Lonely Planet “Best Cities” List Somehow Puts Kansas City in Philly’s Company

Thanks for the accolades, Lonely Planet. But sharing this list with Kansas City just seems wrong.

Philadelphia, which landed on Lonely Planet's Best Cities to Travel to in 2024 list along with Kansas City

Philadelphia, which landed on Lonely Planet’s Best Cities to Travel to in 2024 list along with Kansas City (Getty Images)

Check each morning Monday through Friday for the latest edition of Philly Today. And if you have a news tip for our hardworking Philly Mag reporters, please direct it here. You can also use that form to send us reader mail. We love reader mail!

Lonely Planet “Best Cities” List Somehow Puts Kansas City in Philly’s Company

It seems like not a day goes by without some new list hitting my inbox. Sometimes, I get two or three list per day. Usually, the list has something to do with Philly or Pennsylvania. But not always. Everybody seems to be making lists and ranking things. (We here at Philly Mag wouldn’t know anything about that: Most Influential. Best of Philly. 50 Best Restaurants. I could go on…) We actually once ran a big feature article about all the lists that people put Philly on.

So I’m a bit list-fatigued and wind up ignoring most. But one list that just hit my inbox definitely caught my attention.

Lonely Planet, the travel-book publisher that tends to lean into the authentic, the gritty, and the roads less traveled, just released the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2024 list. Actually, make that lists. Within the list, there are lists. And the list we’re concerned about is the Best Cities to Travel To in 2024.

The editors of Lonely Planet picked 10 cities the world over, and our little town, Philadelphia, landed in fifth place. Yes, we’ve got all the history you can handle. But Lonely Planet also points to Philadelphia’s “kinetic energy” and our “tectonically shifting cultural core.”

They pick up on some obvious (but good!) stuff like Di Bruno’s, the Reading Terminal Market, and Zahav. There’s also mention of the “clashing cheesesteak titans,” because how could anything about Philadelphia not allude to Pat’s and Geno’s? But they also managed to search out the Southeast Asian Market at FDR Park and South Philly Barbacoa. Still, for a publication that prides itself on digging deep, they could have dug a bit deeper. Maybe somebody will visit West Philly one of these days? Just for starters.

In any event, good press is good press. But one has to question the validity of any list attempting to rank the 10 best cities to travel to in the entire freaking world that somehow includes … Kansas City?! Actually, let’s be real. Philly being on this list to begin with might raise some eyebrows, too, which makes me wonder: Is all of this the Taylor Swift Effect? Are the editors of Lonely Planet obsessed Taylor Swift fans? I jokingly brought this theory up with my colleagues this morning before I read the Kansas City writeup. And, sure enough, Taylor Swift is in the very first sentence. Life is weird. Lists are weirder.

Kansas City comes in at number 10 and is the only other U.S. city on the list. The full list:

  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Paris, France
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Mostar, Bosnia
  • Philadelphia, USA
  • Manaus, Brazil
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Izmir, Turkey
  • Kansas City, Missouri

Congrats to all the winners… except you, Kansas City!

God Bless You, Jake Tapper

I’d like to buy Jake Tapper a drink. On Sunday morning, the CNN talent, who grew up in Philadelphia in case you forgot, did a live broadcast from Israel. During the segment, he went off on total far-far-far-far-right-wing lunatic and antisemite Marjorie Taylor Greene, even going so far as to drop the s-bomb on live TV. You can watch for yourself here.

What’s Next for the Mayoral Also-Rans?

It wasn’t that long ago that names like Helen Gym and Jeff Brown were being constantly forced upon us thanks to a massively expensive and intensely irritating advertising campaign in the race to be Philadelphia mayor. But then … nada. Now that we know Cherelle Parker is almost certainly going to be the next mayor of Philadelphia, we asked Philly Mag contributor David Murrell to check in with the losing candidates — other than Allan Domb, who, naturally, went right back to his sprawling real estate empire — to see what they have planned for the future. Read more here.

Local Talent

Congrats to the No Name Pops, the spin-off of the troubled and legally entangled Philly Pops. The group just made its debut at the Kimmel Center, the venue that evicted the Philly Pops. And according to Inquirer culture writer Peter Dobrin, the 52-piece ensemble had audience members dancing in the aisles. Next up, the No Name Pops perform “A Very Philly Christmas” at the Kimmel Center from December 1st through 23rd.

Reader Mail

In response to my assertion last week that Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are the “hottest couple in pop culture,” a reader named Ray couldn’t let that go and felt compelled to send me some reader mail. “Collectively they are about as interesting as a brand new toaster oven,” he opined. C’mon, Ray. I feel like you could at least give them air fryer status!

Speaking of reader mail, we released our annual list of the Most Influential Philadelphians over the weekend, and people seem to have lots of opinions on it. Should you have any strong feelings about the list or somebody you’d like us to keep in mind for next year, most definitely reach out using the “tips” link above.

By the Numbers

0: Number of toll booths on the Atlantic City Expressway that will accept cash as of May 2025, should a brand new project stay on schedule.

$4.5 billion: Value of unclaimed property in the Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury’s vault. Or at least that was the value until some of it was auctioned in recent days. Want to see if you or any family members have unclaimed property? Search here.

And from the Halloween-Booyah! Sports Desk …

The Eagles had a dreadful first half in Sunday’s game against Josh Harris’s Washington Commanders in D.C., capped off by a fumble on a first-and-goal by Kenneth Gainwell. Washington took over, and QB Sam Howell was humming — right up until James Bradberry just missed an interception with less than two minutes left. That averted complete disaster, and the Birds’ final drive of the half, with a big catch by DeVonta Smith, resulted in this. Whew!

Howell got the enemy back within field-goal range, but a penalty took it back for a second attempt, a 61-yarder by Joey Slye. Goddamn, he made it: 17-10 at the half. A.J. almost had another TD early in the third, but it was broken up. Wait — defensive pass interference! And on the subsequent Brotherly Shove, Hurts fumbled and Washington recovered. Bad to worse. But Britain Covey had a 25-yard punt return, and a miracle Smith shovel catch (or was it?) on a fourth-and-four, and another miracle catch by Brown tied it up for us — woo-hoo!

But a Howell run — who did this guy think he was? — took the Commanders to the 10 early in the fourth, and they scored again: 24-17 with 12 minutes to go. And damn if A.J. didn’t get himself wide open at the 10 for another TD! Reed Blankenship snagged a timely interception at the eight-minute mark — man, was he open. First and goal for the Eagles … and a TD pass to Julio Jones!

On the subsequent drive, the Commanders went for it on fourth-and-eight, and Howell finally faltered, for an incomplete. The Eagles took over with four minutes to go but couldn’t get anywhere, and Washington got a last shot. A huge call in our favor on an incomplete pass that would have gone for a first down at the two-minute mark left them at fourth and five. Haason Reddick sacked Howell, and the Birds took over and ran a clever faux-Shove.

One last TD throw by Howell with no time left, an on-sides kick grabbed by Smith, and the Commanders were cooked. We’re 7-1, and we rock. Go Birds!

Was There Any Hoop News?

Oh yeah. For their second game of the season, the Sixers played the Raptors in Toronto — former home of coach Nick Nurse — on Saturday. Our guys were sluggish out of the gate, while the Raptors hit seven threes and went up by as much as 12. But subbing in Kelly Oubre Jr., who was so hot in his debut, helped cut the lead to three with a minute left in the first. Alas, a bad Pat Beverley pass let the Raptors open it back up to nine at the end of the first, 36-27.

We crept back into it gradually, but a 7-0 Raptors run made it 59-53 at the half. In the third quarter, it was the Sixers who came out hot, taking an 13-point lead as even P.J. hit a three. Tyrese was on fire, and going into the fourth, we led 91-79. But here came the Raptors, so back in came Joel and Tyrese, who’d been having a breather. The Raptors got it down to seven with seconds to go, but it wound up a Sixers win, 114-107. Oubre was freaking great — he had 18 — and so were Embiid and Maxey.

How About the Sunday Game?

It was the home opener, against the Trail Blazers, for whom former Sixers Matisse Thybulle and Jerami Grant now play. There were rumors Joel would be resting, but he came out to start. Tyrese was hot again, leading a 12-0 Sixers run right at the top. A De’Anthony jumper and foul shot left us up 36-28 after the first. Halfway through the second, the Blazers went ahead, and a 17-7 run put them up 55-49. But at the buzzer, the Sixers were up again, 66-60. We stretched the lead to 22 in the third, and Joel was at 31 already. End of the quarter: 99-81, and Tobias, BTW, had 21.

Things didn’t get any sunnier for Portland, and our subs got a nice chance to stretch out at the end. Final: 126-98. James who? They don’t play again until Thursday, hosting the Raptors at 7.

And on the Doop Front?

The Philadelphia Union had a gorgeous evening Friday for the first game of their playoff round of three against the Revolution, at Subaru Park on Saturday. At 17 minutes in, New England’s newbie goalie, Jacob Jackson, was slapped with a penalty for tackling Julián Carranza, and Dániel Gazdag smashed the PK in. Revolution star Carles Gil came out with an injury almost immediately after, with Bobby Wood replacing him. Mikael Uhre scored a few minutes later on a deflection by Jackson, and Nathan Harriel tacked on another for us in the 37th minute on a lovely header. Meanwhile, a frustrated New England picked up three yellows cards. It stayed 3-0 at the half.

Gustavo Bou pumped some life into New England with a goal in the 68th. Wood damn near did, too, at 75 minutes, except for an Andre Blake stop—well, Blake and the crossbar. Five minutes of stoppage, and it was a wrap: a 3-1 win. Doop! The second in the three-game series will be at New England’s Gillette Stadium on November 8th, starting at 7 p.m.

The U.S. women’s national team beat Colombia, 3-0, in a friendly on Sunday evening.

The Flyers also played.

And on the College Gridiron?

The Penn Quakers couldn’t quite quell the Brown Bears; they lost on Friday night, 30-26. On Saturday, Penn State whupped Indiana, 33-24; Ursinus had no problem with the McDaniel Green Terror (boo!), taking them down 49-6; and the Villanova Wildcats crushed the Stony Brook Seawolves, 41-7. Temple, blessedly, had a bye, since star QB E.J. Warner has missed the last two games — both bad losses — after suffering a concussion.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.