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National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

525 Arch Street
Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
Tel: 215 409 6600's insider take:

Forming the northern anchor of a four-block Independence-palooza (which includes a visitor center, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall), the exterior of the Constitution Center might seem jarringly modern. But don't be put off: The 160,000-square-foot museum, designed by I.M. Pei's firm and opened in 2003, is a must-see on the historic trail. Avoid crowds by going on a weekday afternoon, when you'll be able to get to more than 100 interactive and multimedia exhibits. Best hands-on setups: taking the presidential oath of office and reading landmark legal cases at a replica Supreme Court bench. Before leaving the neighborhood, make a stop at the Curtis Center, a Georgian Revival building on the southwest corner of Independence Park (at 6th and Walnut Street) that once housed the Saturday Evening Post and whose lobby contains the Dream Garden, a 49-foot mosaic by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It's based on a painting by Maxfield Parrish and is comprised of about 100,000 pieces of glass.

Open Mondays through Fridays 9:30 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 9:30 am to 6 pm, Sundays noon to 5 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.