Welcome to Philadelphia
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/andipantz
Philadelphia is a city with a history that stretches as far back as the early 1600s, when Dutch settlers first established a colony there. Since then it has gone on to become one of the most populated locales in America. Thanks to an easily navigated topography and numerous stunning examples of Colonial architecture, The City of Brotherly Love has evolved into a place that's adored by millions.
History buffs will have a whale of a time when visiting Philadelphia. As one of the oldest cities in the United States, it's no surprise that it's filled with historically significant sites. One only needs to visit Independence National Historical Park to get a sense of how much has taken place in Philly. The park preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution, and some refer to it as America's most historic square mile.
The centerpiece of the park is Independence Hall, which was completed in 1753. This was where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and adopted, so those interested in America's roots should be sure to stop here.
Of course, one can't touch upon Philadelphia's history without the Liberty Bell coming to mind. Although there's no official record, historians generally agree that it was one of the bells rung to mark the reading of the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell can be found on Independence Mall, where it has rested for nearly 30 years.
Elfreth's Alley is another famous historic landmark in the city. Named after an 18th-century blacksmith, the site was once occupied by a variety of tradesmen and their families, including silver and pewter smiths, glassblowers and furniture builders. It has been immaculately preserved ever since and is one of the few examples of pre-Industrial Revolution working class housing.
Philadelphia is also a city with an incredibly diverse artistic palette. The Barnes Foundation, for instance, possesses more than 2,500 objects, including 800 paintings. It's estimated that, in total, the Foundation has about $25 billion worth of art. One unique aspect of the Barnes Foundation is the implementation of what they refer to as "wall ensembles." Pieces from various time periods and artistic movements are juxtaposed against one another with the intention of facilitating discussion and a meaningful comparison of the various aesthetics.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, holding more than 225,000 pieces. More than 200 different galleries cover upwards of 2,000 years of artistic development. Though famous for its art, the museum is also a quintessential icon of American culture.
The Franklin Institute is one of the oldest scientific museums in the country, housing more than a dozen permanent exhibits that span topics from electricity to astronomy. It's also home to the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.
Sports and Recreation
One can't talk about Philly without mentioning its many sports teams and the zealous fans who support them. The Eagles are almost always a hot topic of conversation when it comes to the NFL. To the excitement of many Eagles fans, the franchise has aggressively made several player transactions while placing them amongst the NFL's elite.
In baseball, the Phillies have seen a resurgence in recent years, winning the World Series in 2008. Since then, they've consistently reached the playoffs and are showing no signs of slowing down in the near future.
Though the 76ers haven't won an NBA championship in almost 30 years, the franchise is rich in history. Some of the greatest basketball players of all time, such as Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley, played for the organization at some point, and they're always on the cusp of a brighter future.
Of course, when it comes to Philadelphia sports, the Rocky movies immediately come to mind for most. The perennial underdog in the film treks through many of the city's historic landmarks throughout the franchise, including the iconic "Rocky Steps" in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Fairmount Park is a municipal park system that stretches more than 9,000 acres. More active individuals will have more than enough to do in the area, with a variety of open spaces, bike and hiking trails, and even some swimming.
What's more Philadelphia than a cheese steak? This regional favorite dates back to the 1930s, according to some sources. The sandwich has proven to be so popular that practically every street cart and restaurant in town sells some variation of the infamous sub.
Perhaps the two most famous places to chow down on a cheese steak are Pat's and Geno's. The rivalry between these restaurants is highly publicized and many locals are fiercely supportive of their preferred store.
It may be a heated point of contention as to which eatery whips up the best hoagie, but no matter where one heads, it's likely they'll be stuffed silly by the time they're done with this delectable combination of beef and Cheez Whiz.