The Great Tour, A Totally Free 12-Hour Tour Of The Entire City Of Philadelphia, Returns This Weekend, Saturday, September 28

The 2013 Great 12-Hour Tour takes you on a day-long exploration of the city from river to river, led by experts from the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides. (Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC)

Do you love Philadelphia? Well, this weekend you can discover an amazing array of Philadelphia’s museums, cultural venues, historic sites and organizations in a single day.

This Saturday, September 28, embark on a free, epic 12-hour walking tour of Philadelphia led by members of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides, some of the most knowledgable tour guides in the city.

The Great Tour is a four-part, 12-hour walking tour in total. Don’t worry, though, attendees are invited to hop-on and hop-off at any point.

Traversing the city from river to river, and from Vine Street to Pine Street, the walking tour touches on nearly every section of the city, and is an incredible opportunity to take in the town, as each phase of the tour visits as many as 20 to 25 cultural and historic sites.

You can walk the tour from 8 a.m. to its 8 p.m. finish, or join in any segment of the tour. Plus, there are opportunities for refreshments and rest rooms at each staging area.

Register for a part or the whole tour right here, and read on for a rundown of each section to map our your tour stops.

Phase One, Old City: 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Check in at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street. Walk in the footsteps of William Penn, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross. Sites include: the Federal Reserve Bank, African-American Museum, Franklin Square, Dexter House site, the U.S. Mint, the Free Quaker Meeting House, Christ Church Burial Ground / Franklin Grave, Arch St. Friends Meeting, Old First Reformed Church, St. Augustine’s, St. George’s, Elfreth’s Alley, Betsy Ross House, Arden Theater, Christ Church, Tamanend Statue, Franklin Court, the Museum of American Jewish History, Mikveh Israel.

Phase Two, Society Hill: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Check in at The Bourse, 111 S Independence Mall East. This section takes a closer look at George Washington’s Federal Capital, also known as the Birthplace of America. Sites include: the President’s House Site, the Liberty Bell Pavilion, the Bourse, Independence Square, the American Philosophical Society & Library Hall, the Second Bank, the National Liberty Museum, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Carpenters’ Hall, New Hall, the First Bank, Treasurer’s House Site, the Merchant’s Exchange, the Bishop White House, Dr. Rush site, Polish American Center, the Powel House, the Kosciusko House, Head House / Newmarket, South Street, St. Peter’s Church, the Physick House.

Phase Three, Society Hill to City Hall: 2-4:30 p.m. Check in at the Independence Visitor Center, 525 Market Street. Check out Market East and Midtown Village, the commercial center of the town that made Philadelphia “The Workplace of the World.” Sites include: Market St., Lit’s Department Store, the Declaration House, the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Chestnut St., Jewelers’ Row, Washington Square, the Curtis Building, Pennsylvania Hospital, the Walnut Theatre, Camac St., the PA Historical Society, The Gayborhood, the PSFS Bldg, the Kimmel Center, the Avenue of the Arts, the Academy of Music, the Union League, the Bellevue-Stratford, the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Wanamakers.

Phase Four, City Hall to the Schuylkill River: 5-7:30 p.m. Check in at City Hall Courtyard. In the last leg of the tour, take in the sights along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which helped this city earn the nickname the “Athens of America.” Sites include: Philadelphia City Hall, Love Sculpture, the Clothespin, Liberty Towers, Rittenhouse Square, the Comcast Center, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Moore College of Art, the Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul, Logan Circle, the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Free Library, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, The Thinker, Rodin Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the “Rocky Steps,” Fairmount Water Works.

For a complete guide to all the tour sites, check here and for the complete map of the day, see below.

The Great Tour
When: Saturday, September 28, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free
More info:

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  1. My 7 and 10 year old grandsons are visiting from Ohio at Thanksgiving and want to go to Philadelphia that weekend. They’ve never been to Philly before. Any tours running that Sat or Sun or advice for their Grandma (I’m from Reading, PA area). Tour this Sat sounds great but I’ll be in NYC. Thanks

  2. Hi Karen. Click here to take a look at our events calendar regarding upcoming events. Also, our sister site, Visit Philly, has a great guide to local tours, check it out here.

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