Lonely Planet Names Philly Top U.S. Travel Destination for 2016

This makes two years in a row that an influential guide for travelers has put Philadelphia at or near the top of its list of must-visit places.

Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

One day, we’ll get used to this. But not yet.

Last year, the city got giddy when The New York Times recommended its readers spend the third of the 52 weekends they will presumably go globetrotting in Philadelphia.

Now, everyone’s agog that the highly respected Lonely Planet travel guide has put the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection at the top of its annual “Best in the U.S.” list of the 10 places one must visit in the United States this year.

“Visited by Pope Francis, hosting the Democratic National Convention in July, and freshly crowned as the U.S.’s first and only World Heritage City (joining the ranks of Cairo, Paris and Jerusalem), Philly’s on a roll,” the Lonely Planet editors write in an intro to a video emphasizing both familiar tourist sites and emerging neighborhoods to explore.

Along with that video, in which a number of established regional icons, from Independence Hall to the “Rocky steps” of the Art Museum (yes, they recommend a jog up them in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary) to Yuengling Lager, are featured along with shout-outs to rising hot neighborhoods Fishtown and East Passyunk (we’re glad to see they gave a special mention to Joncarl Lachman‘s Noord eetcafe, a homey Dutch/Scandinavian gem), is a longer online feature that goes into greater detail about the places and spaces that make this city special.

But why this year when all of these things are available here every year? Seems those three significant events mentioned above boosted Philly from a place worth checking out to a Must Visit.

Something about our addytood also appealed to the editors. The video and the intro both mention how the city has become more cosmopolitan without sacrificing its grittiness, and the article says, “When you travel here, get past the clichés — yes, there are cheesesteaks, and they are good — and you’ll find an attitude that refuses to play second fiddle to, well, anything.”

We’re sure the folks in New York will be surprised to read that.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Lonely Planet ranked Natchez, Miss., which turns 300 this year, second, and iconic Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, third.

“This is an exciting and well deserved honor for the people of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a news release.  “Our city is unique, fun and appealing to a broad range of tourists and visitors, while at the same time providing a homegrown sense of culture that many of us lifelong Philadelphians cherish.” 

Lonely Planet’s U.S.-based editors and travel writers collaborate to pick each year’s 10 “Best in the U.S.” destinations. This is the sixth year that the London-based travel guide publisher has produced the list.

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