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Blessed with the glamour and culture of a big city, 'Philly' as it's affectionately known, also delights visitors with its rich history and small-town charm.

William Penn's Project

Declared a World Heritage City by Unesco in 2015, Philadelphia was at the heart of US colonial and revolutionary history. Founded by British Quaker William Penn in the late 17th century, the 'City of Brotherly Love' cherishes and protects its earliest days within the Independence National Historical Park of the Old City. Visiting original institutions such as Independence Hall and the seeing iconic landmarks like the Liberty Bell will help you appreciate the deep passion for freedom that motivated the new nation's founders. Excellent museums devoted to the Constitution, the American Revolution and Benjamin Franklin round out that education.

Civic Pride

By the late 19th century Philly had evolved into the 'Workshop of the World.' Its industries generated abundant wealth, which funded large construction projects, including City Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, and filled cultural storehouses such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Penn Museum. Experiments in architecture and social policy resulted in buildings like Eastern State Penitentiary, while philanthropist Dr Albert C Barnes built up an astounding collection of art for public consumption. This spirit of civic pride and sharing continues in contemporary projects such as Isaiah Zagar's Philadelphia's Magic Gardens.

Urban Beauty

In the 20th century the city slipped into economic decline, but nothing lasts forever and while some areas of Philly remain blighted, urban beautification and neighborhood regeneration projects, such as the marvelous Mural Art Program, have transformed the city into a dazzling outdoor gallery of street art. The glory of Philly's early days is preserved in the redbrick terraces of Society Hill through to the areas around the hallowed campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Sprawling Fairmount Park ensures nature and greenery are both within easy access, and the bicycle and jogging paths of the Schuylkill River Trails are prime urban resources.

Multifaceted Food Scene

Eating is a highlight here, with two of the city's most loved attractions – Reading Terminal Market and the South 9th Street Italian Market – placing food front and center. The city's culinary scene is nothing if not democratic, embracing everything from artisan pizza and vegan creations to the blue-collar heartiness of a cheesesteak sandwich or a soft, salty pretzel. Philly's ethnic and cultural diversity is also reflected on the plate: in one day you could tuck into an Amish breakfast, lunch on spicy Asian noodles and enjoy Mexican tacos for dinner.

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