DestPHL

Highlighted Sites Nearby Destinations When to Go? Tour Logistics
 

PHILADELPHIA'S HIGHLIGHTED SITES:

Independence Hall:

As the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, Independence Hall is one of the most recognizable historical landmarks not only in Philadelphia, but the entire nation. The hall is the centerpiece of a building complex that also includes a room showcasing the original prints and Congress Hall where the US Senate and House of Representatives met for 10 years while Washington, DC was being constructed.

The old Pennsylvania Statehouse bell engraved with the words, "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof" rang to call citizens to the first reading of the Declaration of Independence, and was later dubbed The Liberty Bell by abolitionists and other movements who adopted the bell as a symbol of their fight for freedom. 

Who are “We the People”? Facing opposite Independence Hall, The National Constitution Center is a modern museum that explores and explains the Constitution through high-tech exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Built and owned by America’s oldest trade guild, Carpenters’ Hall in 1774 hosted the First Continental Congress.

 

The former site of Ben Franklin's home contains and underground museum, archeological displays, and a recreated print shop and post office to showcase his versatile life as publisher, politician, postmaster, printer, and inventor.

Known as "The Nation's Church" because of the famous Revolutionary-era leaders who worshiped here, Christ Church was founded an Anglican parish in 1695. It is also the church where the American Episcopal Church was born.

The Burial Ground is the final resting place for some of our most prominent leaders including Benjamin Franklin and four other signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Known as the oldest residential street in the country, the narrow Elfreth's Alley boasts nearly 30 tiny houses dating from the early 18th to 19th centuries.

While the legitimacy of Betsy Ross’s flag-making is debated, this house is still worth a visit as an example of colonial living conditions.

 
Witness the coin-currency making process at the US Mint from an enclosed gallery overlooking the workers and machinery.
The Graff House is the location where Thomas Jefferson, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, rented a room in 1776, and drafted The Declaration of Independence in three weeks. 
This colonial square served as a burial ground for both American and British soldiers and white and black victims of the 1793 yellow fever epidemic. Today it's the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolutionary War.

The Franklin Institute is a modern science museum reflecting Franklin’s creativity through hundreds of hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, high-tech theaters and special programs.

This impressive museum houses a collection of more than 400,000 works of art. But many visitors are more familiar with the outside, as they run up the steps just like "Rocky" did in 1976.


Evening Programs:
 
Walk the streets of Philadelphia by night on a Ghost tour of historic buildings, or a Lights of Liberty program, or enjoy a visit with one of our Founding Fathers such as Ben Franklin or George Washington.
 

Valley Forge: (Outside of Philadelphia about one hour)

It was here that General George Washington forged his struggling Continental Army into a fighting force, during the difficult winter encampment of 1777-78. While no battles were fought here, 2,000 soldiers died of sickness and hardship. Today, the park is a lush, 3,600-acre expanse of rolling hillsides dotted with monuments, recreated cabins, and original homes that served as headquarters.

Lancaster County / Amish Country: (Outside Philadelphia about 2 hours)

Lancaster County's old-fashioned charm and homespun warmth stems from the well-rooted Amish population of farmers and craftsmen who follow a deeply religious, family-centered lifestyle based on humility and simplicity. Discreetly observe their farms and buggies as they go about their lives while enjoying some of the finest down-home dining and shopping.

 

If you’re still looking for more to explore, consider some of these other less visited and off-the-beaten path sites:

Philadelphia City Hall, Rittenhouse Square, Gino’s and Pat’s famous Philly Cheese Steaks in the Italian District, Old Quaker Meeting House, Free Quaker Meeting House, First US Bank, Second US Bank / Portrait Gallery, Independence Seaport Museum, Academy of Natural Science, Civil War Library & Museum, Fireman’s Hall, Museum of Jewish American History, New Hall Military Museum, Masonic Temple, Philadelphia Zoo, Fort Mifflin.
 

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Nearby Cities and Historic Parks to add to a Philadelphia Itinerary:

Most groups make Philadelphia an extension of a larger trip by adding one or more other historic destinations in the East, especially considering its location between Washington, DC, Gettysburg, and New York.

 
 
 
DC

Washington, DC (3 hours from Philadelphia, 3 days additional)

A good combo itinerary with Philadelphia, Washington DC builds upon the nations founding and covers the whole scope of US History in its monuments and museums. But DC is just as much about the “present” as it is the “past” when you witness the action of the government that was created in Philadelphia.

New York City (3 hours from Philadelphia, 2-3 days)

While NYC has it’s own treasures of American history, a trip here from will definitely take on a whole new pace and energy. Canyons of sky-scrapers, lights of Broadway, famous shopping, film sets, and an international nexus for both the poor, the posh, and the powerful; it truly is the Capital of the World.

 

 
 
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Civil War Battlefields (3 hours from Philadelphia, one day)

Gettysburg, PA was the deadliest battle and turning point of the Civil War and now is the most monumented battlefield on earth. It is the most popular battlefield to visit and convenient from Philadelphia, but further out are Antietam, MD, Harper’s Ferry, WV, Manassas, VA, and Fredericksburg, VA.

 
 

Colonial Virginia (6 hours from Philadelphia, 2 days)

A great way to begin a trip as this is where the nation began, at Jamestown. Re-created Williamsburg shares the same Independence time-line as Philadelphia, but in a more rural setting. Yorktown is where our Independence was won. Also make time for Richmond or Charlottesville on the way to/from the northern cities.

 
 
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Boston (7 hours from Philadelphia, 2 days)

Walk the Freedom Trail in the footsteps of the Revolutionaries in downtown Boston. Follow the footsteps of the Minutemen and hear the “Shot heard ‘round the World” at Lexington and Concord. Join the first New England settlers at the Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation.

 
 
 
 
 

 


 

 

 

When to Go?

While Philadelphia can get crowded in the high spring and summer season, the spread-out layout of the city and timed-ticket entries make group travel flow very well. As much of Philadelphia is outside touring / walking, we recommend the spring and fall as good times for temperate weather and good natural scenery. Some groups try to avoid the crowds by traveling in the winter months with lower temperatures. Cold weather is usually pretty manageable, but the biggest drawback is the outdoor scenery is more grey and the daylight hours are shorter. The summers are hot and muggy and crowded and it can be unpleasant for outside touring.



Philadelphia Logistics: (Guides, Transportation, Hotels, Meals)

Our guides maintain a 24 hour presence with the group from the time you arrive till the time you leave, so in addition to being your educational expert, they will also be navigating you through the logistics of transportation, meals, and hotels. While each guide has their own style and strengths, they strive to be flexible to the group’s needs and maintain the difficult balances between reverence and fun, promptness and leisure, information and action, being decisive and being accommodating. Some sites only allow their resident guides or rangers to lead/talk to groups, but other than that our guides are available to instruct as much or as little as you desire (Yes, sometimes our guide’s passion for the subject outlasts the mental energy reserves of the group).

There will be a guide for each motor coach, should the group size require more than one coach. We use only experienced drivers in newer model coaches that come with AC, DVD/TV, reclining seats, and restrooms. While the motor coaches will greatly cut down on the time one would spend driving and parking their own vehicle, the layout of Philadelphia makes walking the best mode of touring once you’re in the center.

Our hotels are also high quality, with such familiar names as Marriott, Sheraton, and Doubletree. We use centrally located hotels where and privately hired night security will monitor the floor or floors where the group is sleeping so the group leaders can sleep with more peace of mind that no one is disturbing the group, nor are they disturbing each other or leaving their rooms.

We pride ourselves on using meals of high caliber in both food quality and setting. Breakfast is typically hot buffet-style at the hotel. Lunches are usually more flexible and often are not specifically scheduled in the itinerary, allowing the guide and group leaders to choose the timing and location of lunches as the itinerary unfolds (we’ll tell you where to find your Philly Cheesesteak!) Dinners are typically by reservation with reserved group seating and options within a set menu to expedite service. Depending the location, dinners are often in historic restaurants or involve event-themed dining.
 
For more information regarding packing lists, preparations, academic goals, fundraising, hometown connections, teacher tips, and other logistics of group travel, please visit our Traveler Resource Center.

 


  

 

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