Lights of Liberty Is a Dazzling, After-Dark, Cutting-Edge Multimedia Experience
A Lights of Liberty tour guide with his audience at 318 Market Street, Franklin Court - the best show in Philadelphia - although note that the show actually begins at 6th and Chestnut Streets, as Franklin Court is just one part of the show .
NEW - Friday, September 17, 2010 - Lights of Liberty To Be Re-Opened To the Public On September 29, 2010 - Far Earlier Than Previously Announced
We are pleased to announce that media reports on Thursday, September 16, 2010, confirmed that Lights of Liberty - now jazzed up with 3-D - will be reopening to the public on September 29, 2010 - several months earlier than previously believed. So make your plans accordingly!
Important Note: Lights of Liberty Is Currently - September 17, 2010 - CLOSED - Due to Extensive Renovations - It Will Re-Open To the Public On September 29, 2010
Updated, Friday, September 17, 2010
Unfortunately, if you are currently visiting Philadelphia - in 2010 - you can't see the Lights of Liberty show and tour, which is a genuine shame. The reason -
After 11 years - it first opened in 1999 - Lights of Liberty is undergoing a radical transformation into a 3-D show, which will open to the public on September 29, 2010.
So if you're a local Philadelphian, or a visitor planning a trip for September 29, 2010, or beyond- you can still read the descriptions below. Of course, once it re-opens, we will update this page to describe the new, improved Lights of Liberty. The one that already existed was great, and we anticipate that the new version will be truly spectacular.
So, in the meantime... the old Lights of Liberty description is below...
Lights of Liberty places the visitor in the midst of the thrilling events of 1776. It's a must-see, for any visitor to Philadelphia, and to Old City Philadelphia in particular.
Lights of Liberty is located at 6th and Chestnut Streets. It is both a fine tour, and a dazzling, stunning show. If you haven't taken it before, the best way of describing it is this:
It succeeds at making the traveler feel like he/she is actually taking part, in the momentous events of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War that accompanied it.
There is nothing else like it in Philadelphia - or anywhere else. Accordingly, as a uniquely Philadelphian attraction, we give it our highest recommendation.
Unlike most of the other Old City attractions, the show (and most decidedly, it's not just a tour- it's a show) is not free. But it offers something that none of them can offer - a 21st-century show about the events of the 18th century.
And so the cost is totally worth it. It is $19.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/military, $13 for children 12 and under.
(When the tour and show first opened, back in 2000, the admission was fittingly enough, $17.76.)
Another key advantage is that by definition, Lights of Liberty can take place, only after nightfall. So it provides an opportunity for you to squeeze more sights into your visit to Philadelphia. When the show is playing, most of the other attractions are closed. Conversely, during daylight hours when the show is dark, those places to visit are generally open.
As a general rule, you want to try to arrive at Liberty Center, at 6th and Chestnut Streets, at least 30 minutes prior to the tour and show you wish to take.
Also, when planning your visit, remember that it can only take place after dark, and there's comparatively little darkness during the summer months (i.e., the peak months for visiting Philadelphia in general, and Old City Philadelphia in particular.)
Added, Sunday, August 1, 2010....
Lights of Liberty Is On the Must-See While In Philadelphia List
For us, Lights of Liberty is on the Must-See While In Philadelphia List. We think so highly of it, that we've included it on both our
Philadelphia In Only One Day Tour
Two Day Tour of Philadelphia
- which is very high praise.
Let's put it this way - if you're in Philadelphia after dark, especially if it's your first time here - you really need to go. There's no other activity, that for the time and money, that you're going to find more memorable or rewarding than Lights of Liberty. And it's located in the thriving nightlife area, too.
Getting to Lights of Liberty via Taxicab
Due to its location in the heart of historic Philadelphia, its proximity to the vibrant nightlife in Old City, and the fact that it only - by definition - has shows after dark, Lights of Liberty is one of those rare major Philadelphia tourist attractions, where we actually would recommend a cab or walking, rather than mass transit. Cabs are plentiful, inexpensive, and easily accessible in the area.
One important note - because it is relatively new, your cab driver may not know the building on site. When you get in, ask to be taken to "Lights of Liberty, at the intersection of 6th and Chestnut Streets", rather than just "Lights of Liberty".
Getting to Lights of Liberty via the Phlash Trolley
When in season, the purple
has a stop nearby Lights of Liberty. However, the Phlash only runs from May 1 to October 31. And it also only runs till about 5:30 - 6:00 PM or so - and by definition, Lights of Liberty only runs its show after dark. So it's probably not your best option.
Getting to Lights of Liberty Via SEPTA
Due to its location in the heart of historic Philadelphia,
offers a multitude of options for getting to Lights of Liberty.
You can take the
SEPTA Blue Line
- also known formally as the Market-Frankford Line, and less formally to native Philadelphians as "the el" (short for "elevated) - to its 5th Street station, which is located at 5th and Market Streets. Just walk down one block to Chestnut Street, and over one block to 6th Street, and you're at Lights of Liberty, which is at 6th and Chestnut.
You can also take the
Broad Street Subway
- also known as the Broad Street Line or the Orange Line - and transfer to the Blue Line, free of charge.
Take the Broad Street Line to its
station, which is located at Broad and Market Streets. When you get off the Orange Line, just watch for blue-and-white signs directing you to the Blue Line - they will take you to the Blue Line's 15th Street station, located at 15th and Market Streets.
From there, make sure you're on the platform with trains heading "Eastbound to Frankford". Ride from 15th Street down to 5th Street station, and follow the directions above.
Getting to Lights of Liberty via SEPTA Regional Rail
SEPTA Regional Rail
also offers you a way to get there, if you are coming from distant neighborhoods in the city, or from the Pennsylvania or New Jersey suburbs.
Nearly every inbound Regional Rail train will stop at
Market East Station
- located at the intersection of 11th and Market Streets, six blocks from Lights of Liberty.
From Market East, you can take the Blue Line from its 11th Street Station, without going outside (although you have to pay a different fare, with cash or a token). When you come up from the Market East platform, buy tokens at the SEPTA ticket window, and follow signs for the Blue Line's 11th Street Station. Make sure you're on the platform reading "Eastbound to Frankford", and ride down to 5th Street, and follow the directions above.
However, we generally would not recommend taking the Blue Line back to Market East, after your show is over. It will be late, the el won't be crowded, and service is infrequent; you'd be better off either walking back to Market East (only six blocks) or taking an inexpensive cab ride back there.
A Map of Lights of Liberty and the Surrounding Area
View Lights of Liberty Tour and Show in a larger map
Getting to Lights of Liberty via Amtrak 30th Street Station
If you are traveling to Philadelphia via Amtrak, you most likely will be disembarking at its largest station in the region,
30th Street Station
- which is located at 30th and Market Streets, 26 blocks away from Lights of Liberty.
However, your Amtrak ticket is valid (that same day) for free travel on SEPTA Regional Rail, to and from either
- located at 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard - and Market East Station.
So when you get off Amtrak, look for signs reading "SEPTA Regional Rail", and ask a SEPTA employee to direct you to an eastbound train heading for one of those stations. Be sure to double-check with the conductor, before you get on - ask "Is this train going to Market East Station?" If so, you're fine. It will be about a 10 minute ride, first to Suburban, then Market East. You'll know you're at Market East, when you see a brightly colored mosaic tile in the tunnel. From there, get off the train and just follow the directions above.
Of course, you can take a cab from 30th Street, all the way over to 6th and Chestnut, since there are plenty right outside the train station, although it's going to be somewhat expensive. (If you're going to take a cab one way, make it the way back to 30th Street, when it's later at night). But if you're pressed for time, jump in the cab. It's not worth missing the show.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on show times, just visit the
official Lights of Liberty web site, from Historic Philadelphia.
If you'd like to return to Old City, please click here.
If you'd like to leave this page, and return to the home page of Enjoying Philadelphia, please click here.