Philly Places Third on New York Times’ Big List of 2015 Travel Destinations

And we’re tops in America!

Spruce Street Harbor Park | Photo by Matt Stanley

Spruce Street Harbor Park | Photo by Matt Stanley

The New York Times released a ranking of “52 Places to Go in 2015” today and there’s a pleasant surprise that should make you smile from ear-to-ear: Philly is ranked third in the entire world just behind Milan and Cuba and tops in the United States, edging out Yellowstone National Park at number four.

It’s a glitzy list that includes a mesmerizing animated GIF of the scenes from the new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. So, what makes Philly the place to be in 2015?

Touting such developments as the aforementioned boardwalk, the new Dilworth Park and Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River, the Times calls the city “an outdoor urban oasis” that’s been transformed into “a hive of outdoor urban activity.” The upcoming rollout of the bike share program also gets a nod, as does our love affair with creative outdoor beer gardens and even mini parklets.

Let’s just say that Visit Philly is pumped:

Interestingly enough, there was no mention of the upcoming visit from Pope Francis in September, nor, shockingly, “cheesesteaks.” It’s not the first global acclaim for the city’s outdoor spaces. Jetsetter/Huffington Post named Spruce Street Harbor Park one of the “World’s Best Urban Beaches” back in July.

52 Places to Go in 2015 [The New York Times]

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  • No-just-no

    This is a joke, right? Philly is the worst and I’ve been living here for years. It hasn’t improved that much either.

    • T-Boneeeee

      id say it has improved considerably with all of the new restaurants/bars, revitalization of midtown, frankford ave, the delaware waterfront is improved a bit, summer time pop up beer gardens, dilworth park, passyunk square. All of these places have improved dramatically in the past 5-10 years. Granted it’s not perfect yet and probably not deserving of this ranking but lets give us a LITTLE credit here… What do you dislike about living here so much that you think it’s “the worst”?

      • T-Boneeeee

        (look if youre just trolling to pass the time i get it man. totally get it. its fridayyyyy, its been a long weeeeeek, youre just looking to rile people up to make time go by faster so you can get to the weekend, yadda yadda I get it. some people are into this kinda stuff. i’ll just leave you alone if thats all this is about)

        • No-just-no

          No, I’m not trolling. This city is terrible and you’re all delusional if you think it deserves to be even close to top 10. Worst may be hyperbole, but it’s not that far off. I’ll admit Detroit is worse.

          I go out plenty. I’ve explored the city. It’s still dirty, has overrated pretentious restaurants, and crappy culture. And yes, now that I’m done with my obligations that brought me here, I am moving. I can’t wait.

          And also hearing Philadelphians get upset about hearing this only makes me happy. The worst thing about this city are the stupid Philadelphians. You talk all loud and think you’re tough, but in reality, you’re just a bunch of wimps with no manners. Good riddance.

          You guys call yourselves blunt. That’s being blunt. Suck it up, stop being butthurt, and work on yourselves.

          • T-Boneeeee

            You seem pretty cool, man. Best of luck in your next city. It’s a shame we are losing you.

          • No-just-no

            Sorry I forgot this was philly mag. I thought I’d have impartial people to discuss this with. Instead, I’m getting a bunch of crybaby Philadelphians who can’t accept the truth that their city sucks.

          • T-Boneeeee

            dont you have a train to catch?

          • T-Boneeeee

            I like to stick sparkles up my ass and sing show tunes!

          • L Khokhlakov

            Me too! Isn’t it great being a Philadelphian?

          • what?

            Yeah man you seem like a genuine soul. No bitterness what so ever. You definitely came here for an impartial conversation. Not a touch of fraud with this behavior. You seem like a reasonable guy.

          • J.

            Funny you ask us to accept that our city sucks in an article written by a New York newspaper stating that we are quite the opposite.

          • Jackeeeeeeee

            You sound like a bitter, unhappy angry person. Better move,, far, far away

          • Impartial Person

            and what great faraway mecca do you hail from sir?

          • LL

            With attitude like that, don’t think any city on the face of the earth will make you happy :D Good luck tho

          • Justin B

            No one is upset by your comment. I’m not anyway. You’re just foolish. Why do I care if you think it’s a bad city? I don’t. I wouldn’t put it 3rd on this list of places (assuming it’s even supposed to be a numerical rating), but it has improved by leaps and bounds and there a lot of great things about Center City.

          • Justin B

            Where are you moving to? I sense you’ll never find a city you actually like and you’ll never actually be happy.

          • denyll

            bye.

    • Um-wut

      How old are you? What do you do? and where do you go? Philly is a great place for a lot of folks, I don’t know what you’ve experienced that tells you it is “the worst.” Have you visited many others cities around the world lately? I might not rank Philly quite as high as #3 myself, but I’ve never heard anyone describe the city as “the worst.” Surely Camden is worse. Surely if it was in fact “the worst” city, you wouldn’t continue living there for years.

    • Justin B

      Where do you live?

  • WilPad

    Obviously you don’t get out much. If you’re that unhappy, you have options ..As in relocating.

    • DonGato

      Philly sux and if you think different then the corruption is working pal.

  • Tommy Grover

    This lifelong resident is wondering who they paid-off to make the list at all. Most large cities in the US have everything we have with the exception of the bell and the hall.

    • Earl J

      Get out much?

      • Tommy Grover

        Every day. Ever been to another large city?

        • Earl J

          A few and I explore deep into the neighborhoods well past just “the bell and the hall”. Please capitalize our iconic symbols of liberty!

          • Tommy Grover

            Oh I love living here and would never leave, and friends love to visit, but all cities are so generic now. You see Starbucks, Gap and good trendy restaurants everywhere. I just don’t see us as a top global tourist destination.

          • Louie Lopez

            Please, there are so many things that give Philadelphia individuality, from the it’s history to iconic neighborhoods and fabulous restaurants. Beg to disagree with you. No, it’s not my beloved LA, but still is a world class destination.

          • Tommy Grover

            But #3 ?! In the world?!

          • Ben

            If you look at the list, it is not just ‘the best places to visit’, it seems to be a ‘most improved places to visit that have a reason for visiting this year’. Philly this summer has the various beer gardens, street festivals, Made In America/4th of July, Pope visit, etc. 10 years ago most of those didn’t exist (many fewer street festivals, no beer garden, no MIA, and the Pope wasn’t here).

          • Presbyton

            That’s one of the things that makes Philly better. We have La Colombe, boutique shopping in our city center, and higher quality restaurants than most cities. A lot of it is because we have the “bones” of a city of 3 million people, and the rest is we are well positioned to take on those who want to be close to New York but don’t actually want to live there.

    • mw91

      The other way of looking at it is “come to philly! we have everything those other cities have, plus a bell and a hall!”

    • Presbyton

      No, the only cities that have what Philadelphia has are Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. LA has no downtown, DC is packed with tourists and temporary residents and thus has no character, and the others are small.

      • Linda M Bailey

        As someone who grew up in Philly, but now lives in the DC suburbs, I can tell you that there is plenty to see in DC outside of the monuments and Smithsonian, which are packed with tourists. These lists are cyclical, and cities come and go. I remember the excitement when Penn’s Landing was first constructed, and was a great place to go and walk around. About 20 years ago Baltimore was the number 1 tourist destination in the country. Yes, Baltimore, with it’s trendy inner harbor. Glad to see that Philly is getting recognized, but this too shall pass.

        • Presbyton

          Oh of course, and I’m not one who suggest tailoring our city to get on lists, but DC is not a real place. The people who live in DC, for the most part, have been there at most for three generations.

          • Linda M Bailey

            First, Presbyton, you might have come over on the Mayflower, but lots of people in Philly have only been there 3 generations. Second, I was not talking about people who live in DC, but the reason to travel there. Believe me, as someone who grew up in Philly, the wonderful manners of the Philadelphians I know is not a reason to visit. Third, Forbes listed DC as the “Coolest City in the Nation” last August. Might be a place some poeple would want to visit.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2014/08/06/washington-d-c-tops-our-list-of-americas-coolest-cities/

          • Presbyton

            When did I say I came over on the Mayflower? DC sucks, get over it.

      • Tommy Grover

        DC is easy to get around on the Metro (and it’s clean), and areas like Georgetown and Adams Morgan have lots of trendy shops and restaurants. Also lots of architecture everywhere.

        • Presbyton

          still no authentic local culture in a city of transplants and temps.

          • Tommy Grover

            And what authentic local culture do we have? Please don’t go for anything Italian or Chinese. Everyone’s got a Little Italy and a Chinatown. The whole Northeast was gentrified.

          • Presbyton

            Laugh at the cheesesteaks and soft pretzels and hoagies all you want, but they are ours. We are the only city in America with a “Center City”, our accent is notorious…the list goes on. Philadelphia is a unique place. DC is not.

          • Tommy Grover

            And that makes it the 3rd best place in the world to visit? Sad planet.

          • Presbyton

            No, the list isn’t “the best cities on the planet” I love Philadelphia, but Philadelphia is probably closer to #40-100 on that list, not top 5. The list is “Where to go in 2015”. The article is written to people who travel. That’s why, for example, Milan is #1. Is Milan the best city in the world? No. The best city in Italy? No. Has Milan recently taken steps to make itself a place that you have to visit while touring Rome, Florence, and Venice? Yes.

          • swg

            DC is boring boring boring

      • Ben

        Chicago has a lot of stuff, but it is nowhere near as walkable as Center City. Everything is more spread out, and to those who complain about too many surface lots in Philly, Chicago has us beat by a mile in that department.

        I love Chicago and it has its strengths, but Philadlephia is just easier to get around, especially when seeing the various touristy places.

        • Presbyton

          I don’t know Chicago well enough to compare. The way Chicagoans describe their city, it sounds a lot like Philly. They are just much more willing to ignore their faults than we are.

      • swg

        LA has no downtown..the traffic everywhere in LA SUCKS..the cost of living is ridiculous. I moved here from L.A. The only thing it has to commend it is the CLIMATE. People in Philly are way friendlier. The art scene is comparable to New York City here. Public transportation is fabulous..in how many cities can you get around so easily without a car? DC sucks because the people are uptight and rude. People in Philly are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. DC is too conservative–I could never live there.

  • mw91

    I feel like a lot of people are taking this the wrong way. my take on it:
    . Don’t think it’s supposed to be a ranking, as much as every local blog wants it to be. We didn’t beat out anyone, just joined them.
    . It’s not a list of “best places”. talking about better cities is irrelevant. It’s a list of places that have recently become better or more prominent and should be considered for a visit. Philly has done so.
    . The list is of places to travel to. talking about living here is also kind of irrelevant. Tourists and residents have different experiences.

    • Inquizative

      I don’t understand your point for giving your point, for what? Anyway, this is well deserved. I’m a lifelong Philly resident and I’ve spent time in many major cities. I like the direction that Philadelphia is heading and it’s getting well deserved recognition. It has great diversity, beautiful architecture. Not to mention great history and a great story to tell our visitors.

      • swg

        People who’ve lived here for a long time are such naysayers about this city. I just moved here from Los Angeles, and trust me..Philly is a great city. I think it’s even better than New York, because the cost of living is so much more reasonable.

  • Oliver

    Philly is a great city. It’s got sass and history and nice architecture and adorable quirks. But really? There are only two hotter spots in the world in 2015??? Whoever made that list must have never been outside of PA!

  • WJD-PHL-PA

    The NYT article explains their methodology: It’s not a complete ranking of all the best places world-wide but it is a list of the top places to visit NOW because of positive changes, big events, grand openings, etc. that are happening in 2015. A reason to go “now”! (And in the case of Philly a lot of new people-friendly places are now part of the city we call home as featured in the article.)

  • Boom-Lawyered!

    People are misunderstanding this. This is a list of places doing things out of the ordinary or making massive improvements this year or the end of last year. In that regard, Philadelphia makes a lot of sense. With developments in the restaurant scene, improvements to city hall and Suburban Station, and new added attractions, Philadelphia is making some interesting moves. Sure, the new ice skating rink isn’t as impressive as Rockefeller Center and there are still improvements that can be made as far as cleanliness and even consistency in the dining scene, but this city is making some positive steps and it deserves to be acknowledged for that.

    Now if they would just stop locking off the center of city hall. I hate having to walk around it to get to work. ;)

    • Boom-Lawyered!

      The next step is to finish renovating the train station under city hall and possibly start working their way to the rest of the transit system. If the entire transit system looked like the new areas on 15th street, SEPTA might actually become a top notch public transit system. Judging by how long the city hall renovations took, I’d bet that would take a long time though.

  • Michael Idinopulos

    To the respondents on this thread: you’re selling this city short. I moved here after living in Chicago and San Francisco, and I’ve traveled all over the world. I’d be hard-pressed to name a city where I found as much culture, history, architecture, shopping, great food, and street life in such a walkable area at such reasonable prices. You’re not seeing what’s right in front of you.

    • swg

      Word. Let these people spend a year or two in BALTIMORE. Then they’ll realize how great they have it here lol

  • Jerry Winterstein

    Lived in Philly for 30 yrs and just spent a few days there over Christmas… Best thing I ever did was leave…

    • nicemonkeys

      Where do you live now?

      • Jerry Winterstein

        Well I live in a small town in FL that’s had 7 murders in 14 years and before that a small town in GA for 13 years. Not sure why where I live now matters…

        • Ben

          A small town with a murder every two years? Which town? A population of 3,100 would match Philadelphia’s ‘murders per capita’ of the past 2 years, so it sounds like you really didn’t escape all that much.

          • Jerry Winterstein

            Keep trying, over 25,000 people live in the city I do… We are just not packed in like sardines in a can and pretty much ever one here works lives in a single family home, apartment or condo. No row homes.

          • WAT

            You sound pretty happy and confident in your new surroundings so thanks for dropping by and adding nothing to the thread. You’re bad experience doesn’t speak for the rest of us. Bye.

          • WAT

            * Your

          • Jerry Winterstein

            Yeah my experience of being born and raised and lived for 30 yrs in Port Richmond is just a bad experience. Every time I go back its just dirty every time. But it does seem to be coming around in areas…

  • Lifelong Res

    It would be nice if Phila worked on its cleanliness. There are great things to experience. It’s just a bit embarrassing to invite people to our city when there is so much trash along the sides of the road.

    • nicemonkeys

      Have you been to NY? Worst than Philly, and smell bad…

  • Joseph DeWan

    I know this for sure PHILADELPHIA has the greatest history on earth

  • FrumpyCat

    I wonder how much NYT was paid to talk up Philly. I mean ranking it 3rd in the world is f*******g laughable

  • FrumpyCat

    Lancaster, PA & Lititz are both better than dirty philly

    • WAT

      Lancaster is a cool little town that I love but by no metric is it better.
      It has crime and grime as well. Best you stay inside and not face the real world.

      • FrumpyCat

        Yeah Lancaster does have some crime issues. That’s why we have the daytime.

  • James

    Thank God New Jersey is downwind from Philly. Otherwise we’d not show up on the list. NJ is the reason NYC smells so bad

  • Anyone note that there were 52 of these places?

    God bless our insecure little hearts, but I read that list as a year’s worth of one-week vacations, not necessarily a ranking of them. All 52 had something special to recommend them.

    I tell people this city is underrated, and no one underrates it more than the locals, so I too am glad that we got a nod from the _New York Times_ travel gurus this year; it affirms some changes for the better that have taken place here of late. But we’re just one among many great places to visit, and there’s a good reason to visit each of them.

  • GINA

    I think this is GREAT news for Philadelphia. We are a destination city that has a lot to offer. I’m so proud of our town. WELL DONE!!