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Philadelphia: More than cheesesteak

Maria G. Yates  May 03, 2016

When I think of Philadelphia two things come to mind: Rocky Balboa and Philly cheesesteak.

I’ve only been to Philadelphia once. Naturally, I climbed the “Rocky steps,” reached the top and did my best Rocky victory dance. And of course, I had a Philly cheesesteak - with provolone cheese.

There’s much more to Philly though, and with all the major events happening this year, its exciting food scene (not that cheesesteak isn’t exciting on its own), the city’s lively entertainment and arts scene, it’s high time I plan a return visit.

Philadelphia is hosting the Democratic National Convention from July 25-28, 2016. (The world holds its breath.) This won't get me to Philly, but the following reasons have me thinking it's time for a visit:

Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change (through May 9)

photo courtesy of

This display explores Pablo Picasso’s work between 1912 and 1924, highlighting the years during World War 1, when the artist began to alternate between cubist and classical modes in his art. It’s a Barnes Foundation exhibit, with some 50 works by Picasso, along with other canvasses by his contemporaries, including Henri Matisse and Amadeo Modigliani.

The Science Behind Pixar (through September 5)

photo courtesy of The Franklin Institute

On display at The Franklin Institute, 40 interactive exhibits guide film fans of all ages through the production process, demonstrating how science and technology turn ideas into award-winning films. Selfie alert: Human-size recreations of favorite characters include Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley.

The Golden Age of King Midas (through November 27)

photo courtesy of Penn Museum

Making its world premiere at the Penn Museum, this exhibit shows off treasures of rare art and artifacts from the Republic of Turkey which were excavated at the ancient city of Gordion, where the real King Midas lived. On display are items found in his father’s tomb.

Creative Africa (May 14-September 25)

photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's, Ruth and Rayomd G. Pereleman Building, the centerpiece of this exhibit is: Look Again, Contemporary Perspectives on African Art. It draws from the Penn Museum's collection and spans 400 years, reflecting the diversity among African cultures.

Dinosaurs Unearthed (June 25-January 16)

photo courtesy of The Academy of Natural Sciences

A dozen moving, roaring, life-size dinosaurs invade The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. This multisensory exhibit recreates animatronic versions of the legendary beasts. Budding paleontologists can dig for relics and control dinosaurs’ movements. They can also hop on the special weight scale to find out how many of them it would take to weigh as much as a T-Rex.

Philly Food Praise

photo courtesy of

Did you know there are over 300 bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) eateries in Philly? Well, there are, along with plenty of street food and outdoor seating. The Washington Post, in 2015, named Philadelphia as one of US’s 10 best food cities and Bon Appetit declared Philly has the best pizza in the entire country (I’m going already!)

Philly Outdoors

photo courtesy of

Once over-looked patches of land are being transformed into fun spaces, where locals and visitors are happily utilizing them as lively urban parks (Dilworth Park), re-imagined recreational landscapes (Spruce Street Harbor Park) and pop-up gardens (PHS Pop Up Gardens). These spaces, once inactive and forlorn, now provide a festive sense of community pride.

Historic Philadelphia Campaign Launch

photo courtesy of

Launching in May, 2016, visitors are invited to explore Historic Philadelphia, an area that spans from the Delaware River to 7thStreet and from Vine to Lombard streets. This entirely walkable area boasts serious historical credits thanks to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House and tons of other sites significant to early American history. It’s also here where you’ll find trendy restaurants, beer gardens, art galleries and boutiques. Check out for more details.

photo courtesy of

Well, have I got you thinking, Philly? Rocky awaits...

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Philadelphia: More than cheesesteak
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