It was unseasonably hot and moderately chaotic but this didn’t deter an estimated 50,000 people from making a beeline into Philly this past July to witness history: the formal nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.
If it wasn’t already a record-breaking summer for the city, the monumental event was sure to be a tipping point. “It was also an exciting opportunity to show a side of Philly that many people didn’t know about,” explains Philadelphia CVB president and CEO Julie Coker Graham. Whether tours of historic sites and exclusive venues or rooftop sips with sweeping views, we’d venture to say this World Heritage City delivered.
As a founding father of Philly, Benjamin Franklin’s essence flitters across the city. Few places highlight this in a more eye-catching way than the One Liberty Observation Deck. A giant sculpture of Franklin’s legs—knee breeches and stockings down to his buckled shoes—seems to break its way through the ceiling on the 2nd floor, while an equally massive sculpture of his head keeps watch of the city on the 57th floor. Up to 275 attendees can explore a multitude of interactive, city-centric exhibits at One Liberty, and with 360-degree views, it’s also an interesting buyout venue.
Groups can also experience the city’s Franklin connection by tracing his and his patriots’ footsteps, and essentially the founding of our nation, during a guided walking tour. Historic sites include Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House, where the first US flag was made. An elegant gala dinner at the foot of The Franklin Institute’s towering Ben Franklin National Memorial monument, positioned on a 92-ton pedestal of white Seravezza marble, could be a fitting finale to the Franklin-themed day.
Elsewhere in Philly, a new authentic biergarten is serving up more than traditional German brews in Logan Square. SkyGarten at Three Logan’s 51-floor terrace (and coinciding Top of the Tower event space on the 50th floor) offers some of the best views of the city, as well as private happy hours (should you so desire) festooned with goodies like potato pancakes and beer battered fried cheddar curds. We enjoyed a beer on the terrace during Center City Sips, a citywide collective of over 80 restaurants and bars offering flat rate beer, wine and cocktails June through September.
Art is the number one differentiator at The Logan Hotel, which opened late 2015 following a rebranding into Hilton’s Curio collection. The 391-room hotel has a fresh design and an 1,800-piece hyperlocal art collection that gives nod to everything from famous Philly natives to the city’s silk and textile history.
“We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘How do we have the right to say we’re Philadelphia’s hotel?’” explains Jennifer Bauer, director of sales. For starters, outdoor yoga and meditation sessions in the hotel’s private courtyard are open to the public; a class on urban gardening with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will soon be added to the mix. And when it comes to serving as both an upscale choice for groups and a gathering spot for locals, the new Assembly 12,700-sf rooftop lounge is also bridging that gap.