Philadelphia is known for...
Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Philadelphia is a bastion of American history. The Declaration of Independence was signed here, along with a document known as the Constitution. Philadelphia even served as the nation's capital for 10 years while D.C. was under construction. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home to the iconic "Rocky stairs") are just a few of the many symbols of Philadelphia's long, rich history scattered throughout the city. Visitors would do well to consider the Philadelphia CityPASS option, which grants them access to most of Philly's major attractions over the course of nine days.
Philadelphia cuisine is a flawless synthesis of Italian and American styles. Though the dining scene in Philly was markedly bleak during and following the World War II era, it experienced what locals think of as a Renaissance in the 1970's, and from this emerged some of America's most iconic foods. Foremost among them: the cheesesteak. Pat's King of Steaks (the alleged birthplace of the cheesteak) and Geno's Steaks are the most legendary cheesesteak joints in the city. Knowing how to order as a visitor is crucial to avoiding local scorn. Never ask for a "cheesesteak," simply walk in and decide which cheese you want and whether or not you'd like onions. If you're at Pat's or Geno's, the only correct cheese is the Chese Whiz you grew up with, and your preference for onions, or not, is indicated by stating either "with" or "without. The order should sound something like, "Whiz with." If you want no cheese and no onions, simply say, "Without." Easy enough.
3. Public Art:
Philadelphia has more public art than any city in the country; it's free, it's beautiful, and it's everywhere. And if you're looking for public art, don't forget to look up. Several thousand walls are covered in murals, owing largely to the fact that the Mural Arts Program commissioned the large-scale paintings both to beautify the city and discourage graffiti. Center City is your best bet for public statues, though Fairmount Park and the neighboring Laurel Hill Cemetery have their share, as well. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, which features works by the renowned mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, cultivates a distinctly folk-art vibe in a labyrinthine setting. Note that there is a fee to visit the Magic Gardens, though Zagar's works can be seen in countless public spaces throughout Philadelphia.
4. Pro Sports:
If baseball is an icon of American culture, then the Philadelphia Phillies are an icon of baseball. Founded in 1883, the Phillies are the oldest team in professional sports. The fact that they've never switched cities or changed names only serves to intensify the devotion of locals. Philly is also home to the Eagles, who play at Lincoln Financial Field (known affectionately as "the Linc" by Philadelphians). Philadelphia is just one of a handful of American cities where all four major sports teams play within its boundaries, so it's no surprise that sports fandom is deeply engrained in the city's culture.
Philadelphia is a set of complicated and, in many ways, very strict liquor laws, which can at times be frustrating. However, the fact that supermarkets and gas stations don't sell alcohol means that bars and pubs are often the best choice for a cold one, and as such, Philly's bar scene is outstanding. Rittenhouse Square, Old City and Manayunk are the most popular neighborhoods for bar hopping, with a strong offering of dive bars and clubs alike. Craft beer culture has a serious grip on Philadelphia, which claims for itself the title of "America's Best Beer-Drinking City." For the tightest concentration of beer bars and restaurants, set out for Northern Liberties, Fishtown and East Passyunk.