Quick: what city is this?
Let’s see if any of these clues (ahem!) ring a bell: cheesesteak … soft pretzels … Rocky running up a flight of stairs. If you’re still not sure, here are a few more: Independence Hall … Benjamin Franklin … Elfreth’s Alley … the Liberty Bell.
Of course, we’re in the City of Brotherly Love – beautiful and historic Philadelphia!
Philadelphia has one of the strongest economies in the country, ranking 4th in the nation and 9th among the world. From information technology to biotechnology to tourism, Philadelphia’s economy is as diverse as it is strong. It is home to many Fortune 500 companies as well as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. It’s no wonder that Philadelphia is attracting new residents in large numbers, but toss in an amazing history, gorgeous historic sites, a breathtaking landscape, and so much to see and do it would take months to check them all off a list – and Philadelphia apartments are being snapped up at a rapid pace.
Philadelphia’s monikers include “Cradle of Liberty” and the “Birthplace of America.” American history is everywhere and it’s difficult not to get caught up in it. Dutch settlers arrived to the area in the early 17th century. Swedish settlers arrived around 1638 – a fact that didn’t sit well with the Dutch, who considered the entire Delaware Valley part of the New Netherland colony. After some skirmishes between the two colonies, the English stepped in – they arrived in 1664 and conquered New Netherland. William Penn arrived in 1682 to establish the Pennsylvania colony for England.
Of course, you can’t think of Philadelphia and not think of the American Revolution. The city was the site of the First Continental Congress (before the Revolution), the Second Continental Congress (when the Declaration of Independence was signed), and was the site of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Whispers of revolution started here; important battles were fought here; and men with names like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams helped create a country here.
Just stroll through Independence National Historic Park, which preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Carpenters’ Hall, and you’ll feel the ethereal whispers of history surround you. This important National Historic Landmark is often referred to as “America’s most historic square mile” and Independence Hall, built in 1732, is a World Heritage Site.
The Free Quaker Meetinghouse is also located in the park; it was built in 1783. Although they were pacifists and they knew they would be “read out of meeting” (expelled from the Quaker community) for their involvement, a group of Quakers decided they had to help the cause of the Revolution – it was too great to ignore. That group of 200 brave Quakers built this meetinghouse, calling themselves “Free Quakers.” The meetinghouse is now a museum – visit and you’ll see two of the original benches, an original window, and Betsy Ross’ 5-pointed star tissue pattern she used when making the first American flag.
Another must-visit in Philadelphia is Elfreth’s Alley – the oldest residential street in the nation. It dates back to 1702 and consists of 32 houses built between the 1720s and 1830s. This National Historic Landmark District is fascinating – stroll the short cobblestone street and you’ll feel transported back to the 18th century. Fete Day, held every June since the 1930s, is a terrific event with home tours, music, games, colonial crafts, demonstrations, barbecue, and other attractions. Residents also offer tours to the public during December’s “Deck the Alley” event.
The Elfreth’s Alley Museum is open year-round and offers guided tours. Elfreth’s Alley is named for Jeremiah Elfreth, a blacksmith who lived here 300 years ago. The Mantua Maker’s Museum House, built around 1762, is open to the public and is maintained by the Elfreth’s Alley Association. (If you are wondering what a mantua maker makes … a mantua is a type of cloak or long coat a lady would wear over her dress and petticoat – a very popular clothing item in the 18th century.) The last house on Bladen’s Court has a spinning balcony – a balcony where a lady could set her spinning wheel on nice days.
If that isn’t enough to keep you busy, Philadelphia is home to historic sites that include the homes of Betsy Ross and Edgar Allen Poe; science museums such as the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; art museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art (yes, those are Rocky’s steps), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Rodin Museum; restaurants, shops, the Philadelphia Zoo, professional sports teams (Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and the 76ers!) and famous theaters such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Walnut Street Theatre (the country’s oldest theater).
And, finally, Philadelphia is home to some of the nation’s best universities and colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Drexel University, Temple University, La Salle University, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Moore College of Art and Design, and Philadelphia University.
Are you ready to find your place in the City of Brotherly Love? Find your apartment for rent in Philadelphia now and start enjoying everything this historic city has to offer!