Philadelphia is one of those cities that doesn’t seem to get much respect, especially from New Yorkers. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I had the pleasure of spending a week there on business in 2017 and found Philly to be a beautiful, vibrant, and interesting city, with lots to see and do.
Of course, given the time available, I only saw a small part of the city. Both my hotel and my customer’s offices were downtown, within 3km of each other, albeit on opposite sides of City Hall.
This kept me in the heart of the business and tourist areas, to be sure.
There is so much history here; Philadelphia (founded 1682) is after all the birthplace of America as we have come to understand it: the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution and ratified it here. Suffice it to say, Philly is old. But it’s also new, and these age differences can create stark contrasts. Philly is also a city of neighbourhoods, each with a distinct look and feel.
Like many older North American cities, the downtown core isn’t just for business, tourists, hospitals, and university students. People actually live downtown, adding a whole new level of vibrance and life to the city.
You can see the life early in the morning before work, or after the business day is done. Then again, I was in an office all day during business hours when I was there… who knows what’s happening on randum Tuesday afternoons in Philly?
Another standout is the outstanding Second Empire-styled City Hall. It sits smack-dab in the middle of everything and there are clear sight lines to it from all over the city. Early (and late) in the day, it gets spectacularly lit up by reflections from the surrounding modern glass office towers.