When it comes to places to visit in the new year, Philadelphia should be at the top of travelers’ short lists, according to Travel + Leisure magazine.
The publication this week named Philadelphia one of the 50 best places to visit in 2017, citing the city’s hosting duties during the Democratic National Convention and Pope Francis’ visit to the city in late 2015. Philly’s Heritage City status and Mayor Kenney's efforts to keep Philadelphia a sanctuary city also played a role in the city's inclusion on the list.
“We also pay attention to cities that are worth revisiting,” the magazine wrote. “Philadelphia, in particular, may surprise you with the amount of growth and development it has seen in recent months.”
The magazine’s entry on Philadelphia, written by Green Aisle Grocery owner and food writer Adam Erace, praises the city’s food scene, with specific callouts for East Passyunk restaurants like ITV, Townsend, and South Philly Barbacoa:
"The young population here is growing at a faster rate than any other major city, and tidy residential neighborhoods like East Passyunk are being diversified. Here, the old guard sipping homemade limoncello at the Sicilian social club shares sidewalk seating with the double-IPA enthusiasts at the craft-beer boutique next door, while across the street, two young female sommeliers have put together thrilling lists of skin-fermented Malvasia, Breton cider, and quirky Canary Island reds at hot spots Townsend and ITV. Around the corner, the succulent slow-cooked lamb tacos at South Philly Barbacoa come with a side of social justice: owners Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller are staunch activists for undocumented workers' rights."
This is not Philly’s first time being named a top travel destination. Though Philadelphia was left off of Travel + Leisure’s “50 Best Places to Travel in 2016” list (Pittsburgh wasn’t), the city famously topped Lonely Planet’s “Best in the U.S” list earlier this year. Last year, the New York Times placed Philly in third on its list of places to go in 2015.
Travel + Leisure has focused on Philadelphia several times in the recent past. In January 2015, the magazine called Philadelphia “America’s next great food city,” and followed up by placing Philly in third on its list ranking America's most unfriendly cities in May that year.
On a less positive note, the magazine ranked Philadelphia fifth on its list of the rudest cities in America this year, and in 2014 noted that the city has the fifth least attractive populace in the U.S.