LivingTravelA walking tour of the old city of Philadelphia

A walking tour of the old city of Philadelphia

If you are a local resident who wants to rediscover your hometown or someone planning to travel to Philadelphia and sightsee on vacation, I hope you find this series useful and enjoyable. Be sure to check out the photos on the right side of the page.

When I drive into town, I prefer to park in Old City rather than downtown. Parking in Old City is closer to I-95, which for many is the most direct route in and out of the city. There is less traffic and the rates are much better. I like to park in the lot bordered by Front and 2nd Streets, Walnut Street, and Gatzmer Streets. It’s right behind the old Bookbinders restaurant, and next to the welcome park. Here is a map to help. If you arrive before 10:00 am, you can park all day for less than $ 10.00, a real bargain by big city standards.

As you exit the parking lot, you are in “Welcome Park,” the site of the Slate Roof House, where in 1701 William Penn wrote his famous “Charter of Privileges,” the framework for the government of Pennsylvania. Today there is a small but nice park where you can sit for a few minutes before starting your walk.

The street visible from the park is 2nd Street. As you look down the street, the building on your right, next to the parking lot, is Thomas Bond House, a restored 18th century house with 19th century modifications. This house is now a popular bed and breakfast inn.

Across the street to the left is City Tavern, a reconstruction of the best tavern in Revolutionary America. Today the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. The staff dress in colonial garb, so you can get a sense of what it felt like to eat in revolutionary times.

Turn left on 2nd Street and walk to the corner. When you get to the corner of 2nd and Walnut, you will need to turn right and head towards the city, but first, take a look to your left right there on the corner and you will see the old Bookbinders restaurant, once one of the most famous restaurants from Philadelphia, known around the world for their seafood and snapper soup. It is currently under renovation and is scheduled for a reopening in 2004.

NEXT PAGE – Walnut Street and the First Bank of the USA click for more images Welcome Park Photo by John Fischer Part 1 – Welcome Park to the First Bank of the USA If you are a local resident who wants to rediscover your hometown or someone Whoever plans to travel to Philadelphia and sightseeing on your vacation, I hope you find this series useful and enjoyable. Be sure to check out the photos on the right side of the page.

When I drive into town, I prefer to park in Old City rather than downtown. Parking in Old City is closer to I-95, which for many is the most direct route in and out of the city. There is less traffic and the rates are much better. I like to park in the lot bordered by Front and 2nd Streets, Walnut Street, and Gatzmer Streets. It’s right behind the old Bookbinders restaurant, and next to the welcome park. Here is a map to help. If you arrive before 10:00 am, you can park all day for less than $ 10.00, a real bargain by big city standards.

As you exit the parking lot, you are in “Welcome Park,” the site of the Slate Roof House, where in 1701 William Penn wrote his famous “Charter of Privileges,” the framework for the government of Pennsylvania. Today there is a small but nice park where you can sit for a few minutes before starting your walk.

The street visible from the park is 2nd Street. As you look down the street, the building on your right, next to the parking lot, is Thomas Bond House, a restored 18th century house with 19th century modifications. This house is now a popular bed and breakfast inn.

Across the street to the left is City Tavern, a reconstruction of the best tavern in Revolutionary America. Today the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. The staff dress in colonial garb, so you can get a sense of what it felt like to eat in revolutionary times.

Turn left on 2nd Street and walk to the corner. When you get to the corner of 2nd and Walnut, you will need to turn right and head towards the city, but first, take a look to your left right there on the corner and you will see the old Bookbinders restaurant, once one of the most famous restaurants from Philadelphia, known around the world for their seafood and snapper soup. It is currently under renovation and is scheduled for a reopening in 2004.

NEXT PAGE – Walnut Street and America’s First Bank!

As you begin walking down Walnut Street, you will see the old on your right and the new on your left. On your right you will see the Philadelphia Interchange. Opened in 1834, this building housed the Philadelphia Merchants Exchange for many years. The restoration is currently being completed. The building is not open to the public; it will be occupied as administrative offices by the Federal Park Service.

On your left you will see a modern restaurant, the Ritz Five cinema (which mainly shows art films), and older buildings occupied as offices and homes.

When you reach the corner of Walnut and 3rd, turn right. We will make a short detour to stop at the old Independence National Historical Park Visitor Center. Take a look at the 130-foot bell tower that houses the Bicentennial Bell, the British people’s bicentennial gift to the United States. The Visitor Center has moved to Independence National Historical Park, so you will probably find the building closed.

Directly across the street from the old visitor center is America’s First Bank. This was the home of the government bank from 1797 to 1811, and the oldest bank building in the United States. It is restored on the outside but is not open to the public. The interior is open only for specially scheduled events.

Return on 3rd Street to Walnut Street, where we will turn right and continue our walk in Part II of “A Walking Tour of Downtown Philadelphia.”

First Bank of the United States Photo by John Fischer Part 1 – Welcome Park to the First Bank of the USA As you begin walking down Walnut Street, you will see the old on your right and the new on your left. On your right you will see the Philadelphia Interchange. Opened in 1834, this building housed the Philadelphia Merchants Exchange for many years. The restoration is currently being completed. The building is not open to the public; it will be occupied as administrative offices by the Federal Park Service.

On your left you will see a modern restaurant, the Ritz Five cinema (which mainly shows art films), and older buildings occupied as offices and homes.

When you reach the corner of Walnut and 3rd, turn right. We will make a short detour to stop at the old Independence National Historical Park Visitor Center. Take a look at the 130-foot bell tower that houses the Bicentennial Bell, the British people’s bicentennial gift to the United States. The Visitor Center has moved to Independence National Historical Park, so you will probably find the building closed.

Directly across the street from the old visitor center is America’s First Bank. This was the home of the government bank from 1797 to 1811, and the oldest bank building in the United States. It is restored on the outside but is not open to the public. The interior is open only for specially scheduled events.

Return on 3rd Street to Walnut Street, where we will turn right and continue our walk in Part II of “A Walking Tour of Downtown Philadelphia.”

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