The Founding of America - A 1 day tour of Philadelphia

The Founding of America: A One-Day Itinerary of Philadelphia

Many visitors to Philadelphia come to learn about the city’s role in the founding of the United States. This itinerary is a one-day walking tour through downtown Philadelphia that will ensure you see all of the city’s most important historical locations in a single day.

This one-day itinerary of Philadelphia is great for families, history buffs, or anyone interested in the founding of America.

Independence Hall

A one-day itinerary of Philadelphia's Old City

Start your day at Independence Hall.

Start your day at Independence Hall.

Out of all of America’s buildings, Independence Hall might be the most important one. It was in this building, once known as the Pennsylvania State House, that the Declaration of Independence from Britain and the US Constitution were signed.

Free tours are available daily, though reservations are recommended. More information on obtaining tickets can be found on the Park Services’ website.

Liberty Bell

Located next to Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell. One of the world’s most famous bells, the Liberty Bell is an American icon. Having once hung from the bell tower of the nearby Independence Hall, the bell already had a prominent place in American history. However, what’s made the bell so famous is its large crack that, somewhat ironically, made it unable to ring.

While the queue might be long, seeing the Liberty Bell in person is a must for any visitor to Philly. And even better, it’s one of the top free things to do in Philadelphia!

Christ Church and its Cemetery

The historic Christ Church in Philadelphia.

The historic Christ Church in Philadelphia from Market Street.

Christ Church and the nearby Christ Church Cemetery are the final resting places of many of America’s founders. Buried in the cemeteries are 8 signers of the Deceleration of Independence including Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin’s grave is easy to locate because it’s usually covered with pennies as a nod to his saying “A penny saved is a penny earned”. Leave a penny yourself as it’s considered good luck.

For a full list of everyone famous who’s buried at the cemetery, check out the Wikipedia page about the Christ Church Burial Ground.

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross was the woman who legend says sewed the first American flag. And, according to the story, this was the house in which she lived.

While no one knows for sure the true story, visiting Betsy Ross’ house is an interesting look into what life was like in the mid-18th century. Find out more here about visiting the Betsy Ross House.

Elfreth’s Alley

VIsiting Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Take a Stroll down Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in America

Elfreth’s Alley is often called “Our Oldest Residential Street”. And, with 32 houses that have been in continuous residential use since the 1700s, that’s likely true.

Walking down this short alley is a great way to experience what working-class Philadelphia was like 250 years ago.

Two of the houses are used as a museum to showcase 18th century life in Philadelphia. The other houses remain private residences.

For more information on Elfreth’s Alley, check out my full post.

Graff House

Built in 1775, the Graff House is where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.

The first floor showcases information about the Declaration, while the second floor has been recreated to show what it might have looked like while Jefferson was residing there. Click here for information about visiting the Graff House.

Click here to see our full list of completely free things to do in Philly!

See map below for other area attractions.

AUTHOR - Jim Cheney

Jim Cheney is the creator of Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited all 67 counties in the state. Jim has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.

1 Comment

  • Arthur Tom

    Thanks for your advice. I did that today and learned a lot. I added the Qualer meeting house and learned a lot about the mass grave on its property and that the founder of the Marine Corps Samuel Nichols is buried on their property. Yes he was a Quaker!

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