Historic Philadelphia: My Favorite Spots

One of the best things about going to Bryn Mawr College is the fact that I have access to one of America’s oldest cities: Philadelphia. Only a thirty-minute train ride from campus, Philly is full of history that’s just waiting to be explored.

Photo courtesy of Emma Regan

Some of my personal favorite historic spots are those that pertain to colonial history. Betsy Ross’s house, the creator of the Stars and Stripes, is located in Philly, and for $5 ($4 for students), you can tour what life may have been like for an important (female!) figure in American history.

Independence Hall is also one of the must-sees in Philly. Located on Chestnut Street, only a few blocks from Penn’s Landing, the building seems a bit out of place when placed next to the grand and modern skyscrapers of Philly. It’s quite remarkable how well-maintained the building is and how grand it feels despite its age. It’s also incredible to feel like you’re stepping back in time and get a sense of what the city must have felt like over 200 years ago.

Finally, my personal favorite spot in Philly is the Eastern State Penitentiary. This building was home to some of the worst criminals in the area, including Al Capone, and is open for public tours year round for just $10 for students. Seeing it in person is a bizarre sight; a giant, stone prison in the middle of a fairly nice urban neighborhood. Nothing can compare to the feeling of walking behind the 200-year-old 60-foot stone walls of the prison.  It’s a different experience to see how these people were treated and where they lived. The architecture of the building was revolutionary and is still amazing to see today. And for those who like a little excitement and spook in their lives, the Eastern State Penitentiary has an interactive haunted house from September to November. It’s definitely something to be seen and experienced by anyone who visits Philly!