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Why travellers love Philadelphia

Not only does Philadelphia have a rich history connecting it to the founding of the USA, it also has a strong love for good burgers. So it’s no surprise that according to international travellers, Philly is one of the most popular travel destinations in 2018. *

History

The fully restored Assembly Room

The fully restored Assembly Room

Philadelphia played a significant role during the American Revolutionary War, providing troops, weapons and resources where needed. It was also the location where the Declaration of Indepence and the USA’s Constitution were drawn up, as well as being the site for the first convening of the Continental Congress.

From 1790 until 1800, Philadelphia was the capital of the newly-formed United States of America. These defining events are memorialised in both the city’s cultural institutions and throughout the city centre, where regular walking tours are conducted by passionate local historians. History buffs will love La Reserve Bed and Breakfast – a historical Philadelphia townhouse, decorated in the style of the early-1800s.

Monuments

The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell

Get a rundown of the first few centuries of the USA’s history without ever having to step outside Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park. The park’s historic monuments include the Independence Hall (where the USA’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written and signed into law), the Liberty Bell (famously rung to mark the reading of the Declaration of Independence) and the country’s first National Bank.

Travellers who enjoy their history with an extra dose of imagination will appreciate a different kind of monument – the City Tavern. The recreated 18th-century tavern was a favourite among the USA’s early lawmakers and today houses one of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants. Stay less than a minute’s walk from the Independence National Historical Park at the stylish Apple Hostels of Philadelphia.

Food

A Philly cheesesteak sandwich

A Philly cheesesteak sandwich

The famous Philly cheesesteak is a must-eat on any trip to the city and thankfully there are plenty of options for travellers who need a little more variation in their diet than grilled beef and melted cheese can provide. For over a century, Philadelphia's Italian community has helped shape the city’s cuisine; head to the Italian Market in the Bella Vista neighbourhood to encounter visitors from all over Pennsylvania state.

In the outdoor section of the market you can find fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood and – in the winter months – chestnuts roasted over burn barrels. Meanwhile, inside you can discover bistros, delis, speciality butchers and some of the best coffee in Philadelphia. For a rooftop view of the city and in particular the Liberty Bell, the cocktail bar at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is a wonderful place to unwind. Be sure to check out the hotel’s restaurant – Red Owl Tavern – which has a brunch worth travelling for.

Restaurants

Philadelphia in the spring

Philadelphia in the spring

Speaking of superior dining experiences: Philadelphia has a vibrant culinary scene, bolstered by the city’s celebrity chefs and food-loving locals. Jose Garces (from TV’s Iron Chef) is credited with bringing authentic tapas to Philadelphia, while fellow Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto creates exquisite Japanese-American fusion food at Morimoto.

Over at Laurel and the adjacent wine bar ITV, Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi has paired up with sommelier Heather Thompson to create an à la carte menu that is in high demand. Recent additions to Philadelphia’s restaurants include inventive ramen and dumplings at Cheu Fishtown, and colourful, seasonal platters at Helm. Stay in the heart of the foodie part of town at the Lokal Hotel.

** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the activities most endorsed in Philadelphia by international travellers. This is part of a series looking at the top 10 trending destinations for 2018.