Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an iconic symbol of American history. It is the birthplace of the United States, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution was drafted. As a visitor, it’s essential to understand the significance of this historical site and plan your visit accordingly.
Before visiting Independence Hall, travelers should know they must obtain a timed entry ticket in advance due to high demand. Visitors should also arrive early to allow security screening time and explore the surrounding historic district.
This article will cover everything you need to know before visiting Independence Hall.
Overview Of Independence Hall
Independence Hall, originally known as the Pennsylvania State House, was completed in 1753. It served as the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention.
Andrew Hamilton, a prominent lawyer, and Edmund Woolley, a master builder, designed the building. The red brick building features a bell tower that once housed the famous Liberty Bell. Today, the bell resides in its nearby pavilion, the Liberty Bell Center.
Independence Hall is considered the birthplace of the United States for two critical events that took place within its walls:
- The Declaration of Independence
Second Continental Congress, which was made up of representatives from the 13 colonies. This document, primarily drafted by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed the colonies’ independence from British rule and set the stage for the Revolutionary War.
- The United States Constitution
Between May and September 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened at Independence Hall to draft the U.S. Constitution.
This document, which established the nation’s government structure and laws, was signed on September 17, 1787, by 39 delegates, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton.
Click on the video for a virtual tour of the place:
National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Independence Hall
Location And Accessibility
Independence Hall is located in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic district, 520 Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th Streets. Public transit, such as buses, subways, and regional rail lines, makes it simple to get there.
The closest tube stop is on the Market-Frankford Line at 5th Street/Independence Hall. Several buses also stop nearby, including routes 42, 21, and 47.
Parking in the area can be challenging, so consider using public transportation or a nearby parking garage. Several garages are within walking distance, including the Independence Mall Parking Garage and the Bourse Parking Garage.
The site is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators available for those with mobility impairments. Accessible restrooms are also provided on-site.
Hours Of Operation
Independence Hall is open year-round, except for major holidays, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
The hours of operation are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from March to December and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in January and February.
Admission And Tickets
Admission to Independence Hall is by guided tour only, and tickets are required. While tickets are free, there is a $1.50 reservation fee per ticket when booking in advance. This fee helps support the preservation and operation of the site.
Tickets can be reserved in the following ways:
- Online – Visit the National Park Service’s website to reserve tickets up to 60 days in advance.
- By Phone – Call the National Park Service’s reservation line at 1-877-444-6777.
- In-Person – A limited number of same-day tickets are available at the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets. The distribution of tickets is first-come, first-served, so get there early to get a seat.
Knowledgeable National Park Service rangers lead guided tours of Independence Hall which last approximately 30-45 minutes.
The admittance time includes access to the Governor’s Council Chamber, the Committee of the Assembly Chamber, and the Assembly Room, where the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were both signed.
Numerous hotels and accommodations near Independence Hall suit various budgets and preferences. Some highly-rated options within walking distance include:
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
This upscale boutique hotel is in the historic Lafayette Building, steps away from Independence Hall. The hotel features luxurious rooms, a rooftop lounge, and a fine dining restaurant.
- Best Western Plus Independence Park Hotel
Located within a historic building, this affordable hotel offers comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast, just a short walk from the main attractions.
- Morris House Hotel
A charming boutique hotel housed in an 18th-century Georgian-style building, the Morris House Hotel offers elegant rooms and a picturesque courtyard garden.
Think about the following advice to get the most out of your trip to Independence Hall:
- Arrive early – To secure a spot on a guided tour, consider arriving at the Independence Visitor Center earlier in the day to obtain same-day tickets.
- Dress appropriately – Independence Hall is a historic site with limited climate control, so dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes for walking.
- Respect the site – As a significant historical landmark, please be respectful and follow the instructions of the National Park Service rangers during your visit.
- Combine your visit – To make the most of your time in Philadelphia, consider visiting other nearby attractions in the historic district, such as the Liberty Bell Center and the Benjamin Franklin Museum.
With its rich history and iconic status, Independence Hall is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the birth of the United States. Planning your visit carefully and following these tips will prepare you to experience this remarkable piece of American history.
For individuals with an interest in American history, visiting Independence Hall is a necessity. As the birthplace of the nation and the site where both the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed, this iconic symbol of American democracy holds a special place in the hearts of both citizens and visitors alike.