Releases: Expanded View
Backgrounder: What's The Deal In Philly?
Background On Philadelphia’s History, Art & Culture, Food, Neighborhoods, Sports, Beer & More
Philadelphia hosts the NFL Draft, April 27-29, 2017—and this city has plenty of stories to tell. Here’s a brief lowdown on the city’s history, food, neighborhoods, sports, beer and other key areas of interest:
Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States and the country’s first World Heritage City. Our Founding Fathers met, discussed, debated and formed a new country in Philadelphia. The two most important documents in our history, the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, were drafted and signed here. Independence Hall, one of only 20 World Heritage sites in the country, stands just steps away from the mighty Liberty Bell, a symbol of the abolitionist movement.
The independent streak that forged a new nation lives on today. It’s a distinctly Philly attitude and a forward-looking promise that’s obvious in the city’s independent shops, owner-run restaurants, artist collaboratives and grassroots innovation and tech movements.
Art & Culture:
Philadelphia bursts with beauty inside and out. The region is home to one of the country’s top five art museums (Philadelphia Museum of Art); the world’s greatest collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern works (Barnes Foundation); an internationally lauded public arts initiative (Mural Arts Philadelphia); and under-the-radar gems.
Museums and institutions house collections devoted to science, animals, literature, African-American culture, Jewish-American history, chemistry and even medical oddities.
There should be a championship event just for Philadelphia’s food. Chefs choose Philadelphia for their passion projects; it’s where they can run their (usually small) restaurants and fully commit to their vision. As such, there’s a lot of good food to eat here, and there’s a story behind every dish.
What makes up Philly’s diverse dining scene? Street food, 300+ bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) restaurants, sidewalk seating reminiscent of European cities, bars with great food, craft pizza spots, vegetarian and vegan eateries (that aren’t just for vegetarians and vegans) and the storied Reading Terminal Market and Italian Market. And, of course, cheesesteaks.
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods—personality-packed districts inside and surrounding Center City. Each neighborhood has its own history, storied streets, buzzed-about restaurants, artistic expressions, parks and festivals.
In 1998, the Rittenhouse neighborhood saw Philly’s first restaurant with sidewalk seating (Rouge), a trend that’s now ubiquitous, with nearly 400 alfresco establishments across town. Old City’s success story began nearly 20 years ago when Ellen Yin opened Fork just a couple blocks away from America’s most historic square mile. Midtown Village, which includes the Gayborhood, forged its personality thanks to a small-business influx along 13th Street. South Philly’s restaurant-packed East Passyunk and north-of-Center City’s Fishtown have become destinations all their own for families, professionals, artists. Graduate Hospital experienced a similar boom, with most of its public and retail space along South Street.
Recently, Kensington and Point Breeze have grown into newer development stories thanks to the momentum from neighboring Fishtown and Graduate Hospital, respectively.
Philadelphia fans have known joy and heartache, anger and exultation in their 100-plus years of living with professional sports teams. “Philadelphia is the most sophisticated, knowledgeable sports town in America. The fans don’t expect you to win all the time, but they demand you play hard,” said Bill Campbell, the “Dean” of Philadelphia sports, who broadcast the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and “Big Five” basketball during his 50-year career.
Philadelphia is one of the few cities with a professional franchise in five major league sports. Most of Philadelphia’s pro teams play within a few miles of Center City at the Wells Fargo Center (76ers basketball and Flyers ice hockey), Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles football) and Citizens Bank Park (Phillies baseball). The Philadelphia Union soccer team plays at the Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia.
Parks & Public Spaces:
Residents and visitors are heading outdoors in huge numbers thanks to the activation of many under-utilized spaces in recent years—think Schuylkill River Trail, Dilworth Park, Race Street Pier, The Porch at 30th Street Station and Spruce Street Harbor Park. Much of the development action can be spotted in Center City and on Philadelphia’s two rivers, the Schuylkill and Delaware.
Started in 2015, Indego bike share further boosted Philadelphia’s reputation as a bicycle-friendly city, where a grid layout, mostly flat terrain and 435 miles of bike lanes make it ideal for two wheels.
It was in Philadelphia taverns that the American Revolution took hold (see City Tavern for proof), and 100 years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation.” In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, 90 breweries operated in Philadelphia proper, and another 100 operated in its environs. Prohibition in 1920 brought the brewery boom to an end, and the decline—and near demise—of virtually all of Philadelphia’s beer producers.
Today, craft breweries have reclaimed the region’s reputation by brewing some of the world’s best beer. Victory, Sly Fox and Yards produce and distribute some of the Philadelphia region’s most well-known and accessible craft beers, and in recent years, they’ve been joined by newer microbreweries and brewpubs, such as Tired Hands, Forest & Main and Round Guys, along with spectacular craft distillers.
In the warmer months, beer lovers head outside. The seasonal Independence Beer Garden offers a beer break right on Independence Mall, while Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest attract people to the Delaware River waterfront with food, beer, hammocks, games and a roller-skating rink. Pop-ups including The Oval and the PHS Pop Up Gardens activate underused spaces, much to the delight of beer fans and urban dwellers.
There would have been no 1970s soul, no R&B, no disco, without Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the inventors of the Sound of Philadelphia. One of the most important moves Gamble and Huff made was to differentiate their sound from Motown’s by incorporating strings, horns and harps—courtesy of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Founded in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the world’s greatest classical music organizations and one of the most prolific recording acts in history.
Other major music names have hailed from Philadelphia. Think Chubby Checker, Hall & Oates and Patti LaBelle, and more recently, The Roots, Will Smith, Pink, The Dead Milkmen, Chill Moody and
The city also has played host to big music events in the past, including Live Aid in 1985 and Live 8 in 2005. Today, artists of all genres entertain crowds at large and intimate venues and during music events, such as the Roots Picnic, Made in America and Wawa Welcome America’s free Fourth of July concert.
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.
Philly Tours Explore History, Art, Food, Bridges & the Supernatural
Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and, if so desired, spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:
History Lessons By Day & Night:
- Bow Tie Tours – Learning about Philadelphia’s—and America’s—history through the true tales of real-life characters who walked the city’s streets is the secret to the success of
New Museum Of The American Revolution To Open In Philadelphia, The Headquarters Of The Revolution
Long before the first musket shot was fired in Lexington in 1775, the seeds of the American Revolution were taking root in Philadelphia as colonists declared their independence and began preparing for war. With the April 19, 2017 opening of the Museum of the American Revolution, visitors will discover the complex and sometimes painful path to independence—a story that’s told both within the museum’s walls and at sites and attractions scattered throughout Philadelphia, the headquarters of the Revolution, and its surrounding countryside.
For visitors eager to delve into this tumultuous time in history, the Museum of the American Revolution—located in
Alexander Hamilton's Legacy Remains Strong In Philadelphia's Historic District
Freedom fighter, statesman, financial genius, adulterer. Fans of the blockbuster hit Hamilton know some of the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, but there is plenty more to discover in Philadelphia’s Historic District. The new Museum of the American Revolution, opening on April 19, 2017, will offer a glimpse into the Hamilton-Washington bro-mance. A tale debuting this summer from the Once Upon A Nation storytellers will get to the root of the fatal Hamilton-Burr duel. And in Independence Hall, National Park Service rangers often regale visitors with accounts of heated debates Hamilton engaged in about the U.S. Constitution. Just beyond the...
15 Things To Know: LGBT Philadelphia
Marks Of Pride:
- On July 4, 1965, Independence Hall was the site of the United States’ first major LGBT rights demonstration. A state historical marker at 6th and Chestnut Streets commemorates this peaceful protest and the four that followed each July 4 through 1969, known collectively as the Annual Reminders. nps.gov/inde, phmc.state.pa.us
- Nearly 70 rainbow street signs proudly adorn the Gayborhood, a Center City neighborhood of LGBT restaurants, bars, businesses and homes spanning 11th to Broad Streets and Pine to Chestnut Streets. Another neighborhood notable: rainbow crosswalks, at 13th and Locust Streets.
- Giovanni’s Room is
A First-Timer's Guide To Philadelphia
While Philadelphia offers a variety of authentic and top-notch attractions, exploring this vibrant city takes some planning—especially for first-time visitors. With so much to see, do and taste, it’s challenging for a novice to know where to begin in the country’s first World Heritage City. From the historic Liberty Bell to the deliciously indulgent cheesesteak, here’s a look at Philly 101:
- Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Philly 101: The How-Tos For Navigating Philadelphia
Every year, 41 million travelers get to know Philadelphia’s layout, customs, food and dialect during their visits. First-timers may wonder: What’s the best way to get around (walk); why do so many restaurants refuse to serve alcohol (BYOBs); where are all the bagels (pretzels for breakfast); is that Ben Franklin on the top of that building (no); and is wooder ice really that big of a deal (yes)?
The reasons to visit the country’s first World Heritage City have been well-covered in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure and Rolling Stone—and that’s just the recent...
Fact Sheet: 31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions
* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2015. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia*, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African
Nighttime Is The Right Time To Return To Philadelphia's Historic District
As day turns to dusk and museums and landmarks close for the night, Philadelphia's Historic District is just gearing up for a night of fun. Theaters, play places and ghost tours keep youngsters amused until pajama time, while beer gardens, dance clubs and live music venues entertain the over-21 crowd well into the wee hours.
Here’s how the Historic District buzzes with activity long after the clock strikes 5 p.m.:
End-of-day play at Franklin Square includes an award-winning playground, eclectic carousel and 18-hole mini-golf course with scale versions of iconic Philadelphia landmarks (open until 9 or 10
Iconic Landmarks Recount Philadelphia's Political History
When delegates gather in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention in summer 2016, all eyes will be on the nation’s birthplace. Having hosted numerous political conventions, including the 2000 Republican gathering and the 1948 conventions for all three parties (Democratic, Republican and Progressive), Philadelphia is accustomed to being in the political spotlight. It was here where disgruntled colonists created a new form of government. Today, many of the places where those meetings, debates and activities took place still stand in Historic Philadelphia, an area that spans from the Delaware River Waterfront to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard Streets....