Nestled between New York - the city that never sleeps - and the respectable federal capital of Washington D.C., Philadelphia reveals itself as a genuine haven of peace, offering a resolutely European atmosphere which has been preserved over the centuries. Time passes peacefully along the majestic Delaware River, which marks the city’s limit and runs the length of its extraordinary green parks, which redden when autumn comes, its picturesque old districts, as well as its majestic skyscrapers reflecting Philly’s bright sky.
It is whilst strolling around this beautiful, well-preserved historic city that the secrets of the back streets of Philadelphia’s Old City, lined with sublime houses in reddish bricks, are revealed. Their hearts beat in unison with the rhythm of the “Philly Sound” sprinkled with jazz and funk, the festivals which captivate and extend throughout the summer, as well as the superlative concerts given by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The historic capital of learning, the “Athens of America” has shaped the spirit of many famous and learned men who quenched their inextinguishable thirst in one of the oldest higher education establishments of the country, the University of Pennsylvania, and at the venerable Drexel University. Passionate and philanthropic, they were the master craftsmen of the artistic richness of this city which reveals its treasures of modern and contemporary art on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Rising at the top of a grand staircase like a Greek temple, the Philadelphia Museum of Art holds striking collections of the greatest icons of European art, from Monet to Picasso. The Rodin Museum, a stone’s throw or two away, is an ideal setting for the sculptor’s The Kiss which is immortalized in marble. Finally, on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, in West Fairmount Park, the Please Touch Museum will arouse the keenest interest in young lovers of art and science before the marvelous exoticism of the Philadelphia Zoo, the foremost establishment of its kind in the United States.
The nation’s first historic capital, Philly recounts its distinguished history at the National Constitution Center, one of the gripping stages of the Philadelphia marathon organized in the autumn. Open-hearted by nature, the city can be experienced at any moment and in all seasons. At the end of South 9th Street, don’t resist the effect on the senses offered by the Italian Market whose colorful shops and outdoor stalls offer products for the most discriminating food lovers. In the spring, the thousand colors of the flowers of the Philadelphia Flower Show are a marvelous sight for the eyes, and in summer the creativity is constant at the Manayunk Arts Festival, an old quarter of Philly whose business district is a delightful mix of Victorian façades with factory buildings. Be guided right to the centre by the melodious sound of the huge Wanamaker Grand Court Organ at Macy’s Philadelphia, the location for over a hundred years of prestigious boutiques dedicated to fashion and design. Then head north to stroll in the 150,000 m2 of Philadelphia Mills dedicated to shopping; treat yourself to a sublime outfit to stand out on Christmas Eve, celebrated extravagantly on the passionate dance floor of the Matzo Ball.
At dusk, America’s sacred sports, represented by the triad of baseball, American football and basketball, will thrill you at Citizens Bank Park, at Lincoln Financial Field and at the Wells Fargo Center on evenings with highly-charged matches, thus crystalizing the fervor of Philadelphia.
Where to Eat
La Colombe Coffee Roasters
Coffee lovers will find La Colombe’s funky cafés in New York, Chicago and Washington, but it all started here in Philadelphia over twenty years ago. Famed for their specialty brews and single origin beans, La Colombe’s Dilworth Plaza address is known for its sleek minimalism, while its Rittenhouse Square venue offers a sophisticated setting and is renowned for its refreshing iced coffees.
Enjoy a dose of culture with your coffee at Philadelphia's Elixr Coffee Center, where a rolling programme of art exhibitions is accompanied by lightly roasted single-origin espressos, freshly baked doughnuts and the rich aroma of Central and South American coffee. Clad in reclaimed woods, Elixr Coffee Center offers a medley of shared and private tables which adds to its fun and friendly atmosphere.
Philadelphia has as humid subtropical climate with mild falls and springs, hot and humid summers, and cold winters with potential snowfall. Rainfall is steady throughout the year with a level superior to London. The hottest month is July, with temperature that can reach 30°C, and the coldest is January when temperatures can drop to -3°C.
The nicest season to visit Philly is generally during the spring and autumn when the temperature is mild and the days are sunny.
Philadelphia annual calendar
Big Philly Beer Festival, 15 â€“ 16 January 2016
African American History month, all February 2016
Philadelphia Flower Show, 5 â€“ 13 March 2016
Red Ball, American Red Cross Day, 2 April 2016
Blue Cross Broad Street Run, 10 miler run against cancer, 1 May 2016
Manayuk Arts Festival, 25 â€“ 26 June 2016
Independence Day and Wawa Welcome America Festival, 4 July 2016
Center City District Restaurant Week, 2 â€“ 7 August 2016
Philadelphia Fringe Festival, 9 â€“ 24 September 2016
Start of the NBA Season, October 2016
Philadelphia City Marathon, 18 â€“ 20 November 2016
Matzo Ball in Philadelphia, Holiday Jewish Party, 24 December 2016
Transportation in Philadelphia includes many options: local cabs, private drivers, rental car, subway, trolley, buses and bike rentals. The Centre City District of Philadelphia is quite compact so walking is always a good option.
Septa (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) runs a wide network of subway, trolley, buses and shuttles all through the metropolitan area of Philadelphia. Most lines operate between 5am and 1am, with numerous lines running 24-hours a day.
Philadelphia has the third-oldest subway system in the USA dating back to 1907 and consists of two rapid transit lines converging to the City Centre. Five surface trolley lines operate through downtown Philadelphia. Septa also counts 117 bus lines covering the metropolitan area of Philadelphia. Tickets can be purchased directly in the bus (no change given) or from a vending machine. A single bus or metro ticket costs $2.25.
Indigo is the rental bike system of Philadelphia offering more than 600 bikes in over 60 stations in the city. Expect a rate of $4 for 30 minutes.
There are approximately 2,000 licensed taxis that operate in Philadelphia at different times of the day and night. You can hail them in the street, find them at a taxi rank or book them through one of Philadelphia’s taxi firms.
The flag fall is a standard $2.70 and each additional mile is $2.30. Tip of 15% is not included.
getting to & from the airport
Philadelphia International Airport is located about 15 km southwest from Center Philadelphia. The journey by car takes approximately 15 minutes according to the traffic and costs a fixed rate of $28.50 + fuel charge and tips. Private transfers and rental cars can be arranged at the airport.
A regional train operates between the Philadelphia International Airport terminals and the center of Philadelphia. Expect a journey of 25 minutes and a fare of $8 when purchased on board.
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