Friday, January 2, 2015

Philadelphia - A City of Phirsts

Chances are good if you had any American History class at any point in your life you know Philadelphia as the place where the Nation came into existence, where its first key documents were penned and where the system of government nations around the world now use was created and introduced.  Philadelphia, without question, is a city of firsts.  

The “City of Brotherly Love” boasts some of these key firsts:

·         The first zoo in the United States
·         The first Medical school and University
·         The first organized Hospital
·         Has the oldest running theater in the United States
·         The first stock exchange and US Mint
·         The first computer in 1946; the computer weighed 27 tons

Every June the nation also celebrates one of Philadelphia’s other famous firsts - Betsy Ross sewed the first American Flag in Philadelphia during the summer of 1776.

Art connoisseurs throughout the country know Philadelphia for its contributions to mural painting and impressionism.  Thomas Eakins is widely regarded as one of the best painters of realism in the 19th Century; he is also renowned for educating some of the areas best.  The “New Hope School” of impressionism brought fame to artists such as Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber and Fern Coppedge.  The “Plein Air” paintings are still some of the best representations of the beauty of Bucks County found today.  Museums in the area are plentiful, including the Barnes Museum (which recently moved from Montgomery County into the City) and the world-famous Philadelphia Museum of Art.  In the suburbs the Brandywine Museum is well-known for its Andrew Wyeth collection and the Michener Museum in Doylestown, Bucks County has found acclaim for its impressionist collection.  The city of Philadelphia boasts close to 2000 outdoor murals and has earned the moniker “mural capital of the U.S.”

Based off of William Penn’s original design, the city’s neighborhoods are mainly walk-able.  Some of the most notable areas include Washington Square, Society Hill, Bella Vista, Queen Village, Logan Square, Rittenhouse Square, Fitler Square, Old City and South Philadelphia.

If you love seeing shows then you can hop on the train and visit the Broadway in just an hour and half. You can also visit The Walnut Street Theater, known as the oldest theater in America. If you love musicals then Kimmel would be the best. Philadelphia is also famous for Fringe Festival and the Philadelphia Film Festival.

The city is great for young families with children. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds in every neighborhood. The Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park and the Franklin Institute along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are known throughout the nation for their unique and fun offerings for children.

Some historical attractions in Philadelphia that are worth mentioning here:

The Liberty Bell is the symbol of freedom in Philadelphia and its ubiquitous crack is still visible and attracts thousands of tourists every year. The bell is hung in the Independence Hall.

The National Constitution Center is another major point of attraction in Philadelphia and is noted for its rich collection of changing and permanent exhibits. And you have special events too.

If you want to see the spot where Benjamin Franklin's house once stood, then head to the site known as Franklin Court. You can see a steel-framed outline of his home, a working post office, print shop and the one that attracts most people - the museum.

In short, Philadelphia is an amazing city going through a major cultural renaissance - an excellent art scene in the south, a converted fisherman's village in the north and very bustling commercial center. The city is abuzz with a rich history, mouthwatering culinary and plenty of physical activities. Affordable urban living attracts people of diverse backgrounds, and the city’s recent tax-abatement programs for new residential construction has generated a renaissance of condominium and luxury suite living.

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