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Philadelphia


History, culture, and food

is what "Philly" consists of!

Holidays to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The city Philadelphia is known as “The Birthplace of America,” the place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed.
As the fifth largest city in the US, and the second largest on the East Coast, Philadelphia, or Philly, has always been in the shadow of its big brother New York. However, it is obvious to pay Philadelphia a visit, if you are driving between New York and Washington D.C. Despite of its great historic significance, Philly is a modern city with a lot of interesting things to offer.

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Full of history

William Penn, the founder of the state Pennsylvania, named Philadelphia back in the 17th century after the Greek expression for brotherly love. Therefore, the city is also known as The City of Brotherly Love.
The city is one of the oldest in the US and is, among other things, home to the oldest street in the country, Elfreth’s Alley.

A lot of history is accumulated in a dense area in Old City called Independence Mall, where you can easily see a lot of things on foot. The old Liberty Bell is one of the greatest symbols of American freedom, and can be seen on both postal stamps and on 100-dollar bills today. The bell has its own Liberty Bell Center, where it can be seen up close.
It lies right next to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence, which seceded the United States of America from Great Britain, was signed, and next to Congress Hall, where the United States Congress was seated for 10 years, when Philadelphia was the capital. The interior still looks the same as it did back in 1776. All the places are free of admission, except the National Constitution Center. It is also worth mentioning Betsy Ross’ House, which was home to the woman who made the American Flag, Stars and Stripes.

Center City – The heart of the city

The expression “downtown” is not used in Philadelphia. Instead, the city center is called Center City, and houses a mixture of tall buildings, cozy parks and lots of shopping options on Walnut Street and on Chestnut Street, as well as on the surrounding streets. Because the state of Pennsylvania does not have sales tax on clothing, you save that.
The City Planning Commission has placed the city’s big unique City Hall in the middle of the city with a figure of William Penn on top of it. It is possible to get a tour of the City Hall Tower, where you can get an amazing view of the skyscrapers and the rest of the city. Right next to it lies LOVE Park that houses one of the iconic LOVE sculptures.

Cheesesteaks – the local dish

Chicago has the deep-pan pizza, Baltimore has the crab cakes and Boston has the clam chowder. Philadelphia might be full of culinary experiences, but if you ask any American what they associate Philadelphia with, then the answer will most definitely be a Philly cheesesteak. Created in Philadelphia in the 1930s by Pat Olivieri, the sandwich with thinly sliced beefsteak and melted cheese is the city’s signature dish.
Just as famous is the question of where you can get the best cheesesteak; at Pat’s or at Geno’s. Situated right across from each other in South Philly, the two shops have fought each other over costumers for the last 40 years. Pat’s is still owned by the Olivieri family, who invented the sandwich several generations ago.
However, you can get cheesesteaks at a lot of other places in the city.

Art – and Rocky

Situated at the end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the biggest museums in the US with works of Dalí, Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet. But in spite of the collection of more than 227.000 works, the museum is far more famous for something completely different. In 1976, Sylvester Stallone ran up the stairs in the three-times Oscar-award-winning movie Rocky, and he did so again in the movie’s many sequels. Today, it is a tourist classic to run up the 72 steps just to stand on the top of the stairs with arms waving in the air with the view of the city’s skyline just as Stallone did it. A statue, which was made for the movie Rocky III with the theme song Eye of the Tiger, can still be seen at the foot of the stairs today.

A huge prison ruin in the middle of the city

Just a ten-minute walk from the shining museum floors, you can experience something completely different. The now closed state prison Eastern State Penitentiary stands as an enormous ruin in the middle of the city, easily recognizable by its tall walls and towers. The old prison, which was built in 1829 and closed down in 1971, has housed many of the notorious criminals and gangsters, such as Al Capone. His prison cell can still be seen today, complete with furniture.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, the scary building is transformed into the country’s biggest and most frightening attraction called Terror Behind the Walls. The prison is filled with light- and sound effects, 200 actors with special effects makeup and tours designed to frighten the life out of the visitors.

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Philadelphia facts

Population: 1.6 million
Time different: -5 hours
Best time to travel: All year
Visa: No, up to 90 days
Foreign travel advice: Read more..

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