Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Liberty Bell

Located in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is the largest city in the state, and the fifth most populated city in the U.S. Commonly referred to as "Philly," Philadelphia played a crucial role in the early development of the U.S., with key historical figures like Benjamin Franklin residing there. Philadelphia is home to the Phillies, as well as several types of cuisine, the most prominent of which is the Philly cheesesteak. Today, Philly has a robust arts and entertainment, sports, and educational scene. | Read more below »

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Philadelphia Guide

Quick Facts

Located in:Pennsylvania
Nicknames:Philly; The City of Brotherly Love; The Quaker City; The Birthplace of America
Resources: Official Website


In Greek, "Philadelphia" translates to "brotherly love," hence one of the city’s nicknames. Known for its history, arts, and culture, the city is home to more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other city in the U.S. Many Philadelphia residents speak Philadelphia dialect, which is one of the best studied forms of American English, due to more than a century of research done at the University of Pennsylviania.


The Walnut Street Theatre, located in Philly, is the oldest theatre in the U.S. Nearby, there’s the Lantern Theatre at St. Stephens Church, though most of the city’s venues can be found in areas around South Street and Old City, which have a vibrant night life. The Academy of Music — the nation’s oldest continually operating opera house — is where the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet can be found.

In the last decade, new buildings have been constructed for the Wilma Theatre and Philadelphia Theatre Company, both of which produce numerous new shows. Various Broadway shows make Philadelphia a stop on their tours, in addition to the innovative theater put on by troupes in the city itself.

Venues include: Academy of Music; Caesars Atlantic City; Forrest Theater; Keswick Theater; Mann Center for the Performing Arts; Media Center for the Performing Arts; Merriam Theater; Perelman Theater; River Stage; Society Hill Playhouse; Theatre of the Living Arts; Tower Theatre; Walnut Street Theatre; Zellerbach Theater


Philadelphia has played a major role in rock and pop music as early as the 1970s. Then, it was Philadelphia soul that gained popularity and influenced music going forward. Today, artists who began in Philly include The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, and Eve. Several large-scale concerts were held in Philly, including the Live Aid concert, which took place in 1985 at John F. Kennedy Stadium. Years later, in 2005, Philly hosted the concert again, this time under its new moniker Live 8, at Ben Franklin Parkway. More than half a million attended the show.

The Philadelphia Orchestra, which calls Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts home, is ranked among the top five orchestras in the entire nation. Similarly, the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale is a world-renowned organization that performs all over the world.

Venues include: Union Transfer; The Mann Center; The Electric Factory; Trocadero Theatre; Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


Athletics in Philly go all the way back to the 1860s, when its first professional sports team helped found baseball.

"The Curse of Billy Penn" involves Philadelphia’s city hall building

Now, Philadelphia is among 12 cities across the U.S. to have a team in all four major men’s sports: in the NFL, it’s the Philadelphia Eagles; in the NHL, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers; in MLB, it’s Philadelphia Phillies; and in the NBA, it’s the Philadelphia 76ers.

Despite that, however, from 1983 to 2008, none of Philly’s teams were able to capture a championship. The Curse of Billy Penn was often cited for Philly’s losses.

According to the legend, a statue of William Penn, founder of Philadelphia, was atop the tallest building in the city and it was an unwritten rule that no building should be taller than the statue. In 1987, One Liberty Place was erected and made taller than City Hall, allegedly causing a "curse" in Philadelphia’s sports. It was the Phillies who broke that losing streak when they won the World Series in 2008.

Several semi-professional, college, and elite amateur teams are also popular in Philly. A group of five Division I college basketball programs, called Philadelphia Big 5, are made up of Saint Joseph’s University, University of Pennsylvania, La Salle University, Temple University, and Villanova University.

Other major sporting events include Penn Relays, the Philadelphia International Championship bicycle race, and the Philadelphia marathon.

Teams include: Philadelphia Phillies; Philadelphia 76ers; Philadelphia Eagles; Philadelphia Flyer; Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia Soul; Philadelphia Independence; Philadelphia Wings


Philadelphia isn’t just home to the Philly cheesesteak; it’s also home to one of the city’s biggest battles: Provolone or Cheez Whiz? In fact, there are two prominent Philly cheesesteak stands in the city, right across the street from one another, and one swears by Provolone, while the other uses Cheez Whiz. Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks have a highly publicized, but playful, rivalry. At Geno’s, Provolone is the cheese of choice, while Cheez Whiz is the favorite at Pat’s.

Hoagies, scrapple, soft pretzels, and Tastykake are also big in Philadelphia. Vietnamese and other Ashian restaurants, both budget-friendly and high-end, have popped up around the city. "Iron Chef" star Masaharu Morimoto has his high-end restaurant, Morimoto, in Philly.

Additional Resources: Search by cuisine to find restaurants in Philly, check out’s recommended list or try Zagat-rated restaurants in the city.

Other Attractions

A view of Philadelphia’s city scape

An immaculate arts culture marks Philadelphia, the city that contains more public art than any other in the U.S., and the home to one of the country’s oldest artists’ clubs (Philadelphia Sketch Club). Since the late 1950s, Philadelphia has funded more than 200 pieces of public works of art. Various art museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which was used in the film "Rocky"), can be found across the city.

Philadelphia is the epicenter of U.S. history. At the center of Philly’s historical landmarks is the Independence National Historical Park, which contains both Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell. Then there are early government buildings, like the First Bank of the U.S., Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church, and the homes of Edgar Allan Poe and Betsy Ross. Cementing the city’s immersion into U.S. history is several archival repositories, like the Library Company of Philadelphia created in 1731 and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, created in 1814.

Several museums can be found across Philly, too, such as Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the National Constitution Center. The city is also home to the first hospital and the first zoo, as well as one of the country’s oldest and largest urban parks (Fairmount Park).

Additional Resources: Find a comprehensive guide to Philly’s best attractions or focus on peer reviews of activities at TripAdvisor.


Philadelphia has been named the fifth most walkable city in the U.S., so it’s not uncommon to see residents and tourists alike trekking across the city. But it’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority that keeps the city of Philly running, especially with its subway, the third oldest in the U.S. SEPTA operates trains, buses, trolleys, and trackless trolleys throughout the city and into various Pennsylvania counties and even other states.

Philadelphia has recently struggled to keep its public transportation afloat, especially its SEPTA Regional Rail, which no longer services the far suburbs of Philly due to lack of funding. The city is working on getting money to reinstate these options.

In the meantime, travel by car is big in the city, as I-95 runs through Philadelphia along the Delaware River. Several expressways, routes, and other interstates snake through the city, as well. Greyhound Lines are a major mode of transportation in Philly as well. The Philadelphia International Airport and the Northeast Philadelphia Airport both serve the city, although only one handles domestic and international flights.

Additional Resources: SEPTA has everything you’ll need to know about public transportation. Need a way to get to Philly? Try Philadelphia International Airport or Northeast Philadelphia Airport.