Wissahickon Valley Park

#7 in Best Things To Do in Philadelphia
Wissahickon Valley Park picture
Wissahickon Valley Park
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Jon Lovette/Getty Images

Key Info

Valley Green Road

Price & Hours

24/7 daily


Parks and Gardens, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The 1,800-acre Wissahickon Valley Park appeals to outdoorsy types keen on enjoying a breath of fresh air in the city. Located about 5 miles northwest of downtown, the park boasts more than 50 miles of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails. Plus, visitors can go bird-watching, picnicking or fishing in the Wissahickon Creek.

Past travelers raved about Wissahickon Valley Park's serene setting. Many also appreciated the property's historical architecture, which includes a covered bridge built in 1737, North America's first paper mill and a man-made cave that once housed John Kelpius (a mystic cult leader who brought his followers to the site in 1694 anticipating an apocalypse). For some of the park's best panoramas, visitors suggest strolling along the vehicle-free Forbidden Drive trail.

The park itself is free to visit 24 hours a day. However, licenses (which are sold on the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission website) are required for fishing, and permits (available for a fee on the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation website) are needed for biking and horseback riding on select trails. In addition to the featuring numerous trails and old-world structures, the property is home to a cafe, an inn, an environmental center that provides educational programming and stables that offer horseback riding lessons (for a fee). SEPTA's Regional Rail line makes several stops within walking distance of the park, or visitors can park for free by one of five entrances. To find out more about Wissahickon Valley Park, travelers can check out the Friends of the Wissahickon website.

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Liberty Bell Center
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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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