Hmm...Blue Collar Philly Sure Looks Pretty Luxurious to Us
Traditionally, Philadelphia has been regarded as a blue-collar city filled with blue-collar people who like to drink beer, eat cheesesteaks, and, most infamously, throw snowballs at Santa Claus. When you imagine Philly, you think history, and maybe the fact that you can show up to dinner with a bottle of tequila and be taken seriously, but fine dining? Luxury? Not so much.
But lo and behold, smack dab in the middle of our Nation's Capital and the Big Apple, Philly has quietly spent the last decade undoing that image, replacing parts of its rogue reputation with pockets of sophistication and luxury. For example, did you know that Philly was awarded the "Best Hotel Scene of 2013" by our sis HotelChatter? Center City and Rittenhouse Square have become neighborhoods that can compete with almost any city in terms of its upscale offerings, whether it's a stay at a luxury hotel with a killer view, a fine dining experience at one of Stephen Starr's restaurants, or some happy-hour oysters at the impressive new A Bar, shown below.
If one wants to see how well-rounded Philly has become, look no further than the Ben Franklin Parkway, pictured in the cover photo, and its ever-growing art scene. The addition of the somewhat controversial Barnes Museum a few years ago brought a wave of new attention to the city's art scene, and the Art Museum, despite being most known for the "Rocky steps," is right up there with the best in the country in its exhibits and special offerings, such as Art After 5 held on Friday nights.
Don't worry -- Philly still has that renegade feel in both its sports and music scenes and there are certainly still enough cheesesteaks to go around -- but let us be the first to congratulate the city on the way it has spruced itself up. We love what we see, not necessarily because "luxury" means "better," but because it has been able to provide a Jekyll to its Hyde, and do so in a way that feels genuine (look around when you're in Rittenhouse -- it's all locals).
If you haven't seen Philly recently, you're definitely in for a surprise on your next visit.
[Photo: Visit Philly/M. Edlow]