Philadelphia is about 90 minutes from me, but I rarely go. Growing up, I would go to New York City as it’s an easy 45 minute drive from where I grew up and everyone in my area of New Jersey calls NYC, “the city”. Over the years I have been to Philadelphia a handful of times, but still not that many. I recently went, but stayed mostly in the historic area for some sightseeing. The last time I went to historic Philly was when I was in 5th grade – it was the field trip for 5th graders every year at my school. Actually – as I type this I think I may have gone since 5th grade with a few friends when my friend’s English friend she met during studying abroad was visiting. I vaguely remember going with them but I’m not 100% sure. In any case it’s been years since I’d gone so I went with my family last week to see the standard historical sites there.
We went to see the Liberty Bell before walking around a bit and finding a cheesesteak place nearby for lunch. We had wanted to see inside Independence Hall, but when we arrived in Philly the tickets/tours for the day were all sold out already. But we were told that starting at 4:45 they let a limited amount of people in for a quick/express tour but it’s first come first serve so we made a mental note to get back there and stand in line by 4:30. In the meantime, we took a few photos of the outside before moving on to find lunch.
We went to Sonny’s Famous Cheesesteaks for lunch where I got the one with American Cheese and bacon. Then, we saw Betsy Ross’ house and learned some information about her life and how she got asked to make/sew the flag. From there we went by Christ Church Burial Ground where Benjamin Franklin is buried. It costs money to get in to the church yard but they opened up the wall alongside Benjamin Franklin’s grave so you can see it without having to go in. For some reason it has become a tradition to toss pennies on his gravestone.
As we walked on, we saw a big bust/sculpture of Benjamin Franklin and it was actually so large that it was a bit creepy! But it was cool because the plaque said that it was cast from the keys of thousands of local kids and if you take a closer look you can actually see keys all over it.
Next, we went over the U.S. Mint which I kind of remember from my field trip. No pictures are allowed inside, but you learn about the process of making the coins and you also get to see the factory, machines, and workers in action.
Across the street is the National Constitution Center which is a really cool building filled with information and big galleries devoted to teaching about the Constitution. There is a room called Signers Hall that houses 42 life size bronze figures of our founding fathers that represents them signing the Declaration of Independence. Signers Hall was the only room photos were allowed in.
When we were done with the National Constitution Center it was just about time to started heading back to Independence Hall and hope to get in. And we did get in after waiting for them to take a group in! If you don’t know what the significance of Independence Hall is – it’s where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed!
After our express tour was over, we walked down…over…I’m not really sure where it was in relation – but to Reading Terminal Market. It’s the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market! We walked around just for a little bit and bought a few snacks before they closed up.
Last, we went to dinner in nearby Chinatown and then headed home!
It was a long and busy day, but the weather was great and it was nice to explore a place I haven’t been to in years!