Visiting the Philadelphia Mint

The United States Mint in Philadelphia offers admission to the building for a self-guided tour only.

How to get to the Philadelphia Mint:Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 15.58.22

151 Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106

The Mint is on 5th Street between Arch Street and Race Street, right across the street from the National Constitution Center.

SEPTA STOP: Market-Frankford

Parking: There is no parking at the Mint, but there is a 24 hour garage nearby at the Philadelphia Bourse.

Philadelphia Mint Hours:

Monday – Friday: 9am-430pm

Saturday (Memorial Day – Labor Day Only): 9am-430pm

The Mint is open to visitors on Saturday, Sunday and Monday over Memorial and Labor Day Weekends as well as on July 4.

Security:

You will have to go through security to enter the Mint. Large bags, weapons, food and drink are not permitted.

Photography is not permitted inside the Philadelphia Mint.


The Philadelphia Mint that you see now is the fourth mint, but the most efficient. The first Mint in the United States was built only 100 years from this building. On your visit to the Philadelphia Mint you will be able to see the first coin pressed used in 1792! The first one million coins minted here took about three years to make, but today it takes only half an hour.

Use the Philadelphia Mint’s Self Guided Tour as you visit the building.

Visiting the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH)

One of the newest museums in historic Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History has rotating exhibits of American Jewish history from original documents, photographs and letters. There is a letter from George Washington thanking the Jewish community. The museum is organized by era, so start from the top and work your way down. This unique story of the contribution of the Jewish community to the American experience will provide a different point of view from the stories of the Founding Fathers across the street on the Independence Mall.

TICKETS:

Please note, the museum has a new ‘Let Freedom Ring’ exhibition and is offering free admission the entire month of August 2019. 

Adult: $12

Youth/Senior: $11

Active Military/Under 12: Free

While advance tickets are available for purchase, walk-in tickets can always be accommodated. Advance tickets will state 10am, but that is only because it is the opening time of the museum. You may enter at any time that day.

Insider Tip: There are a number of free ticket opportunities throughout the year, so we recommend checking their website often. 

TOURING THE MUSEUM:

The museum recommends about 2 hours to visit the exhibits. If you’d like a highlight visit, guided tours are offered daily at 1130am and 230pm and these are about one hour long. Spaces on these tours are limited to first come/first serve.

SECURITY:

There is security to enter the building, so keep that in mind in your timing. Luggage, tripods, and weapons (including small switchblades) are not allowed. There is a coatroom for large bags and food/drink.

HOURS:

Monday-Wednesday: 10:00am- 5:00pm

Thursday: 10:00am-7:00pm

Friday: 10:00am-5:00pm

Saturday and Sunday: 10:00am – 5:30pm

The museum is CLOSED on:

New Year’s Day
Passover (first day)
Rosh Hashanah (first day)
Yom Kippur
Thanksgiving Day

The Museum closes at 3:00pm on:

Christmas Eve
Erev Passover
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Erev Yom Kippur

The museum is open on all other Jewish holidays unless they fall on a Monday.

DIRECTIONS:

The museum is located on the corner of 5th and Market Streets.

101 South Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2517

SEPTA Stop: Market-Frankford

Parking: While the museum does not have its own dedicated lot, the Philadelphia Bourse lot is one block south. It has recently been offering a discounted parking rate for tickets validated at the NMAJH.

Visiting the Philadelphia Bourse

This terra-cotta colored Beaux-Arts building was built in the 1890s in the style of the German Bourse in Hamburg and is one of the first steel-framed buildings constructed. George E. Bartol was a grain exporter in Philadelphia at the turn of the twentieth century. When he returned from Europe, he organised the Philadelphia business community to fund this commodities exchange by having each member contribute $1,000 to the founding of the Philadelphia Bourse. It would be come the nation’s first commodities exchange. The building was completed in 1895 and continued to run as a commodoties exchange until the 1960s.

“Buy, Sell, Ship via Philadelphia.” – the Bourse motto

Today, the building services in a similar function as a retail space with shopping and a food court.

Attractions:

The Bourse is the new home to the interactive exhibit, Ben Franklin’s Ghost. This free experience allows you to ask, and  get answers, to questions about the founding father’s life and experiences.

It is located on the Concourse Level, 5th Street side.

Directions:

111 S. Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106

The Bourse is across the street from the Independence Mall so an easy location to find.

The Bourse Food Court and Shops are open:
Mon-Sat: 10am – 6pm (Year Round)
Sunday: 11am – 5pm (March through October only)

Parking: There is a parking garage at the Bourse. It is open 24 hours for public parking.

Free Quaker Meetinghouse

As the colonies were recruiting men to serve in the Revolutionary War, some Pennsylvanians were not willing to take up arms. Many in the prevalent Quaker society did not believe in the lawfulness of war. A group of Quaker men turned out in defense of their country and in defiance of their traditional pacifism. Knowing that they would be disowned in their former congregation, these over 200 men and women founded and built the Free (or “Fighting”) Quaker Meetinghouse. <

The Free Quaker Meetinghouse was built in 1783, with the second floor added in 1788. Services were held here with usually 20-30 in attendance until 1834. At this time, there were only two members who regularly attended: Betsy Ross and John Price Wetherill, so they agreed to close down the meetinghouse.

The building as in turn acted as a school, an apprentice library, a plumbing warehouse, and headquarters for the Junior League of Philadelphia. Today it is open to the public.

Inside you will find two of the original benches from the meetinghouse. There is also an exhibit on Betsy Ross’ design for the stars on the American flag.

If you can find the dedication stone on the pediment, you’ll see it says “By General Subscription for the FREE QUAKERS
Erected in the YEAR of OUR LORD 1783 of the EMPIRE 8.
” – one of the earliest references that this new country might one day be an empire!

Though most of the building is original, or at least original looking, this is not it’s first location! The entire structure was moved North and West to accommodate the widening of the street in front in 1961. The balcony inside however was added and was not part of the meetinghouse, that is the only 19th/20th c. addition that remains.

The building is free, if it’s open and the hours vary. If you pass by and notice that it is open, it only takes a few quick minutes to pop in and it is well worth the visit.

 

Independence Hall Area Guide

The Independence Hall area at the center of historic Philadelphia is known as Independence Mall. A three block area that can transport you back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the writing of the Constitution. Visit our attractions page for more information on all the attractions in Philadelphia.

An essential stop on a history lover’s tour of Philadelphia, this guide to visiting Independence Hall area will help you make the most out of your visit.

Getting to Independence Hall Area

Tours of Independence Hall and Other Sites

What To See Around Independence Hall

Where to Eat Near Independence Hall

HOW TO GET TO INDEPENDENCE MALL

Independence Mall is bounded by Chestnut, Race, 5th and 6th Streets. The GPS address for the Independence Visitor Center is 41 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

by foot:

The historic City Center is still laid out the in the grid designed by William Penn. It’s only 25 blocks between the two rivers and they are easily navigated thanks to the naming of the streets. North and South streets are numbered and the East and West streets have tree names (e.g., Walnut, Spruce, Pine, Chestnut).

But if you did get lost, the city has kindly added Walk! Philadelphia signs throughout to help find your way.These are color coded depending on what area you want and highlight certain sites.

Independence Mall is in the RED – Historic District, but is only a ten minute walk to/from either the TEAL – Convention Center District (and Chinatown) or PURPLE – Washington Square District

And if you’re really lost, there is goodwill ambassadors wandering the streets who can help you find your way.

SEPTA MapBy SEPTA

In Philly, the public transportation is called SEPTA. Numerous color coded bus and trolleys will take you around the city. You can find bus stops by the poles or bus shelters, each will indicate which route is serviced at that stop. Buses will also display their number and name on the front of the bus.

Routes that serve 5th & 6th on Market St for Independence Mall: MFL, 17, 21, 33, 38, 42, 48

By Philly Phlash

The quick and easy way to get around down is on the Philly Phlash buses. One way adult rides are $2 and an all day pass is $5. These buses run every 15 minutes but only from May to December. For Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Visitor Center alight at 6th & Market Streets.

by Trolley and Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus:

Many of the city’s buses drive through Independence Mall. The Philly Pass and City Pass Philadelphia both offer the option to use the hop on-off buses.

Parking

There is a covered 24 hour parking garage underneath the Independence Visitor Center, located at 41 North 6th Street. The parking rates are:

  • Up to 1/2 hour $4.00
  • Up to 1 hour $8.00
  • Up to 1 1/2 hours $11.50
  • Up to 2 hours $16.00
  • Up to 10 hours $17.00
  • Up to 24 hours 18.00

You can reserve a guaranteed parking space ahead of time through a service called Parking Panda.

TOURS OF THE INDEPENDENCE HALL AREA:

Guided Walking Tours

There are many sites to see in the area, from Constitution Center to Betsy Ross’ House. We offer a guided tour of the area both on and off the Mall in our two hour tour of Independence Mall.

Hop On-Off Bus Tours

Many of the city’s buses drive through Independence Mall. The Philly Pass and City Pass Philadelphia both offer the option to use the hop on-off buses.

PLACES TO VISIT ON/NEAR INDEPENDENCE HALL:

Many of these sites are visited on our Independence Mall tour! Use the links below for tips on visiting these sites.

Independence Hall Area
independence-hall

Near the Independence Hall (Old City)

WHERE TO EAT NEAR INDEPENDENCE HALL:

Just across 5th St is the Philadelphia Bourse which has a food court and shops.

While not on Independence Mall, Chinatown is a short ten minute walk away! We offer a food tour of Chinatown to allow you to sample a few of the delicious treats this neighborhood has to offer.

The Reading Terminal Market is also only a few blocks away and is a great place for a meal and more Philadelphia history.

A visit to Philadelphia isn’t complete without a bite of our famous cheese steaks, however. We’ve compiled a list of the best in town.

Visit Reading Terminal Market

We at Free Tours by Foot love to walk – we think it’s a great way to see the city but it’s also a good excuse to eat your way through a city. In Philadelphia, there is more than just cheesesteaks (though we like those, too and here you can find the best in the city). A great place to sample fare from all over is the historic Reading Terminal Market.

6-reading-terminal-market-logo

A stop on our 4.5 hour Real Philadelphia walking tour, this market could be a tour on it’s own. Located on Market Street (not a coincidence), the original Farmers’ and Butchers’ Market was meant to be demolished in 1890 when the block was bought by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. The railroad planned to build their new terminal here but ran into problems when the market vendors refused to move!

A compromise was reached and the vendors stayed. The new construction of the terminal would include space for the market underneath between the train shed and tracks. The new Reading Terminal Market opened in 1892 and found success amongst the rumbling of the trains above. Within two decades there were 250 food dealers and 100 farmers occupying the grid shaped space. “Market brats” would deliver food from the vendors to customers within the city. Being located in a railroad terminal had it’s advantages – vendors would deliver to nearby train stations for customers to pick up their orders!

Unlike many during the Great Depression, the market prospered as farmers brought their goods into the city where food was scarce and prices were high. However, as the railroad industry and city itself declined, so did the market. A few hard core vendors and loyal customers kept the market afloat until the 1980s when it was finally reinvested in.

Today, the Reading Terminal Market attracts visitors and vendors from all over. One of the most well known aspects of the market are the Amish vendors who “drive” in their goods from their farms in Lancaster. (insider tip: Amish vendors are not there on Sundays!)

In addition to Amish homemade food, the market has a collection of DiNic's Roast Pork. Photo Credit: G. Widman and J. Smithdelicious fare. One of the must try’s is Tommy DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef. Their roast pork sandwich was crowned “Best Sandwich in American” on Travel Channel show, Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America and was featured on Man vs. Food. Beginning out of their father’s butcher ship, the Nicolosi brothers began selling sandwiches in 1954. When a DiClaudio cousin joined, DiNic’s was born. The Reading Terminal location is run by the fourth generation Nicolosi.

Bassett's Ice Cream at Reading Terminal Market. After lunch (insider tip: a late lunch or early dinner will avoid the crowds), dessert here is a must! Bassett’s Ice Cream has been a Reading Terminal Market vendor since it opened, in fact it was the first vendor to sign a lease. Bassett’s Ice Cream began in 1861, making it America’s oldest ice cream company and it is still operated by the same family. Try the Gadzooks! flavor for a truely decadent experience.

For a more modern taste of sweetness, one of our favorites is Flying Monkey Bakery. All handmade from fresh ingredients in small batches, this bakery opened in 2010. It is the inventor of the Pumpple Cake: Chocolate cake with pumpkin pie baked inside and vanilla cake with apple pie baked inside, also known as heaven.


HOURS

Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm

Sundays 9am-5pm


DIRECTIONS

Reading Terminal Market
51 North 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Only about 6 blocks from Independence Hall, Reading Terminal Market is conveniently located.

It is accessible by train:

-Regional Rail (Market Street East Station)

-Subway (Broad Street Line @ City Hall, Market/Frankford Line @ 11th Street Station, Subway-Surfact Trolleys @ 13th Street Station)

-PATCO (8th and Market Streets)

Or by car. Parking is $4 with $10 purchase and merchant validation. Limit 2 hours.

11th & Arch Streets (Expert Parking)

12th & Filbert Streets (Parkway Garage)

 

 

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place Theme Park

An iconic street for children and children at heart of all ages. imagesThere is Main Street, Elm Street and … Sesame Street. Sesame Place is a family friendly and educational theme park based on the furry friends and learning goals of this favorite television show.

Celebrate with Elmo and the gang with A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place! A one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite friends. There will be special Christmas themed shows, the ups and downs on the rides (not the water rides, of course!) and even a Parade! Enjoy special Christmas shopping, snacks and songs along away.
Kids, and adults, too!, can get their photos taken with Santa Claus when he stops by to visit the residents of Sesame Street. Santa only visits from November 23-December 23. When he heads back to gear up for the big night, his friend Santa Cookie Monster will be there to greet guests.

GET YOUR TICKETS TO A VERY FURRY CHRISTMAS AT SESAME PLACE

If you’re local, it’s easy to get to but want to make a trip of it? Sesame Place also offers accommodation nearby. With healthy and yummy food options (seriously, try the Best Darn Kettle Corn. It’ll be the one with the line), you can get some good lunch and dinner options here as well.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 13.13.07CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TO GET, HOW TO GET TO SESAME STREET?

(sorry, I couldn’t resist but tell me you weren’t singing that line, too?)

Sesame Place is easily accessible from by Philadelphia, PA and New York City. It’s located 30 minutes north of Philadelphia and 90 minutes south of NYC.

Sesame Place can be easily reached by mass transit.  NJ TRANSIT and SEPTA offer consumers train and bus service.

GPS Address: Sesame Place 100 Sesame Road Langhorne, PA 19047

FROM THE SOUTH:

I-95 North to Morrisville Exit 46A/Rt. 1 North to the Oxford Valley Exit and turn right onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the third traffic light.  OR take Roosevelt Boulevard/Rt. 1 North to the Oxford Valley Exit and turn right onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the third traffic light.  SEPTA City Buses also service Sesame Place. (30 minutes)

Follow Northeast Extension (Route I-476) to PA Turnpike East to Exit 351 (formerly Exit 28)/Rt. North to the Oxford Valley Exit (Exit 46A), turn right onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the third traffic light. (1.5 hours)

Route 1 South to the Oxford Valley Exit.  Turn left onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the fourth traffic light. (20 minutes)

FROM THE NORTH:

NJ Turnpike South to Exit 7A.  West on I-195 to 295 N, turns into 95 S Philadelphia, to exit 46A Langhorne Rt. 1 North to the Oxford Valley Road Exit.  Turn right onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the third traffic light onto N. Bucks Town Dr. (1.5 hours)

I-95 North to Morrisville Exit 46A/Rt. 1 North to the Oxford Valley Exit.  Turn right onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the third traffic light.

Atlantic City Expressway to Walt Whitman Bridge to I-95 North to Morrisville Exit 46A/Rt. 1 North to the Oxford Valley Exit and turn right onto Oxford Valley Road.  Turn right at the third traffic light. (1.5 hours)

 

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Visiting Eastern State Penitentiary

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 18.45.48After being abandoned for more than twenty years, the Eastern State Penitentiary is a building in ruins. When it was built, however, in 1829 this was one of the most expensive prisons in the world. Renowned for both it’s architecture and it’s strict style, it was designed by John Haviland – who was the architect for Independence Hall renovations, Franklin Institute and the Tombs in New York.

The original design for the prison, known as Cherry Hill at the time, consisted of seven single story cell blocks. Haviland used the dark and sullen Gothic style to instill fear to those on the outside. Laid out in a hub and spoke style, the entire prison was designed in way to Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 19.08.05maximize isolation.

A true penitentiary, this was not a place for punishment but rather reflection and penance. Each cell had a small opening to pass through food and work. The enclosed exercise yards were used on a strict time schedule that kept prisoners from being out at the same time and when they were returned to their cells by a guarded escort, the prisoners had bags put over their heads so as not to be seen by other inmates. The doors to the cell required the men to bow as they entered and when they exited the long corridor was reminiscent of the nave of a church. The only light source was a skylight or small window, known as the “Eye of God.”

In keeping with the model of reformation, the warden was legally required to visit each prisoner daily and guards Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 18.45.57on a regular basis. To keep the men separate, each cell had a toilet – flushing toilets with running water faucets at that. It wasn’t all bad in the prison.

They were allowed to garden and have pets – all in isolation, however. Al Capone had oriental rugs and a radio in his cell! Though to be fair his cherry home-like feel was not preferential treatment as his cell block in the prison’s “Park Avenue” where other inmates had similar access.

Today the prison is a museum, complete with recreation of Capone’s cell. An Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 18.58.34admission ticket will get you a self-paced audio tour of the cemetery, interactive history exhibits where you can open a cell block door – just don’t get locked inside- and art installations throughout the prison. If you’re visiting in winter, there is a guided tour in lieu of the audio tour.

With a darker take on history, this is a great visit for families with children. Though it is not recommended for any kids under 7 years old. The children ticket even comes with a scavenger hunt!

Admission is un-timed so you can stay as long as you like. Most visitors spend 2 hours, but you can come and go that day as you please with proof of purchase. The audio tour is 35 minutes straight, with a few additional stops along the way.

Photography is welcome inside the Eastern State Penitentery. But beware, you might get more in your photo than expected. The prison is said to be haunted … especially around Halloween.

Terror Behind the Walls at the Eastern State Penitentiary

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Set in the castle-esque structure of the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP), an abandoned prison that believed in consistent isolation of its prisoners, Terror Behind the Walls is one of the scariest haunted houses in the country.

It is scary in its very nature but every Halloween season, ESP steps it up and makes it its mission to terrify you. Things will go bump in the night. In one part, the lights are all off and you must find your way out in total darkness. You may not be alone in the cellblocks. In another you walk through the old prison infirmary. If you’re not into the scary, you should still visit the ESP during the day.

TIMING YOUR VISIT:

Entrance into the attraction is in half hour increments. Arriving before the 30-minute windows on your ticket will result in longer waits so don’t get there too early! Once you’re turn is up, you will spend around half an hour in Yard Out – the former exercise yard, surrounded by 30 foot high walls. There is no escape (except if you want – at any point you can tell staff/actor and they’ll escort you out). After that, the experience of six attractions takes 45 minutes.

There are gift shops, snacks, exhibits and a Monster Mash for afterwards!

If you’re driving, park at the Philadelphia Zoo’s new garage at 3500 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. There is a Ghost Shuttle Bus that will transport you to the ESP. Allow an additional thirty minutes for this. If you’re getting a ride, there is a drop off and pick up zone right in front – but no parking here!

IS THIS EVENT FAMILY FRIENDLY?

Well… that depends on your family. This event is meant to make you scream – with fog, lights, and people (or rather, people?) jumping out at you. There are FAMILY NIGHTS where children have the option to learn a secret phrase to keep the scary staff at bay – “Monster, be good!”

Every Sunday until 730pm, children 7-12 years old are half price.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 16.56.51PRICING YOUR VISIT:

Buying online is always the best option – it’s less expensive AND the only way to guarantee a spot!

Terror Behind The Walls runs every night except Mondays until November 2, with a special weekend run on November 7 and 8. The price depends on what date you want to scream.

Sundays after 730pm, students with valid ID receive half off admission. Purchase ticket online and show your ID at entrance.

(HINT: Want a discount? Visit any Pennsylvania or New Jersey LUKOIL location for a $5 off coupon.)
 

 

 

Philadelphia October

How is the weather in Philadelphia in November?

November in Philadelphia starts out mild but becomes more winter-like as the month ends. Fall foliage peaks near the end of October but often continues into the first week of November and two places you may wish to view the colors are along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Franklin Square Park.

Early in November the afternoon temperatures are fairly mild near 60f (about 16C) but a few days can reach to near 70f (21-22C). Morning low temperatures early this month will most likely be in the low to mid 40s f (about 6C).

As the month progresses the afternoon temperatures will fall and by the end of this month will mostly be near 50f (10C) with morning lows in the mid-30s f (1-2 C). Expect 5-8 mornings this month with temperatures falling below 32f (0C) with 1 or two of these dipping down into the mid-20s f (about -3C).

About 16 days in November will normally be sunny or at least partly sunny with about 14 cloudy days likely.  Some precipitation can be expected on about 9 days this month with about 2 day of these receiving at least 0.5 inches (13mm) or more.  Snow is not normally an issue here in November, however, about 1 inch of snow does fall on Philadelphia about once every 5 years.

 

What to wear in Philadelphia during November?

It is best to pack for fall to early winter and dress in layers so that you can remove a layer or two for those warmer days.  Long sleeves, a couple of sweaters and at least a medium weight jacket or coat are suggested and of course comfortable walking shoes.

While you are in Philadelphia you should join us for our Independence Mall Tour or perhaps our Philadelphia Chinatown Food Tour.