Once America’s most populous city, its one-time industrial center, and the nation’s temporary capital, Philadelphia is home to a wide variety of historical sights and attractions. Philadelphia landmarks trace the history of America alongside the history of the city — from its days as the capital of Pennsylvania Colony to its modern status as the country’s sixth-largest metropolitan area.
Explore the city’s parks, historic districts and museums to gain an appreciation of Philadelphia’s contributions to America — or just take a brief walk. You’re bound to find something old and learn something new.
Philly’s most famous attraction, the Liberty Bell, is housed here, along with Independence Hall, the Portrait Gallery, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and much more. Admission to see the Liberty Bell is free of charge, and other Independence National Historical Park attractions cost less than $5. If you plan on visiting historic Independence Hall — where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed — please plan on registering for a timed ticket ahead of time (tickets are free). Whether or not you step into any of the buildings onsite to see American history first-hand, we recommend walking the grounds. The architecture alone is enough to transport you back to America’s early days.
This is a can’t-miss Philadelphia landmark, in a nearly literal sense. Perched directly in the middle of Center City — where Broad Street meets Market Street — this mammoth building was once the tallest habitable building in the world (from 1901 to 1908). At 548 feet, Philadelphia City Hall has been stripped of that title many times over at this point, but it still stands as one of America’s finest architectural wonders. The majestic Second Empire-style building houses Philadelphia’s municipal offices and attracts the attention of onlookers from every angle.
Philadelphia’s ever-present charm gets taken up a notch on Antique Row, a historic section of Washington Square West that offers an array of antique shops, furniture stores, clothing boutiques, bookstores, craft shops and dining options. The district, anchored by Pine Street between Ninth and Broad streets, is worth a visit for its architectural grace and elegance as much as for the wares sold in its stores. Take an afternoon stroll along the tree-lined streets and take a trip back in time without leaving the middle of Philadelphia.
Offering 6.4 acres of relaxing respite and lush greenery in the heart of Philadelphia, Washington Square is one of five square parks originally included in the city’s grid. Washington Square lives on today as a piece of living history, serving not only as a place for residents and visitors to relax, but also as a piece of Independence National Historical Park.