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Many Philadelphia Attractions Open During Government Shutdown

October 3, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Although the U.S. federal government shutdown has temporarily closed some ofPhiladelphia’s most popular visitor sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, many of the region’s museums, attractions and parks remain open and eager to welcome visitors.

Even the Liberty Bell, although closed, can be easily viewed through a glass window on the Chestnut Street side of the building that houses it. For updates on openings and closings, go to or follow Visit Philly on Twitter @VisitPhilly.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA. (PRNewsFoto/Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, M.Edlow for GPTMC)

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA. (PRNewsFoto/Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, M.Edlow for GPTMC)

“The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are extraordinarily important to Philadelphia, but they’re not the only reasons people visit,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC). ” They also come for the art, the food, the festivals, the sports, the neighborhoods and much more. And the good news is visitors and locals can experience all of these wonderful amenities right now.”

Here’s a look at what’s open and closed at the moment, along with some visitor facts and stats:

What’s Open:

  • All art museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 
  • Other major museums and attractions: The Franklin Institute, which houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial; The Academy of Natural Sciences; the Philadelphia Zoo and the Penn Museum, among others
  • Attractions that operate entirely without federal funds or support of federal employees: National Constitution Center,American Philosophical SocietyChrist Church and Carpenters’ Hall
  • Buildings in the Independence National Historical Park family that are leased and run by others:  The Thomas Bond House Bread and Breakfast, B. Free Franklin Post Office and all parking garages
  • National Museum of American Jewish History, operating in a pay-what-you-wish capacity for the duration of the shutdown
  • Three visitor centers: City Hall Visitor Center, Fairmount Park Welcome Center and Sister Cities Park Visitor Center
  • Sites and activities managed by the non-profit organization Historic Philadelphia, Inc.: the Betsy Ross House, Franklin Square and the Historic Philadelphia Center, along with the group’s various tours and shows

What’s Closed:

  • Independence National Historical Park (INHP), including all visitor facilities and services managed by the park, namely the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. Buildings impacted by federal sequestration in March 2013 are also closed: Bishop White House, Dolley Todd House, New Hall Military Museum, The Declaration House, fragments ofFranklin Court, the Germantown White House (Deshler-Morris House), the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site and the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial.
  • The Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets, however, visitors can still get information, or (800) 537-7676.
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park (VFNHP)

Facts & Stats:

  • On average, INHP receives about 10,000 visitors a day in the month of October, while VFNHP welcomes about 4,000 visitors a day. (Source: National Park Service)
  • Attendance for 2013 (through August) at INHP is down 5.5%, from 2.5 million in 2012 to
    2.4 million visitors in 2013. Contributing to this decrease: shorter operating hours, a rainy summer and the government sequester.
  • During the government shutdown that lasted from December 16, 1995 through January 6, 1996, the closure of all national parks across the country led to a loss of 7 million visitors and their tourism revenue to local communities, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
  • Philadelphia visitor spending generated $9.75 billion in economic impact in 2012. That translates into $27 million every day for regional businesses and 89,000 full-time jobs in the region. (Source: Tourism Economics)
  • Greater Philadelphia hosted 39 million visitors—34 million of those were leisure visitors, and of that group, 13 million were overnight leisure visitors. (Source: Tourism Economics/Longwoods International)
  •, the official visitor site of Greater Philadelphia, welcomed 6.1 million visitors in 2012. (Source: Google Analytics)

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit or, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

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