City In A Day

A WALK THROUGH HISTORY

Old City 760x510

STORY AND PHOTOS   //   BY JOSEPHINE MAISANO

Philadelphia’s most beloved treasure has always been the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  However, it is also known as the home of the cheesesteak, which brings tourists to the city to sample the fare at the famous Geno’s Steaks in South Philadelphia.  Over the past five years, Philadelphia has also been emerging as a foodie destination, with renowned chefs Marc Vetri, Jose Garces, Morimoto, and Steven Starr leading the way.  Philadelphia is also a great city to discover a variety of family-friendly sites.  It is the home of the oldest zoo in America as well as world-class museums from the Franklin Institute to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia is easily accessible by planes, trains or automobiles.  Amtrak has daily service to 30th Street Station from around the country, parking is readily and easily found in downtown Philadelphia for reasonable prices (about $30 or less for the day at any of the multiple city or privately-owned lots), and daily flights will bring you to the Philadelphia International Airport from anywhere in the world.

You and your family can easily spend a few days and still not see everything Philadelphia has to offer, but if you only have one day to spend in Philadelphia, go to Old City, the home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Park and take a walk through the history of the birth of our nation.  Start your day by going to the Independence Visitor’s Center at 6th and Market Streets and get a free, timed ticket for access to either of these sites.  While waiting your turn, you can either take a carriage ride around Old City and see the historical sites or put on some comfortable walking shoes and take your time visiting the U.S. Mint, where you can take a self-guided tour and see coins being made and the first minting press in the country; the Christ Church Burial Ground where Ben Franklin, five signers of the Declaration of Independence, and other notable men of the American Revolution are buried; Arch Street Meeting House, the oldest Quaker meeting house built on land donated by William Penn and his final resting place; The Betsy Ross House where she lived and home of the first U.S. Flag; and Washington Square for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

You can also spend time at any of the museums that can be found in the area, including the National Constitution Center, which takes visitors through the history of our democracy and how government works; the National Liberty Museum, dedicated to the story of how liberty was gained and heroes were made in this country; the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the first institution in the U.S. built to honor the art, history and culture of African Americans; and the National Museum of Jewish American History, which explores the American Jewish experience in the U.S.

Finally, to end your day, take a walk to Franklin Square, one of the original five  squares designed by William Penn for “a green country town” and home to a beautiful carousel, large playground, and mini-golf course.  After enjoying the activities, enjoy a delicious, well-priced hamburger, fries, and Cake Shake (a delicious milkshake made with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets, a local tradition) at Square Burger, a Stephen Starr take out stand located in front of the park’s beautiful fountain.

 

INSIDER TIPS:
There is a lot of information available to help you decide on the best itinerary for you while at the Old City district, however some could get really confusing and misleading. Here are the ones I find the most helpful and time saving.

http://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/nearbyattractions.htm
http://historicphiladelphia.org/#void
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/02/04/a-guide-to-philadelphias-squares/
 

To Do's:

Betsy Ross
239 Arch St., Old City, Philadelphia, PA 19106
www.betsyrosshouse.org

African American Museum
701 Arch St., Old City, Philadelphia, PA 19106
www.aampmuseum.org

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
532 N. 7th St., Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, PA 19123
www.nps.gov/edal

United States Mint
5th and Arch Sts., Old City, Philadelphia, PA 19106
www.usmint.gov

 

Shop:

ERDON
Boutique with a unique mix of European, Japanese, and American designers in a relaxed gallery atmosphere.

162 N. 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
http://erdon.co/

THIRD STREET HABIT
Gift shop casual boho-chic fashion varies styles from distressed denim, and athletic styles.
153 N. 3rd Street

The Eats:

Buddakan
Pan-Asian fusion cuisine
325 Chestnut St., Philadelphia PA 19106
www.buddakan.com

Cuba Libre
10 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia PA 19106
contemporary Cuban cuisine
www.cubalibrerestaurant.com

City Tavern
Traditional America home cooking
138 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
www.m.citytavern.com

FARMiCiA
Contemporary American, Local Organic cuisine prepared with local farmed ingredients
15 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia PA 19106
www.farmiciarestaurant.com

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