Is Philly Really the Second-Best Place to Visit in the U.S.?

According to U.S. News & World Report, it is. Why does the city keep topping national travel guides?


Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

Remember when the New York Times placed Philly third on its list of top 2015 travel destinations? Or last year, when Lonely Planet named Philly THE top U.S. travel destination? And how both years everyone in Philly collectively scratched their heads? 

I mean, Philadelphians know their city is great. But for some reason, it’s always kind of strange when other people recognize it.

That’s why we were a little confused when we saw that U.S. News & World Report ranked Philly as the second-best travel destination of the year, behind New York (*eye roll*) but ahead of dreamy places like Honolulu (third), Maui (fourth), San Francisco (fifth), the Grand Canyon (sixth) and Sonoma (seventh). Chances are, on any given day, I’d rather be in one of those five places than in Philly.

So what’s their reasoning? Nothing we haven’t heard before, really. History, cheesesteaks, sports. You know.

Per the U.S. News & World travel report:

With its rich historical heritage, Philadelphia is one of the United States’ most visited cities. After all, both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed here in Independence Hall. Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin once called this city home. And before Washington, D.C. usurped its role, Philadelphia served as the country’s capital. Yet the city is far from being stuck in its glorious past. The Philly of today is filled with notable museums, a bumping nightlife, beloved sports teams and a thriving restaurant scene that encompasses more than just the ubiquitous cheesesteak.

Sure, Philly’s having a moment and all. There’s the millennials, the public space revitalization projects, the “eds and meds” and real estate booms, and much, much more – all swirled into the city’s characteristic “grittiness,” of course, which makes it so strangely lovable (to Philadelphians, at least).

But is U.S. News & World Report just jumping on the we-love-Philly bandwagon? Is it another generic travel guide? Or is Philly deserving of all the attention?

We want to hear what you think – so we’re encouraging discussion in the comments section. Weigh in, if you’re so obliged.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.