During a recent business trip to Philadelphia, we took a couple of personal days to see historic sites in the area. We found Philadelphia an easy city to navigate without a car. After our plane landed we picked up our luggage and took the SEPTA train into City Center. The conversations between clueless travelers and a patient train conductor were entertainment itself.
We started our afternoon with a bowl of pho (Vietnamese soup) for lunch at a small restaurant on Race Street in Chinatown. Huge bowls of extremely hot soups were served very within minutes of our order. Bring cash, as several restaurants in town require a minimum charge for credit cards.
Your first stop in the historic district should be the Independence Visitor Center. Stop to see the National Park Service Rangers at the desk to pick up a map of the National Park area. They also distribute tickets to Independence Hall. There is no free for these time stamped tickets but they are usually gone early in the day. This is the only area of the Independence National Historic Park which requires a ticket.
At many sites in this district, you must enter though a security line. You can reduce your time in line by leaving all packages in your hotel room or car.
Once you have your ticket to Independence Hall, take a walk across the street to view the Liberty Bell. The building has exhibits on the history of the bell including how it was made, the fateful crack and repair attempts. There are photos of the bell as it traveled around the county.
Make your way across the street allowing plenty of time to get through security before your tour of Independence Hall. If you are early for your timed tour, check out Congress Hall while you wait. You can also tour the East and West Wings before the tour of Independence Hall.
We ended our day with a variety of dining options from vendors at Reading Terminal Markets. Product, cheese, wine, candy and prepared meals are a treat for the eyes and tummy. Stop at multiple vendors and snack your way through the aisles. We had Philly steak and falafel sandwiches topped off with a piece of chocolate cake.