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Philadelphia

The city of Philadelphia became the second largest city of the British Empire after London became the state capital before Washington D.C.

It is also famous for being the setting of the Rocky Balboa movies.

It is currently the second largest city of the east coast and the fifth in United States.

Its grid structure with large squares was created by William Penn in 1682 The streets running north-south are numbered, except Broad Street and Front Street.; and running east to west are named.

Its old town is considered the most historic square mile in United States. The places with the distinctive “INHP” belong to the historic route.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Walking through the old town

The route through the old town can start in the Independence National Historic Park.

This magnificent 18-hectare park preserves several places of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

Some are the Independence Hall, a World Heritage Site since 1979 and the Liberty Bell.

The Independence Hall was built between 1732 and 1753, was the most ambitious public building. There was drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. You can visit, also conduct guided tours.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell is one of the main tourist attractions of Philadelphia, weighs nearly a ton, was forged in London and rang for the first time in the first reading of the Declaration of Independence, so abolitionists adopted it as a symbol of freedom.
The home to the Liberty Bell Center is on Market Street between 5th and 6th Street.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

On 5th Street between Chestnut Street and Walnut Street we find the Library Hall, the library founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, becoming the forerunner of the Library of Congress. There you can see a copy of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark annotations, the trekkers, a first edition of The Principles of Sir Isaac Newton or first editions of “The Origin of Species” by Darwin.

On Chestnut Street between 4th and 5th Street is located the National Portrait Gallery, housed in a building constructed between 1819 and 1824 Greek-inspired.
The building was the Second Bank of the United States, which ceased to exist in 1836.
From 1845-1935 served as the Philadelphia Customs House and is currently the seat of Independence Village where over 180 works, many of Charles Willson Peale.

Philadelphia Customs House and Independence Village

Philadelphia Customs House and Independence Village

Following Chestnut Street , at number 320 arrives at Carpenters’ Hall , belonging to the guild of carpenters (which currently would be architects and builders ), the nation’s oldest , founded in 1724.
The building was constructed between 1770 and 1773 in the Georgian style , cross-shaped , two floors, crowned with a dome .
Here the First Continental Congress was held in 1774.
Currently the guild continues to meet in the same building .

If we head towards the river and turn at the next street ( 3rd Street ) to reach Walnut Street , at corner is located the Philadelphia Merchant’s Exchange.
At first , members of business and maritime communities gathered at the London Coffee House to close deals , discuss politics or attend auctions.
In a shed in front of the cafe also had a market place grain and meat twice a week , until he no longer had capacity, then the social and commercial aristocracy built the Coffee House that worked fifty years until again a larger building for business was needed.

For the new business center, in 1831 the local architect William Strickland was elected ( in charge of the tower of Independence Hall and later the Second Bank – Library Hall) .
The building has a striking structure with a semicircular porch decorated and surmounted by a small dome tower. He became the first stock exchange in the country in 1834.
It now have the government house offices and can not be visited .

Philadelphia Merchant's Exchange

Philadelphia Merchant’s Exchange

If we head north again , we come to Market Street and turn left , between 3th Street and 4th Street is the Franklin Court , a row of restored houses that honor to the versatile Benjamin Franklin, inventor, diplomat, editor , author , statesman, and postmaster among other things. He also founded the Library Company , the Pennsylvania Hospital , the American Philosophical Society and the University of Pennsylvania .

The house where the court was , the Court Frankiln was razed in 1812, but a structure designed by Robert Venturi in 1976 for the bicentennial was built.
Under it is the Underground Museum, full of objects and paintings that relat to Franklin.

At number 314 Market Street is the Post Museum, at 316 the Post Office where they still used the postmark ” B. Franklin Free. ”

At number 318 is an exhibition of architecture, at 320 the printing office, at 322 the restored office for newspaperpaper edited by Franklin ‘s grandson.

Franklin Court

Franklin Court

If we went to the river and when we got to 2nd Street, turn left, and between Market Street and Arch Street, we find the Christ Church.
This church is known as Church of the Nation, by the leaders of the revolution that came to pray in it. It was founded in 1695 and was the first Anglican parish in Pennsylvania. The building you see is dated 1744 and the bell tower, designed by Robert Smith, 1754. Among the parishioners werw Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, George Washington and John Adams.
In the cemetery are buried seven signers of the Declaration of Independence and five of the Constitution.

Christ Church

Christ Church

Following in the same direction by 2nd Street, passing Arch Street get to Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential alley in the United States, founded in 1702.
The street is named after Jeremiah Elfreth, a blacksmith and land speculator who built several houses rented from fellow artisans. They also lived traders, teachers and clergy.
It is a peculiar alley, being so close seems dollhouses, are thirty-two houses and were built between 1720 and 1830.
The houses can visit with audio guide and hear about the history of each home.

There is a museum at number 124-126 which tells the story of the lives of two seamstresses who worked in the 126 house and explain how affects them the growth of the industry.
The Mantua Maker’s House Museum show the lifestyle of the first habitants of the alley.

Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth’s Alley

If we head north again for 2nd Street , at number 149 is where the Fireman’s Hall are located. An exhibition related to firefighting history since 1731. Here you can see the oldest U.S. firefighters car.
Special mention is also made to Benjamin Franklin who founded the first volunteer fire company in the country.

Heading back south , turn right onto Arch Street to number 239 where is the Betsy Ross House , a building dated in 1740 where this woman lived. It is believed that this seamstress was who made the first American flag .
No doubt the legend that Betsy Ross sewed the first stars and stripes make it a historical figure.

History is made public in 1870 by his grandson William Canby, in a speech on the Historical Society of Pennsylvania where he explained how he and other family members hear the conversation in 1777 between Betsy and three men who had to be George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross.
Historians believe that history can be certain becasue George Ross , who was the uncle of Betsy ‘s first husband , John Ross , was a member of the committee of the flag ; was also normal upholsterers be devoted to other work in wartime , especially sewing uniforms , tents and flags; and finally know that the May 29, 1777 will pay a significant sum to Betsy by the Pennsylvania State Navy Board for making flags

Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross

Outside the old town there are lots to see, Philadelphia is a city full of museums and attractions.

The Academy of Fine Arts in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) is the art school and the country’s oldest museum. It was founded in 1805 and is located at 118-128 Broad Street.

The Metropolitan Opera House , known as The Met, is at No. 858 Broad Street , is historical place since 1972.

The City Hall , the seat of government of the city of Philadelphia , with a height of 167 meters, was the highest inhabited from 1901 to 1908 and has 700 rooms. The bronze statue that crowns the building is the city founder William Penn, and measures 11.3 meters away.The clock tower is 7.9 meters in diameter.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in Fairmount Park is located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art , one of the largest art museums in the United States.
It was created in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition . The collection consists have more than 225,000 objects.

Location of Philadelphia

Location of Philadelphia

 
New York Distance: 161km.
Direction: Southwest.
Travel time: 2 horas.
Car: Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey Turnpike (I-95), continue along the New Jersey Turnpike S and exit 4 toward NJ-73N. Then turn left onto NJ-90W (Betsy Ross Bridge) and take the exit onto I-95S and take exit 33 toward I-676W/US-30. After crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge, take the I-676 that has outputs to Philadelphia.
Bus: from the Port Authority terminal, buses take 2 hours to arrive.
Train: Trains from Penn Station to Philadelphia.

 

Tips for Visiting Philadelphia

You can visit the city of Philadelphia in day tour and the Amish Community in Lancaster.
More info here.