Duration: Two days and two nights
We all know that when it comes to Pennsylvania and the Civil War, there’s more to the story than the Battle of Gettysburg. The trail of history winds throughout the state, leading all the way to Philadelphia (which just so happens to have legendary dining, hotels and shopping too). So explore the City of Brotherly Love and its lush countryside, and fall in love with America’s history all over again.
Find commemorative events, stories and more information at PA Civil War 150.
The handy tourism hub of Old City is smack dab in the center of Independence Mall. Begin the day here and consult the trip planners, get a coffee, buy tickets for area museums and attractions, collect ideas for some other things you might like to check out along the way, even load up on a few snacks for the road. Now that you're loaded up with treats, ideas, and pamphlets, make your way across the mall to Philly's newest historical gem.Read More >
Right across the street, start your tour at the world's first museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. Through over 100 interactive and multi-media exhibits, including a planetarium-type film, it's easy to get into the myriad implications of this national document. Check out the temporary exhibit Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War and its three chapters, Divided, Bound and Dissent.Read More >
In the spirit of history, head over to this old time soda fountain in Old City. The young guys behind the counter have waxed handlebar mustaches, and they serve up handmade ice-cream, sundaes, splits and homemade Franklin Fudge.Read More >
Just a few blocks west in the direction of Chinatown, you should check out Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876. This permanent exhibition highlights the Underground Railroad, the free black community in Philadelphia, African American soldiers in the Civil War, and early struggles for civil rights. It's a vivid depiction of culture during the19th century, and the century before. It also features more goosebumps per square foot than any other place in the city.Read More >
Enjoy authentic colonial dining-think pewter goblets, hard bread-in the very spot John Adams and Paul Revere imbibed some revolutionary ale. Superb food, wait staff in period dress and a tidy little gift shop make this the perfect dining experience right in Philadelphia's Old City. Raise a glass to toast the efforts of the countless heroes who fought for peaceful days like this.Read More >
The perfect complement to all that history you'll experience is to stay at the Independence Park Hotel. This hotel is located in the center of Old City and near shopping, some of the city's best restaurants and within blocks of the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center.Read More >
Wind down Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River to this ornate and curious Underground Museum-one of the few designated a National Historic Landmark-full of Philadelphia luminaries, as well as 42 Union generals and one Confederate general. The Cemetery has multiple tour options including monthly guided tours, plus self guided or cell phone audio tours. Get a load of the unbelievable headstones, outdoor sculptures, horticulture and gorgeous views of Fairmount Park (the largest city park in America).Read More >
A bit further up Kelly Drive delivers you to the Underground Railroad Museum at the Belmont Mansion in Fairmount Park. Formerly visiting quarters for many of the Founding Fathers (Washington slept here), the mansion ushers you through its Civil War significance. While exploring this incredible chapter in history, it's hard to not be inspired by the heroism of all involved.Read More >
The Germantown section of Philadelphia (George Washington once lived here) is only a short drive away, so definitely make time for Philadelphia's only accessible and intact stop on the Underground Railroad. An hour-long docent-led tour of this sturdy stone home tells the story of three generations of abolitionists and their continued work with the African Americans they helped free. Visionary abolitionists Harriet Tubman and William Still attended meetings in this very home. It's inspiring to think about, and incredible to witness first-hand.Read More >
A beautiful car ride away, up and around the rolling greenery that surrounds Philadelphia, sits Kennett Square. Out here in horse country, and a mushroom mecca, you can celebrate the values and heroes that brought an end to slavery in America, while exploring the buildings, artifacts, and documents associated with changing our history. Be sure to register for their special narrated Heritage Tours to learn more about the history of Kennett Square's traditions and their resident's roles in the Underground Railroad.Read More >
Near the National Historic District of Kennett Square, this beautifully restored Queen Anne gem is four blocks from fine dining and elegant shopping. The rooms are tastefully decorated in period antiques and fixtures, and there's a wraparound porch just aching for you to rock on it.Read More >
Arch Street Meeting House
A lot has changed since the Arch Street Meeting House was built in 1804. These days, the building still stands as it did all those years ago at its first location in Old City, Philadelphia. But now you can hear the story of the Quakers’ history through slide shows and exhibits of their artifacts. Stop by and learn about this building’s centuries-old story.
Brandywine Battlefield Parkz
In 50-acres of parks and woodlands, you’ll experience some of America’s most historic events. This is where an army of Revolutionaries battled against a British invasion. You won’t want to miss the reenactments.