Given its deep foundation in the creation of the Union almost 250 years ago, Philadelphia is a dense, catalogued embodiment of American values and traditions, easily accessible and eagerly shared. It’s home to places like the Liberty Bell Center, of course. And various must-see cultural centers with the term “Independence” in their names.
But it has also long been home to places like The Franklin Institute—the oldest science museum in the U.S. If there is a better place in North America to be a school kid on a field trip, we can’t think of it.
Given its astounding collection of museums, artistic venues and historic attractions, Philly ranks #49 globally in our Product category, the metrics that measure a city’s infrastructure and institutions that shape its identity.
The University of Pennsylvania, ubiquitous in the day-to-day of the city, ranked #16 globally and its excellence is evident throughout the city’s well-resourced and coordinated cultural bounty.
The proud citizens make sure the city keeps its history and cultural impact front and center.
“The arts and soul is a living, breathing thing in Philly,” Roots co-founder and native son Tarik Trotter tells visitors on the city’s tourism website.
The walkable downtown engulfs culture crawlers with more than 3,000 murals on everything from warehouses to scaffolding. The museums, ranked #39 globally, are not only connecting the past, but seeding the future. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, for example, taps the city’s vibrant jazz and blues scene on Friday evenings, turning its stunning grand main stairway int a music venue while visitors sip local craft drinks and admire all manner of creativity.
The collaboration is emblematic of how Philly effortlessly blends the highbrow with the highlife—the city ranks #23 in our Nightlife subcategory, after all. In the birthplace of Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Ethel Waters and Dizzie Gillespie, music is oxygen. Get your bearings at Time live music venue with a whiskey bar, the absinthe lounge or the main dining room, where jazz flows nightly.
There are plenty of rooftop patios to take in the topography of America’s birth, with none better than Logan Square’s Assembly Rooftop bar, with clear views, local brews and elevated local staples. When Philadelphians new and old are ready to call it a night, they go home full, courtesy of Sonny’s Famous Steaks in Old City. Open until 3 a.m. on weekends, this is as vital as stop as any landmark.