Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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The City of Philadelphia: Overview

The City of Brotherly Love has played an especially important part in U.S. history, from its pivotal role in the American Revolution to the success of its postindustrial transformation. Now the largest city in Pennsylvania, Philly was founded in 1682 by William Penn, who planned the original grid known today as Center City. This thriving downtown contains the central business district, an extraordinary restaurant scene, historic landmarks, and elegant homes at the nexus between tradition and modernity. The city is credited with popularizing rowhouses, once known nationally as “Philadelphia rows,” and even new constructions are often built in this form. However, no two neighborhoods follow the same format in Philly. Home to a resilient community of artisans, entrepreneurs, innovators, and educators, this great American city will wow you with its delightful parks, stately architecture, and friendly establishments.

Around Philadelphia

Some of the more popular attractions in Philadelphia include the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, both important pieces of American history and culture. In Philly's Old City neighborhood, you can take a walk back in time through the oldest residential street in America, Elfreth's Alley. Elfreth's Alley dates back to 1702 and is lined with historic homes and a museum showcasing Philadelphia's role as a pioneer in city planning. Hint: think grid. Philadelphia was home to founding father Benjamin Franklin, and the city now hosts the renowned Franklin Institute. The institute prides itself on being interactive, hands-on fun for the whole family, featuring the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, an IMAX theater, a planetarium, and plenty of exhibitions.

When in Philly, a cheesesteak is a must. Philadelphians even have their own language for ordering, but don't worry if you can't catch on to the lingo—just make sure you order the Cheese Whiz. There are plenty of fine dining options in the city as well, including those housed in the Chestnut Hill and Fairmount neighborhoods, offering top-notch restaurants and a variety of trendy cuisine options. Philadelphia is known for its distinct neighborhoods, each attracting a unique crowd. Old City and Fishtown boast trendy bars and restaurants that attract a younger crowd, and Center City is home to rooftop bars and beer gardens that keep the downtown area vibrant well into the night, particularly after a sporting event.

Philadelphia has a long-standing reputation as an avid sports town. Fans fill the stadiums, arenas, and local bars whenever the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, 76ers, or the Philadelphia Union play. Philly stays busy during the summer months, offering art and music festivals, pop-up beer gardens, outdoor shows and more. In the winter, the Mummers New Year's Day Parade is a city favorite, featuring a spectacle of actors, musicians, and locals that fill the streets in costume and rival Mardi Gras in a one-of-a-kind show. Home to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia also has deep roots in higher education. UPenn was established as a colonial college before the American Revolution, and the Ivy League is a notable part of the strong academic culture in the city.

Philadelphia is a very walkable city. The grid-based street design covers about twenty-five blocks between the Schuylkill and the Delaware River and is easy to navigate. SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) is the city's public transit company, offering a comprehensive system of buses, trolleys, subways, and trains that crisscross the city and are bike friendly and accessible.

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