Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park

America's Most Visited Tourist Attractions

March 4, 2009, 7:17 am

Call it a coincidence, but in the historic election year of 2008, the home of the Liberty Bell cracked the Forbes Traveler list of America's Most Visited Tourist Attractions.

Independence National Historic Park, the Philadelphia site that includes the famous bell (as well as the hall where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed), welcomed more than 4 million visitors in 2008, up about 10% from the previous year.

But it could be that another factor drew tourists to National Park Service sites like Independence Hall: free admission. In a year when structural cracks also started to appear in the economy, low-cost attractions may have seen their stock rise. At the Smithsonian Institute's 19 free museums in Washington, D.C., overall visitation increased by approximately one million from 2007. The museums are part of the National Mall, which retains its number-three ranking on our list.