A visit to the historic area of Philadelphia, PA just wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Liberty Bell (at least once in your life, anyway). So even though the one person in our group who’d seen it said it wasn’t particularly worth seeing, we decided to breeze through the Liberty Bell Center any way on our way from the US Mint (0.2 miles away) over to Franklin Court
(post coming soon!) Besides, it would (and did) make great Christmas card pictures!
Coming up to the entrance is a modern artist’s rendition of the old house that used to stand on the site. It’s pretty cool, really, but we were in a hurry, so I snapped a few pictures and moved inside. There is a simple security process to go through (you might have to put your camera bag, backpack, or purse on the metal detector belt and empty your pockets, open your jacket, etc. It really depends on which security guard you get. The only thing I was embarrassed about was that I had a broken necklace in my pocket I’d forgotten to remove before leaving that morning. Oh, well. I don’t even think they noticed.)
We moved quickly along the wide, dim hallway past all the exhibits. Would you believe that the Liberty Bell was made to celebrate the end of slavery in the south and the women’s rights? That’s what the center is claiming at the moment. I find that downright hilarious. In 1776, who was even thinking very hard about women’s rights? And while there were certainly people who didn’t believe slavery was right, that wasn’t a real issue in the Colonies / US until the 1800s. Fascinating how history changes!
Finally, behind the crowd at the end of the hall, in front of some huge windows, was the Liberty Bell.
Everyone took turns getting their picture in front of it / getting a picture with no one in it. When we arrived, the shades behind the bell were down, so you could barely see the windows; they went up after a few minutes, which meant you could see Independence Hall through the rain-splattered picture windows behind the Liberty Bell. Not exactly the best backdrop. But the flowers outside the window sure were pretty.
And after exiting, I couldn’t resist taking a few shots of Independence Hall!
Overall: The Liberty Bell Center isn’t worth it as a destination unto itself. If you’ve never seen it and are in Philadelphia, by all means stop by. But don’t believe every piece of history they tell you 🙂
Total Walking Distance: Well, you’ll have to get to the center, and depending where you park, that could be a ways. Once you get to the site, it’s probably a good 0.25 miles up the hill, into the center, and then out the other side. That said, the site is fully wheelchair accessible.
Time needed: You could easy rush through in about 5 minutes, assuming a crowd wasn’t in the way. I’d say you don’t need more than about 15 minutes unless you really love to read every single history display; then give yourself more like 30 minutes.
Hours: 8:30am to 6pm in the fall and winter. Summer hours are longer. Check http://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/hours.htm for current hours. Closed Christmas Day; restricted hours on other holidays. The link above will tell of any current or upcoming closures.
Walking Difficulty (Not difficult at all)
Road to the attraction
Price for value
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
Getting to the Philadelphia Mint
From I-95 S: Take Exit 22 toward US-30 E / Independence Hall. After 0.6 miles, turn right onto Callowhill Street for 0.2 miles. Turn left onto N 4th Street for 0.4 miles, then turn right onto Arch Street. Turn right onto the first cross street onto N 5th Street / N Independence Mall E. After a mere 305 ft., take a slight right onto N 5th Street, with the US Mint on the right. Continue 0.2 miles, turn onto Market Street, and follow the walking paths uphill to the Liberty Bell Center.
From I-95 N: Take Exit 22 toward US-30 E / Independence Hall. After 0.7 miles, use the left lane to merge onto Callowhill Street for 259 ft. Turn left on N 4th Street. After 0.4 miles, turn right on Arch Street and (472 ft. later) turn right onto the first cross street (N 5th Street / N Independence Mall E). After 305 ft., take a slight right onto N 5th Street; the US Mint will be on the right. Continue 0.2 miles, turn onto Market Street, and follow the walking paths uphill to the Liberty Bell Center.
There’s no parking outside the Liberty Center, and certainly nothing free. We found some parking just north of Chinatown, but there’s probably something you could pay for a whole lot closer. If you’re walking, keep following the signs on the street corners; they’ll get you to the Liberty Bell quite a bit faster than I could by telling you how to do it.
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Sun Aug 20
Sunny. High 87F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
Mon Aug 21
Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High 87F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Tue Aug 22
Partly to mostly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 91F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph.
Wed Aug 23
Partly to mostly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 86F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Thu Aug 24
Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. High 82F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.