Once the capital of the USA and a centre for political evolution, Philadelphia still has the buzzy, progressive feel of a national hub. Discover the east coast’s second largest city on a holiday to Philadelphia from Glasgow Airport.
Journey through history
Most visitors with a nose for history make a beeline for Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (520 Chestnut Street) or the Liberty Bell Centre (526 Market Street), which was commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Pennsylvanian constitution, but a more romantic way to soak up the city’s colonial charm is to take a stroll through its oldest neighbourhoods. Germantown produced both the first American anti-slavery publication and the continent’s first printed Bible, and today Colonial Germantown is a National Historic Landmark District. Philadelphia also boasts the nation’s oldest residential street, Elfreth’s Alley, which dates back to the early 18th century.
Capital of culture
Once considered a cultural dead end, the city is rapidly reinventing itself as a centre for the arts. World-famous institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway), with its precious collection of Old Masters, now mingle with a crowd of newer, edgier galleries. The Northern Liberties and Fishtown neighbourhoods are at the heart of this cultural revolution, with venues like the innovative Icebox Project Space (1400 North American Street) garnering international recognition. Coincide your visit with the first Friday of the month, when more than 40 galleries around Old City open their doors for an evening of art and sculpture.
Food, glorious food
Forget cheese steaks and hoagies – over the past few years, Philly has gone from gourmet backwater to one of the east coast’s most progressive foodie destinations. The change has largely been driven by the city’s abundance of fresh food markets. The Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch Streets) is home to more than 100 vendors, including award-winning sandwich seller DiNic’s. The Italian Market in South Philadelphia (919 South 9th Street) is officially the largest and oldest outdoor market in the country, and its fresh ingredients make up the mouth-watering dishes at epicurean hotspots such as Talula’s Garden (210 West Washington Square), Vedge (1221 Locust Street) and Pizzeria Vetri (1939 Callowhill Street).