October 31 – November 5, 2019
Starting off day two, we slept in, had breakfast, and then headed into downtown Philadelphia. We began our visit at the Philadelphia Visitor Information Center.
We had planned on starting off with Independence Hall, but we found out that tickets are required certain times of year (March-December). They do tours 9 AM – 5 PM, but they suggest arriving between 8:30-10 AM to get tickets for that day. We were there before noon, and tickets were gone for the day. You can reserve tickets ahead of time for $1, but other than that option, tickets for entrance and the tours are free.
We decided to start by visiting a site across the street. The State House Bell – now known as the Liberty Bell – used to hang in the original Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). It was ordered to be built in 1751. It has an famous crack and displays the message “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” This message became an inspiration to abolitionists seeking to end slavery.
It is now displayed in its own structure across from the Visitor Center. There’s a small museum with a history of the bell and its iconic history as you walk towards where the bell is displayed.
The Liberty Bell weights 2080 pounds (943 kilograms) and is made primarily of bronze. The famous crack actually started much smaller and was widened as an attempt to fix it so it could ring again. Some people believe it was rung to signal the signing and reading of the Declaration of Independence (on July 4 and 8, 1776, respectively), but there is only evidence that it was rung to mark the Stamp Act tax repeal.
After admiring this historic and iconic American symbol, we headed outside to find our next site to head to. We got a ticket for the Philadelphia PHLASH, which is a $5 day pass that brings you around a downtown loop. This was a great deal and saved us on Uber and parking fees.