Some have called it New York without the attitude (and the traffic), others the birth place of freedom and liberty, but whatever you call it, with all those delicious cheesesteaks, tax free shopping on clothes and shoes, and more history in a square mile than anywhere else in the USA, Here is my travel guide to Philadelphia
A local wit once said that Philadelphia is the only place in America where you could feed your brain and your belly at the same time. Now, whether you believe that or not, there’s no denying that Philly has a rather illustrious past and anyone who has ever tasted a cheesesteak will be left in no doubt as to where heaven really is.
But for me, this city begs to be visited on so many levels; there are huge slabs of colonial history here, legendary music, mural art forms the likes of which you’ll never have seen before, and a veritable feast of cosmopolitan dining options. Combine this with tax free shopping and Philly’s accessibility and you’ll soon realise just why it scores so well when compared with New York just an hour away.
Philadelphia is a city built with walking very much in mind (although there is a bus, tram and subway system), thanks to the vision of founder William Penn who in 1682 wanted to create a ‘green country town’ built around five main squares offering lots of open space, and those five open squares are still in use today.
Nestling between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, the city is laid out conveniently using tree names running east to west and numbers running north to south. And Penn, looking down today from his lofty perch atop City Hall (which is itself a useful navigation landmark) would be pretty chuffed at how his city vision turned out.
After all it was once the nation’s capital, and it’s where the American War of Independence began and where it ended with the creation and signing of the Constitution and there is much to commemorate here in this regard.
Grab the hop on and hop off Big Bus Company Tour on your first day to get yourself oriented, it’s good value at $27 pp and the price includes an excellent tour guide who will point out all the important landmarks along the route.
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Philly will last long in the memory, simply because it has so much to offer. You’ll get the humour, the characters and the buzz of the Big Apple, but you’ll also get much better value for money. As WC Fields put on his gravestone ‘Here lies WC Fields but I’d rather be in Philadelphia’.
Philadelphia Visitors Bureau Tourist Bureau
Tax Free Shopping in Philadelphia
The Big Bus Company, bus tours in Philadelphia