Independence Hall

By Julia Bocchese

What is Independence Hall?

Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the location of several meetings of the Continental Congress and the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

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A view of the steeple on Independence Hall: the building is brick but the steeple is white, square at the base, round above, with clocks on the square sides.

Why is Independence Hall a UNESCO World Heritage site?

Independence Hall is credited with being the birthplace of the United States because the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States of America (1787) were signed in the building. The Declaration of Independence declared the United States free from the rule Great Britain, and the Constitution of the United States of America outlined the laws of the new country, which, according to UNESCO, “had a profound impact on lawmakers and political thinkers around the world.”

Inside the hall, looking toward a simple desk with a chair behind it and a green cloth over it. On either side of the aisle, rows of chairs, also behind green-covered tables, all chairs facing the central table.

What can you expect on a visit to Independence Hall?

You don’t have to take a tour to see the exterior of Independence Hall (and there is a park directly behind it where you can relax and take in the views), and you can take a free tour inside the hall to learn more of its history. Tours last 15-20 minutes and give the history of the building and its importance. You can read more about the tour here.

Independence Hall is also centrally located in Old City Philadelphia, so you can quickly walk to see sights such as the Liberty Bell, Christ Church, Elfreth’s Alley, and numerous museums. You should set aside at least 30 minutes for the tour to budget for getting to your tour time ahead of time, and I recommend planning on spending a few hours in Old City if you want to experience more historic spots.

A full view of Independence Hall: red brick, two stories, with a white tower at one end of the roof. The tower's square base has a clock on both visible sides. A more ornate clock is on the end wall of the building.

Is Independence Hall worth visiting?

I do think Independence Hall is worth touring, and people of all ages will enjoy it, especially anyone interested in history. The tour is free, short and sweet, and very informative.

The tour will help you to truly understand the importance of Independence Hall and to get to see the rooms where the Continental Congress met and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. They have the original furniture that historic figures like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington used, and you’ll learn a lot of fun tidbits that you won’t learn in history class.

A number of tours in Philadelphia include a stop at Independence Hall.

Text: Independence Hall, United States. Images: above, a view of the whole building; below, a view inside the building looking toward the front.

Tips for visiting Independence Hall

I recommend scheduling your tour spot ahead of time to guarantee that you get a tour since Independence Hall is a popular spot, especially in the summer. Early morning is the best time to visit to have fewer crowds in Old City.

Use the map below to find accommodations in central Philadelphia near Independence Hall:

Where is Independence Hall?

The address of Independence Hall is 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. It’s centrally located in Philadelphia, and it’s about a 2-3 hour drive, bus ride, or train ride from New York City or Washington, D.C. There is no free parking at Independence Hall, but there is street parking nearby.

For more information about Independence Hall, its opening hours and admission fees, see its official website.

Have you been to Independence Hall? If so, do you have any additional information or advice about this UNESCO World Heritage site? Please add your comments below!

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