The National Park Service may officially be 100 years old, but that doesn’t mean the celebration has to end! If you’re looking for a last minute getaway on the east coast, Philadelphia seamlessly combines the history and beauty of our National Parks with the conveniences of city life.
Independence National Historical Park, located in historic Philadelphia, PA, includes the iconic Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, the Liberty Bell Center and other historic buildings that showcase the birthplace of American democracy. And, you can find it all within just a short walk with plenty of amenities and dining to make the most of the last weeks of summer.
TIPS FOR VISITING INDEPENDENCE HALL & THE LIBERTY BELL
For the most part, all of the historic buildings within Independence National Historical Park offer free admission, except for the Benjamin Franklin museum that has a nominal fee. If you’ll be traveling to several National Parks in a year, consider an annual pass, which is also offered for free to certain groups. Read more about how to save on National Park visits.
TOURING INDEPENDENCE HALL
Start your day at the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market streets to get maps, schedules and free timed tickets (as available) for the tour of Independence Hall. Download the free mobile app for audio tours and additional visiting information.
If possible, reserve your free tickets to the Independence Hall tour online in advance ($1.50 reservation fee per ticket) to save time and potential disappointment because it’s a popular attraction during the summer. The free tour is the only way to see inside of Independence Hall.
Also, arrive at least 15 minutes earlier than your designated tour departure time to go through security. If you are stuck in security during your tour time, Park Rangers and security personal may not be able accommodate you with a later time.
SEEING THE LIBERTY BELL
The Liberty Bell Center and other buildings do not require tickets but do have security lines that can go out the door. I suggest after getting your Independence Hall tickets, head over the Liberty Bell first so you can see this iconic landmark with fewer people and shorter security waiting time.
VISITING CONGRESS HALL
If time allows, stop by Congress Hall right after your Independence Hall tour. This building was home to the U.S. House of Representatives (first floor) and Senate (second floor) while the buildings in Washington, D.C. were being built. George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated here. You can visit on your own or take a short, guided tour with a Park Ranger.
FUN THINGS FOR KIDS AT INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL PARK
When walking through Independence National Historical Park, which includes the mall and historic buildings, keep a lookout for a friendly Park Ranger. Not only are they very knowledgeable, but kids can also ask for collectable trading cards featuring famous American landmarks and people. These cards are fantastic educational and free souvenirs to remember your trip. Just be ready to answer a historical question!
Visit the Junior Ranger areas for educational family-friendly activities and a picture opportunity with a Park Ranger.
Bonus Tip: The U.S. Mint is located on the northeast corner of Independence Mall, across from the National Constitution Center and Benjamin Franklin’s grave. Take the kids on a self-guided tour to see how and where our country’s coins are made.
After a day of exploring this city’s National Park, stay at one of our favorite Hilton hotels, Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, which is just a short walk away from original Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.