In Part One of this series, we were just starting to delve into Philadelphia, something that oddly enough Benjamin Franklin, Rocky, Auguste Rodin, Wilt Chamberlain, Al Capone, and Kevin Bacon all have in common!
Among the wealth of sites and attractions related to the history of this country here are the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, Old City Hall, the Declaration House and the Free Quaker Meeting House.
One of the most popular attractions is the Liberty Bell Center. Much more than just the place where the famous 2,080 pound bell hangs and visitors stand to take photos, the center encompasses several exhibits about the origins of the bell, as well as how it has and still serves as an icon of international freedom today for many social issues including, way back, the abolitionist movement, and the continuing struggle for Civil Rights.
The National Constitution Center, the first museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution, features a wide array of exhibits, each offering a different perspective of how the Constitution came into being, and still applies to Americans in the present day. My favorite room in the building is Signers’ Hall, featuring 42 striking, life-size, bronze statues of the Founding Fathers posed as they might have been when discussing and debating the many issues our nation faced in its early establishment. Through October 19, the Center is presenting “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello” which delves into the behind-the-scenes tale of the numerous slave families who lived here, President Thomas Jefferson’s life and work (including his struggle with the predicament of slavery), and numerous Jefferson family artifacts.
Originally built to be the Pennsylvania State House in the mid-1700s, Independence Hall, recognized as “the birthplace of the United States,” is significant in that it was here that the U.S. Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed, and where, in 1775, George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, among other historic events.
Once in Philly, it is very easy to get around on foot or via public transportation. With that, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation has done a wonderful job of creating a variety of Philly guides detailing places to visit and things to in 20 minute or less, one hour, three hours, etc. timeframes, giving people insights and options into the time to spend at each attraction.
One of the best ways to get a great feel for Philly is by embarking upon one of their many self-guided, bus, trolley, and Segway tours.
We chose the Philadelphia Trolley Works and 76 Bus Company, offering double-decker buses, Victorian trolleys, deluxe motor coaches and horse drawn carriages. We took a 90 minute, open air bus tour which took us all over the downtown and surrounding area for an overall feel and logistics. Under the tutelage of their excellent and very knowledgeable and personable tour guides, visitors can hop off and on all day at or near a variety of sites and neighborhoods including the Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia Zoo, Penn’s Landing and the Waterfront, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, Chinatown, Memorial Hall and the Please Touch Museum and Logan Circle, among others.
We have barely scratched the surface of the Birthplace of America. African-American, sites and attractions, museums, accommodations, culinary diversions, and more are coming up!
Read the Entire Feature Series!
Part 1 Escape to Philadelphia
Part 2 Lots to See and Do in Philadelphia
Part 3 Exploring The City of Brotherly Love
Part 4 The History of African Americans in Philly
Part 5 Philly: More Than Meets the Eye
Part 6 Artistic and Culinary Delights in Philly