traditions and sustainability
Where History Was Made Among the many sights to take in when visiting the first capital of the United States: the Liberty Bell Center which houses the American Revolution’s defining symbol, the site of the meetings of Congress and the Constitutional Convention at the City Tavern in the Old City as well as Carpenters Hall. In Declaration House, visitors can see where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and Independence Hall where it was eventually signed.
Places to Visit A culturally rich and diverse city, Philadelphia is home to museums covering everything from natural sciences to African American history, science, archaeology and anthropology. Children will enjoy a day at the "Please Touch" Museum and the "Once upon a Nation" tour. Explore Christ Church Burial Ground. Dating from 1695, the cemetery is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin. For a sightseeing tour with a difference, take a cruise on the Delaware River. The city is also home to several wonderful gardens and arboretums. Also, the Battleship New Jersey and Valley Forge National Historic Park, site of the battle of 1777/78.
The Arts In 1805 an art collector, believing Philadelphia the best place for the encouragement of artistic taste, offered the city numerous paintings, sculptures, engravings and other art work. To accept the gift the city formed the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was founded in 1876 to maintain the art exhibits from the Centennial Exposition. It holds over 225,000 pieces of artwork including work by van Gogh, Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp. Nearby is the Rodin Museum, founded in 1929, with the largest collection of Rodin works outside of France.
Philadelphia has more Public Art than any other American City
The inclusion of decorative art in city structures goes back to the 19th century. In 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association became the first private association in the United States dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. With more murals than any other U.S. city. The Mural Arts Program has funded over 2,300 murals created by professional, staff and volunteer artists.
Culture Philadelphia’s culture goes back to 1682 and the city’s founding by William Penn. Originally inhabited by the Lenape, Philadelphia was envisioned as a place where people could live without fear of persecution because of their religion; as a result, many came to find refuge here. As Philadelphia grew into a major political and economic center, many religious and ethnic groups have contributed to the arts, music, television, architecture and food.
Fairs & Events The Mummers Parade’s first modern version was held in 1901 on New Year’s Day. Since 1993 every summer around the 4th of July, Welcome America event celebrates Philadelphia as the nation's birthplace. Three major annual shows in Philadelphia are the Flower Show, the Philadelphia International Auto Show and the Philadelphia Antiques Show. Festivals include the Folk Festival and Unity Day an event celebrating unity between people and families. Pride Fest events promote gay and lesbian rights. In 2015, the World Meeting of Families and, in 2016 Philadelphia will host the Democratic National Convention.
Food The city’s culinary tradition was shaped by several ethnic groups. Cheese stake and soft pretzels are well known icons of the city. The 1970s saw a restaurant renaissance that is continuing into the 21st century.
Other Philadelphia food traditions include:
Philadelphia Pepper Pot a soup of tripe, meat, vegetables from the Revolutionary War, was Snapper Soup a thick brown turtle soup served with sherry.
Markets Towards the end of the 19th century the large number of Italian immigrants in South Philadelphia led to the creation of the Italian Market on 9th Street with numerous types of food vendors along and other shops. The Reading Terminal Market is popular with visitors.
Franks for the Memories Dozens of places sell hot dogs in Philadelphia but nostalgia runs deep for old-time shops like the Old Original Levis Hot Dog and Sandwich Shop, which are celebrated during Month of the Dog and National Hot Dog Month in Philly.
Music The city is home to a vibrant and well-documented musical heritage, stretching back to colonial times. Innovations in classical, opera, R&B, jazz and soul have earned Philadelphia national and international renown. A several population has also given it a reputation for styles ranging from dance hall to Irish traditional music, as well as classical and folk music.
Cultural Events like Colonial and Antebellum Music hosted by Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Department are held at various historic house museums, easily reached via public transit. Laurel Hill Mansion is one of six Fairmount Park mansions open for public tours and programs. The historic mansion was restored in 1976 by the Women for Greater Philadelphia; the non-profit organization’s volunteers have been active in preserving and maintaining Laurel Hill Mansion ever since, while also presenting public programs that teach people about Philadelphia’s rich cultural history.
The city has played an equally prominent role in developing popular music. In the early years of rock and roll, a number of South Philadelphia-born popular vocalists made Philadelphia and popular music virtually synonymous. This led to the airing of the popular rock and roll dance show American Bandstand, from Philadelphia in front of a national audience.
Performing Arts The city's most senior venue is the famed Academy of Music. Established in 1857, it is the longest continuously operating opera house in the United States and is home to many internationally recognized performance ensembles.
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home of the internationally renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, opened in 2001. In addition, the Tower Theatre just outside of Philadelphia serves as a destination for many top touring acts.
Planning Your Trip assumes uniquely local dimensions wherever you go; the activities that you, the visitor – local, or global – select and irrespective of the length of your stay, are unique of the community you are visiting and rooted into the local economy, history and traditions.
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Sustainability Communities are confronting new and complex challenges to achieve safe and affordable water supplies, collect and treat waste water and storm water , flood protection, rivers and streams fit for swimming and fishing. There are also challenges with aging infrastructure and the impact of climate change on human health and ecosystems. Meeting these challenges requires new infrastructure investments and alternative approaches to urban water resources.
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