Enriching Philadelphia: The Hamilton Walking Tour
This is another installment of our Enriching Philadelphia series, written by tutor Jane Wiedmann, highlighting enriching local activities in Philadelphia. Jane is an elementary tutor and painter with a degree in Art History. She recently tried the Hamilton Walking Tour app in Philadelphia and wrote about her experience.
One of my very favorite things to do is be a tourist at home. Though I’ve lived in Philadelphia for almost ten years, I still haven’t gotten over the thrill of living where our nation was founded. No matter how many rallies and protests I go to at Independence Mall, I never get over the thrill of seeing the clock tower and knowing that building is where it all began. Our city is, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda, the room where it happened.
So, on a beautiful spring day last week, I set out to try the Hamilton Walking Tour. The tour was created by freelance journalist and former teacher Catherine Price. Ms. Price has a great wry sense of humor and is supporting a worthy cause. In her introduction to the tour she says that she is donating twenty percent of her app proceeds to the Friends of Independence Park, which hopes to reopen the currently unused First Bank of the United States (the second stop on the walking tour) as a museum dedicated to America’s financial history.
Though most of the Hamilton musical is set in New York City, some key locations are here in Philly, and Ms. Price has been so helpful as to pair them with appropriate songs and include the lyrics. I was filled with dorky patriotic joy walking down the Old City streets taking in the history and freshly flowering trees, listening to “My Shot” and other favorites.
Some notes for the adventurous:
If you’re touring with young kids, you may want to skip the site of Hamilton’s residence in Philadelphia and the approximate site of Maria and James Reynolds’ home, as you may not be ready to discuss the Reynolds Pamphlet just yet. Unless, like my four-year-old nephew, your kids are already experts on the entire musical.
Carpenter’s Hall is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and The Portrait Gallery at the Second National Bank (where Ms. Price advises us to compare the Hamilton cast photos to the portraits and give that some thought…) is closed on Mondays, so if you want to get the most out of the tour, go another day.
If you’d like to go inside all of the buildings that are open to the public, put aside about three hours for the whole tour. If you’ve already been inside most of the big tourist spots, the tour makes for a pleasant, edifying hour. Plus kids (and adults who are silly like me) will be happy to know there are many Pokéstops along the way.