Federal Hall is a historical landmark that hosted many remarkable moments in American history, such as the signing of the Bill of Rights and a visit from the first president of the United States, George Washington. The hall was New York’s first city hall. The United States federal court system was created and several constitutional amendments were made in the hall, making it a significant landmark in the country's history. A visit to the hall will make you feel like you are back in the 18th and 19th centuries and experiencing the start of America. It is a historic trip to make for anyone interested in learning and observing American history and its milestones.

There is plenty of information about George Washington and his inauguration at Federal Hall. The design of the building is astonishing; it combines both the Greek and Ancient Roman styles for a unique architectural look. The Federal Hall is the best tourist attraction to learn about early American history. People tend to spend an hour or more touring the historical site to see all the highlights.

Federal Hall in New York - one of the highlights of 10 Alternative Museums in New York Only Locals Know (Read all about New York here)

Federal Hall highlights

The Federal Hall is home to  many firsts in American history. It is the first capital, the hall for congress, and the inauguration spot for an American president. There is a lot of fascinating historical information available at the hall about America's founding and important moments in the country's early history. As the first president, George Washington dominates the hall and is featured in many exhibits. You will see such artefacts as the very bible the first American President used to take the oath of office and other inaugural artefacts.

You will also find a portrait gallery filled with photos of great people and moments in American history in the hall. There is a wealth of history to learn at the museum, including how the trial of John Peter Zeger gave birth to press freedom. Round out your tour by visiting the museum store for souvenirs before leaving.

History of the Federal Hall

The Federal Hall building is as old as American history. Long before Washington, D.C, became the United States’ capital, New York held the honour. The first federal hall building was built between 1699 and 1703. It also served as the New York City Hall. The building served the founding fathers of America after independence to establish the new system of government. In 1789, the hall was expanded and remodeled to become the first seat of power. The first congress took place in the building.

The Federal Hall was demolished in 1812 for a newer and better building. The current building that serves as the Federal Hall opened to the public in 1842. In 1956, it was recognised as a landmark in New York by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Good to know when visiting the Federal Hall

Because of its proximity to the New York Stock Exchange building, you may have to face a crowd of people along the path to the hall at certain trading hours of the day. You can enter the building with the crowd but note that it may delay or slow down your movements and make it more difficult to see the exhibits. The subway is the fastest way to get to the hall because the streets are pedestrian only, so you'll have to walk.

While in the area, you can visit the famous New York Stock Exchange building and the Trinity Church, one of the oldest churches in New York. The church’s architecture is incredibly beautiful and the adjoining graveyard is the resting place of many famous New York men and women, so take some time to tour the grounds. The Charging Bull statue and 9/11 Memorial & Museum are also nearby. Visit Stone Street, where there are several quality restaurants to have dinner after your tour.

Federal Hall in New York

Location: 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005, United States

Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm

Phone: +1 212-825-6990