The City of Brotherly Love, America’s Birthplace, the City of Neighborhoods, the City of Murals, and on and on—Pennsylvania’s largest city claims a profusion of nicknames for good reason. The historic metropolis of 1.5million people has played a major role in U.S. history and culture since even before the nation’s inception, through Rocky’s run up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to its present-day status as a top-tier meetings destination. Visitors can shop at South Philadelphia’s Italian Market before diving into a famous Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s, people-watch in the European-style plaza of Rittenhouse Square, or wander the charming Colonial campus of the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania—and that’s just for starters. For more information, visit the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau online at www.PhiladelphiaUSA.travel
1 Le Méridien Philadelphia www.lemeridien.com/Philadelphia
Philadelphia has more than 10,000 hotel rooms in Center City alone—and 202 of the most stylish of these are claimed by Le Méridien Philadelphia, housed within a 10- story, Georgian Revival structure that was originally a YMCA. Situated less than one block from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, this vibrantly elegant boutique hotel has 5,000 square feet ofmeeting space all its own.
2 Distrito www.distritorestaurant.com
In its appearance, Distrito is all piñata hot-pinks and -blues, featuring a full wall of shiny luchador (Mexican wrestler)masks—yet the décor still doesn’t overshadow the restaurant’s addictive “modern Mexican” cuisine: The mahi mahi tacos with chipotle remoulade are one local favorite. Distrito has a variety of spaces available for a private dinner or reception.
3 Reading Terminal Market www.readingterminalmarket.org
The Pennsylvania Convention Center has an ideal next-door neighbor in Reading Terminal Market, a bustling indoor farmer’s market that originally opened in 1892.Today, the market is home to more than 80 vendors, offering everything from Pennsylvania Dutch breakfasts to some of the best Cajun and Creole food outside of Louisiana, at Beck’s Cajun Cafe.
4 Mural Mile Walking Tour http://muralarts.org/tour
One of Philadelphia’s nicknames is “the City of Murals”— and you’ll see why on this walking tour of “Mural Mile,” which visits 17 Center City murals that run the gamut in terms of style and subject matter. From a tribute to Jackie Robinson to an iconic Buffalo Soldier on horseback, with the setting sun behind him, these murals are an artful way to experience the city. Private group tours are also available.
5 Independence National Historical Park www.nps.gov/inde
Independence National Historical Park, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Independence Hall, is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were hammered out and ratified. This 55-acre park—dubbed “America’s most historic square mile”—also encompasses Benjamin Franklin’s grave and the Liberty Bell.
June 25–July 4, 2012 Wawa Welcome America www.welcomeamerica.com
Wawa Welcome America is a two-week-long party in celebration of America’s independence. Culminating in a parade, concert, and fireworks display on July 4, the festival in years past has featured other highlights including “Wawa Hoagie Day,” during which 150 employees from the festival’s convenience- store sponsor built a 4.5-ton hoagie sandwich - half Italian, half turkey, for picky eaters.
BRAND SPANKING GREEN
In March 2011, the Pennsylvania Convention Center (www.paconven tion.com) cut the ribbon on a major new upgrade and expansion, resulting in a facility that is 62 percent larger than its predecessor, with one million square feet of exhibit space and 79 meeting rooms - enough to host two concurrent large trade shows or conventions. And in August, the center reached a milestone when the expansion and renovation was awarded LEED Gold certification for New Construction.