Historic Religious Sites and Burial Grounds
Philadelphia is home to a number of sites devoted to various religions. For a more reflective tour, take a walk and explore some of these locations.
Arch Street Meeting House
This 1804 Meeting House for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is still used for worship today. It also offers public tours through the historic space and exhibit space consisting of several archaeological findings.
Christ Church Philadelphia
An Episcopal church that was founded in 1695, first as a church of England, later rebuilt as the founding of the American Episcopal Church. Tours of the church explore the history of the building and its time during the American Revolution.
Christ Church Burial Ground
Started in 1719, this still-operating cemetery is the burial ground for many early, founding members of America. Most notably Benjamin Franklin, his wife, and grandson, as well as four other signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Congregation of Mikveh Israel
A synagogue founded in 1740 by Portuguese and Spanish Jewish immigrants. It is also the site of the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the United States.
Mikveh Israel Cemetery
The oldest Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia holds a number of notable Americans from the Revolutionary period, including Rebecca Gratz.
Gloria Dei Old-Swedes Episcopal Church
Built between 1698-1700, the 'Old Swedes' is the oldest in Philadelphia. Inside the church has religious and historical artificats dating back three centuries while the cemetery includes interments for several notable individuals from the Revolutionary War.
Historic St. George’s Methodist Church
While the church was founded in 1767, St. George's Methodist church was built in 1769, making it the oldest U.S. Methodist church in continuous use. The church also includes a museum and archive where visitors can learn about the start of the denomination and the building's tie with the American Revolution.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
The grounds of Laurel Hill Cemetery offers a historical gem for the visitor interested in horticultural studies, outdoor sculpture gardens, and unique stories. The grounds are open for walks, picnics, and self-guided tours of the oldest sections of the Cemetery.
Mother Bethel and Richard Allen Museum
The honored grounds and church are home to the country's first black denomination, as well as the oldest holdings of land continuously owned by African-Americans. The tomb of the church's founding pastor and first bishop also resides here, commemorated by the congregation along with artifacts of the church's history.
Old First Reformed Church
Established by Rev. George Michael Weiss, the Old First Reformed Church is one of the oldest German Reformed Churches in the United States. Tours are available by appointment.
Old Pine Conservancy
A non-profit charitable corporation that aids in the preservation of the graveyard and church building as well as its historic artifacts. The organization also collects research on the occupants of the graveyard and aims to educate visitors on the site through tours and programs.
Old St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
Set with 1850 stained glass windows, artwork by Philippo Costaggini, and devotional artwork that dates back to the 17th Century, Old St. Joseph's Catholic Church is a mark for early American churches. An audio tour is available through their website for those visiting.
Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Built in 1763 and the second Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia, there is much to take in at Old St. Mary's Catholic Church. Two stories of stain glass windows decorate the walls, and while there are no tours (guided or self-guided), the church is open for visitors during non-service hours.
St. Augustine Church
A Catholic Church with an expansive history with the city. Times available for the public to visit can be viewed on the website, with tours available if booked in advance.
St. Peter's Church
An Episcopal church founded in 1761 that served as a place of worship for several founding fathers during the Continental Congresses. The church is still active today, with guides available on certain days for tours of the church and graveyard, which has the notable grave of Charles Wilson Peale.
Washington Memorial Chapel
A national memorial dedicated to George Washington as well as an Episcopal parish. The chapel is open daily and tours of the building's architecture and history are available for large groups.