Philadelphia comes from Greek, meaning City of brotherly love. It was the first capital of the United States and the old city is still steeped in history. Today it continues to be a city of diverse neighborhoods, with a bustling business center, many universities, hospitals, world class restaurants, arts, theater and museums of all kinds.
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the fifth-most populous city in the U.S., with a population of over 1.5 million people. At the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the Delaware Valley, a metropolitan area home to 7.2 million people.
Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Philadelphia was one of the nation's capitals in the Revolutionary War and served as temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants.
The Downtown Sheraton is within walking distance of many of Philadelphia’s major attractions. This includes the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Love Park, the Franklin Institute, and the Barnes Foundation just to name a few.
The Cradle of Liberty
Start at Independence National Historic Park… America’s most historic square mile… where you’ll find the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the President’s House Commemorative Site. Wander to the National Constitution Center and see a copy of the U. S. Constitution.
Have lunch at City Tavern where costumed servers will bring you authentic Colonial dishes. Listen to an informative talk by a historian at Christ Church and see where George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross worshiped. Finally, stroll Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in the United States.
Avenue of the Arts
From a cultural perspective, Philadelphia is home to a vibrant theater community hosting both on and off Broadway productions. For a night at the symphony, ballet, or theater you need look to the Kimmel Center for the Arts or the Academy of Music. For those who enjoy the finer things in life, take a stroll through the many museums just off Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway.
Philadelphia is home to many fine restaurants, some within a half mile. These include The Dandelion, Maggiano’s, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, Alma De Cuba, Reading Terminal Market, Tinta, Fountain Restaurant, and Public House at Logan Square.
Exploring Gay Philadelphia
Welcome to Philadelphia, the birthplace of American freedom and home to gay pride events, including OutFest, which had over 160 groups participating in October of 2014.
A modern Renaissance city, Philadelphia has been named the number one city in America for culture by Travel & Leisure magazine. Over the past few decades, Philadelphia has evolved into a place that lives up to its gay-friendly billing. It was the sight of some of the nation’s first gay rights pickets, and in 1982 was one of the first cities in the country to pass an anti-gay discrimination law.
While touring the city by bus, trolley, or carriage, take a walk around Old City, known to be full of art galleries, vintage clothing shops, and furniture stores. Don’t miss the Gay Rights Demonstrations Historical Marker at 6th and Chestnut, commemorating the pioneering gay activists of the late 1960s.
Take a trip to the “Gayborhood” for a fabulous dinner and check out Valanni for cocktails or Tavern on Camac, with a piano bar on the first floor and a second floor just for dancing to some great music. You can also drop into Woody's Bar, a favorite of the GLBTQ community for over 35 years. Or try one of our two new bars Boxer's Gay Bar or Toasted Walnut Bar & Kitchen both located on the 1300 block of Walnut.
Giovanni’s Room Bookstore
This has been called the oldest gay bookstore in America and the center of Gay Philadelphia. It’s named after James Baldwin’s gay-themed novel, Giovanni’s Room. As a result of the owner’s retirement, the store closed on May 17, 2014. However, Philly Aids Thrift has since rented the store property which is now Philly Aids Thrift at Giovanni’s Room, with plenty of fiction and non-fiction books plus a fine selection of music, clothing, collectibles, artwork, and much more.