Welcome to PHILADELPHIA, the place that
loves you back! The fifth-largest city in the United States and the second-largest on the
East Coast, Philadelphia is one of the world's most dynamic destinations. In Philadelphia,
you' ll be at the crossroads of big city excitement and hometown hospitality where the
promise of the future meets old world charm. Most famous as the birthplace of American
independence and home of the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia offers a unique variety of
attractions, culture, entertainment and activity that is sure to bring a smile to your
The original capital of the nation, Philadelphia was laid out by William Penn Jr. in 1682,
on a grid system that was to provide the pattern for most American cities. It was
envisaged as a "greene countrie towne", and today, for all its historical and
cultural significance, it still manages to retain a certain quaintness. Just a few blocks
away from the noise, crowds, heat and dust of downtown, shady cobbled alleys stand lined
with red-brick colonial houses, while the peace and quiet of huge Fairmount Park make it
easy to forget you're in a major metropolis.
Settled by Quakers, Philadelphia prospered swiftly on the back of trade and commerce, and
by the 1750s had become the second largest city in the British Empire. Economic power
fueled strong revolutionary feeling, and the city was the capital during the War of
Independence. It also served as the US capital until 1800, while Washington DC was being
built. The Declaration of Independence was written, signed and first publicly read here in
1776, as was the US Constitution ten years later. Philadelphia was also a hotbed of new
ideas in the arts and sciences, as epitomized by the scientist, philosopher, statesman,
inventor and printer Benjamin Franklin.
Philadelphia, which translated from Greek means "City of Brotherly Love", is in
fact one of the most ethnically mixed US cities, with substantial communities of Italians,
Irish, eastern Europeans and Asians living side by side among the majority black
population. Many of the city's black residents are descendants of the migrants who flocked
here after the Civil War when, like Chicago, Philadelphia was seen as a place of tolerance
Philadelphia's strength today is its great energy fueled by history, strong
cultural institutions, and an impressive new downtown convention center grounded in
its many traditional neighborhoods.
Check out Philly!