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City of Brotherly Love bursting with history, culture, outdoor fun :

August 13, 2021












After the year and a half we’ve had, it seems apropos that the AAP National Conference is being held in the City of Brotherly Love. We’ll have a chance to rekindle friendships, rejuvenate our minds and spirits, and remember why we love our profession.

There’s also much to love about Philadelphia, including its historical haunts, cultural attractions and waterfront experiences.

This is the first time the city will host the National Conference, so it will be a new experience for novice and veteran attendees alike.

Here are some ideas to get you started as you plan your time outside the convention center. Keep in mind that COVID-19 safety guidelines continue to evolve, so go online or call to confirm attractions’ hours of operation and requirements for masks, tickets or reservations.

Admire the Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell, one of the most iconic symbols of our freedom, is on display inside the Liberty Bell Center at 526 Market St. Abolitionists, women's suffrage activists, civil rights leaders and others have used the bell as their symbol in the fight for equality. There is no charge to admire the cracked bell and peruse exhibits highlighting the bell’s history, but you may need to wait in line.

Tour Independence Hall

Located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th streets, Independence Hall is where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. Visitors must get timed tickets for a tour that includes the Assembly Room, where the Founding Fathers debated and signed the documents that established our country and government. Tour guides also discuss the building’s history and architecture and share fun facts about the country’s early leaders. While you’re in the area, check out the National Constitution Center, also called the Museum of We the People. The center’s interactive experiences and exhibits bring the Constitution to life.

Climb the ‘Rocky Steps’

Put on a pair of running or walking shoes and channel your inner Rocky as you make your way up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The steps were made famous by Sylvester Stallone, who played Rocky Balboa in the 1976 film about a working-class boxer who wins the heavyweight title. A statue of Rocky raising his arms triumphantly after a training run now sits at the base of the steps, a popular place for selfies.

Walk through the markets

Rocky’s training run also took him through the Italian Market along 9th Street in South Philadelphia. The nation’s oldest open-air marketplace features dozens of produce vendors, butchers, cheese connoisseurs and restaurants with not only Italian food but also Asian and Latin American cuisine. If you’re looking for a market close to the convention center, check out the Reading Terminal Market. In addition to produce, meats, poultry, seafood, cheeses and baked goods, you’ll find a variety of restaurants to please your palate.

Explore museums

Myriad museums are located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, known as Philadelphia’s Museum Mile. Check out The Franklin Institute, a science and technology museum; The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the first natural sciences institution in the Americas; and the Barnes Foundation, which houses a collection of Impressionist, post-Impressionist and early modernist paintings.

Relax along the waterfronts

Philadelphia is between the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers, providing plenty of waterfront experiences. The Delaware River on the eastern side of the city features recreational piers and parks. You also can tour historic ships moored along the Delaware River, including the World War II submarine Becuna and the USS Olympia, which saw action during the Spanish-American War. The 120-mile Schuylkill River Trail on the west has paved lanes for walkers, runners and bikers as well as a 2,000-foot-long boardwalk.

Be on the lookout for murals

What started as an anti-graffiti program in 1984 has blossomed into over 4,000 works of community-based public art. You can see some of the murals on guided and self-guided tours by foot, trolley, train or Segway. Among the murals are the Sanctuary at 13th and Chancellor streets by James Burns, which raises awareness about mental and emotional health; The Promise of Biotechnology at 1108 Sansom St. by Eric Okdeh and local schoolchildren, a science-themed mural that traces Philadelphia’s pioneering medical history; and Legacy at 707 Chestnut St. by Josh Sarantitis and Eric Okdeh, which depicts Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ work to end slavery.

Soak up the season

Made in Philadelphia will host Harvest Weekend Oct. 9-11 in Dilworth Park at the west side of City Hall. The fall festival will include a beer garden, fall food and decorations, and local vendors selling art, photography, jewelry, wood crafts and more.

For more information on things to do during your stay in Philadelphia, visit

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