Philadelphia’s historic roots run deep. From celebrated landmarks like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, kids aren’t the only ones who’ll learn a thing or two during a family weekend in Philadelphia. I spent a weekend at the Omni Hotel at Independence Park with my kids and I couldn’t have picked a better launching point to explore all of the historic sites.
1. Independence Hall | There’s history on practically every corner of Philadelphia, but you can’t visit Philadelphia and not go to Independence Hall. Free, timed tickets are available to tour the building where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the United States Constitution was debated, drafted and signed.
2. Liberty Bell Center | Located directly across the street from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell is the easiest historic landmark to visit. Tickets are not required. You simply clear security to gain access.
3. Betsy Ross House | Visit the home of the woman credited with sewing the first American flag. Betsy often makes appearances in her sewing room. Find out why she convinced General George Washington to make some design changes.
4. National Constitution Center | The National Constitution Center is the only museum dedicated to the history of the United States Constitution. Start your visit with the Freedom Rising theater show. Using multimedia, a live actor tells the compelling story of “We the People.”
5. Franklin Square | Located just one block from the National Constitution Center, Franklin Park is the place to go when the kids need to run. Getting them to leave might be tough though. Along with a couple playgrounds, there’s a carousel and mini golf where you can putt through famous Philadelphia icons like the Liberty Bell and Elfreth’s Alley. The burgers at SquareBurger are tasty too!
6. Reading Terminal Market | While we’re talking about food, the Reading Terminal Market is one of America’s largest and oldest public markets. Opened in the late 1800’s, today you can eat your way through this historic farmers market, sampling Philadelphia favorites like soft pretzels, cheese steaks and so much more.
7. Independence After Hours | Make friends with a colonist. Meet Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams. Eat dinner at City Tavern, the unofficial meeting place for the First Continental Congress, and sneak into Independence Hall after hours and see where history was made without the crowds.
8. Liberty 360 | Hosted by none other than Ben Franklin, Liberty 360 is a 360-degree, 3-D panoramic movie. See it early in your visit as opposed to later. Liberty 360 gives a great overview of Philadelphia and will help give you and the kids a better understanding and appreciation of the historical sights your visiting.
9. Barnes Foundation Philadelphia | Kids and art museums don’t typically mix, but this is no ordinary museum. When kids arrive they’re challenged with what is essentially a museum-wide scavenger hunt. My kids were engaged from the minute they began, until they finished about an hour later.
10. The Franklin Fountain & Shane Confectionery | The Franklin Fountain is an old-fashion ice cream counter scooping up amazing ice creams, sundaes and phosphates. Shane Confectionery, now owned by the same brothers who created The Franklin Fountain, is America’s oldest candy store, established in 1863.
Editorial Note: Dana and her family received complimentary accommodations at the Omni Hotel at Independence Park and a Philadelphia VIP Pass from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation that allowed complimentary admission to Liberty 360, Independence After Hours, the National Constitution Center, the Barnes Foundation and the Betsy Ross House. But as always, her thoughts and opinions are her own. Photos by Dana Rebmann
Mother-daughter family fun at Omni Berkshire Place Hotel New York City
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