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About Stephen C
Lives in Arlington, Virginia
Since Aug 2007
The Washington D.C. Metro area has been my home for the last three years. I am originally from the UK but now live in the U.S. with my wife and daughter. I love to travel and am always keen to get up close to new cultures and foods. Only local knowledge can unlock those truly special travel experiences.
Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Historic Sites, History Museums
History Museums, Speciality Museums
Government Buildings, Sightseeing Tours
Flea & Street Markets
History Museums, Speciality Museums
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Commissioned in 1751 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pennsylvania's constitution (or the Charter of Privileges), this 2,080-pound bell is now an icon of Philadelphia. It used to hang in Independence Hall, ringing on important occasions — including the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Throughout the centuries, the bell's inscription — 'Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof' — has been inspiration, and even a rallying cry, to social activists from Abolitionists to Suffragettes to the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
One of the most important United States landmarks, this iconic red brick building is the birthplace of America. Formally known as the 'Pennsylvania State House,' it was renamed Independence Hall for the historic events that took place here. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was signed, and here that George Washington was named commander of the Continental Army. Some years later, delegates of the newly formed states met in this same hall to write and ratify the U.S. Constitution. During your visit, you can see the assembly room where the Constitutional Convention was held, and even view an original draft of the Constitution and the first printing of the Declaration of Independence!
From rare artifacts like the judicial robe of Sandra Day O'Connor (the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court) to a surround-sound multimedia presentation of constitutional history, the National Constitution Center allows you to take a deep dive into the living document at the heart of the American government. Here you'll learn about the history of the document, the people who were integral in changing it, and the many amendments that have caused a stir. There are also myriad interactive exhibits, from voting booths to a 'Supreme Court' where you can weigh in on famous cases.
Question: Why is the United States Mint in Philadelphia? Answer: Because it was established here back in 1792, when Philly was the American capital. At least half of all circulating U.S. coins are still made here. On the self-guided tour, you can see the first coining press, and view actual coining operations.
One of the most famous women of colonial history, Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first American flag, whose 13 stars and 13 stripes represented the 13 original colonies. The 1740 house where she is said to have lived and worked as an upholsterer is now a fun, interactive museum, where you can view a variety of 18th-century artifacts and even meet 'Betsy herself.'
The oldest residential street in America is more than 300 years old! It was here that 18th-century butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers (as well as other artisans) lived and worked, often operating businesses on the first floors and living above. Appropriately designated a National Historic Landmark, Elfreth's Alley is a fascinating place to go for a walk. With their flower boxes and colorful shutters, the well-preserved row houses are lovely, and the museum provides a glimpse inside the homes, and into colonial life on the alley.
Established in 1892, Reading Terminal Market is the oldest continually operated farmers market in the U.S. With stalls and shops hawking everything from produce or exotic meats to kitchenware or fresh-cut flowers, the always-bustling market is an assault on the senses in the best of ways. Here you can sidle up to a counter to enjoy raw oysters, or pick up a soft pretzel to munch as you explore.
The third-largest art museum in the country is an imposing building that holds an impressive collection of Renaissance, American, Impressionist and modern art. Film buff fun fact: These steps are seen in the 'Rocky' movie!
Built in 1829, the Quaker-inspired Eastern State Penitentiary was the world's first 'penitentiary,' a prison with the lofty goal of rehabilitating its convicts. For years it was known for its strict system of solitary confinement, until overcrowding changed the circumstances. When the prison reopened as a museum in 1994 — after 20-plus years of being abandoned — the conscious decision was made to restore only for safety but to otherwise leave the building in its state of decay. The result is awesomely eerie, and truly fascinating.
This hands-on science and innovation museum is very popular with kids. It's named after — you guessed it — Benjamin Franklin, and contains the official national memorial to this important scientist. Interactive exhibits include simulated surfing, electricity experiments, and even a giant human heart to walk through.
A French bistro from Philadelphia restaurant royal Stephen Starr, Parc is lively and fun, serving up Paris from champagne to steak frites. The interior is tres chic, but in the warmer months, you want to be on the sidewalk facing Rittenhouse Square.
The Independence Seaport Museum is dedicated to Philadelphia's history as an important port. Kids especially will love wandering around an actual ship and submarine.
This famous Philly street is packed with restaurants, galleries, shops, and nightlife destinations. The most popular stretch is between Front Street and 10th Street.
Ask Philadelphians where to get the best Philly Cheesesteak and you're all but guaranteed to get a different answer from every person. Everyone has his or her own favorite, but there's one thing all agree on: The cheesesteak is an essential Philly experience. The scent of fried onions wafts down the street before you even reach Jim's, and the walls are papered with photos of the celebs who love this joint. The cheeseteaks? Well, there's a reason Jim's has been popular for more than 70 years.
Artist Isaiah Zagar and his wife Julia started beautifying the South Street neighborhood in the 1960s, but it wasn't until 1994 that he started his 'magnum opus,' filling a vacation lot mosaics and found objects. By the time that the lot's absentee landlord decided to sell the lot in 2002, Zagar's psychedelic labyrinth of tiles, wine bottles, bicycle wheels, and other 'garbage' was so beloved by the community that an outpouring of support led to the creation of a nonprofit that now maintains and promotes Zagar's work.
This is where you'll find Robert Indiana's iconic 'LOVE' statue! Love Park (officially JFK Plaza) is popular among couples, skateboarders, and photographers alike.