Despite a partial federal government shutdown that shows no signs of ending soon, tourists visiting Philadelphia will be able to see both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall over the weekend.
According to Independence National Historical Park, both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., thanks to funding provided by Visit Philadelphia. No tickets will be required.
An estimated 25,000 visitors typically visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center over the long weekend after Christmas and before the New Year, according to the city. On Wednesday, visitors lined up outside to see the Liberty Bell, unaware that the attraction was closed due to the shutdown.
“I’ve wanted a long time to come see this," a disappointed Maureen Carter, visiting from Los Angeles, told my colleague Stu Bykofsky. "I wanted to see it up close.”
Since the partial federal government shutdown went into effect Dec. 22, both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center have been closed. The city said Visit Philadelphia donated about $32,000 to the National Park Service to cover the cost of keeping the two attractions open over the weekend.
“Leisure tourism to Philadelphia is a big part of our regional economy, and thousands of visitors want to see our iconic historic sites,” Jeff Guaracino, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia, said in a statement. “We felt that it was important during this very busy holiday week to make Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center available to our visitors and residents.”
Other nearby attractions — such as the African American Museum, the Betsy Ross House, and the National Constitution Center — aren’t affected by the shutdown and remain open.