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The Liberty Bell Is Closed

Federal shutdown effects in the region

The Federal Government shutdown has closed many prominent tourist sites in the region, including Independence National Historical Park, which often gets as many as 10,000 visitors per day this time of year and includes the Independence Visitors Center, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Pavilion, and even the City Tavern (that last one surprised us). Some sites in the area are open, such as the Betsy Ross House, as are all the local museums, such as the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art, etc. A handy compendium for local sites is available at

In King of Prussia, the Valley Forge National Historic Park is also closed – and we mean CLOSED – the Associated Press reports that a man training for a marathon was fined $100 upon returning to his car after running in the park. Still, if you run into a Park Ranger, TSA officer, or other federal employee who is at work, we suggest being extra nice to them, as even those not furloughed are working without pay.

Regular visitors to the Cultural Alliance website know what huge data geeks we can be, so it is also worth noting that the websites maintained by many federal agencies, including the US Census website, are also closed. A comprehensive guide to all federal agencies is available through the website of the Washington Post.

So, before heading out with those out-of-town relatives, check the links above. However, the vast majority of the arts and cultural gems are open, so no need to stay home and play parchisi with Aunt Mabel and Uncle Chuck (they’re nice people, but they cheat). Here are a few suggestions:

You can't go to: But you can go to:
Liberty Bell Dream Garden – the fantastic, iridescent Parrish/Tiffany mosaic in the lobby of the Curtis Center, 6th St., just north of Walnut, will transport disappointed visitors away from worldly concerns
Independence Hall City Hall Tower – it’s the tallest city hall in America, so go say “Hello to thee” to the 37-foot-tall William Penn up close, at the top of the tower
Valley Forge National Memorial Arch Civil War Monument (Smith Memorial Arch) in Fairmount Park is right near the Mann Center, Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia Zoo and a lot of other attractions that are open
City Tavern McGillin’s Old Ale House – Okay, 1860 ain’t 1773, but if Aunt Mabel wants to get her historic drink on, McGillin’s lays claim to being the oldest continually operating bar in the city