Random facts about Philadelphia

Take a convenient East Coast location within a 5 hour drive of one-fourth of the US population, add in iconic historic sites such as Independence Hall and Congress Hall, mix in a nationally-renowned dining and craft beer scene, numerous internationally acclaimed arts organizations, trend-setting indie music culture and a jam-packed calendar of must-do events and that’s a snapshot of Philadelphia.

William Penn founded the City of Brotherly Love in 1682, and since then Philadelphia, or Philly as most locals call it, has been turning out a list of firsts that is both diverse and surprising. Home to the first US hot air balloon launch; ENIAC, the first computer; the first Zoo, the first detective novel thanks to Edgar Allan Poe, the nation’s first department store and, courtesy of Ben Franklin, the first bifocals, public hospital, fire department and swim fins. More Philly fun facts can be found at: VisitPhilly.com.

Photo by: B. Krist for VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Photo by: B. Krist for VISIT PHILADELPHIA ®

Everyone knows that Philadelphia is the birthplace of this great nation, but did you know these interesting facts?

  • The famously cracked Liberty Bell, which is located across from Independence Hall, a UNESCO heritage site, has a typo. The word “Pensylvania” is missing a letter “n.” And although that darn crack has silenced the Bell for centuries, if it could ring, its note would be an E-flat.
Photo by: J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Photo by : J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA ®
  • The combined collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Michener Museum have more works of impressionism art than anywhere else in the world.
  • With 32 houses dating back to 1720-1830, Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited street in the nation.
Photo by: C. Ridgeway for VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Photo by: C. Ridgeway for VISIT PHILADELPHIA ®
  • Every year since 1901, Philadelphia has welcomed the New Year with the Mummer’s Parade, a delightfully peculiar spectacle featuring thousands of marchers attired in over-the-top costumes adorned with feathers, sequins and glitter, performances by string bands, and choreographed routines with Broadway-worthy costumes and scenery.
Photo by: M. Edlow for VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Photo by : M. Edlow for VISIT PHILADELPHIA ®
  • Philly has more than its share of quirky museums. Such as? The Insectarium (what it sounds like), the Stoogeum devoted to all things Three Stooges, the Weaver Historical Dental Museum, a shoe museum, the Museum of Mourning Art, Pizza Brain Pizza Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary which once housed Who’s Who of the underworld including bank robber Willie Sutton, who staged a breakout in 1945, and Al Capone, who furnished his cell with antiques, rugs and oil paintings.
Photo by: M.Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Photo by: M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA ®

If you know of some other interesting facts about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, please leave a comment below. Click the following link to read about other Random Factoid Friday destinations.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


  1. I loved your neat facts on Philadelphia. I moved from the elite suburbs of Philly in the late 70s downtown to Center City as an “urban guerilla” and absolutely was in heaven…so many good restaurants, individual shops on every corner (one, a butcher who actually cut your meat before your very eyes, another selling just fruits and veggies, another just pastries, another just fish…)It was like I had lived in France years before. Back then, I opened Philadelphia’s very first B&B in my 18th-century little house situated in the city’s smallest official square, Lantern Square. Ah, I miss it all!

    1. Hey Sandra! How are ya? Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I started this series a few months ago and it seems to be going pretty well. Did you see that I’m leaving for a trip around the world soon? Hope all is well.

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