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Philadelphia Basics


Philadelphia’s identity is shaped by its history more than most American cities. It is, after all, the birthplace of the United States. Everywhere you turn in Center City—the downtown district—there is a centuries-old building reminding you of Philadelphia's colonial heritage. But that doesn’t mean this city is chained to its past. The quaint old architecture belies a youthful population whose majority is under the age of 45.

Long overshadowed by the two powerhouse cities it stands between—New York and Washington, D.C.—Philadelphia offers a lower cost of living with a cultural fabric just as rich. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose steps were forever immortalized in Rocky, is a world-class institution on par with Newm  York’s Met. The city's thriving music scene and performing arts community compete with the nation's best. And a food movement focused on local, sustainable foods has redrawn the restaurant landscape and inspired a wave of micro-breweries dedicated to finely crafted beer. Philadelphians, by the way, love their beer, and the city offers a nice collection of down-home pubs.

As Philadelphia forges the next chapter in its more than 300-year-old story, it remains an open book of all that came before. The city is home to America’s most historic square mile, chock-full of sites that mark where the nation’s foundation was laid. The most momentous is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the U.S. Constitution drafted. Elsewhere you can trace the story of slavery and its abolition, immigration and industrialization.

You quickly come to realize how connected the city is to all of us—no matter where you’re from in the world, there’s a Philadelphia story that speaks to you. And reminds you of William Penn’s vision, when he named it the City of Brotherly Love.

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