More than 50,000 soldiers died in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. About 150 years later, the national park land is a memorial to the lives lost during those three fateful days of the American Civil War. The battlefield draws history buffs, patriots and curious tourists who come in droves to pay their respects and learn more about this landmark event in America's history.
The town of Gettysburg, Penn. is charming and welcoming, with a main street laden with antique shops, boutiques and art galleries. The Gettysburg Cyclorama, one of the most popular attractions, is a 360-degree oil painting depicting the Battle of Gettysburg that was unveiled in 1884. As America commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through 2015, Gettysburg is staging re enactments, tours and educational programs. There has never been a better time to visit.
One of the best places in the United States to visit if you want a sense of the nation's roots, Old City is a neighborhood in Central City Philadelphia known for its antiquated charm and many historic sites. Wander down the narrow cobblestone streets and you'll feel like you're stepping through a time warp into 18th century colonial America.
Perhaps the most popular destination in Old City is Elfreth's Alley, one of the oldest continuously inhabited residential streets in the country. Owners of the historic homes along this alley take pride in the old-fashioned exteriors of their homes, some of which are nearly 300 years old. Also worth checking out is The Betsy Ross house, supposedly the site where the first American flag was stitched.
Few places in the United States offer as much historical and cultural legacy as the Philadelphia Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Located across the street from one another, the two landmarks serve as the most potent symbols of the American revolution and the birth of the young nation.
Independence Historical National Park is the home to both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. While the Bell was rung at several key moments of the American independence movement, today it is more famous for its symbolic message of universal liberty than its functional purpose.
In addition to the two main attractions, Independence National Historical Park is also the home of several other sites associated with the American Revolution. This 45-acre park comprises much of the historic downtown area of Philadelphia.
This may or may not be where patriotic upholsterer Betsy Ross lived when she made the original Stars & Stripes, but it’s certainly one of the most visited attractions in Philadelphia. Set just a few blocks west of Independence Hall near Franklin Square, the house is the site of a local Flag Day celebration held each year on June 14.
Built in 1740 in the Pennsylvania Colonial Style, this humble home was rescued by a local radio personality in the late 1930s and both renovated and expanded, using Colonial-period materials. Self-guided and audio tours are available here ($5 and $7, respectively), and out in the added-on courtyard, a costumed Betsy Ross re-enactor tells stories with flag in hand.
Throughout the summer and early fall on Friday nights, movies are shown in the courtyard on a big outdoor screen; bring a blanket or chair, and the $5 fee includes a tour of the house. It’s open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
There are a few ways to get up to Mount Washington from Pittsburgh, but Duquesne Incline is perhaps the most classic. In service from 1877, the historic cable cars, in their original wood, remain in operation. Along with the Monongahela Incline, it is the oldest continuous funicular in the world. Inclined at 30 feet and traveling from downtown Pittsburgh’s South Side to the top of Mount Washington, it’s where panoramic views and the city’s most upscale neighborhood await. Though once powered by steam and built for cargo, it now mostly carries passengers up to the scenic overlook with a view of Pittsburg’s “Golden Triangle” of rivers. There is also a museum that allows for a glimpse at the interior of the incline as it operates. At the top of the hill is a museum dedicated both to the history of Pittsburgh and inclines located all over the world. The view from Mount Washington has been called one of the most beautiful vistas in America.
Aside from being one of the most visited neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Mount Washington offers some of the best views of the city skyline, having been named one of the most beautiful vistas in America. Rows of charming homes and Shiloh Street, the main district of shops, bars, restaurants, and boutiques also draw many to the area. Several of the restaurants offer an upscale ambiance with incredible views of the city and the three surrounding countryside and rivers. It is one of the premier neighborhoods in Pittsburg. The mountain was once the home of many various coal mines, earning it the nickname of “Coal Mountain.” Grandview Avenue runs the length of the hill with four outlook decks in between homes and restaurants. At the edge of the mountain you’ll find the bronze statue of George Washington and Seneca leader Guyasuta staring at one another, marking the area’s history.
Dating to the late 17th century as part of William Penn’s original five-square city plan, this gracefully manicured park was renamed in 1825 for local astronomer, inventor and surveyor David Rittenhouse. Long one of Philadelphia’s most desirable addresses, in our modern era it’s surrounded by luxury apartments and shops.
Well connected to buses, the SEPTA rail and the trolley, the surrounding neighborhood is full of historic architecture and cultural institutions. Attractions include the Mütter Museum and the treasure-filled Rosenbach Museum & Library, as well as the Curtis Institute of Music. Look for the ornate Victorian House set at the northwest corner, and various bronze sculptures of animals scattered throughout the park.
The park is managed and supported by the Friends of Rittenhouse Square, a non-profit group who, among other activities, stages a series of free concerts in the park during the summer.