What’s Doing in Philadelphia
Also known as the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia was founded by William Penn in 1682 to serve as the capital city of the Pennsylvania Colony. Penn, who was born in London, chose to design the city on the Delaware River to serve as a port and laid out its streets and roads on a grid plan, with the goal of keeping houses and businesses far apart from each other, the opposite of how roads were laid out in London. Currently, the city has a population of 1,553,165 and is the fifth most populated city in the United States.
Philadelphia played a significant role during the American Revolution, as it was the meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in the city.
Today, many people visit Philadelphia for its unique culture and arts scene. There are more outdoor sculptures and murals here than any other city in the United States. Philadelphia is also home to major science and history museums, the first zoo and hospital in the colonies, as well as the largest urban landscaped park in the world, Fairmont Park. Visitors can experience a step back in history and enjoy history, art, culture, and much more throughout the streets of the 141.6-square-mile (367-square-kilometer) city.
WHAT TO DO
Start your exploration at one of the most historic buildings in the United States, Independence Hall. Built in 1753 and located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets, it offers visitors a free guided tour of the building, which includes the Assembly Room, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. And be sure to see George Washington’s “rising sun” chair.
Continue your adventure at the Betsy Ross house, which was home to the famous seamstress and flag-maker. The structure was erected in 1740 and was occupied by Betsy Ross and her husband John from 1773 to 1786. The first Stars and Stripes flag was purportedly made here by Betsy, who was chosen by the 1776 Congressional Committee on flag design. An audio tour of the house ($7 for adults, $6 for children) will give visitors a picture of Ross and her exciting life. A self-guided tour is also available.
The Liberty Bell, which was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack in 1752, is now located at Independence National Park. Originally, the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings. The bell cracked when it was first rung in Philadelphia. Free tours are offered for visitors so that they may learn more about its historical significance.