Philadelphia Feature


A Walk Through Old City

Begin at 2nd and Market streets, the location of the impressive Christ Church, attended by George and Martha Washington, among other notables. Continuing north on 2nd Street for a block and passing Arch Street, you'll come to a tiny Colonial street on the right, Elfreth's Alley; two houses are open to the public. Head back to 2nd Street, turn right (north), and a few footsteps will take you to the Fireman's Hall Museum, with exhibits on the history of fire fighting. If you then follow 2nd Street back to Arch and turn right (west), you can find the most popular residence in Philadelphia, the Betsy Ross House.

A bit farther along, between 321 and 323 Arch Street, you can peer into the gated Loxley Court and its 18th-century houses and then cross the street to the Society of Friends' Arch Street Meeting House. Just ahead one block is the Christ Church Burial Ground, final resting place for Ben Franklin and other signers of the Declaration of Independence. Across 5th Street is the Free Quaker Meeting House, built for Quakers who had been disowned by their congregations for participating in the Revolutionary War. Diagonally across Arch Street stands the United States Mint, where you can watch coins being made. If you're up for a jaunt—and a hearty 1¾-mile walk (each way)—you could cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The walkway entrance is about two blocks north of the Mint, on 5th Street. Otherwise, turn left (south) on 5th Street, cross Arch Street, and walk until you find a redbrick courtyard, entrance to the modern building that houses the Mikveh Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in Philadelphia. One block south, on Market Street, is the new home of the National Museum of American Jewish History. Back on Arch Street, walking two blocks west to 7th Street brings you to the African American Museum, with displays that illuminate the black experience through the centuries. At this point you might want to follow 7th Street (on foot or by bus) five blocks north to the residence and exhibits at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site.

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