30 Things Philadelphians LoveRecently named the most underrated US city, Philly has a surprise around every corner. But Philadelphians already knew that.
1. Arguing Over The Best Place To Get A Cheesesteak
Source: Visit Philly Facebook pagePat’s and Geno’s are the most well-known places to get a cheesesteak in the city, but that doesn’t mean they’re the local favorites. If you want an authentic steak, try Tony Luke’s, Steve’s Prince Of Steaks, or Jim’s. Some prefer them whiz “wit”, the rest of us like them whiz "witout”. Either will do, but just say no to the provolone.
2. And Rolling Their Eyes At Cheesesteak Posers
Source: Flickr user jk5854A “real” Philly Cheesesteak, you say? Quit your lying. I don’t know what that is, but just because it’s got some cheese and some steak doesn’t make it a cheesesteak. The common misconception is that it’s the quality of the meat or the way you melt the cheese. The reality is it’s all about the roll. No matter what promises those imitators will make, you can’t find a Philly roll outside of the Philadelphia area. Period.
3. Bleeding For Their Sports Teams
Source: Visit Philly Facebook PagePhiladelphia boasts eight professional sports teams including the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and 76’ers and the fans are as proud as they come. But Philly sports fans get a pretty bad rap for being rowdy and unsportsmanlike. Good grief, people! Santa Claus got snowballs thrown at him in 1968. It’s time to find a new headline. Philadelphia sports fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in the country, consistently selling out games and rallying together, win or lose.
4. The Real King, Rocky Balboa
Source: Flickr user Melody Joy KramerIf the US had royalty, Rocky Balboa would be Philadelphia’s king. The legendary Italian Stallion not only represents the old blue collar aspect of the city, but reminds us that we’re all underdogs. And yes, we really do run up the art museum steps like he did in the movie. Don’t laugh. Not only is it not nearly as easy as it looks, but the tourists do it more than we do!
5. Going Down To The “Real” Jersey Shore
Source: Flickr user Foresaken FotosLet me make this very clear. That Jersey Shore on TV is not the Jersey Shore that Philadelphians know and love. The Jersey Shore you see on TV is in North Jersey and is overrun with New Yorkers. Ocean City, Wildwood, Cape May—these are the Jersey Shores we know and love. They’ve got beaches, boardwalks, skee ball, Manco & Manco’s pizza… but not a Snooki to be found.
6. Doing The Mummers Strut
Source: Philadelphia Mummers Parade Facebook pageDating back to the 1800’s, The Mummers Parade is a much beloved Philadelphia tradition. Every New Year’s Day the Mummers strut down Broad Street for a day of the best music of the city, and go heavy on the costumes and pageantry. In Philly, there’s no other way to start off the year.
7. That Crazy Philly Phanatic
Source: Philadelphia Phillies Facebook pageWhat is the Phanatic exactly? Part alien, part ant-eater? The freakish love child of Kermit The Frog and Big Bird? And what’s with the dance moves? We don’t know. And we don’t care because the Philly Phanatic is, hands down, the best sports mascot in the entire country.
8. Calling Dibs On ‘Merica
Source: Visit Philly Facebook pageThe signing of the Constitution, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’ house, William Penn... Philadelphia is rich with a history that reminds you at every turn that everything red, white, and blue started right here. In other words, you know that freedom that you woke up with today? You’re welcome. With Love, Philadelphia.
9. Being The Underdog City
Source: Visit Philly Facebook pagePhilly is the second largest east coast city, fifth largest in the country. It’s got great food, an active night life, an exorbitant amount of culture. But as the late, great Rodney Dangerfield would say, “We get no respect!” That’s okay, though. We’re used to it and don’t mind being the playing the underdogs. We’re Rocky fans, remember?
10. ALL The Soft Pretzels
Source: Miller’s Twist Facebook pageSoft pretzels are another food staple in Philadelphia, which is why you never have to go far to find one. Walking through the aisles of the stadiums, riding around on food trucks, or standing on the curb with vendors, soft pretzels are everywhere. If you want the best of the best, take a trip to the Reading Terminal and visit Miller’s Twist for an Amish handmade pretzel that will make you forget anything you’ve ever tried at an Auntie Anne’s.
11. Beating The Cowboys
Source: Philadelphia Eagles Facebook pageIt’s Sunday afternoon. There’s a fresh fall chill in the air and the smell of simmering chili wafts through your house as you sit with a cold beer in your hand, watching the Eagles decimate the Dallas “Cowgirls.” Suddenly, all of your problems drift away and you couldn’t care less about that time DeSean Jackson spiked the ball at the one yard line, because today is a great day to be a Philadelphian.
12. The Microcosm Of Reading Terminal
Source: Flickr user thisisbossiThere’s no better place to taste test your way through the flavors of Philly than the hugely popular Reading Terminal. Located at 12th and Arch sits the enclosed public market with more than 100 merchants selling everything from cheesesteaks and ice cream to fresh flowers and clothing.
13. Being The Birthplace Of The Fresh Prince
Source: Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Facebook pageWill Smith may have gone on to sing about Miami and save the world from alien invasion, but he’ll always be the Fresh Prince to us. “In West Philadelphia born and raised…” Come on, I dare you not to sing the rest.
14. The Sandwiches Of The Non-Cheesesteak Variety
Source: Visit Philly Facebook pageWhen it comes to sandwiches, Philly’s got the market cornered. The cheesesteaks are a given, but the hoagies (not a sub, not a hero—a hoagie) and roast pork sandwiches are nothing short of incredible, too. One bite and you’ll be hooked.
15. Admiring Murals And Love Letters
Source: Flickr user BobFor more than 25 years, the landscape of Philadelphia has benefited from the city’s successful Mural Arts Program, painting the town in more than 3,000 unique and brightly colored murals. Most recently, the city unveiled the Love Letter campaign, a public arts project that created 50 rooftop love letter style murals along the Market Street corridor. They’re so popular the city offers guided tours so you won’t miss a single one.
16. Jimmies, Not Sprinkles
Source: Rita’s Italian Ice Facebook pageSome people might refer to those small pieces candy heaven on your ice cream as “sprinkles,” but in Philadelphia they’re “jimmies.” The unconfirmed origin dates back to an employee of the Just Born candy company who made them in the 1930s named... Jimmy. Regardless of how the name officially started, it stuck.
17. Nomming On Tastykakes
Source: Tastykake Facebook pageSince 1914 the Philadelphia-based Tasty Baking Company has been sweetening the city and the surrounding areas with the most delicious snack cakes imaginable. From the Butterscotch Krimpets to the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes—if you’ve never experienced the pure, unadulterated joy of a Tastykake, then you have yet to really live.
18. Remembering Harry Kalas
Source: Harry Kalas Statue Facebook pageThe most beloved sports announcer in all of Philadelphia, Harry Kalas was the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1971 until 2009. Players wore black HK patches on their 2010 uniforms to honor his passing and in 2011 a bronze statue of his likeness was put at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark to commemorate the announcer that everyone considered an honorary member of the team. “Swing and a line drive. This ball is…. Outtahere!”
19. The Arts. Yeah, I Said It.
Source: Flickr user BrookeArt, music, theater—Philadelphia has it all and more. The Philadelphia Museum is among the largest art museums in the country. Music lovers have their choice between the Academy of Music or the modern pop scene at the Wachovia Center, Electric Factory, or the North Star Bar. Theater geeks have the on and off Broadway selections that frequent Broad Street, otherwise known as the “Avenue of the Arts.”
20. Shopping At Wawa Since 1890
Source: Flickr user Adam GerardIt may seem silly to put a chain of convenience stores on a list of things Philadelphians love, but there’s just no way such a list could be complete without including Wawa. The first store opened just outside city limits in 1890. Today, with over 570 stores across five states, Wawa sells more than 195 million cups of freshly brewed coffee to its loyal customers, and in 2011 was ranked as the 47th largest private company by Forbes magazine.
21. Beating The Heat With Some Water Ice
Source: Rita’s Italian Ice Facebook pageIn Philly, the Italian ice is called “water ice” and is colloquially pronounced “wooder ice.” And when it comes to the water ice in Philly, no one is quite as popular as Rita’s. What started in 1987 as one store in a suburb of the city has grown to over 500 locations in 20 states and in 2013, opened their first international franchise in China! Locals line up all summer long for their favorite summertime treat, but especially on the first day of spring when you’ll get a free cup.
22. Wacky And Bizarre Museums
Source: Flickr user John DongesIf weird and unusual is your thing, Philadelphia is the place for you. The Mütter Museum is a fascinating medical museum that contains oddities such as the conjoined liver of famous Siamese Twins Chang and Eng Bunker. The Insectarium sells crunchy critters like chocolate covered mealworms to hungry visitors. For even more offbeat fun, you can see the plethora of feathers and sequins at the Mummers Museum, walk through all the chambers of a simulated human heart in the Franklin Institute, or take a drive to Ambler to check out the world’s only museum of Three Stooges memorabilia, The Stoogeum.
23. Dodging A Parking Ticket
Source: Flickr user Michael CramerThe Philadelphia Parking Authority is no joke. They’re so well-known for being on top of writing tickets, they were the original focus for the A&E reality show “Parking Wars.” So when you’re running full speed back to your meter that you know timed out over 15 minutes ago and you don’t have a ticket sitting on your windshield, it’s enough to make the “Rocky” theme start playing in your head.
24. The Local Slice Of Italy
Source: Flickr user Irina SouikiThe city’s Italian heritage still runs strong at this outdoor market, the oldest and largest in the country. Otherwise known as the South 9th Street Curb Market, the Italian Market is a string of produce stands, grocery and butcher shops, bakeries, and more.
25. The Father Of All Malls
Source: Flickr user Montgomery County PlanningSure, there are plenty of malls within city limits, but nothing that can quite compare to the King Of Prussia mall. You’ll spend your whole day wandering through this maze of a mall with more than 400 retailers, three food courts, and more than 20 mid-range restaurants, making it the biggest mall on the East coast. And if you think the mall is big, wait until you try to get out of the parking lot.
26. Taking Neighborhoods Very Seriously
Source: Flickr user Lucius KwokEven though there’s really not that much of a difference on paper, don’t ever call Fishtown “Kensington” or refer to Mayfair as “Tacony.” Philadelphians are fiercely loyal to their neighborhoods and won’t take kindly to any trash talk, even if they know their area isn’t perfect.
27. Being Smarter Than Everyone
Source: University of Pennsylvania Facebook pagePhiladelphia is literally one campus after another. The area is home to 80 colleges and universities and more than 300,000 students. Among the most popular colleges (that award over 55,000 degrees annually) are the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Drexel University.
28. Cheering For The Roots
Source: The Roots Facebook pageThey might be known as the show band on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon now, but The Roots have been loved by Philadelphians for decades. All members of the band are Philadelphia natives and proud, often sporting gear to represent the city. Philadelphians couldn’t be happier to get to see them perform every weeknight now on late night television.
29. Munching On Chickie’s & Pete’s
Source: Chickie’s & Pete’s Facebook pageThe now famous bar that started off as a small Robbins Ave taproom in 1977 now has multiple locations throughout the area and is one of the most popular bar destinations in Philadelphia. ESPN named Chickie’s the best sports bar in the Northeast United States, but what it’s really known for locally is the crab fries.
30. Showing That Brotherly Love
Source: Visit Philly Facebook pageThat’s right. Despite what you’ve heard, Philadelphia really is the City Of Brotherly Love. And we’ll slip the jab to anyone who says otherwise. Just kidding. But seriously, stop by Love Park almost any time of the day to see someone getting engaged or holding hands at the fountain and see firsthand that the city really is full of love.
Zip Codes and Neighborhoods in Philadelphia, PA
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