National Constitution Center

#23 in Best Things To Do in Philadelphia
National Constitution Center picture1 of 3
National Constitution Center2 of 3
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Key Info

525 Arch St.


Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
  • 2.5Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 2.5Atmosphere

Two blocks north of the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center is a nonprofit devoted to educating visitors about the U.S. Constitution. Welcoming patrons since 2003, the facility houses exhibits about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. Noteworthy artifacts include a judicial robe worn by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Sept. 11 wreckage from the World Trade Center and one of 24 surviving copies of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

Despite some complaints about lackluster exhibits and pricey entrance fees, previous visitors said they enjoyed their time at the museum overall. Several said checking out the Signers' Hall (where the 42 Founding Fathers are immortalized in bronze, life-size statues) is a must, while others appreciated the abundance of interactive activities for kids. To save some coin on several of the city's top attractions – including the National Constitution Center – a few past travelers suggested purchasing The Philadelphia Pass.

The National Constitution Center is open daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with reduced hours on Sundays. General admission costs $14.50 per adult; $13 for seniors and college students with valid IDs; and $11 for members of the military and children 6 to 18. Active military personnel and kids 5 and younger get in for free. Tickets cover access to permanent exhibits, a 17-minute theatrical production, daily gallery talks and games, a grab-and-go eatery, a Starbucks and a gift shop. On-site parking is available for a fee, or museumgoers can ride SEPTA's Broad Street Line to the Chinatown station, which sits two blocks northwest of the attraction. Multiple bus routes also operate in the area. Visit the property's website for more information.

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Time to Spend
#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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