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April 13, 2018

The Best Things About Philadelphia, The Birthplace of America

Philadelphia Hero

Have you ever believed in something so much that you would risk everything for it--even your life? That's what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin did when they met in Philadelphia in 1776 to discuss our independence from England. How fitting that Philadelphia would become the birthplace of our nation since it was originally founded as a place where anyone could worship freely. At the time, this was not the norm. In fact, by the early 1800s the city attracted people from all over the world and was actually called the "Athens of America." Known today by locals as "Philly," it is often referred to as the city of brotherly love (and sisterly affection).

In addition to its rich history, there are so many things to love about a trip to Philadelphia ranging from its arts and culture to its famous statue of Rocky. It is a city with over 1.5 million people and yet it still has that "small town" feeling; for example, when everyone rallied together to root for their beloved Eagles in the Super Bowl or when the Pope came to visit.

On our Heritage of America tour, we visit our nation's most historic square mile, located right in the heart of Philadelphia. My favourite highlights include:

Independence Hall

independence hall

Independence Hall is a UNESCO world Heritage site and the place where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were adopted. We even get to see the famous chair George Washington sat in when the Constitution was being created. It has a picture of a rising sun and Rangers love to tell the story about how Ben Franklin said he wasn't sure if it was a rising sun or a setting sun, but once the Constitution was signed he concluded that it was a rising sun.

The Great Essentials

The Great Essentials exhibit has surviving copies of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution as well as the original inkwell supposedly used to sign the Declaration of Independence.

The Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom that inspired abolitionists, suffragists and many more! A ranger once told me that the Liberty Bell was so revered that they would parade it around and people would come from miles away to see it and even wanted to kiss it.

The President's House

The President's House is an open-air site located by the Liberty Bell where both George Washington and John Adams lived when Philadelphia was our nation's capital. In fact, George Washington is the only President who never lived in the White House in Washington, DC. An exhibit next to the house tells the story of some of the enslaved people of African descent who lived on this site whilst Washington was president. A placard by the house states, "History is not neat. It is complicated and messy…"

What to do with free time on tour

Philly Cheesesteak

Many guests will use their free time to eat Philly's most famous delicacy - the Philadelphia cheesesteak. Others will visit historic Elfreth's Alley which is referred to as "our nation's oldest residential street" or Carpenter's Hall where the First Continental Congress met.

One of my favourite things about Philly is that it has one of the largest public art collections in the country, including beautiful outdoor murals. The mural programme began in 1984 as part of an anti-graffiti project and over 3600 murals have been created. I also love the annual Flower Show, which has gorgeous displays and prides itself in being our country's largest and longest-running horticultural event.

There is so much more to see and do in Philadelphia, that after you see it for the first time, you will surely want to come back to see more!

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