Looking for a cool place to stay in East Coast? Philadelphia is the city you would like to visit and keep coming back for more. If you haven’t been to Philly yet, you will be surprised what you can discover and experience in this cool city.
1. Do you remember Sylvester Stallone’s triumphant run in the film Rocky?
“The Rocky Statue” and the “Rocky Steps” are two of the most popular attractions in Philadelphia. Visiting the statue, running up the steps and taking a picture at the top is a must. Originally created for the Rocky films, the sculpture is now a real life monument immortalized in bronze in 1980. After filming was completed, the actor donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia. So, go get a photo shoot with Rocky Balboa for a victorious celebration on visit to Philadelphia!
2. Come to the place where America is born.
The birthplace of America is Philadelphia, you knew that. Historic Philadelphia covers parts of the Old City and Center City neighborhoods including the Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, National Constitution Center, the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church and nearby Valley Forge battlefield. It’s just one square mile, but it’s jam packed with restaurants, galleries, shops and attractions. Each puts its own distinctive spin on history. And together, they make up Historic Philadelphia. It’s like walking in a giant American history classroom. How cool is that?
3. Wouldn’t you love to live on Elfreth’s street?
No visit to Philadelphia would be complete without a stop at Elfreth’s Alley. Representing 300 years of history, the 32 buildings along Elfreth’s Alley were built from the 1720s to 1830s, and they reveal the fascinating stories of everyday life of America’s founders back then. It is the oldest residential street in America that offers a museum and several historic houses, many of which still serve as private residences with no garages or cable TV. In June, usually on the first weekend, Elfreth’s Alley residents open their homes and gardens to the public. And no driving through the Alley, please.
4. Philadelphia is a city of vibrant neighborhoods with its own distinctive personality.
It is a city of neighborhoods that reflect cultural identity from groups that have settled over time in Philadelphia from Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America. They often hold block parties where a block can be closed off for traffic while the neighbors share foods and fun games. While the neighborhood streets are inherently a living museum, the clubs and night entertainment activities have developed as well in historic Old City along the Delaware River waterfront and on South Street, called the hippest street in town.The residents of Society Hill often stroll around their cobblestone streets and take in the architecture of the centuries-old homes, churches and landmarks that make this neighborhood so unique and picturesque.
5. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. The museum provides the backdrop for many public events, including concerts and parades because of its location at the end of the Franklin Parkway. The vast collections of Renaissance, American and impressionist masterpieces make the Philadelphia Museum of Art one of the most important art museums in the country. Its impressive holdings, acclaimed exhibitions, special programs and beautiful outdoor Sculpture Garden make it a cultural must-see.
6. The Liberty Bell chimes in Philly and to the world.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American Independence. Formerly placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, the Bell today is located in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. The Bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. The Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly had a Bible verse placed on the bell: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof”(Leviticus 25:10). Today, it silently reminds us of the power of liberty.
7. Philadelphia is much more than a college town.
University City is so named due to two of the largest and most influential institutions in town: the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. With an incredibly diverse student population, you will be fascinated by the people and the places offering everything from a vibrant street-food scene to high-end art galleries and intimate late night hangouts. University City grows at fast pace each year, and it is becoming one of the most livable, well-kept and friendly neighborhood in Philadelphia. And while you are cruising along the campuses, take a tour to the Academy of Natural History of Drexel University to meet dinosaurs and wander through a tropical garden and wildlife habitat.
8. Are you a foodie in the mood?
Then, head down to the Reading Terminal Market on an empty stomach. You will want to save room for the array of cuisines that are available around every corner from Delicious sandwiches to artisanal cheeses and desserts. This famous foodie paradise has been serving since 1892 and there are plenty of vendors to choose from. While walking around, watch cooking demonstrations right in front of your eyes or take home some of farm-grown fresh products from Amish merchants. Also, stay for annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival to celebrate the traditional foods and handmade crafts.
9. Put on your sneakers and walk around in town.
Thanks to the city’s original planner, William Penn, Philadelphia is the fifth most walkable city and has the most bicycle commuters per capita in the country with an easy-to-follow street grid. Do you also know who made bicycling in the city look really cool? Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon in the movie, Quicksilver. So you can skip the car altogether, get by on foot power and hit the sidewalks!
10. Are you hungry for some fried chicken and donuts?
The line out the door explains it all. People across the city crave Korean-style fried chicken and fresh hot donuts at Federal Donuts. They have sold out everyday since opening in the fall of 2011. You can choose from fancy donuts with flavors like blueberry fritter, lemon bar, maple bacon and PB&J, strawberry lavender, and vanilla spice. Their fried chicken is an amazing combination of juicy and crispy with authentic rubs and glazes including honey garlic, golden soy, sweet chili, buttermilk ranch, coconut curry and cowboy coffee.
11. You weren’t in Philly if you hadn’t had Philly cheesesteaks.
A hot dog vendor in south Philadelphia, Pat Olivieri invented the cheesesteak in the 1930s. He eventually opened up Pat’s King of Steaks- and Geno’s Steaks was started in 1966. Pat’s versus Geno’s is the Yankees versus Mets of the Philadelphia food scene, and you are most likely going to end up picking sides and defending your choice. Which one is authentic, really?
12. Drink it up, don’t waste a drop.
From the early days of the Founding Fathers to today, Philly has always been a beer town. In 1829 David G. Yuengling brought Yuengling beer to Philadelphia, and since then Philadelphians helped make it one of the largest American-owned breweries. His success was followed by a craft brewing industry explosion in the Greater Philadelphia area. Philly organized ‘Bloktoberfest’, a beer celebration that follows on Beer Week where people come from afar to taste the finest craft beers. For a true taste of Philly’s spirit, take a tour at the craft breweries such as (just to name a few), Philadelphia brewing co., Flying fish brewing co., Yards brewing company and Dock street brewing co., and you will be coming back for more.
13. Kudos for the vision of the city of tomorrow.
Community Life Improvement Programs (CLIP) consists of several programs and agencies dedicated to improving the appearance of neighborhoods throughout the City of Philadelphia. These programs are designed to maximize effectiveness and efficiency by creating partnerships with residents and businesses to foster sustainable communities.The Getting Results Framework, initially developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, has been also adapted for use in the School District of Philadelphia. It is one of the support tools to help school leadership team in the planning process to improve its public school system.
14. Philadelphia fans are also known for their reputation for being the most intense fans.
Sports are a huge part of the culture of the city and Philadelphia fans are known for their extreme passion for all of their teams. Philadelphia is one of the few cities with a professional franchise in all four major league sports. Their major sports teams are the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers. Whether you’re more interested in watching the big game, we’ve got you covered. Sure, Philly’s a big city, but within town, or just minutes away, there are plenty of great sports facilities.
15. Philly’s got a vibe to it.
And of course Philadelphia is a city of great arts and performing arts. It is home to a vibrant and well-documented musical heritage, stretching back to colonial times. The Philadelphia Orchestra performs in one or two neighborhoods each summer, and its lighter version, Philly Pops, performs during the summer at an outdoor venue, the Mann, where you can come early and enjoy picnics and then music under the stars, with several times fireworks at the end. In addition the city has played an equally prominent role in developing popular music. Come on down to discover the extraordinary high quality music experience!
16. When you feel like getting out and doing anything at all, go here.
If you are passionate about the great outdoors, visit Fairmount Park, the world’s largest municipal park. It offers opportunities for everything from fishing, go horseback riding, rollerblading, and hiking in the woods with scenic paths, playgrounds, an outdoor concert space, and picnic grounds along the Schuylkill River. And it’s all within easy reach of Center City. The mile-long stretch of scenic land known as Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the home to many museums and interactive experiences. This cultural hub features impressive architecture, historic monuments, and grand museums galore. Get a taste of Philly that’ll satisfy any cultural cravings at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
17. This is not a Chinatown you can see in other big cities.
Philadelphia Chinatown is a predominantly Asian American neighborhood in Center City Philadelphia. Beyond the colorful China Gate at 10th and Arch Streets lives Philly’s vibrant Asian enclave, settled in the mid-19th century by Cantonese immigrants. Though small compared to its hectic and sprawling counterpart in NYC, Philly’s Chinatown is homey and not as daunting. It is nonetheless very much a true ethnic neighborhood, full of energy and a large selection of restaurants and markets to get a real taste of Chinese culture and food. The neighborhood is packed with restaurants and stores that represent true ethnic colors and flavors. See what’s in your fortune cookie.
18. Philly Art On and Off the canvas.
Philadelphia is home to more public art than any other city in the country, and boasts world-class museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Rodin Museum. Philly also takes its art to the street, encouraging large, public murals through its Mural Arts Program. In Philadelphia, every wall is a potential blank canvas, and stunning murals adorn building exteriors all over the city. A public art project which encourages local artists to create works utilizing the city’s architecture has beautified the City of Brotherly Love and created an enduring cultural legacy. Begun in 1984 to help eradicate graffiti, the Mural Arts Program enables professional artists and young Philadelphians to showcase their artistic talent in a constructive way.
19. A famous scene with Eddie Murphy was filmed here in the movie Trading Places
Rittenhouse Square, one of William Penn’s original five, was known as the southwest square until 1825 when it was named for the astronomer-clockmaker, David Rittenhouse. Today, private homes are gone, but it still counts for something to live on the Square. The park is perfectly situated between wonderful restaurants and shopping and is always filled with musicians, artists, families, and picnickers. On Saturdays, the farmer’s market takes over one block of the square and you can pick up everything from fresh flowers, to homemade donuts, breads, chocolates, vegetables, and hot soup. So, get back on your foot on a nice day and remember to check out the beautiful charm and old architecture of the buildings in the neighborhood streets.
20. Learn all about science
Founded in 1824, the Franklin Institute is a science museum and one of the oldest centers of science education. The Science Center also includes many pertinent attractions that are not museum exhibits. The museum continues to take on research programs in the areas of educational technology, school partnerships, and youth leadership. So give the gift of science to yourself and your family!
So, are you here in Philadelphia yet? My favorite reason to love it, though, has to be the people. There’s an amazing, eclectic mix of souls in Philly who make it an incredibly fun, inspiring and energizing place to live. There’s a great mix of artists, students, writers, musicians, small business owners and families, some of whom have lived here for generations. The people make this neighborhood. And they’ve made it an amazing place to live, work and write about.
Featured photo credit: Philadelphia skyline via flickr.com