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Top Philadelphia Attractions

The first time you visit Philadelphia, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia to help with your itinerary planning.

Independence Hall Independence Hall
The Liberty Bell The Liberty Bell
Betsy Ross House Betsy Ross House
Philadelphia Zoo Philadelphia Zoo
City Hall City Hall

Independence Hall

 Address Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets
 Admissions Free
 Hours 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
 Phone 215-597-8974

Independence Hall is best known for its role in shaping the nation. However, it is important to remember that Independence Hall (originally called the Pennsylvania State House) served as the seat of government for the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania long before and long after Philadelphia functioned as the United States Capital.

England’s heavy taxation and, sometimes, brutal treatment of the American colonists pushed the majority of colonials in favor of independence. After repeated attempts to petition England for independence failed, the Second Continental Congress was convened at Independence Hall in May 1775. The result was the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, which was officially adopted on July 4th, 1776. Congress acted quickly and appointed George Washington the commander of the Continental Army. The Declaration of Independence was delivered to the new nation on July 8th in Independence Square.

Congress met again in 1787 at Independence Hall to debate, draft and sign the United States Constitution.

Time slotted tickets are provided in the morning on a first come first serve basis. If you’re on a tight schedule, you may want to reserve your tickets in advance by calling the ticket office.


The Liberty Bell

 Address 6th Street between Market & Chestnut Streets
 Admissions Free
 Hours 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
 Phone 215-597-8974

If you only have time to see one attraction while visiting Philadelphia, see the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell was commissioned for the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall) in 1751. The bell rang many times, signifying public announcements. The Liberty Bell weighs about 2,000 lbs. It was originally cast in England. However, it was cracked while being tested and had to be recast in 1753 by the Pass and Stow company of Philadelphia. Legend has it that the Liberty Bell rang on July 8th, 1776 to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence outside Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell was again silenced by a crack, this time for good, in 1846.

Today the Liberty Bell is properly enshrined within a 13,000 square foot, glass pavilion, with Independence Hall in its backdrop.

The new Liberty Bell Center offers interactive exhibits including an educational film produced by the History Channel.


Betsy Ross House

 Address 239 Arch Street
 Admissions $3 adults, $2 children
 Hours 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
 Phone 215-686-1252

Betsy Ross was a seamstress that worked out of her house on Arch Street. Legend has it that Ross was commissioned by George Washington to create the first American Flag.

It takes only a few minutes to walk through the tiny house, which was restored in 1937. The upholstery shop where Ross allegedly sewed the flag has been converted to a small souvenir shop.

The Betsy Ross House hosts Philadelphia’s annual Flag Day celebration on June 14th.


Philadelphia Zoo

 Address 3400 West Girard Avenue
 Hours 9:30 am – 5:00 pm daily
 Phone 215-243-1100

The Philadelphia Zoo showcases over 2,00 animals from six continents along with a number of entertaining rides and educational exhibits. The Philadelphia Zoo opened its doors in 1874. At that time it was the first zoo in America. The zoo’s most popular exhibits include the reptile house, the primate reserves and the white lions. There are also pony rides and a petting zoo for the children. Breathtaking views of the zoo and nearby Fairmont Park can be enjoyed from 400 feet in the sky aboard the Channel 6 Zooballoon.

There is no better place to take the family then the Philadelphia Zoo.


City Hall

 Address Broad & Market Streets
 Admissions Free
 Hours 9:30 am – 4:30 pm M-F
 Phone 215-686-2840

City Hall is one of the most prominent landmarks in Philadelphia. You can’t miss seeing the massive white stone structure in center city. Philadelphia’s City Hall was constructed in 1871. Today, the Mayor’s office along with many other government offices are located within the charming building’s stately walls. Outside City Hall stands the beloved statue of William Penn, which was created by Alexander M. Calder.

Highlights of the City Hall tour include visiting the City Council Chamber, the Mayor’s Reception Room and, of course, the spectacular view of the city from the tower.


Philadelphia Travel Guides
 Frommer's Philadelphia
 Lonely Planet Philadelphia
 Let's Go Philadelphia
 Fodors Philadelphia