Welcome to Part 2 of my Philadelphia trip! Read Part 1 here.
On our second day we went to Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the US Constitution drafted. Built between 1732 and 1756, it is a well-restored historical building with period pieces including George Washington’s actual chair. We had a great guide who seemed to genuinely enjoy the history behind the building. In order to get into Independence Hall, you must get tickets (they’re free) from the visitor’s center. Tickets go incredibly fast and were gone by 10 am. Luckily we were able to go over and ask one of the rangers if there was room left (there was) so we still got inside.
We took a tour with the Big Bus Company, a tour bus that offers “hop on, hop off” service at many of the main attractions. We stopped at Betsy Ross’ house, Benjamin Franklin’s grave, and Penn’s Landing. I wouldn’t really recommend stopping at Penn’s Landing because there isn’t much to do there, unless you have extra time to spend (be prepared to wait 20-40 minutes for the next bus). Betsy Ross’ House and Benjamin Franklin’s grave were both okay, but not necessarily must-sees, in my opinion. For the rest of the tour, we stayed on the top deck of the bus and saw many other points of interest including Love Park and the steps from Rocky, aka the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
For dinner that evening, we went to a restaurant called City Tavern. It is a 20th-century reconstruction of an 18th-century restaurant that was frequented by the likes of Benjamin Franklin. (Part of the original structure burned down in 1834 and the rest was demolished in 1854.) I was tired and hungry at this point and failed to take any pictures inside. The waitstaff dress in traditional 18th-century attire and the menu is inspired by meals of the time. Fun-fact: Benjamin Franklin was once a vegetarian and introduced tofu to America, so vegetarian friendly fried tofu is on the menu. The restaurant’s award-winning chef Walter Staib hosted the Emmy award-winning PBS program A Taste of History and has his own collection of cook books. The City Tavern isn’t gimmicky or cheesy (they don’t use fake British accents or pretend Benjamin Franklin is in the other room), but is actually really well done. Sometimes historical recreations can be a bit too theatrical for me, but the City Tavern is a really nice experience.
All in all, our quick trip to Philly was a great experience and much needed break from work and mundane life. If you want to see more of the museums and cultural side of things, you would need another day in order to fit everything in, but if you’re going for a primarily historical trip, you can easily cover the basics in two days.
Where are you going/did you go on vacation this summer? Leave a comment and let me know!