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12 Steps Planet: Philadelphia
It’s the undiscovered jewel of the American North-East, a city steeped in history, with a personality distinctly its own.
Eamonn Seoige, 19 Apr 2012
What is the transport like?
There are numerous ways to get around old Philly. The subway network is over 100 years old, making it the third oldest in America. The downtown and surrounding suburbia are serviced by a regional train network, trolleybus and high-speed rail transit. Philadelphia is also a key destination for Amtrak’s nationwide rail service. The international airport is one of America’s busiest and a number of interstate highways connect the downtown with the surrounding states. If you’re looking to move on, head to the Filbert Street Greyhound terminal and jump on a coach to just about anywhere!
What’s the food like?
Philadelphia has made a significant imprint on the culinary world over the past hundred years. The city’s ethnic mix contributed to the creation of a number of iconic American foods. The Philly cheesesteak is probably its best known offering, a sandwich consisting of roast beef and melted cheese on a soft roll. The sumptuous, meat and vegetable, hoagie sandwich is another classic, that has its origins in the Italian community of the city’s Hog island shipyard at the turn of the century. The Pennsylvanian Dutch first brought the soft pretzel to the Quaker City and today it’s very much a Philadelphian institution. Possibly the most far-reaching innovation to come out of Philly is soda pop, first popularised in the city over 200 years ago. Local scientists Dr. Philip Physick and John Hart invented carbonated water at the beginning of the 19th century. The rest is history...
What’s the nightlife like?
There’s much to do after dark by the banks of the Delaware River! The city’s compact so it’s easy to get from place to place. Jazz fans will head for the Northern Liberties district, music bars are largely congested in the city’s southern fringe, while the old city is the place to go for food and a late night boogie. Philadelphia has a rich musical tradition and some of the venues first made famous in bygone days are still in operation. From opera and orchestral music to jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane, Philly has made a significant contribution to the cultural landscape of America. The celebrated Academy of Music is home to the city’s opera company; orchestra buffs should seek out a ticket for a recital at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. World Café Live is an acclaimed live music venue hosting some of the world’s greatest names, while Warmdaddy’s is the home of great jazz in the city for almost 50 years. The city has a calendar full of fantastic festivals from the Philadelphia Folk Festival to the zany New Year’s Day Mummers Festival.