Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Mar 23 2016

A Tale Of Two Host Cities: Philadelphia And Cleveland Put On 2016 Political Conventions

While presidential candidates are going head-to-head in heated discourse, the great American cities of Philadelphia and Cleveland are pushing political banter aside to ready themselves for the national spotlight as they host the Democratic National Convention (July 25-28) and Republican National Convention (July 18-21), respectively. Cleveland’s last political convention was the 1936 RNC; that same year, Philadelphia welcomed the DNC. The cities will be part of history again in 2016.

Both destinations have a loyal fan base; residents love their respective city’s arts and culture, history, music and food, and visitors clamor over much of the same. Here’s a look at how the two compare on many fronts.

City Population (2013):

  • Philadelphia – 1.6 million
  • Cleveland – 390,100

Founding:

  • Philadelphia – 1682
  • Cleveland – 1796

Nicknames:

  • Philadelphia – Philly, City of Brotherly Love, The Place That Loves You Back
  • Cleveland – Forest City, Rock and Roll Capital of the World, The Land, The CLE

Economic Base:

  • Philadelphia – By the early 20th century, Philadelphia, called the “Workshop of the World,” was the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. Today’s industry landscape looks much different: “Eds and meds” ranks as the city’s top industry, and leisure and hospitality ranks fifth.
  • Cleveland – Built by early 20th century industrial entrepreneurs in the steel and manufacturing sectors, Cleveland is now an advanced manufacturing powerhouse, with productivity increasing 92% from 1999 to 2015. Entrepreneurs are playing a significant role in the resurging economy, expanding in health-tech, high-tech sectors from flexible electronics to health care to biomedical engineering. The city is also a health care hub with more than 60 hospitals, including the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

Buzz:

  • Philadelphia – Lonely Planet ranked the city as the best place to visit in the United States in 2016.
  • Cleveland – CNN named Cleveland one of its "16 Intriguing Things to See and Do in 2016" while the city is the only U.S. destination on FoxNews.com’s “10 under-the-radar destinations for 2016.”

Quakers vs. Shakers:

  • Philadelphia – Finding religious freedom in William Penn’s colony, a pacifist sect of Christians called Quakers settled and grew in and around Philadelphia, contributing greatly to civic and philanthropic life.
  • Cleveland – After splitting from the Quakers in England, the “Shaking Quakers” (so known for their ecstatic movement during worship services), or “Shakers,” moved from New York to Ohio and other states where they led austere lives, practiced celibacy and set trends with their simple furniture and crafts. Cleveland suburb Shaker Heights was named for them.

Famous American Firsts:

  • Philadelphia – As the first U.S. capital and the site where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Philadelphia claims these firsts for the public good: first meeting of Congress, public school, hospital, flag, newspaper, bank, free lending library, university, postal route, volunteer fire company, law school, stock exchange, U.S. Mint.
  • Cleveland – Cleveland is the home to innovative firsts: the first electric streetlight, electric streetcar, electric traffic signal and rapid transit system from the airport to downtown. Pop culture firsts include: first rock and roll concert, “Superman” comic, Life Savers candies and broadcast of a “Monday Night Football” game, which aired from Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Cleveland residents also elected the first African-American mayor, Carl Stokes.

History Of Political Conventions:

  • Philadelphia – Independence Hall housed the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Between 1848 and 2012, the city hosted one-quarter of the major national party conventions—most notably, the first convention of the new Republican Party in 1856; the Republican, Progressive and Democratic conventions in 1948, when Southern Democrats formed the “Dixiecrats;” and most recently, the Republican National Convention in 2000.
  • Cleveland – This year marks the third Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Previous conventions were hosted in the Cleveland Public Auditorium in 1924 and 1936. The 1924 convention delivered general election winner Calvin Coolidge.

Convention Venues:

  • Philadelphia – South Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, the main DNC venue, is home to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers. Spillover events and PoliticalFest will take place in Center City’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, which underwent a major expansion in 2011 that increased total capacity to two million square feet, making it one of the country’s largest convention facilities.
  • Cleveland – Quicken Loans Arena, “The Q,” will serve as the main convention venue. It is the third-largest arena in the NBA, seating more than 20,500 people and home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lake Erie Monsters and Cleveland Gladiators. The FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland, which opened in 2013 and features unsurpassed technology, will house the media center for the convention.

Downtown Hotels:

  • Philadelphia – In the past four years, eight Center City Philadelphia hotels have opened, renovated or rebranded, with eight more projected to open by the end of 2017. Total downtown hotel rooms: 43 hotels with 11,500 rooms.
  • Cleveland – By the end of 2016, Cleveland will have added six new downtown hotels in four years. Prior to the convention, the 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown, the Drury Plaza Hotel and the Kimpton Schofield Hotel will open. These properties bring Downtown Cleveland’s total to 18 hotels and nearly 5,000 rooms.

Top Attractions:

  • Philadelphia – Independence National Historical Park (Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, The President’s House, National Constitution Center, National Museum of American Jewish History), Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rocky steps, Valley Forge National Historical Park
  • Cleveland – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Playhouse Square, The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Metroparks, A Christmas Story House, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland History Center

Major Musical History & Attractions:

  • Philadelphia – Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff created the soulful “Sound of Philadelphia” in the early 1970s; a marker shows where their studios stood for more than 30 years. Another historical marker notes the location where Dick Clark broadcast “American Bandstand.”
  • Cleveland – DJ Alan Freed first coined the phrase “rock and roll” here in 1952, so it is appropriate that the world’s only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum calls the city home. The Cleveland Orchestra, one of the most acclaimed performing ensembles in the world, plays seasonally at Severance Hall in University Circle and has residencies in Vienna, Miami, at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York and at the Lucerne Festival.

Arts & Culture:

  • Philadelphia – The grand Benjamin Franklin Parkway is lined with the world-renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum and other institutions. Philadelphia is known as the “Mural Capital of the World,” thanks for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s 3,800 creations.
  • Cleveland – Playhouse Square is the country’s largest performing arts center outside of New York with nine theaters in a one-block radius. University Circle is home to the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the always free Cleveland Museum of Art, which features 900 pieces of artwork on display in 16,000-square-feet of renovated space.

Classic Food:

  • Philadelphia – Almost no one leaves Philly without sampling a cheesesteak, roast pork sandwich or South Philadelphia’s Italian restaurants, where red sauce is goes by “gravy.”
  • Cleveland – Eastern European cuisine—including pierogis, stuffed cabbage and the Polish Boy—is the “must-have” for any visitor to Cleveland.

Contemporary Restaurant Scene:

  • Philadelphia – Four words might best describe Philadelphia’s current food scene: alfresco, BYOB, Passyunk and Fishtown. The city’s first restaurant with sidewalk seating opened in 1998; today, Philly resembles a European city, with tables and chairs outside of almost every eatery. Because local liquor licenses can be hard to come by (expensive, time-consuming) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania controls all in-state liquor sales, BYOBing is a way of life in Philadelphia. Two of the hottest restaurant hubs are vibrant neighborhoods outside of Center City: Fishtown in the north and East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia.
  • Cleveland – Ranked number seven on Travel & Leisure’s list of “America’s Best Cities for Foodies,” Cleveland’s food scene is booming with restaurants like Lola, from Iron Chef and “The Chew” host Michael Symon, and Greenhouse Tavern, from James Beard Award recipient Jonathon Sawyer. Great Lakes Brewing Company, Platform Beer Co. and Market Garden Brewery have brought Cleveland to the forefront of the national beer scene. Restaurant hotspots include E. 4th Street and the Ohio City and Tremont neighborhoods.

Food Markets:

  • Philadelphia – Reading Terminal Market, established in 1892, is the nation’s oldest continuously operating indoor market, while the Italian Market is its oldest and largest working outdoor market. Seasonal outdoor farmers’ markets—such as the Headhouse Farmers’ Market beneath the historic Headhouse Shambles at Headhouse Square—draw local food devotees.
  • Cleveland – The West Side Market continues to flourish after 104 years in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. One of the first indoor public markets in the country, the market supports more than 100 food vendors and is the go-to for many chefs. Heinen’s Fine Foods in Downtown Cleveland opened in 2015 in the century-old, iconic Cleveland Trust rotunda, with famous murals by Francis David Millet and a Tiffany stained-glass dome ceiling.

Locally Born Celebs:

  • Philadelphia – Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlin, Bradley Cooper, Will Smith, Frankie Avalon, Noam Chomsky, Kevin Hart, Kevin Bacon, Patti LaBelle, Grace Kelly, Billie Holliday, Jill Scott, Amir “Questlove” Thompson
  • Cleveland –Arsenio Hall, Cy Young, Don King, Don Shula, Drew Carey, George Steinbrenner III, Halle Berry, James Garfield, LeBron James, Margaret Hamilton, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Michael Symon, Molly Shannon, Paul Newman, Patricia Heaton, Toni Morrison, Tim Conway, Tracy Chapman, Monica Potter.

ABOUT VISIT PHILADELPHIA®:
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

ABOUT DESTINATION CLEVELAND:
Destination Cleveland is Cleveland’s convention and visitors bureau. This private non-profit organization's mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes nearly 17 million visitors annually. For more information, visit www.thisiscleveland.com.

Contact(s):
  • E-mail

Related Releases

Apr 7 2011

Backgrounder: Gay-friendly Philly

LGBT Visitors To Philadelphia Get Their History Straight, Their Nightlife Gay, Their Dining Delicious & Their Shopping Tax-Free

Philadelphia, which recently marked the 40th anniversary of its vibrant Gayborhood, continues to come out as one of the nation’s top travel destinations for gay and lesbian visitors. As reflected in its award-winning Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay® campaign, the region has become the place to learn about America’s past by day and to experience a little of the party life by night. Philadelphia is now tied for the #9 spot on the list of most-visited gay and lesbian destinations on Community Marketing, Inc.’s annual LGBT Tourism Study, and it’s tied for #2 among

...
Jul 8 2016

16 Things To Know: African-American Philadelphia

From Colonial Through Modern Days In The City Of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection

Strength In Numbers:

  1. The 2010 U.S. Census reported 661,839—that’s 43.37%—of Philadelphians are African-American, the city’s second largest ethnic demographic. More recent estimates show this population has increased by approximately 1% in the past six years.
  2. The largest concentration—82%—of African-American Philadelphians live in North Philadelphia west of Germantown Avenue, Point Breeze in South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and in parts of Southwest Philadelphia.
  3. Important African-American business corridors include 52nd Street between Walnut and
    Arch Streets and Baltimore Avenue between 40th and 52nd Streets, both in West Philadelphia; and Stenton Avenue between Broad Street and Walnut Lane and Ogontz
...
Dec 21 2015

10 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About The 2016 DNC Host City, Philadelphia

And Key Resources For Convention And Destination Stories

The 2016 Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia, the birthplace of America and the country’s first World Heritage City, July 25-28, 2016. The city has enough history, art, culture, food, vibrant neighborhoods, parks and political landmarks to fill web, newspaper and magazine pages from now until the convention.

Here are 10 things people might not know about the host city, plus key resources for convention and destination coverage.

10 Philly Facts You (Probably) Don’t Know:

  1. One-quarter of the U.S. population lives within a five-hour drive of Philadelphia.
  2. The fast-growing Indego bike-share program launched in spring 2015 and
...
Apr 25 2016

Fact Sheet: Family Fun In Philadelphia

Historical Sites & Attractions:

  • Wannabe sailors can visit the nation’s most decorated battleship, the Battleship New Jersey, and take tours of the ship, ride the 4-D flight simulator, climb into the onboard helicopter and sleep in the sailors’ bunks as part of its award-winning Overnight Encampment program. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, (856) 966-1652, battleshipnewjersey.org
  • America’s most famous flag maker greets guests in her interactive 18th-century upholstery shop at the Betsy Ross House. Visitors learn about Betsy’s life and legend from the lady herself and Phillis the laundress, a historical re-enactor who portrays what life was like for
...
Oct 16 2014

Backgrounder: Eco-friendly Philadelphia

Obsession For The Environment Takes Over The City Of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia’s bike-share program, to begin in spring 2015, is just the latest news in the city’s eco-friendly efforts. Long a pioneer in the environmental movement, Philadelphia is attracting increasing global attention for efforts to become a leader in urban sustainability. Attractions, organizations and the city itself hold prestigious designations, including a major award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Not to be outdone, the region’s service amenities and modes of transportation are also advancing the green revolution.

Here’s a look at Philadelphia’s green cred:

Eco-Events:

  • The Clean Air Council’s 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day celebration.
...
Aug 1 2014

20+ Lists You Didn't Know Philly Made This Year

Budget Travel, USA Today, Paste Magazine, AARP & The Huffington Post Think Philly Is Tops

So far this year, Philadelphia has appeared on many national best-of lists.

“This good press is a good example of the city’s momentum. It goes with the story that’s unfolding right now—the new restaurants, more outdoor dining, throngs of people on Independence Mall and all over the city, more people visiting and visiting for longer periods of time,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA™. “Philadelphia is a premier destination, and the place to be. VISIT PHILADELPHIA is happy to be the promotion agency for a city that over-delivers.”

Here’s just a sample of what people have been

...
May 2 2014

Use Your Vacation Days, Says Philly

3.2-Day Philadelphia Itinerary Encourages People To Take Back Their Paid Time Off

Inspired and appalled by a recent Oxford Economics study that found that 42% of Americans leave 3.2 vacation days on the table, VISIT PHILADELPHIA™ released a 3.2-day Philadelphia itinerary.

“It’s good for the economy, a person’s work life and their personal life,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “We believe in the power of travel, and we’re inviting people to use their extra vacation days in the greatest place we can think of—Philadelphia.”

“Philadelphia’s ‘3.2-day itinerary’ is a fun and innovative way to highlight an important cultural issue,” said Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association president and

...
Sep 24 2013

Philadelphia Marks Its Modernist—And French—Moment

Visitors Can Celebrate The Philadelphia Museum Of Art’s Léger Exhibit By Discovering The City’s Many Connections To The Artist & His Style

The Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis exhibition opens on October 14, 2013 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA)—its only American showing—and visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to explore the metropolis of Philadelphia and its many modernist and French connections. The exhibit, which runs through January 4, 2014, includes 160 works, centered on Léger’s post-Cubist masterpiece The City (1919), as well as pieces by other renowned artists of the period such as Mondrian, Cassandre and van Doesburg. Outside the PMA, visitors can turn their attention to the region’s many French cultural, gastronomic and architectural influences of the

...
Nov 19 2012

For Guidebooks: 20 New & Notable Philly Museums & Attractions

Philadelphia Has Welcomed New Museums & Attractions In Recent Years

If you haven’t updated your Philadelphia guidebook lately, you might be missing some major new museums and attractions. Over the past few years, the region welcomed some destination-defining—and trip-defining—attractions, including the Barnes Foundation, the renewed Rodin Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History and The President’s House, as well as new fashionable hotels and fun festivals.

Between all their touring, visitors fuel up in a city that’s become a top dining destination, evidenced by recent multiple-page features in Travel + Leisure and Bon Appétit. The Italian Market, Reading Terminal Market, BYOB spots, red-gravy restaurants, chef-centric eateries, ethnic outposts, food

...