January 16, 2020
By Featured Venues & Destinations

National Geographic's global travel experts picked the 25 most exciting destinations for 2020, and Philadelphia is the only U.S. city to make the cut and, along with the Grand Canyon, one of only two American destinations to be selected.

Author Johnna Rizzo asserts that Philadelphia has “reignited its revolutionary spirit” and starts with a tour through South Philadelphia and the vibrant, historic Italian Market.

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ItalianMarket_0319-1024x683.jpgItalian Market photo by B. Dale for PHLCVB

The market, which was depicted on screen in the “Rocky” movies, has been a busy shopping hub since the mid- to late 1800s, when Italian immigrants settled there and opened businesses, making it the nation’s oldest continually operating outdoor market. While many of these places are still open and being run by the current generation of the same families, today’s market is also home to businesses owned by newer immigrants, notably those from Asia and Mexico.

Rizzo goes on to describe how Philadelphia “continues to blossom with countless clever and quirky impulses,” adding that the city has a lot of “glimmer” with vibrant mosaics and murals.

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Magic-Gardens-2-by-Robin-Bloom-1024x768.jpgPhiladelphia's Magic Gardens photo by R. Bloom for PHLCVB

Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, is an extraordinary indoor/outdoor environment — consisting of found objects, bicycle tires, glass bottles, and mirrors — that has to be seen to be believed.

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Mural-for-web-RB.jpgMural photo by R. Bloom for PHLCVB

Public art is a way of life in the city, with more than 4,000 murals, sculptures, and mosaics integrated into the landscape, making Philadelphia the world’s largest outdoor art gallery. Rizzo says murals have become Philadelphia’s “calling card,” telling the stories of the neighborhoods, people, and communities that inspired and shaped each project.

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Courtesy-of-DRWC-1024x683.jpgCherry Street Pier photo courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Rizzo’s visit took her to the Cherry Street Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River waterfront, and then up to LOVE Park. There, the author sat to watch visitors and locals enjoy the bustling square and the iconic sculpture by Robert Indiana and the “I Heart Philly” sculpture celebrating immigrants. From LOVE Park, you can see straight down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This grand boulevard is lined with flags of countries that represent Philadelphia residents.

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/092619_PHLCVB_Lovepark_0842_retouched-1024x683.jpgLOVE Park photo by M. Zugale for PHLCVB

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/092619_PHLCVB_Lovepark_1095_retouched-1-1024x683.jpgLOVE Park photo by M. Zugale for PHLCVB

With plenty of pop-up gardens and parks across the city, an incredible art scene, and an amazing array of bars and restaurants, Philadelphia is “electric, eclectic, and entirely its own city,” according to Rizzo, and a “city of ingenious makers. The evidence is everywhere.”

https://www.discoverphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Philadelphia-Skyline-December-2019-photo-by-K-Huff-for-PHLCVB-4-1024x683.jpgPhiladelphia skyline photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

For the full article in National Geographic about the Best Trips for 2020, click here or grab a copy of the Best Trips edition.

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