Masonic Temple#13 in Best Things To Do in Philadelphia
Price & Hours
Constructed in the late 19th century and decorated by artist George Herzog, this sturdy stone temple is one of the largest of its kind and was once the meeting place of one of history's more legendary organizations. Tour the temple's seven meeting rooms, each of them dedicated to ideal forms of architecture: Oriental, Gothic, Egyptian, Renaissance, Ionic, Corinthian and Norman. Or attempt to uncover the mysteries behind the masons (members of which include Ben Franklin and George Washington).
Recent travelers called the attraction a hidden gem and a must-see and rave about the architecture, but recommend timing your visit with the tours in mind because patrons are not allowed to wander around freely. Some said the tour experience can vary depending on the knowledge level of your guide, but most called the tour a "fascinating."
The Masonic Temple sits just three blocks west of Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia. The PHLASH bus stops nearby (stop No. 4). Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. (on the hour). However, times may vary if there are functions taking place. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. For $7, you can visit the library and museum. For more information, visit the temple's website.
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#1 Liberty Bell Center
Opposite Independence Hall, you'll find the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. Now residing in a huge glass gazebo, this 2,080-pound piece of history was once mounted in the belfry of Independence Hall. It was used to mark important historic events, most notably at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Historians believe the first crack developed in the early 1840s. Metal workers were tasked with repairing the bell in anticipation of George Washington's birthday in 1846. The repair was unsuccessful and the bell ceased to chime ever again.
Despite the long lines, recent visitors called this attraction a must-see for all Americans. They also suggested planning your visit first thing in the morning during the week.
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