Across from the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia (which I previously wrote about ), is Independence Hall. Although it was originally built between 1732-1756 as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania, it became better known for other events that occurred there:

  • George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the Assembly Room (1775)
  • Declaration of Independence was adopted (July 4th, 1776)
  • American flag design was approved (1777)
  • Meeting place for the Second Continental Congress, except during the time Philadelphia was occupied by the British Army (winter of 1777-78)
  • Articles of Confederation were adopted (1781)
  • U.S. Constitution was drafted (1787)

The tour begins in the East Wing, and offers a close up view of what is considered classic Georgian architecture. Great pains have been taken to restore the building, inside and out, to its original appearance, and much of the furnishings are period pieces, including the original “rising sun” chair that was used by George Washington as he presided over the Constitution Convention.

Independence Hall is located on Chestnut Street, between 5th & 6th, and is open for free tours year round.  Tour hours vary by season, and require a timed-entry ticket during peak season (generally March through December).

Tickets are available on the morning of your visit at the Independence Visitor Center (starting at 8:30 am), or in advance online, through the National Park Service, for a small handling fee ($1.50/ticket). If you’re opting for walk up tickets, arrive early to have the greatest choice of tour times, as the tickets go fast. Tickets are required for everyone, including infants. All visitors must also go through a security screening.

You should allow about 30-60 minutes to get through Independence Hall, depending on the crowd.

Photo credit: Jon Rochetti