Prior to being rechristened as Independence Hall, this building was used and known as the Pennsylvania State House. The founding fathers of the United States met here in the Assembly Room to debate and adopt both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. For a time the building fell into disrepair, but an 1824 visit from the Marquis de Lafayette (who had served as a soldier under George Washington) compelled the city to rescue and preserve this historic site. Entrance to Independence Hall is by guided tour only; tickets are required from March through December, but no tickets are needed in January or February. Fun fact: For a short time, the basement served as the city's dog pound!
At Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the park rangers tell you that you will get goose bumps standing in the room where the Continental Congress met and the Declaration of Independence was signed. They aren't kidding. If you aren't able to get a ticket to tour Independence Hall during the day, don't worry! From 5-7pm, you can line up for the opportunity to do a quick 15-minute tour of the Hall without a ticket.
Standing in line on a cold winter's day waiting to tour Independence Hall can make one wonder if it's worth it. But once inside you will realize that it is. The most cynical among us can't help but be moved once inside. The guides know their history and they provide a great synopsis of the creation of the U.S. political system.