Philadelphia is synonymous with freedom, liberty, and modern-day American democracy. Known as the “City of Brotherly Love” and referred to by many as “Philly,” Philadelphia played an important role in the Revolutionary War. The first Continental Congress convened here, and the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, written in the hallowed halls of late 18th-century buildings by America’s founding fathers, are the documents that gave birth to a nation. Ben Franklin is the city’s most famous citizen and The Liberty Bell its iconic symbol representing American independence. Philly’s history runs deep with a lot to see and learn about U.S. history, but there is more to this city than meets the eye.
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Dozens of Movies Shaped Philly’s Image
Hollywood loves Philly. Comedies, dramas, and love stories have shown different sides of Philadelphia’s beliefs and way of life. From The Philadelphia Story (1940) to Trading Places (1983) to Silver Linings Playbook (2012), landmarks used in films have become cultural icons and show the city’s personality. The most famous landmark are the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky Balboa first ran up in Rocky (1976). Former City Commerce Director Dick Doran noted that Stallone and Rocky did more for the city’s image than anyone else since the days of Ben Franklin.
Philadelphians Love Their Food Scene
Many foods have originated or are deeply associated with Philadelphia. The Philly cheesesteak (sliced beef with melted cheese on an Italian roll) and the hoagie (meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on Italian bread) are two sandwiches created in Philly on a whim for hungry workers. The hoagie, named the official sandwich of Philly in 1992, has become a worldwide phenomenon. If you are feeling hungry and want finger food to munch on while walking around the city, soft pretzels sold by vendors on street corners will fill your hunger pangs. Other delectable finger foods unique to Philly include funnel cakes, peanut chews, and Irish potato candy – a coconut cream filling rolled in cinnamon.
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Philly Arts and Attractions on the Cheap
Much of Philadelphia’s art scene does not require you to reach into your pocket. With the largest public arts display in the nation thanks in part to the Mural Arts program, travelers can tour all outside art free of charge. The program has worked effectively to stop graffiti while turning the sides of buildings into art pieces. Another art highlight includes the glass mosaics spread throughout the city. Keep your eyes open if you are near South Street, east of Broad Street, for a sampling.
For a nominal fee, explore Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. This gallery is a nonprofit space covering a half city block that is home to found objects and contributions from the community. With an indoor mosaic gallery and an outdoor labyrinth mosaic sculpture, guests will walk away more educated on folk, mosaic, and visionary art.
Philadelphia is a very walkable city. There are “Walk! Philadelphia” signs placed all over, guiding visitors to attractions, restaurants, and cultural landmarks. Walk out of one of the hotels in Philadelphia, grab some street food, find a sign, and explore Philly.
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About the Writer
Tony is a freelance travel writer and photographer, roller coaster enthusiast and self-proclaimed Sudoku master. He’s based in the Midwest U.S. and blogs at The Walking Traveler. He is working with Hipmunk on their #HipmunkCityLove Project.