center

Dramatic home of the internationally known symbol of freedom

The Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia The Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia
— Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia

No visit to Philadelphia is complete without a stop at the Liberty Bell Center, housing the international symbol of freedom that gives the landmark its name. Residing in Independence National Historical Park, the famous bell can be seen up close completely free of charge. Larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images help bring its history to life.

Where: 6th and Market streets Philadelphia, PA 19106

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02

Independence Hall

Birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

Independence Hall Independence Hall
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Head to Independence Hall to explore the historic building where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and, eleven years later, the U.S. Constitution. Expert park rangers lead a free tour, which also includes important nearby sites like Congress Hall, the West Wing and Old City Hall. Note: tickets are required for admission and are available for free at the Independence Visitor Center. Arrive early to guarantee a spot.

Where: 520 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

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03

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

— M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Just outside of the Liberty Bell Center, The President’s House gives visitors a glimpse into what life was like for George Washington and John Adams at the nation’s first White House, as well as an insight into the lives of the enslaved people who worked here. The site includes engaging videos that tell this important story to visitors of all ages.

Where: 600 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

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04

Christ Church

Where Colonial America made its break with the Church of England

Christ Church Christ Church
— M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Step through the doors of Christ Church to see where visionaries like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington worshipped when they lived in Philadelphia in the Revolutionary era. Visitors love exploring the nearby Christ Church Burial Ground, too, which serves as the final resting place for prominent citizens including Franklin and his wife Deborah, composer and poet Francis Hopkinson and medical pioneer Benjamin Rush.

Where: 20 N. American Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

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05

Carpenters’ Hall

Meeting place of the First Continental Congress

Carpenters' Hall exterior Carpenters' Hall exterior
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

In 1774, Carpenters’ Hall set the stage for the First Continental Congress, where representatives from 12 colonies voted for a trade embargo that eventually led to the American Revolution. As part of Independence National Historical Park, Carpenters’ Hall is open to visitors who come to marvel at the building’s impressive Georgian architecture, Flemish bond brick pattern and original delegates’ chairs.

Where: 320 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

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06

Washington Square

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

Washington Square Park Washington Square Park
— E. Mencher for Visit Philadelphia

As one of Philadelphia’s original five squares, Washington Square has played an integral role in the city’s history. Through the years, the site served as a burial ground and as a pasture, and today the verdant park is home to a working fountain and the not-to-be-missed Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Memorial.

Where: Sixth and Walnut StreetsPhiladelphia, PA 19106

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07

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

An awe-inspiring, 22-foot-tall statue of Philly's favorite Founding Father

— R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Set in the rotunda at The Franklin Institute, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial honors Philadelphia’s favorite Founding Father. James Earle Fraser sculpted the 22-foot-tall statue, which is complemented by the room’s exquisite domed ceiling and an informative “Benjamin Franklin Forever” video. Note that the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial resides within The Franklin Institute (and does not neighbor other INHP sites), but is affiliated with the National Park Service and is free to see. For entry into the museum to see its exhibitions, admission fees apply.

Where: 222 N. 20th Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

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08

Other Independence National Historical Park Sites

The National Constitution Center on Independence Mall The National Constitution Center on Independence Mall
— Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia

Touted as “America’s Most Historic Square Mile,” Independence National Historical Park offers more than 25 national parks to explore – many of which are free and open to the public year-round. From monumental banks to the home of a former First Lady to cemeteries that house the remains of some of the country’s most prominent early citizens, the sites provide hours of learning and excursion opportunities. Check out the full list by clicking the button below.

Where: 1 North Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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09

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Where the spirit of the Revolution received its sternest test

Valley Forge National Historical Park scenery Valley Forge National Historical Park scenery
— Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

In 1777 and 1778, General George Washington and his Continental Army spent six months camped in Valley Forge, and today the 3,500-acre site is an active and thriving historical site that entices two million visitors annually. Throughout the year, Valley Forge delights visitors with everything from interactive games to world-class hiking.

Where: 1400 N. Outer Line Drive King of Prussia, PA 19406

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10

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Far from the traditional national park, this historic site is dedicated to honoring the work of Edgar Allan Poe. The author’s former home includes exhibits, guided tours, artwork and audio recordings of Poe’s stories read by some of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities.

Where: 532 N. 7th Street Philadelphia, PA 19123

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11

Gloria Dei [Old Swedes’] Church

The oldest church in Pennsylvania is a link to early Swedish settlers

Interior of Old Swedes Church Interior of Old Swedes Church
— Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Also known as Old Swedes’ Church, Gloria Dei Church dates back to 1700, making it the oldest church in Pennsylvania and the second-oldest in the U.S. The historic site and the neighboring burial ground provide a glimpse into the city’s Swedish heritage, and the congregation is still active and thriving to this day.

Where: Columbus Boulevard and Christian Street Philadelphia, PA 19147

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12

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial

Philadelphia residence of the Revolutionary War’s Polish military engineer

The fascinating story of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish-born soldier who helped in the American Revolution, still captivates visitors centuries later. In his former home where Thomas Jefferson would visit him, guests can take self-guided tours of rooms furnished as they were in the Revolutionary era and learn more about the notable history-maker.

Where: 301 Pine Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

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13

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

An early American “Iron Plantation” — a forerunner of today’s iron and steel industries

Hopewell Furnace, a former steel “plantation” in Chester County, helped propel America into the Industrial Age and produced both cannon and cannon balls for the American Revolution. In addition to exhibits and original colonial-era buildings, the park offers a host of fun activities like bird-watching, hiking, apple picking and more.

Where: 2 Mark Bird Lane Elverson, PA 19520

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14

Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area

Miles of hiking and biking with scenic riverviews

— M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

In addition to its current status as an urban outdoor oasis, the Schuylkill River played an integral role in the American Industrial Revolution. Today, the shores of this 128-mile waterway feature everything from hiking and biking trails to historic monuments to quaint river towns.

Where: 129 South 30th Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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15

Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail

Extending from Massachusetts to Virginia with stops near the heart of Philadelphia

In 1781, General George Washington and French General Rochambeau joined forces, creating an alliance that helped secure American independence. Visitors can follow their historic trail, which extends all the way from Massachusetts to Virginia and includes Valley Forge National Historical Park and parts of Center City Philadelphia, including City Hall (pictured above).

Where: 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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16

Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River

The largest free-flowing river in the eastern United States

— G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s proximity to the Delaware River, an important conduit for merchant ships, immigrants and military personnel, has helped propel and maintain the city’s prominence for centuries. Today, this scenic national park winds through towns from New Jersey all the way down to New Hope, Lambertville and Titusville, PA, inviting visitors to walk, hike, bike, kayak and sightsee along the shores of the Delaware.

Where: 33 Risler Street Stockton, NJ 08559

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The Liberty Bell Center
Independence Hall
The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
Christ Church
Carpenters’ Hall
Washington Square
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
Other Independence National Historical Park Sites
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Gloria Dei [Old Swedes’] Church
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area
Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail
Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River
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