Times Have Changed in Philadelphia Since the Eagles Last Went to the Super Bowl

A Growing Skyline, More Cultural Offerings and An Expanded Culinary Scene Make the City More Popular With Tourists

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ — In 1981, the year the Eagles made their last appearance in the Super Bowl, the tallest building in Philadelphia was City Hall. Today, the tallest building is Liberty Place, a 61-story structure that is surrounded by many architecturally acclaimed skyscrapers, all located in a bustling downtown business district. Philadelphia’s growing skyline is just one of the many ways the city has changed in the last 25 years.

Yo, Adrian! Philly’s Popular For Filmmakers

In 1981, Rocky III was being filmed in Philadelphia. Today, the cameras continue to roll, showcasing the region to audiences around the world. Films and television shows are constantly using Philadelphia’s architecture and neighborhoods as backdrops for Hollywood’s most popular films, including “In Her Shoes” (2005 release), “National Treasure” (2004), “Unbreakable” (2000), “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Beloved” (1998) and “Philadelphia” (1993).

Beyond the Cheesesteak

Philadelphia’s most popular sandwich is still the cheesesteak, but in recent years the city’s fine dining scene has won national recognition. Many of the nation’s most influential publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, Food and Wine and Saveur all rate Philadelphia’s restaurants and chefs as some of the best in the country. Philadelphia is home to famous chefs, including Georges Perrier, Jean-Marie Lacroix, Masaharu Morimoto and Joseph Poon.

More To See = More Tourists

Since 1981, Philadelphia has become a major destination for tourists. Between 1997 and 2003, tourism increased 41% compared to a national average of just 8.8%. Nationally, during the same period of time, leisure travel was up 7.7%. Today, 24 million people visit the region thanks to new attractions, including the Liberty Bell Center and the National Constitution Center.

Avenue of the Eagles

Broad Street, long famous for the annual Mummers Parade, is a cultural hotspot frequently referred to these days as the Avenue of the Arts. Now home to the $265 million Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the historic Academy of Music, the Merriam Theater and the Wilma Theater, this grand boulevard will be the site of a massive parade should the Eagles win the Super Bowl.

Forever A Die-hard Sports Town

Over the past 10 years, Philadelphia has built three new sports stadiums and arenas (the Wachovia Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park) for its beloved teams. One of the few cities with a professional franchise in all four major league sports, Philadelphia also boasts five other professional teams, including indoor soccer, indoor and outdoor lacrosse, arena football and minor league ice hockey.

What’s Old Is New Again

Developed in the 1980s as a gallery district, Old City came into its own with the introduction of First Friday, a monthly art gallery open house, and the Stephen Starr restaurant onslaught, which began with the opening of the Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar in 1995. These triggers ignited a boom in the nearly non-existent restaurant/lounge business along Market and Chestnut Streets. Today, the area includes at least 110 restaurants in a five-block radius, 85% of which have opened in the last 10-15 years, demonstrating just how business has benefited from nearby tourist attractions and packs of weekend revelers.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) builds the region’s economy and image through destination marketing to increase the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county region. For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit http://www.gophila.com/ or call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Independence National Historical Park, at (800) 537-7676.

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