However short the United States’ history has been, it is full of fascinating stories and events. Because of this, there are many historical cities to visit in the U.S. for history buffs, including the top 2 more fascinating historic cities in the U.S.: Boston and Philadelphia. Both of these cities have their own storied past to learn from, and plethora of historical attractions to check out.
Whether your interest is battlefields from the Civil War, or the forming of the Constitution, you’ll find that plus more in these two historic cities. So which one is best for history buffs? Read on to discover the top reasons to visit each – then you can decide which one is the best destination for history lovers.
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Top Historic Sites in Boston
The Freedom Trail
One of the top things to do for visitors to Boston is walking the Freedom Trail. The 2.5 mile walk is easy to do and is full of historical information along the way. The tour starts at Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States. This park was where British troops camped in preparation for the Revolutionary War. It also has a history for public hangings, and is the sight of the oldest community burial grounds in the city.
Along the Freedom Trail, you’ll also pass by the Paul Revere House, the statue of Benjamin Franklin, the site of the Boston Massacre, and the Bunker Hill Monument. All together, there are 16 historic sites along the Freedom Trail.
The Boston Harbor area is another ideal area for history buffs who are staying in the city and looking for unique areas to explore. It’s a natural harbor that was once the site of the Boston Tea Party that paved the way for the American Revolution in 1773. The harbor has always been the main port of Boston and was historically the most major seaport of the east coast, once welcoming all imports meant for the east. These days you can take a guided sightseeing cruise out to the surrounding islands, go on a whale watching tour and see some old Civil War sights.
Granary Burial Grounds
Another historically significant site in Boston is the Granary Burial Grounds, which is where many key figures in America’s history were buried, like Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Sam Adams. It’s a stop along the Freedom Trail, but even if you’re not taking the whole tour, the burial grounds are worth a stop just to see the old gravestones.
Bunker Hill Monument
You may be wondering why there is a obelisk in Boston, reminiscent of the Washington Monument in Washington DC. It seems a strange monument to commemorate such a pivotal battle in America’s history. The monument stands atop Breed’s Hill, where the Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place. You can go inside and walk the many steps to the top of the monument for a look out at the view from above.
About an hour outside of Boston is another epicenter of American history, Plymouth, where the earliest settlers of America landed and began building a new life for themselves. The city is a living history to a time long ago and brings to life what it might have been like for early settlers to the area.
Not only can you visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in the historic center of Philadelphia, you can spend a fantastic day wandering around the many iconic attractions and monuments, discovering a part of America’s past that helped shape it into what it is today. The best area to stay in Philadelphia while visiting is the Center City, because of its proximity to the historic sites. You’ll be within walking distance of all the main sites listed below.
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Top Historic Sites in Philadelphia
Liberty Bell & Independence Hall
While the Liberty Bell hasn’t been in operation for a very long time, it still remains a celebrated part of history, and it’s fascinating to learn its story and see it up close at the Liberty Bell Center. Stop by the Independence Visitor Center to obtain tickets to tour the Independence Hall, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It should be a stop on everyone’s itinerary in Philadelphia. The visit includes a walk through the rooms where both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written and signed.
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Betsy Ross House
Ever wondered about the history of the U.S. flag? You can learn how it was made at the Betsy Ross House. Betsy Ross was an upholstery maker in the city, who was approached by George Washington and asked to make the first ever United States flag that would be a symbol of American freedom. The exhibit features a tour through the house as well as an actress dressed as Betsy Ross who will share with you all the knowledge she has of the event and her involvement in the making of the flag.
Museum of the American Revolution
In early 2017, the Museum of the American Revolution was opened. The main centerpiece of the museum is the tent used by George Washington during the war, but there are hundreds of other artifacts and information about the war that brought America’s independence at the museum.
Whether Boston or Philadelphia is the best city to visit for history buffs, it is clear that both offer a unique and special learning experience for history lovers. If you haven’t already visited these top 2 historic cities in the U.S., you absolutely must check them out and decide for yourself which one wins the award for best city for U.S. history.
Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.