This city tends to fly under the radar when it comes to headline attractions in the U.S but there’s a lot to love about the “City of Brotherly Love.” The architecture is stunning, there’s a tonne of history to discover, there’s some brilliant restaurants, emerging hipster districts and, of course, the Rocky Steps. What’s more – there’s a down to earth vibe and it’s more affordable than other East Coast spots. All this means – we feel it’s an underrated city and one we love exploring on The Coyote Trip and it’s a great part of the East Coast Adventure, Coast to Coast tour and the Full Coyote.
The city has been inhabited since about 8,000 B.C by various Native American tribes including the Lenape. It was not until 1682 that the city was established following William Penn’s peace treaty with Lenape leader, Tamenend. Penn was a Quaker pacifist who had been granted a charter by the Charles II to set up a colony in Pennsylvania. It was the centre of the first ever protest against slavery in the New World. This came about due to the arrival of hundreds of slaves in 1684 which went against the values of the Quakers and led to the 1688 Germantown Petition against slavery.
The colony continued to prosper as the need for shipbuilding increased and Benjamin Franklin set up home in the city. In 1751- the state ordered a large bell inscribed with a message of liberty which is known today as The Liberty Bell and is visited on The Coyote Trip. Philadelphia continue to be a hotbed of independence agitation sparked, not least, by local resident, Thomas Paine, who called for independence. By 1776- the Founding Fathers read the Declaration Independence in the State House Yard. After the revolutionary war- the city became the capital for a short time and was it’s biggest city with almost 45,000 residents. It was also the location for the writing of the U.S constitution.
150 years after it’s first protest- the American Anti-Slavery Society’s HQ had grown to 250,000 members and rallied around The Liberty Bell and its message of freedom for all. It then played a key role in supplying the Union forces during the Civil War. It’s role as a provider continued in WW1 as its shipbuilding industries helped the allies. However, after a period of success- the city was adversely affected by the Spanish flu with the pandemic claiming thousands upon thousands of local lives.
The city suffered after WWII following the decline of shipbuilding as a major industry and the population decreased especially in the city centre. Poverty and violence became more common-place in the 70s and 80s. However, the city is bouncing back with an extra spring in its step with various new developments springing up. Just like one its most famous sons- Rocky- the city keeps coming back and punching above its weight! Most notably, in 2018, when the city team- The Eagles- won the Super Bowl.
Rocky Steps- It may be a Philadelphia cliché but running up the Rocky steps and mimicking the star of the show is an inspirational way to get your day going!
Liberty Bell- This symbol of America is infused with the nation’s proud traditions and is a place to feel America’s soul!
Fishtown- This is one of The Coyote Trip’s favourite places – the hipster district has a whole load of fun bars, boutiques and coffee shops and well worth checking out for a sense of the emerging Philly.
Check out Reading Market- this hosts a wonderful array of foodie products, drinks and some really delicious sweet treats!
- Philly is home to America’s first ever newspaper- The Philadelphia packet published in 1784.
- It’s a really arty city with 2,000 outdoor murals and the largest collection of sculptures outside of Paris.
- Philly was the first city to guarantee religious freedom to immigrants.
- It is said to the most haunted city in America with the highest density of haunted houses… so watch out for strange noises at night!
- Take advantage of the Phlash- for just $5 a day you can jump on and off the bus that takes you to all the major historical sites!
- There’s a whole load of emerging craft breweries in the city- you can tour some of these such as Yards or Sly Fox or check out some of the locally-made spirits at a range of great cocktail bars.
- Check out the blue signs- these signs help to explain some of the whole range of historical features in the city- reading these will help you really understand the city you are walking in!
- If you are going to spend time in Philly- you have to get the Philly cheese steak- make sure you pick a bona fide classic spot such as Geno’s or Joe’s Steak and Soda.
Big Cities Destinations