We all know Philadelphia at its most iconic, from the silver screen to the sounds on the radio. A visit wouldn’t be complete without consuming an incredible cheesesteak or visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Rocky Balboa famously ran up the 72 steps.
However, there’s a lot more to the city to explore. Those who do will be rewarded with diverse neighbourhoods, world-class fine dining, and a varied and original art scene. Philadelphia is a city that invites you to come for the classics but stay for its many special and unexpected experiences.
One of the best ways to experience a city is on foot, which allows you to take your time, reaping untold health benefits along the way. Philadelphia just so happens to be one of the world’s best walking cities. Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in America, is well-worth a visit as one of Philadelphia’s most Instagram-worthy areas. Whether you’re strolling through the leafy lanes around Washington Square and Rittenhouse Square or under the towering skyscrapers of Center City, Philadelphia’s neighbourhoods delight in their diversity. Plus, there are over 1,000 rentable bikes, a top-rated public transit system and plenty of taxis, in the case that you overdo it on the sandwiches and require a quick kip back at the hotel.
Yes, it wouldn’t be a trip to Philadelphia without availing yourself of at least a couple of staple snacks – water ice, hoagies, pretzels and, of course, the world-famous Philly cheesesteaks – but save room for some of its more polished plates. From live jazz restaurant South and seafood palace Vernick Fish to fine dining venture Friday Saturday Sunday and Israeli eatery Zahav, there’s something to suit every situation. For special occasion dining, Philadelphia punches above its weight as a food city.
Philadelphia is one of America’s quintessential historical cities. In fact, it’s the First World Heritage City in the United States, boasts 68 National Historical Landmarks, and is the home of what is often referred to as the nation’s “most historic square mile.” A trip to Philly wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Liberty Bell, one of the most poignant symbols of the early American spirit, which was once located in the steeple of Independence Hall. The hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the venue in which both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed.
Art grows fonder
Did you know that Philadelphia is home to more than 4,000 murals? That’s why it is known as the “Mural Capital of the World.” Those with an interest in street art can experience the classic, with sculpture such as Robert Indiana’s LOVE and the statue of fictional hometown boxer Rocky, as well as incredible architecture and mesmerising mosaics. Prefer your art indoors? Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which houses an incredible collection of art ranging from ancient works to artists like Paul Cèzanne and Cy Twombly.