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Interesting Facts About Philly:

Philadelphia’s accomplishments run the scope of our nation’s history. Check out this list of accolades, which includes our Bests, Firsts, facts about Philadelphia’s Food scene, Hotels, Shopping, Attractions and more – all reasons to brag about the City of Brotherly Love.



Philadelphia’s accomplishments run the scope of our nation’s history


  • Fork chef Eli Kulp was named as one of the 2014 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine.
  • According to, Stephen Starr's El Vez ranks 50th for the nation's best tacos.
  • Taken from the National Geographic book Food Journeys of a Lifetime, the worldwide list of “Top 10 Places to Eat Ice Cream” in 2011 ranked Capogiro Gelato Artisans #1.
  • Local chef of Zahav Restaurant, Michael Solomonov, won the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for Best chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region.
  • Part of the New York Post’s “Dinners to travel for” article in July 2011, the online section entitled “Worth a Special Journey” included two Philadelphia spots as part of the “5 top tables on the Northeast Corridor”—Zahav at #2 and Barbuzzo at #5.
  • February 2012’s Esquire magazine names The Farm and Fisherman’s pastured chicken baked in hay as one of just five spots in its “Where to Find Great Roast Chicken in America” list.
  • In July 2011, USA Today included Citizens Bank Park and Tony Luke’s in its list of “10 great places for stadium food.”
  • In its January 2011 issue, Travel + Leisure included Graces Trading Company (#14) and Jones (#22) in its list of “America’s Best Brunches.”
  • January’s issue of Bon Appétit magazine ranked Questlove’s “Love’s Drumsticks” 15th on the list of “25 Things to Eat, Drink, and Cook in 2012.”
  • In December 2011, Food & Wine included The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company and Southwark in its list of the “50 Best Bars in America.”
  • Each year, Saveur magazine publishes “The Saveur 100,” a highly coveted list of the Top 100 Food and Drink Items the magazine considers to be the new classics. The January/February 2012 issue, included two Philadelphia-area places: Zahav (#71) and Flying Fish Brewing Company (#81).
  • In its January 2012 issue, Draft magazine released its “100 Best Beer Bars in America,” and Philadelphia is well-represented with six nods: Grey Lodge Pub, Memphis Taproom, Monk’s, Tria, Eulogy Belgian Tavern and Standard Tap.
  • The James Beard Semifinalists announced in February 2012 included a long list of Philadelphia restaurants and chefs on the list: Zeppoli, Tashan, and Farm and Fisherman for Best New Restaurant; The Standard Tap and Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. for Best Bar Program; Jessie Prawlucki of Belle Cakery/Fond for Outstanding Pastry Chef; Vetri for Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Service; Stephen Starr for Outstanding Restaurateur; Tria for Outstanding Wine Program; Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional; Joe Cicala of Le Virtu, Lee Styer of Fond, and JD Morton of Domaine Hudson (Wilmington, DE) for Rising Star; David Gilberg of Koo Zee Doo, Pierre Calmels of Bibou, Konstantinos Pitsillides of Kanella, and Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
  • In its September 2011 issue, Bon Appétit magazine included Talula’s Garden in “The Best New Restaurants in America in 2011,” noting the “ultra-fresh ingredients in flavorful, straightforward dishes.”
  • Home to two Iron Chefs. Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto. Garces’ restaurants include Amada, Distrito, Tinto, Rosa Blanca, Village Whiskey, Garces Trading Co., and JG Domestic. Masaharu Morimoto owns Morimoto along with Stephen Starr.
  • Made’s list of 5 Best Beer Cities in America. Top bars include: Memphis Taproom, Monk’s Café, Silk City, Standard Tap and Yards Brewing Company Tasting Room
  • Vetri ranked as one of the Best Italian Restaurants in the US by Travel and Leisure (2012)
  • DiNic’s Roast Pork Sandwich voted by Alan Richman as Best Sandwich in America



  • A 2014 survey conducted by ranks Philadelphia hotels #1 among all major destinations in the U.S.
  • In Trip Advisor’s ninth annual Travelers’ Choice survey, the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia took the #2 spot in the “Top 10 Trendiest Hotels in the United States” list.
  • Matador included Hotel Palomar Philadelphia in its list of “10 eco-friendly places to stay in the U.S.”
  • In Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Business Hotels 2010” list, included in its December issue, The Rittenhouse Hotel took the #10 spot with a score of 94.4.
  • The Rittenhouse Hotel and the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia are consistently voted for in Travel + Leisure list of the “Top 100 Hotels: Continental U.S. and Canada.”
  • In Condé Nast Traveler’s “2010 Readers’ Choice Awards” (November issue) for top hotels in the U.S., the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia ranked #36, with a score of 89.4; The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia ranked #78, with a scare of 86.4; and The Rittenhouse Hotel ranked #93, with a score of 86.



  • In January 2012, ranked Philadelphia seventh on its list of “The Best U.S. Cities For Bargain Shopping,” noting its 80+ factory outlet stores and 20,650,920 square feet of retail space.
  • In 2012, Lucky magazine released the list “The 25 Best Cities for Shopping” on its website, ranking Philadelphia at #14.
  • The King of Prussia Mall has more pure retail shopping space than any other attraction in America and it features stores that cannot be found elsewhere in the region. (



  • Ranked by as one of the "10 Best Cities for Families to Visit"
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University was ranked second among the best science museums, according to a survey by American Mensa.
  • Philadelphia ranked #1 in US Airways Magazine’s list of the “15 Best Cities for Getting That Holiday Spirit,” featured in the December 2010 issue. The article cited the Macy’s Christmas Light Show and the Enchanted Colonial Village.
  • Travel + Leisure released the results of its annual America’s Favorite Cities survey in its November 2011 issue. Philadelphia ranked: #1 for overall culture, #1 for historical sites/monuments, #1 for sports-crazed, #2 for classical music, #2 for street food, #2 for hamburgers, #3 for overall food/drink/restaurants, #4 for microbrew, #4 for pizza, #5 for theaters/performance art, #5 for museums/galleries and #5 for overall shopping.
  • Philadelphia ranks 3rd in the nation among cities with the greatest number of historic sites, coming in with over 50 historic attractions. (
  • In December 2011, Smarter Travel included Philadelphia in its list of 10 “Destinations to Watch in 2012.” It mentions the Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, The Academy of Natural Sciences’ 200th anniversary and exhibits around Van Gogh and the Uffizi Gallery.
  • Philadelphia’s Welcome America! Fourth of July festival stages the nation’s largest free outdoor concert. In July 2011, Gadling included Philadelphia’s Welcome America! in its article entitled “Ten fireworks displays worth a road trip to see.”
  • USA Today’s “10 great places to see art enhance nature” listed Philadelphia and the Fairmount Park Art Association in October 2011.
  • Travel + Leisure’s June 2011 issue included Penn’s Landing’s Screenings Under the Stars in its list of “America’s Best Outdoor Movie Theaters,” which named 10 spots.
  • Parents magazine featured Please Touch Museum® in its list of the “10 Best Children’s Museums: 2011.”
  • In March 2011, the Philadelphia International Flower Show and Longwood Gardens made the cut for’s “12 places to see beautiful spring blooms.”
  • Budget Travel included Independence Hall in its March 2011 list of “15 Places Your Kids Should See Before 15.”
  • In August 2011, National Geographic Adventure’s website included Philadelphia in its list of 15 “Best U.S. Hiking Cities.” Specifically, it called out Wissahickon Gorge and Valley Green Inn.
  • In May 2011, listed Philadelphia 22nd on its list of the “25 Most Photographed Places on Earth” for the landmark Independence Hall.
  • In September 2011, The Baltimore Sun included three Philadelphia region spots in its article entitled “50 picture-perfect fall getaways.” Bucks County (with a mention of the Peddler’s Village Apple Festival) came in 26th; the Manayunk EcoArts Festival was 27th; and the Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens came in 30th.
  • The Philadelphia Flower Show, the world’s largest indoor flower show, blooms every March.
  • Sesame Place is the only attraction in the nation based on the popular PBS children’s show.
  • Philadelphia is the mural capital of the world, having more than 3,000 indoor and outdoor murals created by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
  • In August, included Fairmount Park in its “America’s Best Parks for Picnics” list.
  • Fairmount Park is the nation’s largest municipal park – even bigger than New York’s Central Park – and features 9,200 lush acres and 215 miles of jogging trails.
  • The Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway houses one of the largest collections of Rodin’s works outside of Paris.
  • #10 on Travel and Leisure’s America’s Most Popular City Parks for Rittenhouse Square
  •’s America’s Coolest Cities ranked Philadelphia #15 (2012)



  • USA Today Ranks PHL as #5 on their list of Best Chinatowns in America.
  • Philadelphia holds the title of top historic destination in America according to U.S. News Travel (2012)
  • named the Phillie Phanatic #2 in its list of “America’s Favorite Sports Mascots” in April 2012.
  • Fodor's Travel named Philadelphia one of the nation's 10 Best Bike Vacations.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ranked Lincoln Financial Field #1 in its November 2012 list of the “Top 5 Vegetarian-Friendly NFL Stadiums.”
  • In April 2012, the Brand Keys Sports Loyalty Index ranked the Philadelphia Phillies fans the most loyal of all teams in professional baseball.
  • In December 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles won Global Sports Team of the Year by the international social change organization Beyond Sport. The team won based on three of its programs: Eagles Youth Partnership, which provides eye care and mentoring programs to more than 50,000 kids a year; Tackling Breast Cancer, which has raised more than $1.6 million for cancer research; and Go Green, which has made the Eagles a green leader.
  • In December 2011, Global Traveler released the results of its GT Tested Reader Survey, which asked frequent business and luxury travelers to name the best in a variety of travel-related categories. As voted by more than 36,000 respondents, Philadelphia is the Best Domestic Business City.
  • In September 2010 on, the University of Pennsylvania took #1 in the list of “The Best Gay-Friendly Schools.”
  • Greater Philadelphia is the second-largest medical research and education center in the U.S. (Milken Institute in 2009).
  • More than 92,000 locals live in Center City, making it the third-most-inhabited downtown in the nation. (Select Greater Philadelphia)
  • ranked Philadelphia as #3 on its list of “Top 10 cities for tech jobs in 2012.”
  • Philadelphia is the 4th largest media market.
  • The Philadelphia region is the world’s 5th largest economy.
  • Ranked 4th most walkable large city by WalkScore in November 2013, and #5 in The Daily Green’s 15 Most Walkable Cities in America in November 2012
  • Downtown Philadelphia was ranked number six by Sperlings Best Places, Best Cities for seniors.
  • In October 2011, Philadelphia ranked sixth on’s list of “The Most Innovative Cities in America.” The high placement came as a result of the city’s large biotechnology and financial sectors, as well as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.
  • In January 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the Philadelphia region is #8 nationwide when it comes to the percentage of the work force that uses public transportation.
  • In 2010 and 2012, Frommer’s named Philadelphia one of “The World’s 10 Best Cities for Parks”.
  • In 2012, Philadelphia was ranked 10th for Social Enterprise hubs in the U.S. (Give to Get Jobs Social Enterprise Database)
  • In May 2011, Philadelphia came in 10th in’s list of “The Best Big Cities For Jobs.”
  • First published by, in September 2011, a Reuters article included Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field (for an Eagles game) in its list of “Top 10 NFL tailgating towns.”
  • Part of its 2011-2012 Best Vacations section, U.S. News & World Report ranked Philadelphia #9 in the list of the 15 “Best Family Vacations in the USA” and #14 in the list of the 19 “Best Affordable U.S. Destinations.”
  • Esquire’s December 2011 cover featured the story “The Americans of the Year,” and Mayor Michael Nutter and La Colombe’s Todd Carmichael took two of the 20 spots.
  • In March 2011, Travel + Leisure included Philadelphia in its article/list entitled “World’s Most Underrated Cities,” which included 25 destinations.
  • In its “Twitter Towns USA” article, ranked Philadelphia 49th on the “Most socially networked” list in March 2011.
  • Bicycling Magazine rated Philadelphia as a top cycling city in the U.S.
  • Forbes Magazine ranked downtown Philadelphia as one of the top places for singles.
  • AOL Travel included two Greater Philadelphia destinations in its 2011 “Summer Vacation Ideas: Five Fun Destinations For Everyone” article—“Summer Vacation Ideas for Couples: Hide Away in Philly” and “Summer Vacation Ideas for Adventure Lovers: Take to the Sky in Bucks County.”
  • #4 for Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Travel Destinations for 2013
  • SEPTA named best largest transit system in North America in 2012 (
  • #8 in Ten Cities With the Fastest Growing Wages in America in 2012 by
  • Independence National Historic Park is one of USA’s Best Free Attractions in 2012 according to USA Today.
  • Philadelphia is ranked as one of The 15 Hottest American Cities Of The Future in 2012 by Business Insider.
  • #2 in Travel and Leisure’s America’s Best Burger Cities of 2012
  • Ranked one of the Best Brunch Cities in US by Food and Wine in May 2012
  • One of the Ten Best Cities for Shopping by Shine from Yahoo in May 2012
  • Philadelphia is one of The 10 most social media savvy City Halls in America in March 2012 by PRDaily.
  • #7 Best Place to Relocate or Expand in March 2012 by Philadelphia Business Journal
  • #10 for Social Enterprise by Give2GetJobs in March 2012



  • Philadelphia’s Penn Relays is the oldest and largest amateur track-and-field relay.
  • The Italian Market is the world’s oldest outdoor market.
  • One of the nation’s oldest and finest working farmers markets, Reading Terminal Market houses more than 80 merchants, including Amish farmers.
  • The Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest continually operating theater in the US and was the first theater to install gas footlights and air conditioning.
  • The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, taking place in late spring, is the nation’s first and largest outdoor multi-breed horse competition.
  • Jewelers’ Row located on Sansom Street between 7th and 8th streets is the nation’s first and second-largest diamond district.
  • Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited street in the U.S.
  • The National Constitution Center holds the distinction of being the world’s only institution dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.
  • The first Congress of the United States met in Philadelphia in Congress Hall, adjacent to Independence Hall.
  • When Philadelphia opened Water Works in the 19th century, it was the country’s first municipal water treatment center and became an international tourist attraction.
  • The first Jewish congregation in the city, Mikveh Israel was established in 1740 and remains one of the oldest in the nation.
  • Richard Allen and Absalom Jones founded the Free African Society, the nation’s first black self-help organization, in 1787.
  • The nation’s first stock exchange started here in 1790 as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.
  • Founded in 1791 by Reverend Richard Allen, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church was the first African Methodist Episcopalian Church. It’s set on the oldest parcel of African-American-owned land in the country.
  • The United States Mint, the country’s first mint, opened in Philadelphia in 1792.
  • The first hot air balloon in the U.S. was launched in 1793 from Washington Square, one of William Penn’s original green squares.
  • In 1805, Charles Willson Peale founded the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, making it the nation’s first art school and museum.
  • In 1824, the Franklin Institute Science Museum was established as the first professional organization of mechanical engineers and professional draftsmen in the U.S.
  • The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) opened in 1855 as the nation’s first children’s hospital.
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences displayed the first and most complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered in 1858 – and it’s still on view today.
  • Wanamaker’s Department Store (now Macy’s) opened as the nation’s first department store in 1861.
  • When the gates opened in 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo became the nation’s first zoo.
  • Mother’s Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia in 1908.
  • ENIAC, the world’s first computer, was developed more than 50 years ago at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia held the nation’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1920.
  • In 1959, Philadelphia became the first city to pass an ordinance mandating that all construction projects designate a certain percentage of the costs for public art.


Green Facts

  • Philadelphia ranks 9th in EPA'S list of Top Cities with Energy Star® Certified Buildings.
  • The Center for Green Schools, an arm of the U.S. Green Building Council, just released its list of Best of Green Schools 2011, and Philly came in at #1.
  • Philadelphia is home to the state’s largest green roof added to an existing structure in an urban area – PECO’s headquarters at 23rd and Market Streets.
  • The expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center is LEED Certified and the 14th largest center in the U.S. with 1 million square feet of space.
  • Philadelphia’s Comcast Center is a 1.2 million-square-foot LEED Gold-Certified office building; the largest green building in the U.S.
  • Philadelphia Ranks 11th On List Of American Cities With Most Energy Efficient Buildings.


Interesting Facts

  • In its first coin run in 1793, the United States Mint produced 11,178 copper cents. Today it can churn out more than a million coins in a half-hour.
  • Bill Cosby, Will Smith, Kevin Bacon, Seth Green, Richard Gere, Peter Boyle and Kevin Eubanks are just some popular entertainers that were born in the City of Brotherly Love.
  • Philadelphia served as the nation's temporary capital from 1790 until 1800. Washington served as president during this time, making him the only president who didn't live in Washington, D.C. during his presidential years.
  • The Philly cheese steak sandwich was invented in 1930 in South Philly at Pat's King of Steaks.
  • The Moshulu ship has crossed the seas to Europe, South America, Australia, America and Africa, hauling lumber, coal, grain and various other cargos. She has been converted into an award-winning restaurant, residing at Penn's Landing.
  • Pennsylvanians love their Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog). In fact they actually believe that he is immortal. Phil was supposedly born in 1887 and stays alive through some kind of magical elixir.
  • Philadelphia was the birthplace of American opera, with William Henry Fry's “Lenora” (1845) probably the first public performance of an opera by an American composer.
  • Soda water (and then fruit juice-sweetened soda water) was invented by Townsend Speakman (a Philadelphian) in 1807.
  • The first computer ever was born in Philadelphia.
  • Philadelphia has more public art than any city in the country.
  • Logan Square was once used for public executions. Gallows stood in the square until 1823.
  • Walnut Street Theater: The theater opened in 1809 as "The New Circus", and was used for equestrian displays. A dome was soon added, making the structure the highest in Philadelphia at the time. In 1811 a stage was added for theatrical productions, and the theater was renamed "The Olympic". In 1812 the first theatrical production was held there, entitled "The Rivals". President Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis De Lafyette were in attendance. In 1820, the theater was renamed "The Walnut Street Theater", and went back to "The Olympic" in 1822. In 1828 it was again renamed the "Walnut Street Theater", putting the schizophrenia at last to rest.
  • Philadelphia’s City Hall is the tallest municipal building in the world. The US Capitol building measures up at a mere 288 feet, vs. the 548 feet of Philadelphia City Hall. (Both measurements include crowning statues.) City Hall is also the tallest occupied all-masonry building in the world.
  • Bartram’s Garden is the oldest botanical garden in America.


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