Old City History Walk, Philadelphia (Self Guided)

Let Philadelphia tell you about the great history of the United States through its outstanding historic places. Learn more about America’s founding fathers, key events during the 18th century, the country’s long-awaited independence and its glorious attainment of liberty. Take the following tour to discover Philadelphia’s history.
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Old City History Walk Map

Guide Name: Old City History Walk
Guide Location: USA » Philadelphia (See other walking tours in Philadelphia)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Author: leticia
Benjamin Franklin Bridge

1) Benjamin Franklin Bridge

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge (also known as the Ben Franklin Bridge), originally named the Delaware River Bridge, is a suspension bridge across the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey. Named for American statesman Benjamin Franklin, the bridge is owned and operated by the Delaware River Port Authority. At its completion on July 1 1926, its 533-metre span made it the world's largest suspension bridge, a distinction it would hold until the opening of the Ambassador Bridge in 1929. The bridge is one of the landmarks seen in the opening credits of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Elfreth's Alley

2) Elfreth's Alley (must see)

Elfreth's Alley is a residential alley located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited residential streets in the United States, dating back to the early 18th century. It is a National Historic Landmark. The alley is located off Second Street between Arch and Race Streets in Philadelphia's Old City Neighborhood. Elfreth's Alley is named for Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th-century blacksmith and property owner. Among the alley's residents were tradesmen and their families, including shipwrights, silver and pewter smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders. In the 1770s, one-third of the households were headed by women. The Georgian and Federal-style houses and cobblestone pavement of the alley were common in Philadelphia during this time.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Betsy Ross House

3) Betsy Ross House (must see)

A long-standing myth about the first American flag being made by Betsy Ross, albeit a myth, still makes a great story. The house of Betsy Ross is nonetheless important as a vivid demonstration of Colonial living. The owner used it primarily to let rooms to travelers and wayfarers. It is situated in the Old City district within proximity to many shops and restaurants. As per the Philadelphia Historic Society, the Ross house enjoys more visitors than any other historic attraction in the city.
Franklin Court

4) Franklin Court (must see)

Benjamin Franklin is probably the most interesting personality in American history. Standing on the site of his former house, this court features seven museums which allow visitors to learn more about his life as a publisher, author, statesman, diplomat, politician, postmaster, printer and inventor. The court's highlight is a 54-foot-tall steel skeleton, known as "ghost sculpture," created by architect Robert Venturi, and covering the footprint of Franklin's house torn down in 1812. Remnants of the original foundation, privy pits and wells can be seen through portholes.
City Tavern

5) City Tavern

The City Tavern is a historic building located at 138 South 2nd Street, at the intersection of Second and Walnut Streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Called the "most genteel tavern in America" by John Adams, it was the favorite meeting place of many of the Founding Fathers and was the unofficial site of the First Continental Congress. The City Tavern was built in 1773 and was partially destroyed by fire on March 22, 1834. It was rebuilt in the 1970s as a functioning tavern and restaurant. City Tavern was featured in The "Riddle of Penncroft Farm" by Dorothea Jensen. In it, it was the place where Will spied on the British during their occupation of Philadelphia in 1777 while pretending to be an apprentice of Little Smith. Little Smith was, in real life, the name of its first owner.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bishop White House

6) Bishop White House

Constructed in 1786, this renovated upper-class house epitomizes Colonial and Federal elegance. The house was the home of Bishop William White, rector of Christ Church, the first Episcopal bishop of the state and spiritual leader of Philadelphia for many years. After the break with England, White founded the Episcopal Church and served as chaplain to the Continental Congress. He also entertained many of America's first families, such as Washington and Franklin. The bishop had big library; much of it is stored in the second-floor study. The unique feature of White's house, as compared to most houses of that period, is an early form of flush toilet. The house tour doesn't suit small children. Free tickets for one-hour tours (also valid for the Todd House) are available at the visitor center.
Powel House

7) Powel House

Powel House is a historic mansion in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. This elegant Georgian brick mansion was built in 1765 by merchant and shipmaster Charles Stedman. During the early 20th century, the house served as a warehouse and office for a business that imported and exported Russian and Siberian horse hair and bristles. The owners had sold much of the interior architectural detail to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Over the next decade, Wister and the Society restored the house to its appearance during Powel's residency, interpreting the daily lives of wealthy Philadelphians at the time of the American Revolution. Today, the rich history of the Powel House may be seen in its decorative arts collection, its portraits of Powels and Willings, and its formal, walled garden so typical of Colonial Philadelphia.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Physick House

8) Physick House

Physick House is the former residence of the wealthy physician and “Father of American Surgery”, Dr. Philip Syng Physick. Constructed in 1786, this is one of the last two freestanding 18th century houses in Society Hill. It is also one of the country's most beautiful homes, with masterly restored, elegant interiors featuring some of the finest Federal and Empire furniture in the city. Touches of Napoléonic France are felt all over the place: in the upholstery golden bee motif; the magenta-hue Aubusson rug (Bonaparte's favorite color); and Pompeii-style stools (the remains of this Roman city were discovered at the time the house was built). In the parlor upstairs there is inkstand holding fingerprints of Benjamin Franklin. The garden laid out on three sides of the house features plants widespread during the 19th century, alongside an Etruscan sarcophagus, a natural grotto, and ancient cannon, which many believe make this garden one of the loveliest in Philadelphia.

Walking Tours in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Create Your Own Walk in Philadelphia

Create Your Own Walk in Philadelphia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Philadelphia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Philadelphia without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Philadelphia, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km
Philadelphia Kids Entertainment Tour

Philadelphia Kids Entertainment Tour

Philadelphia is one of the greatest family destinations in the United States. This wonderful city offers a diversity of interesting attractions for all ages. Its fabulous Arden Theatre Company, the African American Museum, the magnificent sweet shops on Market Street and the Independence Seaport Museum are amazing places for parents to enjoy with their kids. Check out these great attractions in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Philadelphia Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Philadelphia Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Like every historic city, Philadelphia has a vast range of old churches and historic places of worship. Many of its religious buildings are National Historic Landmarks. Take the following tour to see the most beautiful religious buildings in Philadelphia!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Philadelphia is one of the most outstanding historic places in the USA. It is the homeland of the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall where the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed. Here you will also find many art museums one of which is named in the memory of Benjamin Franklin who made Philadelphia famous. Here is a list of the most famous attractions in Philadelphia.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Philadelphia Landmarks Walking Tour II

Philadelphia Landmarks Walking Tour II

Philadelphia contains a variety of interesting buildings and houses, from homes dating to the 18th and 19th centuries and Victorian buildings to stylish modern towers. It's also home to a vast range of magnificent and interesting landmarks. Among them are the famous LOVE Park, the impressive Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, fabulous Logan Circle, the creative Shakespeare Memorial and much...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Philadelphia Landmarks Walking Tour I

Philadelphia Landmarks Walking Tour I

Philadelphia features a vast range of wonderful landmarks, which are very interesting from an historical point of view. Monuments, memorials, statues, squares or parks, all of them are worth visiting. Take the following tour to see the most prominent landmarks in Philadelphia!

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Philadelphia Souvenirs: 14 Unique Gift Ideas from the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia Souvenirs: 14 Unique Gift Ideas from the City of Brotherly Love

Looking for a great gift while visiting Philadelphia? Famous for its history, arts and culture, championship sports teams, and award-winning food and drink, Philadelphia is a top-rated shopping destination. Here, you'll find an amazing selection of items to choose from - something uniquely...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Philadelphia for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Philadelphia has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Philadelphia, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.