Visiting Independence Hall + The Liberty Bell

A few weeks ago I shared the first post from my trip to Philadelphia…a trip that I took almost two years ago! As I mentioned in that post, it was a business trip, so we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. We had to be at the office for two of the days, but we were able to work a half day on our last day. One of my coworkers had never been to Philadelphia before either, so we decided to take that morning off and play tourist. Of course when you’re in Philadelphia for the first time, you have to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

We wanted to beat the crowds (and finish early enough to work the afternoon) so we met bright and early to get tickets. Entrance to Independence Hall is by tour only and timed tickets are required March-December. Same day tickets are free and available at the Independence Visitor Center starting at 8:30 a.m. You can also reserve in advance online for $1.50 fee. Anyway, we arrived at 8:30 and got tickets for the first tour of the day at 9 a.m.

I know my tip is always to start early, but it really makes such a huge difference in dealing with crowds. We were on the first tour of the day, so there were only a few other people on the tour with us and there was no line at the security screening area. It’s also a great opportunity to get pictures without other people in them.

The tour of Independence Hall was led by a NPS ranger and it was really interesting. The Assembly Room is where the Continental Congress declared Independence in 1776 and debated and signed the U.S. Constitution in 1787. It’s kind of surreal to stand in one of the most historic rooms in the United States. 'Murica!

The desk and chair in the middle of the room was George Washington’s spot. There’s a sun carved into the back of Washington’s chair and it became known as the Rising Sun Chair because of an observation made by Benjamin Franklin.

Next door to Independence Hall is Congress Hall. This is where Congress met while Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the U.S. from 1790 to 1800. Presidents George Washington (second term) and John Adams both took the oath of office in this building. The first floor was where the House of Representatives met and the Senate chamber was upstairs.


Once we finished the tour (it took about 40 minutes) we walked over to the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell is located at The Liberty Bell Center, right by Independence Hall. Admission is free and no tickets are required. The Liberty Bell is obviously the main draw, but there are some pretty interesting exhibits lining the way to the bell. Topics range from the original State House bell to the famous crack to the inscription on the bell (Leviticus 25:10 in the Old Testament:… Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof).

Even if you want to read most of the exhibit information, you won’t need more than 30 minutes to see the Liberty Bell. Because we started so early, we finished our visit to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in time to still have breakfast. We ended up going around the corner to the Red Owl Tavern and I had some AMAZING French toast. Highly recommend!

If you have more time in the area (and don’t have to go back to work…boo), there are plenty of other historical/interesting places within walking distance: Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, United States Mint, National Constitution Center, and many more! I think a tour of the U.S. Mint would be really interesting…hopefully next time!

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center are managed by the National Park Service, so be sure to check their sites for hours and information before visiting.

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  1. How neat is this! I love old historical sites, they are something I try and visit if I have time on vacations! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I always start early to avoid crowds too! It makes everything so much more enjoyable. I wish I'd had a chance to tour Independence hall when I visited Philly, but the Liberty Bell is really special!

  3. Thanks for the look into this great city! I've never been there, but I hope to take my family one day.

  4. I've never been but have it on my list of places to visit soon! I always love exploring new cities, especially those rich in history!

  5. I'm all for getting an early start when I travel but it just never works out (sleep just won't get out of my way :) ). I was lucky enough to get a tour of Independence Hall (arriving mid-day) but the queue to see the Liberty Bell was out the door.

  6. What a coincidence! I wrote about the Reading Terminal Market this week. Did you go? Really like Philadelphia and would love to return with my husband. #wkendtravelinspiration

  7. I love visiting Independence Hall and the Rangers do a good job of relating all the things that happened there. I agree with the early start part!

  8. That is such a good tip, we always share it too. Get there early to beat the crowds! Plus morning light is great for photos and, if you are in a hot locale, the temp is more bearable. Loved your post! Thanks for linking up, #wkendtravelinspiration

  9. I would LOVE to visit Independence Hall and see the Liberty Bell! I have never been to Philly, but hope to get there soon. Thanks for these great tips!!


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