I wrote a love letter to Philadelphia. It took me 25 years and it’s 160 pages long. I guess you could say I feel passionate about the city.
I moved here in 1991 and got my dream job with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. I had to hit the ground running - learning about William Penn’s brilliant city layout and how Willard Rouse cursed our sports teams. I spent nearly a decade showing travel writers - the world’s most jaded travelers - around the city. From being serenaded by future opera stars at a South Philly restaurant to singing the praises of cheesesteaks sizzling nearby, I noted what surprised and delighted them. It’s all in the admiring missive.
For the past 16 years, I’ve run Spotlight Public Relations, a public relations firm specializing in restaurants and hospitality. I’ve worked with tourism bureaus in Philadelphia and South Jersey, the unofficial “mayor” of Chinatown, boutique hotels, a historic tavern, celebrity chefs, and one of the nation’s largest shopping malls.
After 25 years of research, I started to write my love letter - a book called 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia Before You Die. The most difficult part was limiting it to only 100 things. So I cheated. I grouped things together so I could fit in more. I added tips that mentioned even more places. And, I wrote not 100 but 105. Inevitably my publisher made me cut 5 and it was like choosing between my children.
While writing the book, I was mindful of the things I loved - the tried and true as well as hidden gems. I added tips to enhance each experience. How to get reservations at the city’s trendiest restaurants, score discount theater tickets, wow an apathetic teen or entertain a toddler on a rainy day. It’s all in the book.
Whether you’re a newcomer or lifelong Philadelphians, I hope you’ll find pages to dog-ear and things to add to your own bucket list so you can fall in love with the city too.
Irene Levy Baker is the author of newly-released book,
100 Things To Do In Philadephia Before You Die. For more information about the book:
www.100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com. Take a photo of what you love in Philadephia and tag it #100Philly. Have questions or suggestions? Post them at www.facebook.com/100ThingsToDoInPhiladephia www.twitter.com/100Philly or Instagram: @100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia