Founded on Christmas Eve in 1741 by a small group of Moravian settlers and christened “Christmas City, USA” in 1937, Bethlehem turns its gaze toward the past year-round guided tours and museum exhibits. The 10.9-mile Heritage Trail snakes through 80 historic stops, including two National Historic Landmarks, Victorian-era homes, and the nation’s oldest gift shop. On historic walks, guides lead tour groups through the now-defunct site of Bethlehem Steel, the city’s oldest cemeteries, and the 1762 Waterworks, known as the first municipally pumped water system in the country. The Kemerer Museum Of Decorative Arts is one of only 15 of its kind in the country. Located inside the 1741 Gemeinhaus, the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem curates a collection of exhibits about the town’s settlers, including their missionary work, education system, and medical techniques.
The Rosenbach Museum, which is built from the rare book, manuscript, antique, and fine art collections of the Rosenbach brothers, preserves cultural treasures such as the only surviving copy of Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard Almanac, illustrator Maurice Sendak's drawings, and artifacts from the Civil War. In addition to special exhibitions, the museum's diligent docents guide guests through the Rosenbach manse's nineteenth-century crannies, exploring the rare book library and fine-art rooms, a replica of poet Marianne Moore's living space, and the giant roll of quarters signifying entry into the National Register of Historic Places.
The Philamazing Race’s BOO-tacular Halloween Race kicks off mere days before Halloween, and shares many hallmarks of CBS’s The Amazing Race. Contestants compete in teams (usually two to four people), and the event hinges on cryptic clues that lead to race checkpoints scattered throughout Philadelphia. Teams race between them on foot or public transit, using their wits, smartphones, and Skypes with the Sphinx to decode their clue packets. At each checkpoint, they tick an item off their scavenger hunt list, by snapping a photo or completing a dare. During the four-hour race, athletes typically cover three to four miles of terrain.
Philadelphia’s history fills the pages of textbooks across the world. William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and the Liberty Bell fill the indexes. But these texts do little to educate people on and preserve the physical history of Philadelphia, specifically its buildings.
Enter the nonprofit Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Its volunteer team of tour guides leads architectural walking tours past downtown Philadelphia’s landmarks, buildings, and cityscapes, and its staff coordinates an array of events each month, which have previously included graveyard tours, concerts, and archaeological digs. Proceeds from these activities, along with various grants, are then used to preserve the Philadelphia region’s historical buildings, subsequently preserving its historical communities and the story of the city's influential past.
CitySolve Urban Race lets citizens explore their metropolis through a one-day odyssey that tests speed, stamina, and smarts. Teams scamper through their burb as they solve clues ranging from anagrams and pop-culture trivia to deciphering graffiti written in pig Latin. Interspersed throughout the race are mettle-testing physical challenges, molding iron wills to such tasks as dodgeball, improv comedy games, or identifying ice-cream flavors. Each day's race also awards winners for best costumes and best tweet. Each urban iditarod takes between two to three hours, and jet packs are strictly prohibited.
As the Ale & Arts Walking Adventure tour ambles among famous Philadelphia bars such as McGillin's Olde Ale House and Dirty Frank's Bar, you'll get to drink in the history and cultural significance of 10 distinctive murals, as well as the establishments where they are located. You'll also get to drink in several locally brewed beers served throughout the fact-filled tour. The Mural Arts Program was created to enlighten the public on the collaborative process of how murals transform public spaces and unite artists with the local community. Develop a new appreciation for public art and discover the history behind your favorite local bar with today's side deal.