The publication’s global travel experts picked the 25 most exciting destinations for 2020 and Philadelphia is the ONLY city in the U.S. to make the cut and, along with the Grand Canyon, Philadelphia is one of only two American destinations to be selected.
Author Johnna Rizzo asserts that Philadelphia has “reignited its revolutionary spirit” and starts with a tour through South Philadelphia and the vibrant, historic Italian Market.
The market, which was depicted on screen in the “Rocky” movies, has been a busy shopping hub since the mid to late 1800s when Italian immigrants settled there and opened businesses, making it the nation’s oldest continually operating outdoor market. While many of these places are still open and being run by the current generation of the same families, today’s market is also home to businesses owned by newer immigrants, notably those from Asia and Mexico.
Rizzo goes on to describe how Philadelphia “continues to blossom with countless clever and quirky impulses” and that the city has a lot of “glimmer” with vibrant mosaics and murals.
Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, is an extraordinary indoor-outdoor environment comprised of found objects, bicycle tires, glass bottles and mirrors that has to be seen to be believed.
Public art is a way of life in the city with more than 4,000 murals, sculptures and mosaics integrated into the landscape, making Philadelphia the world’s largest outdoor art gallery. Rizzo says murals have become Philadelphia’s “calling card,” telling the stories of neighborhoods and the people and communities that inspired and shaped each project.
Rizzo’s visit took her to the Cherry Street Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River waterfront and up to LOVE Park, where the author sat to watch visitors and locals enjoy the bustling square and the iconic sculpture by Robert Indiana and the “I Heart Philly” sculpture celebrating immigrants. From LOVE Park, you can see straight down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This grand boulevard is lined with flags of countries that represent Philadelphia residents.
With plenty of pop-up gardens and parks across the city, an incredible art scene, and an amazing array of bars and restaurants, Philadelphia is “electric, eclectic and entirely its own city,” according to Rizzo, and a “city of ingenious makers. The evidence is everywhere.”
For the full article in National Geographic about the Best Trips for 2020, click here or grab a copy of the Best Trips edition.