Top 10 Historic Philadelphia Attractions

Attractions like the Liberty Bell and Franklin Court bring the past to life

History is everywhere in Philadelphia, from the building where the Declaration of Independence was signed to the oldest residential street in the nation. Check out this list of the top ten not-to-be-missed historic attractions in the City of Brotherly Love.

  • 01 of 10
    USA, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Liberty Bell
    ••• The Liberty Bell is an international symbol of freedom. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

    A symbol of freedom both in Philadelphia and across the world, the Liberty Bell is on display alongside information about its history and its significance to America.  Admission is free, but lines can be long during peak seasons. While you wait, explore The President's House, a multimedia outdoor museum located just outside the building that houses the famed cracked bell.

    526 Market Street
    (215) 965-2305

  • 02 of 10
    Independence Hall
    ••• Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

    Park rangers lead guests on a guided tour of the building where our Founding Fathers signed two groundbreaking documents: the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Admission is free, but timed entry tickets are required from March through December. Pick them up at the Independence Visitor Center on the morning you want to tour, or reserve them in advance for a fee.

    520 Chestnut Street
    (215) 965-2305

  • 03 of 10
    National Constitution Center
    ••• Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

    The National Constitution Center is dedicated to honoring the tenets outlined in the U. S. Constitution. Through interactive displays, live theatrical performances and an impressive array of permanent and special exhibitions, the Museum of "We the People" helps visitors of all ages understand the historic document that informs our government to this day.

    525 Arch St.
    (215) 409-6600

  • 04 of 10

    Franklin Court

    Franklin Court
    ••• Photo by K. Ciappa for GPTMC

    Unfortunately, Benjamin Franklin's house was torn down in the early 1800s, but today the area where the house once stood is known as Franklin Court. The site features a steel-framed outline of Franklin's home, a museum with a print shop, and an archeological exhibit with objects found on site. Since Franklin was the nation's first Postmaster General, Franklin Court also includes a working post office where visitors can send letters hand-stamped with Franklin's original postmark.

    314-321 Market St.
    (215) 965-2305

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Elfreth's Alley
    ••• Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

    As the oldest residential street in America, Elfreth's Alley feels like a trip back in time to the eighteenth century. This tiny cobblestone throughway in Old City includes a museum and several historic houses, many of which still serve as private residences to this very day.

    126 Elfreth's Alley
    (215) 574-0560

  • 06 of 10
    The Betsy Ross House
    ••• Photo: Meg Favreau

    Before Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan there was Betsy Ross, the nation's most celebrated seamstress. Ross lived and worked at the site now known as the Betsy Ross House. Visitors can tour the attraction, which has been furnished as it was during the Revolutionary era. A costumed Betsy Ross re-enactor is on hand to bring the past to life, and artifacts help visitors learn all about the life of the famous flag maker.

    239 Arch Street
    (215) 686-1252

  • 07 of 10
    Christ Church Burial Ground
    ••• Photo: Meg Favreau

    Many of America's most important leaders, including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, worshipped at Christ Church, a congregation that dates back to 1695. Next door, the Christ Church Burial Ground houses the remains of prominent Philadelphians like Franklin and his wife Deborah, composer and poet Francis Hopkinson and medical pioneer Dr. Benjamin Rush.

    20 N. American Street
    (215) 922-1695

  • 08 of 10
    Philosophical Hall
    ••• Photo: The American Philosophical Society

    In 1743, Benjamin Franklin and some of his forward-thinking friends founded the American Philosophical Society, which focused on the ways that art, science and history intertwine. The museum is now home to some of the city's most treasured artifacts, including Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence and Lewis and Clark’s original journals.

    104 S. 5th Street
    (215) 440-3442

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Carpenter's Hall
    ••• Photo: Meg Favreau

    In 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Carpenters' Hall and voted for a trade embargo that set the American Revolution in motion. To this day, the building is still owned and operated by the oldest trade guild in the country, the Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia.

    320 Chestnut Street
    (215) 925-0167

  • 10 of 10
    Declaration House
    ••• Photo: Meg Favreau

    In 1776, Thomas Jefferson rented a room in the home of Jacob Graff, Jr., a local bricklayer, and it's here that Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. Now known as Declaration House, the site now includes exhibits that showcase its rich history and its vital role in the founding of the USA. 

    7th and Market streets
    (215) 965-2305