America's freedom city
America’s freedom city is a civilised, educated place to spend some time... it’s not only famed as the cradle of the Independence movement (with all that entails)... it’s home to some of the nation’s most inspiring artefacts, lore and legend. Go and you’ll learn about the birth of a nation.
Philadelphia is a shopaholic’s delight, with legendary stores and red-hot designers. Haute couture fashions, art, homeware and jewellery top many a shopping list here. When you’re feeling flush, head to the glittering shopping and cultural centre, The Bellevue (Broad and Walnut Streets) or Liberty Place (17th and Chestnut Street). South Street has trendy urban shops, while Rittenhouse Row has some of the city’s most upmarket art galleries and designer fashions. The five-day Italian Market (South Ninth Street) is the USA’s biggest and oldest outdoor food market, while Head House Square has craft stalls in summer.
Food & Drink
Philadelphia’s foodie scene is all but dominated by one man, Stephen Starr, who has no less than 20 eateries in his Philly empire. They range from expensive art deco steakhouse Butcher & Singer (1500 Walnut Street) to cosy mid-range Parisian-style brasserie Parc (227 South 18th Street) and humble summer burger stand SquareBurger (Franklin Square). For farmers’ market freshness at bargain prices, follow the locals to Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch Streets). Or to blow your budget on a special occasion, try French restaurant extraordinaire Le Bec-Fin (1523 Walnut Street).
An astonishing 15,000 traditional mummers take part in Philadelphia’s New Year's Day parade, each decked out in bizarre and spectacular costumes.
Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta
Over 100 races with thousands of rowers take to the Schuylkill River on Mother’s Day weekend in the biggest collegiate regatta in the USA. Running ever since 1934, most of the land-based action takes place in Fairmount Park.
Fourth of July
Philadelphia is the place to be during the USA’s biggest patriotic outburst of the year, thanks to its significant role in the American War of Independence. Red, white and blue dominate the parades, street parties, concerts, festivals and fireworks.
Philadelphia Folk Festival
The strains of Celtic, folk rock, country and world music announce this 50-year-old folk music festival, one of the oldest in the country. It hosts tens of thousands of visitors over three days, with camping and crafts at the Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville, just outside Philly.
Macy’s Holiday Light Show
Around 100,000 lights illuminate Macy’s Grand Court in a much-loved event marking the Christmas and New Year season. The reindeer- and Santa-heavy show is accompanied by music from the famous Wanamaker Grand Organ.
From über luxurious mega hotels to historic B&Bs, Philadelphia has a plethora of places to stay. Center City is the most convenient spot for visitors to bed down. Imagine yourself a royal guest or even a Roman emperor as you head through the Pantheon-replica lobby of The Ritz-Carlton (10 Avenue of the Arts). A bit more personal if only slightly more affordable, Rittenhouse 1715 (1715 Rittenhouse Square Street) is a gorgeous little boutique hotel set in a 1911 mansion. Celeb favourite the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel (220 South 17th Street) is actually cheaper than you might expect.