Published on : Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.
Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and even spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:
History Lessons By Day & Night:
The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia – Visitors get an up-close look at history during this 75-minute walking tour to more than 20 sites. It runs daily from April through November and meets at the National Constitution Center.
History of Valley Forge Trolley Tour – This 90-minute guided trolley tour of Valley Forge National Historical Park highlights some of the key stories of the 1777-1778 winter encampment. It’s offered June through September.
Horse-Drawn Carriages – Guides recount Historic Philadelphia’s past as visitors sit back in a quaint horse-drawn carriage. Tickets are available at theIndependence Visitor Center.
Independence After Hours – Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s evening walking tour visits historic landmarks and meets up with Colonial characters. During this exclusive opportunity to visit Independence Hall at night after public hours, tourgoers can imagine what those late nights in 1776 were like for the Founding Fathers. The experience begins with a three-course meal at City Tavern.
The Colonial host then “sneaks” everyone into the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall), where Founding Fathers are discussing the Declaration of Independence. The tour runs select days, late May through October, and departs from the Historic Philadelphia Center.
National Park Service Tours –Rangers lead themed walking tours around Independence National Historical Park. Tour times and starting locations vary by season and are available at the Independence Visitor Center.
Philadelphia Historic African-American Tour – The story of the struggle for freedom comes to life in this reservations-only bus tour, which stops at iconic African-American landmarks: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Congo Square and Marian Anderson House. Departs from the Independence Visitor Center.
Philadelphia History This Way – Visitors can download an app and let their smartphones or tablets be their guides on this interactive walking tour of 25 spots throughout Historic Philadelphia. The app also features a map that includes the attractions and pinpoints the user’s exact location.
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Architectural Walking Tours – The Preservation Alliance offers 90- to 120-minute walking tours that interpret the past, present and future of the Philadelphia region as expressed through architecture, urban design and social history. The guided tours are available May through October, though self-guided tours are online year-round.
Tippler’s Tour –From April through December, the over-21 set can sing along to 18th-century drinking songs, enjoy stories of the drinking traditions of Colonial times and sample a few drinks and snacks as they ramble through Historic Philadelphia with a Colonial guide.Tipplers stop at four locations, including National Mechanics, the historic City Tavern, Salon 401 at the Omni Hotel and Victoria Freehouse. Along the way, they learn important information, such as Benjamin Franklin’s names for a drunk person .
Twilight Tours – From mid-June through Labor Day, free guided walking tours show off Independence National Historical Park every evening starting at 6:00 p.m. Groups meet at the Park Ranger Desk at the Independence Visitor Center.