Choose from 71 Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia
George Washington supposedly asked Betsy Ross to stitch the first-ever American flag. The seamstress is said to have created the Stars and Stripes in 1776. Today, visitors can explore the 18th-century house where Betsy Ross purportedly lived, examine artifacts from her life, and even meet a costumed Betsy Ross impersonator.
Step back in time on a tour of the Betsy Ross House, dating all the way back to the 1740s, in Philadelphia’s Historic District. Explore the house’s narrow rooms, see 18th-century mementos, and learn more about the life of the famed seamstress on a self-guided or audio tour. Most visits to Betsy Ross House are combined with stops at other Revolutionary War–era landmarks in the vicinity.
Tours that call on the Betsy Ross House are often of the walking variety but you can also visit as part of a Segway excursion or as a stop on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Betsy Ross House is the perfect destination for history buffs eager to learn more about Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War era.
- Visitors with mobility issues can access the ground floor and courtyard, but won’t be able to navigate the narrow staircases and upper floors.
- A ground-floor restroom and map of the house are available.
- Kids can meet a costumed Betsy Ross impersonator, learn how she stitched the flag, and listen to a special audio guide narrated in her voice.
- Pick up Philadelphia souvenirs at the Betsy Ross House’s gift shop.
How to Get There
Betsy Ross House is conveniently located on Arch Street, a short stroll from Independence National Historical Park and many of the city’s museums. If you’re driving, parking is available nearby at the Autopark at Independence Mall or National Constitution Center. There are also ample public transportation options, including SEPTA Regional Rail, the SEPTA Market-Frankford Line, PATCO, and numerous SEPTA or New Jersey Transit buses.
When to Get There
Betsy Ross House is open daily year-round, but closes on Mondays in the winter months. It’s a popular Philadelphia destination all-year long, but the summer months are particularly busy, when it hosts Flag Day celebrations on July 14, storytelling sessions, and First Friday outdoor movie screenings.
Other Historic Philadelphia Landmarks
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, the Betsy Ross House is also close to a number of other important landmarks from United States history. Combine a visit to the house with a trip to the Liberty Bell, a tour of Independence Hall, or a visit to the National Constitution Center. All are just within a few minutes' walk of each other and can be combined into a full-day American history tour.
Few individuals influenced the rise of the young American nation as much as quintessential Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin- author, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier, and diplomat. The Franklin Institute pays homage to Franklin's scientific side, as it is one of the oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the United States. The institute is comprised of three centers- The Science Center, The Franklin Center, and The Center for Innovation in Science Learning.
The most recognizable part of The Franklin Institute's Science Center is The Franklin Institute Science Museum. Filled with numerous hands on exhibits, children and adults alike will be entertained for hours by wandering around the expansive museum. Be sure to check out some of the most popular interactive exhibits such as The Sports Challenge, Changing Earth, The Train Factory, Sir Isaac's Loft, and the famous The most recognizable part of The Franklin Institute's Science Center is The Franklin Institute Science Museum. Filled with numerous hands on exhibits, children and adults alike will be entertained for hours by wandering around the expansive museum. Be sure to check out some of the most popular interactive exhibits such as The Sports Challenge, Changing Earth, The Train Factory, Sir Isaac's Loft, and the famous Giant Heart, a gigantic model walk-through that has become a Philadelphia icon.
The Franklin Institute Science Museum is located right in the heart of Philadelphia, between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, making it easily accessible from any part of the city.
Set on the east corner of Logan Circle, this elegant 1864 cathedral is the largest Catholic Church in Pennsylvania and the largest brownstone structure in Philadelphia. Built at the height of anti-Catholic fervor in the city, the unusually high windows of this Roman-Corinthian church were designed to discourage stone-throwing and other acts of vandalism.
Prominent local architect Napoleon LeBrun designed the 2,000-seat basilica and its Palladian facade, and interior frescoes were painted by Constantino Brumidi, an artist famous for his work in the U.S. Capitol Building. The crypt beneath the main altar contains the remains of Philadelphia’s bishops and archbishops, the first of whom died in 1810.
- Since the site is nearly 200 years old, some sections are not ADA compliant.
- Equipment for "The Voices of Eastern State" audio tour includes special features for those with sight, hearing, and mobility impairments.
- The building does not have climate control, so be prepared with appropriate seasonal clothing.
- The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is a must-see for history buffs.
- No admission fee is required to visit the memorial.
- Don’t miss the multimedia show that plays throughout the day.
- The memorial is accessible to wheelchairs, and offers restrooms and parking.