Philadelphia is an absolute playground for history buffs. The top places to visit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, date back to the Colonial Era and the early days of the United States. This is where to go if you want to catch a glimpse of the Revolutionary War era.
The Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House on Arch Street is the birthplace of the American flag. You can learn more about Betsy and the world she lived in through self-guided or audio tours that take you back to 18th-century Philadelphia.
The past members’ list of Christ Church is a who’s who of early American history. Built in 1744, the building is the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church and home to one of the first schools in the country that educated freed slaves.
It may not be one of the official Philadelphia historical sites, but City Tavern gives you a chance to dine like the Founding Fathers. The menu at this establishment features 18th-century food and drinks, including beer made from recipes developed by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton.
Eastern State Penitentiary
When Eastern State Penitentiary opened its doors in 1829, it introduced to the world a new philosophy for criminal justice: solitary confinement. Today, it’s a stunning example of grand architecture. You can go on a guided or self-guided tour of the facility or join a ghost tour to learn more about the facility and its most famous inmates.
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a stop at Independence Hall. This is where the delegates met in 1776 to officially declare independence from England and where they returned to draft the U.S. Constitution. You’ll have to go on a tour to see the facility and artifacts like the inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence and an original draft of the Constitution.
The Liberty Bell Center
The Liberty Bell Center is home to the bell that used to hang in the tower at Independence Hall. It was used to announce meetings for lawmakers. At the center, you can get a close look at the bell — and its famous crack — and learn more about how it became a symbol of freedom.
Mother Bethel AME Church
Mother Bethel AME Church on 6th Street is built on the first piece of land African-Americans were allowed to own in the United States. It’s also the mother church of the first African-American Christian denomination in the country, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
National Constitution Center
Located on Arch Street, the National Constitution Center has an assortment of interactive exhibits designed to give people insight into the U.S. Constitution. You can check out original artifacts, watch movies and theatrical performances, and snap a picture of yourself signing the Constitution along with bronze statues of the original signers.
The President’s House
The President’s House on Market Street is the site of the first executive mansion, which was home to George Washington and John Adams. Built around the foundation of the original house, this open-air exhibit features a tribute to the slaves who lived in and contributed to the development of Philadelphia.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge never saw a battle, but it played an important role in the American Revolution. The Continental Army spent the winter at the site, which today features cannons, soldier’s huts and other structures commemorating the Revolutionary War.