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Philadelphia's Top Guided Tours (Even For Locals)

You don't have to venture out of Old City Philadelphia, dubbed "America's most historic square mile," to soak up the bulk of the city's rich heritage. The City of Brotherly Love has done a fabulous job of preserving its history. Tour guides in colonial garb can be found on almost every street corner, beckoning visitors and residents alike to link the present with the past. For the best of the best guided tours, check out these extraordinary sights and attractions that even veteran Philadelphians should appreciate.

Christ Church
20 N. American St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-1695

Back in its heyday, Christ Church counted among its congregation everyone who was anyone. In fact, 15 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were members here. Benjamin Franklin raised the funds for the tower added in 1754, and William Penn's baptismal font takes center stage in this sacred building known as the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church and called "The Nation's Church." Guided tours take place on the hour Mondays through Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except in January and February when the church is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Elfreth's Alley
126 Elfreth's Alley
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 574-0560

Back in 1702 when Elfreth's Alley became the nation's first residential street, $5 could buy 200 acres. Now it gets you a guided tour of the Elfreth Alley Museum, a building located in the only homes open to the public on this historic cobblestone avenue. Open Friday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., from April to September, you'll have to wait until spring to catch the tour. The lively tale of a couple of dressmakers who operated a sewing shop there costs $12 for families, $5 for adults, $2 for kids age 6 to 12 and free for tots under age 6.

Horse Drawn Carriage Tour
Philadelphia Trolley Works
Carriage Stand at 5th and Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(888) 478-1479

For a horse of a different color, take a Horse Drawn Carriage Tour by Philadelphia Trolley Works. Great photo opportunities abound as you climb aboard the stately wagon pulled by a hefty draft horse. A certified driver is at the reins to point out all of the well-known sights along the route. The deluxe tour, covering Old City, Society Hill, the Betsy Ross House and Independence National Historical Park, lasts one hour and carries one to four people for $90.

Related: Walking Tour Of Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill Neighborhood

Independence Hall
520 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 965-2305

Residents and visitors alike should know about our nation's history. If you want to be smarter than a fifth grader, there is no better way to do that than by walking the halls where George Washington sat in his "Rising Sun" chair, the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the U.S. Constitution was drafted. Admission to Independence Hall, the focal point of Independence National Historic Park, is only by tour. While it is not necessary in January and February, pay the price-is-right $1.50 to reserve the first-come, first-served tickets during the rest of the year, or you'll be battling major crowds.

Philadelphia Duck Tours
6th and Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 1910
(877) 887-8225

Duck Tours are always a big hit with the tourists, but Philly residents rarely lay out the $29 cash to enjoy the corny adventure this land-and-sea conveyance delivers. Riding on this open-air combo cruiser is an experience to remember. Sounds of the Wacky Quacker, a quacking whistle handed out to each rider, definitely leaves an impression on your eardrums and adds to the fun. As the WWII duck boat waddles across town through the museum and historic districts, the captain relates some pretty interesting stories about Philly's colorful past before making a splash down in the Delaware.

Related: Top Free Tours In Philadelphia

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at

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