Yesterday I told you about my neighborhood. Let me tell you more about Philadelphia which is known as the city of neighborhoods. A major Industrial Town in the 19th Century, most neighborhoods were settled by the large number of Irish, Polish, Italian and Jewish immigrants who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were joined by large numbers of African Americans who migrated from the Southern States at the same time. Today many ethnic enclaves still survive, now interspersed with the large numbers of of new immigrant populations that arrived from Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Russian and Mexico over the last 25 years. There is a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, grocery stores and large supermarkets in most areas of the city. Numerous organizations exist that help various groups acclimate to the American Culture while preserving their own unique customs and traditions. At times there have been conflict between groups, but people get along surprisingly well for the amount of diversity that exists here.
Downtown has experienced a Renaissance over the past 10 years. It is home to a large residential population (real estate has skyrocketed) as well as Businesses, Retail and Boutique Shopping. Restaurants and outdoor Cafes abound. There are 4 major Theaters, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet. There is a vibrant Art Community with First Friday exhibits in Old City. There are many outdoor activities along the waterfront which forms the eastern border of Downtown. China Town is a fun place to stroll and a great place for Dinner. Public Transportation around Downtown is quick and easy, but the area is quite walkable.
The Historic area includes Independence Hall, the Constitution Center with the Liberty Bell, and Betsy Ross House. A Carriage Ride around Society Hill to view the Colonial Architecture is great fun, but so is a walking tour on your own. There are parks on both the east and west sides of Downtown for resting and people watching. A stroll down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum is scenic and a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Family Fun includes The Philadelphia Zoo, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences and the fabulous Please Touch Museum. Hotel Rooms are plentiful and moderately priced compared to other large cities.
Philadelphia is a great weekend get away - especially in the Spring & Fall.Downtown is both safe and easy to navigate. Yes, I know that we have been on the News as having a high crime rate. We are a big city and we have big city problems. Certainly there are high crime neighborhoods, but Center City is not one of them. Nothing more than normal safety precautions are needed. Come and see for yourself!