The only American city on National Geographic’s 2020 ‘Best Trips’ list, Philadelphia is a sought-after destination for international travellers and global meetings alike. With the world almost under a physical lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, here are some at-home, do-it-yourself experiences that will help you enjoy Philadelphia wherever you are.
The collections and artifacts that fill Philadelphia’s museums are certainly worth seeing in person, however, many local institutions offer online tours and tools to spotlight key parts of the experience. Eastern State Penitentiary – once the world’s most famous and most expensive prison – offers an online tour that highlights several cell blocks, the baseball field, and other locations throughout the historic site.
The Barnes Foundation allows virtual visitors to navigate one of the greatest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modernist paintings based on visual relationships, such as lines, light, space, and more, while the Independence Seaport Museum lets those with an interest in maritime history browse their expansive collection of artifacts, historic ships, and more.
In 2019, the Penn Museum debuted re-imagined galleries featuring never-before-exhibited artifacts. The Penn Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Academy of Natural Sciences regularly share objects from their collections on their social media channels. The Museum of the American Revolution in Old City has a robust online tour, which navigates throughout the museum’s immersive galleries and incredible replicas via 360-degree, high-resolution images.
A virtual tour of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens — one of the city’s must-see attractions and the largest work to date by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar — is available online as well.
Whether it’s for a workout routine or just lounging around the house, be sure to round out your playlist with music by some of the most iconic performers from the Philadelphia region. Will Smith, The Roots, and Boyz II Men are some of the city’s essential hip-hop artists, with Meek Mill, Lil Uzi Vert, and Freeway offering more modern hip-hop to the mix.
Jazz fans can find solace in John Coltrane albums, while rock and roll fans can jam out to music by Hall and Oates, The War on Drugs, or Kurt Vile. There are also punk and alt-rock artists such as The Wonder Years, Tigers Jaw, and The Menzingers.
Those with a more classical taste can stream several albums by the Philadelphia Orchestra or view a recent performance at Verizon Hall online. Additionally,
Opera Philadelphia provides an on-demand audio recording of a 2016 performance of Breaking the Waves on their website. Other iconic Philadelphia artists include female vocalists Patti LaBelle and Marian Anderson.
Of course, no Philadelphia playlist is complete without the timeless anthem to Rocky, Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now.”
You can get your bearings for the City of Brotherly Love by watching one of the many films or television shows in which the city has played a supporting role over
the years. The Rocky and Creed series is an absolute must-watch, as Sylvester Stallone plays the titular boxer who perfectly personifies the underdog, never-give-up
spirit of Philadelphia, all while training his way through Philadelphia’s Italian Market and eventually up the 72 eastern steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Director M. Night Shyamalan has a tendency for basing his films in Philadelphia, including Unbreakable, Split, and Glass, as well as the 1999 thriller, The Sixth Sense.
Several scenes in the action adventure film National Treasure feature some of Philadelphia’s most iconic attractions — such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Reading Terminal Market — and the comedic Trading Places shines the Hollywood light on Rittenhouse Square. More recent movies include the dramatic Silver Linings Playbook and the DC comic superhero film, Shazam!
While Philadelphia only has a brief appearance at the beginning of Will Smith’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the city has more extended television roles in AMC’s Dispatches from Elsewhere, Apple TV’s The Servant, and the upcoming season of Queer Eye on Netflix.
The city’s food scene shines on the small screen, too, appearing in a number of culinary shows such as Chef’s Table on Netflix and No Passport Required on PBS.
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