Have you ever wanted to see the real Liberty Bell? Or see the building where 56 brave men signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. You read that right August not July. On July 4th, 1776 Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. Of course this is debatable as John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson all claimed to have signed it on July 4th.
Either way it doesn’t really matter in my eyes. From now till the end July 4th will be our Independence Day. Any how, Independence Mall is more than just an area in Philadelphia where the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are located. This is America’s most Historic Square Mile. It is like stepping back in time. Now most of the attractions around Independence Mall are free a few do cost a little bit of money (National Constitution Center is one of them).
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If you want to visit Independence Hall you will need to get a ticket. However, the tickets are free. You will need a ticket to visit.
So lets dive in and take a lot at what is around the site of freedom.
This is where America was born way back in 1776. Independence Hall was completed in 1753 and served as the Pennsylvania State House until the Capital of Pennsylvania was moved in 1799. From 1775-1783 it was the meeting place of the Second Continental Congress.
A lot of history was made in this building. A lot of famous people have also came through here. You could be standing in the same spot Jefferson, Franklin or even Washington stood while they were here.
Independence Hall is also a World Heritage Site.
Who doesn’t know the Liberty Bell with it’s giant crack? No longer housed in Independence Hall it is now housed in it’s own building called the Liberty Bell Center. The building is located right across the street from Independence Hall.
Before you can see the bell you pass through a security screening area. Than walk past an exhibit all about the bell till you come up to the bell at the end of the hall. The exhibit is free but be prepared to wait and grab that selfie with you and the bell.
You can no longer touch the Liberty Bell like you could in the past. Someone (let’s just call them a jerk) attacked the bell with a hammer in 2001. The bell is now set behind a small enclosure that is not easily reached.
There is not much left of what was once the President’s House in Philadelphia. President Washington and President Adams both lived here. It is one of those blink and you will miss it kind of places even though it is located right outside of the Independence Visitor Center.
There is a nice little exhibit called President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation. It is definitely worth a look while you are touring Independence Mall.
Independence Visitor Center
Independence Visitor Center houses all the information about Independence Mall and the surrounding areas. This is also where you can pick up your FREE timed tickets for Independence Hall. There is a short movie playing inside as well as a small exhibit.
You will also find a small place to grab a quick bite to eat. Also houses the gift shop for Independence National Historical Park. It is a great spot to cool off in the summer time with water fountains (can refill water bottles) and restrooms too.
Free Quaker Meeting House
This building is located right on the same lot as the Independence Visitor Center. It is a small brick building that was a meeting place for the Quaker’s. Sometimes there will be a reenactor inside talking about the history of the place. They are very knowledgeable about the Free Quaker Meeting House and are very happy to answer question.
This is a great place to get a feel for how it would of felt like back in 1783 when it was built.
Ben Franklin Grave Site
Located right across the street from the Free Quaker Meeting House is the Grave Site of one of the most important men in American History, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s grave can be seen from the side walk.
You can also tour the entire Burial Grounds. There is a small fee of $3 for adults and $1 for children.
John Barry Statue
Commodore John Barry was the Father of the United States Navy. This Statue is located right behind Independence Hall and is hard to miss. I must say I really love how the statue is reaching out. Most of the statues you see, they look stiff. This one almost feels like it can reach out and touch you.
On the corner of 6th and Walnut Streets lies Washington Square. It is one of 5 public squares set up by the city founder William Penn. Washington Square once was home to a “Moon” tree. Seeds were carried to the moon on Apollo 14. A clone has since been planted back in 2011.
Also within Washington Square is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. See Philly even has one so you don’t need to drive to DC to see a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Of course ares is not guarded by the military like down in Washington, DC. We do have General George Washington looking over him.
Thomas Jefferson Garden and Second Bank of the United States
As you are heading down to the Museum of the American Revolution you will pass the Thomas Jefferson Garden with the “Signer’s Statue” and walk past a building that looks like it belongs in Greece not Philly.
That building is the Second Bank of the United States and now holds an exhibit called “The People of Independence”. It houses over 150 portraits of Military Leaders, Political Leaders, scientists and explores.
Walking down this street will make you feel like you are taking a step back in time. To the right is the New Hall Military Museum and straight ahead is the Carpenters Hall. This is a small place but pretty neat to see the kind of tools carpenters used to build the surrounding areas.
Once upon a Nation
This is a great free activity young kids should love. There are 13 of these free story benches located all around the area. Sit and listen to reenactors tell stories about what it was like to live back in that time.
They start up around the end of May and go until the end of August. Usually Tuesday thru Saturday.
Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution is as you would guess it all about the Revolutionary War. Our war for Independence from England. It is a very interesting place worth checking out on your way to Penn’s Landing.
This place is not free and cost $21 for adults and child 6-17 are $13. It is a part of the Philadelphia CityPass. Click the banner below to learn more about CityPass.
National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is a museum devoted to the U.S. Constitution. It houses different exhibits and artifacts dating back to the 1800’s.
This is where you will also find the famous “We the People” exhibit. You can also view The Battle for Freedom and Equality exhibit about the Civil War. This is also another place to find clean restrooms and there is a Starbucks here too if that’s your thing.
The Independence Mall area has a little something for everyone. It’s not just about a bell or some old pieces of paper. It is a place to be transported back in time. Or to see if Benjamin Franklin Gates (National Treasure) really found Franklin’s glasses atop of Independence Hall (and no you can’t go up there).
You can also get some cool pictures to make your friends back home a little jealous. Take a look around and you will also find some pressed penny machines. They make great cheap souvenirs.
A trip to Philadelphia is a must for any American. You should visit this city at least once in your lifetime. It is the birthplace of this great land and it is a must see. Philly is located half way between Washington, DC and New York City. It is definitely worth a visit. Definitely worth more than one day. Check out our list here of free things to do in Philly. Also be sure to check out our guide on Penn’s landing and Spruce Street Harbour Park.
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