Weekly Feature

philadelphia, new new york, philadelphia arts

Philadelphia: The New New York

August 12, 2008
by Liz Colville
Philadelphia is quickly growing from a historic college town into a bustling destination for the hippest in art and music. Those who might in the past have chosen New York City as their home are now setting their sights on Philly.

Why Philly?

Philadelphia is a hub of history: monuments, parks and other landmarks tell the story of our country’s progress through the government’s early days, slavery, abolition, civil war and more. But the city is by no means stuck in the past. Philadelphia is currently promoting its intersection of the shiny and new—particularly in art, music and dining—with the age-old.

In recent years New Yorkers, arguably the trendiest city dwellers in the nation, have given Philly their stamp of approval by relocating there. The New York Observer described the trend with graphs and statistics earlier this year, noting that most of those New Yorkers hailed from Brooklyn. One particular draw to migration: “Philadelphia home prices, generally, are absurdly low compared to almost any area in New York.”

A Slice of U.S. History

According to the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia Web site, Philadelphia is a “cradle of American liberty.” When abolitionism took root, Philadelphia was at the forefront of the movement. In 1775, a group of Quakers formed the country’s first abolitionist organization, the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage.
Much of Philadelphia’s storied role in U.S. history is visible in the city: monuments like the Independence National Historic Park, home of the Liberty Bell, and the Valley Forge National Park, are tributes to important events like the Revolutionary War and figures like Benjamin Franklin. Get a full dose of history and nature by visiting Valley Forge, which has activities for people of all ages, including bird watching, fishing and hiking.

More Philly Destinations

The Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum is just one stop on Philadelphia’s lengthy list of museums and galleries. Explore more museum options, including the Rodin Museum, which holds more of the sculptor’s work than any other place outside France, on Gophila.com, the official tourism site of Philly. There is a specific section on the city’s culturally diverse museum options, such as the Philadelphia Doll Museum, the Pearl S. Buck House and the Polish American Cultural Center.
Gophila.com also helps tourists get oriented with an interactive map of Philadelphia that includes shopping spots, hotels, museums, outdoor destinations and restaurants.

Beyond the well-known museums in Philadelphia such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, there are also surprising destinations, such as the Please Touch Museum, perfect for families, and the Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site.
Philly comes fourth on the New York Times’s list of “31 Places to Go This Summer,” because there are “enough history excursions in the City of Brotherly Love to fill an entire summer.” The Times includes the National Constitution Center and the $20 million Big Cat Falls exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo as must-see spots, and recommends John’s Roast Pork for lunch.

AroundPhilly has a colorful, touchable design and useful articles about shopping destinations, the bar scene, restaurants and tourist attractions in the city. Browse the “Summer Fun Guide” for a long list of entertaining events happening June through August, as well as all-season events, such as flea markets.

For more information about events in Philly, browse What’s On When, which covers many cities in the United States and the rest of the world. The hotspots on this site include the city’s Italian Market, as well as festivals, nightlife options and restaurants.

Insider Views on Philly

Philadelphia’s bloggers know the city best, and several of them focus solely on sharing city events with their neighbors and city visitors. Visit PhilaFoodie for a wide range of postings on city restaurants, famed chefs, wine tastings and more. PhilaPhile lists unique and must-see events around the city, and Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof’s Artblog chronicles Philly art events that the tourist probably doesn’t know about.

Getting There & Around

GoPhila is always promoting weekend deals for Philly, including hotel packages. TripAdvisor’s “Before You Go” section on Philadelphia offers tips on getting to the city, where to find Wi-Fi, health and safety matters and more. Low-cost airlines like Southwest and US Airways fly to Philadelphia from dozens of destinations around the United States, and Amtrak trains arrive at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station multiple times a day. Once there, Frommer’s article “Getting Around” has detailed information about the city’s trains, buses and trolleys.

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