Why now is the best time to visit Philadelphia (and it’s not just because of Pope Francis)

Philadelphia at night

The last time a pope visited here, in 1979, iron-fisted Frank Rizzo was mayor, and a certain over-the-top sandwich and a cinematic underdog boxer semi-defined (for better or worse) the city.

Philadelphia, never short on personality but overshadowed by giant Gotham to the north and the nation’s power center to the south, chugged along, fueled in no small part by its monumental role in American history.

The city that hosted Pope Francis this weekend is different now. The City of Brotherly Love, certainly spiffed up for the papal visit, has a new confidence and vitality. Restaurants abound, access to the city’s two rivers is a priority and Philadelphia’s legacy as a cultural and historical icon deepens.

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