Philadelphia is one of the most historically important cities in the entire United States. It was a pivotal place during the days preceding and following the Revolutionary War. Thankfully, this historical treasure-house is fairly compact and ideal for walking. However, Philadelphia has much more to offer than history and some of these additional attractions are also included in my walk.
Begin at the Independence National Historical Park Visitor Center, on 2nd Street. See the film, Independence, and pick up a map from the center personnel before proceeding.
Exit at 3rd Street. Driectly across the street is the First Bank of the United States and the Federal Government’s bank from 1797 to 1811. Exit and take the path to the rear of the building which leads to the New Hall Military Museum. Don’t bother with the museum unless you are particularly interested in this subject, but turn left and visit Carpenter’s Hall, site of the 1st Continental Congress in 1774. Walk back past the museum and cross Chestnut Street bearing a bit to the right to get to Franklin Court, a glowing tribute to Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s most respected patriots. Visit the Underground Museum and the First Post Office, then exit onto Market Street (to the north).
Turn left and proceed to Independence Mall, a vast expanse of green. Go first to the Liberty Bell Pavilion, to see one of the most enduring symbols of American freedom.
Looking south, head for Independence Hall (entrance is in the rear) where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution of the United States drafted. Take a tour to see where the representatives sat and discussed the Revolution.
Next, spend some time in Independence Square checking out Congress Hall and Old City Hall.
When finished, walk back out to Market Street and turn left. When you get to 11th Street, turn right and take a break at the Reading Terminal Market, a delightful indoor mall of stands selling all sorts of items, especially food. It’s a great place to have lunch to get fortified for the longer part of the walk.
Return to Market Street and turn right, heading for Philadelphia’s distinctive City Hall, topped with a statue of William Penn. Turn right and walk around City Hall with a left on Filbert Street until you reach the Visitor Center at JFK Plaza (on the right). From here look down flag-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway toward the Phildelphia Museum of Art (although not included in this walk, it is worth a visit) for a classic view of the city. For another photo-op, proceed down the Parkway a bit and look back at the City Hall.
From the plaza, head south on 16th Street and take a right onto Market Street, walking as far as 22nd Street. Take a left and look for the College of Physician’s Mutter Museum, a unique venue which examines the history of medicine and disease. After the visit, continue south to Chestnut Street, turn left and walk back to 15th Street. Take a right to Pine Street and then left, proceeding through what is known as Antiques Row (a shopping area) to 9th Street.
Take a right here and head for the city’s Italian Market, in South Philly, a cacophony of incredible sounds and smells, made famous in the Rocky movie. Browse the shops and stalls, then go eastward (on almost any street) and turn left on 3rd Street, heading through the Historic Waterfront District, past the Kosciuszko National Memorial all the way to Arch Street where you can visit the Betsy Ross House. Go east on Arch Street to 2nd Street, turn right and return to the starting point of the walk.