Ever since it was founded by William Penn to serve as the capital of the Pennsylvania Colony, “Philly” has been carving out a uniquely cultured yet bombastic niche among America’s Great Cities.
From the early exploits of Benjamin Franklin (one of the city’s favorite residents) to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the city’s had a front row seat for some of the country’s most exciting political moments and cultural movements.
Through it all, the locals have endured—and thrived—through the ups and downs of living in the nation’s sixth-largest metro area. Known for their local pride and the “small town” feel they bring to their big city, the local Philadelphians are ultimately what make their town so special.
Without the people, you simply wouldn’t have the Brotherly Love.
Together, they’ve created a thriving local economy (with Philadelphia’s being the ninth largest economy in the world) and a distinctive local cultural scene that includes the Rodin Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and so much more.
But any schoolchild knows that a tour of Philadelphia would have to begin with the history …
From Yesteryear’s History to Today’s Politics in Philadelphia
Home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall—just to name a few of the city’s instantly-recognizable landmarks—it should come as no surprise that Philadelphia attracts some 39 million tourists and some $10 Billion in tourism each year.
What might surprise you—however—is that history and politics are still very much alive in the City of Brotherly Love …
After all, numerous government organizations, lobbyists and special interest groups all maintain satellite offices employing thousands of government workers, analysts and advisers—all in the Philadelphia area.
So while you might think to start at Independence National Historical Park or another museum for a dose of Philly’s political history, you might actually find some history in the making in one of the city’s downtown office buildings.
Vibrant Nightlife and Soaring Cultural Experiences
Whether you spend your days basking in America’s proud national history or chasing the modern-day American Dream, Philadelphia offers no shortage of wonderful ways to spend your evenings …
From the Opera Company of Philadelphia to the Pennsylvania Ballet … from the city’s numerous theaters to the almost unexpectedly alluring nightlife of Old City, Philly’s cultural offerings just don’t seem to have any end.
And what better way to follow up a world-class experience at the Ballet than with a delicious cheesesteak—the city’s staple fast food?
Sure, there’s no shortage of world-class cuisine (like the stretch of incredible restaurants on Chestnut Street) but why not celebrate the city’s blue-collar heritage with local favorites like Soft Pretzels and Philadelphia Water Ice?
While you’re at it, why not enjoy your pretzel at the game?
Head Out to the Ballgame
Philadelphia’s sports teams date all the way back to the 1860s, and it’s one of just twelve American cities to participate in all four of the country’s major sports (Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey) with the Eagles, the Phillies, the 76ers and the Flyers respectively.
Also home to a Major League Soccer team (the Philadelphia Union) and even a major rugby league, the local sports scene has a little something for everyone—and with affordable ticket prices as well.
There are even wide-open expanses of beautifully-landscaped parks; the single largest urban park in the whole country, Fairmount Park, which encompasses a massive 9,200 acres.
Still not enough? Then how about the “Philadelphia Big 5,” a set of local colleges that are known for having some of the most competitive college basketball programs in the country. This can be a great thing not just for local sports fans, but for the parents of college-aged kids raised in the area …
Downtown Philly is All Business
While so many focus on the city’s history, some people fail to realize that Philadelphia’s local economy is simply thriving. From the Philadelphia Stock Exchange to a number of Fortune 500 companies including Comcast, Colonial Penn, Sunoco, GlaxoSmithKline and more—the city’s enjoying a stretch of undeniable growth.
With a general focus in Information Technology and the regular service sectors, Philly’s economy offers a diverse range of local opportunities in everything from manufacturing and oil refining to biotechnology and financial services.
It can even be a great place for artists and musicians to find work, with such a thriving local scene centered around events like the New Years’ “Mummer’s Parade” and “First Friday.”
But while Philly’s downtown area might be the perfect place for young professionals to find a job, they’ll likely have a harder time finding the right new home …
Tightest Condo Market in a Decade
Philadelphia’s local economy is definitely running in high gear, but local condo developers just aren’t having the same success.
After all, prime real estate can be hard to come by in such an old metropolis. While Miami’s condo developers can add 10,000 new units in a matter of a few years, Philadelphia struggles to keep up with demand.
As a result, Philadelphia’s condo market is currently tighter than it’s been at any point since 2005.
According to local developers, there’s just six months’ worth of inventory currently on the market with median prices steadily rising—especially in sought-after neighborhoods like Rittenhouse Square and Center City.
One agent famously said that they could have sold 10 Rittenhouse (one of the city’s more appealing new towers) two times over.
At the moment, developers are scrambling to start building new condo communities while simultaneously restarting some of the city’s other, long-dormant condo projects. As long as buyers are paying unprecedented prices of up to $1,000-$1,300 per square foot, the developers will be hard at work to solve the situation …