Thursday, October 3, 2013

Philadelphia: Still Open. Very Open.

The government may be shut down, but Philadelphia sure isn't. Honestly, take a look at the list of attractions that are open and the ones that aren't. Which ones would you recommend?

Aside from Valley Forge, the list of shuttered attractions looks like an insider's guide on where not to go.


The National Constitution Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, all open. The Mutter Museum is so open it's not even on the list. The Franklin Institute, the zoo, the Betsy Ross House, Atwater Kent, open. Fairmount Park? Yep, it's a city park, with over a dozen house museums and the historic site of the Centennial Exposition, all open. The Schuylkill Banks are open. Penn Treaty Park is open. Franklin Square is open.


Sorry, the Declaration House and the Second Bank of the United States are closed. Did you know they were ever open on idle Wednesday? Do you even know where they are?

Okay, maybe, but I've never been inside.


While you might not be able to grab a $3 cup of coffee at our multimillion dollar brochure kiosk otherwise known as the Independence Visitor Center, were it not for a few barricades and security guards, you might mistake Philadelphia's participation in the shutdown for a Sunday afternoon.


In fact, it would benefit Philadelphia's tourism industry to start advertising itself as such, especially if the shutdown lasts much longer.

With major destinations like the Statue of Liberty and the White House closed for the duration of this Congressional hissy fit, Philadelphia's closed Liberty Bell Pavilion pales in comparison to the Barnes Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, each with collections that the National Gallery can't rival.

City Hall is open and its tower is just two meters shorter than the Washington Monument. Did you know that? Probably not because William Penn's phallus is surrounded by a sea of skyscrapers that puts the view from Good Old George's obelisk to shame.

If the shutdown continues as long as the nation's last, Philadelphia could find itself more than a brief diversion from DC or NYC, but an entire alternative. Visit Philly should seize this opportunity to plaster DC's Metro and the New York City subway with posters reading "Philadelphia: Still Open." 

With more outdoor artwork than any city in the world (I dare you to argue), this is a prime opportunity to point visitors to a Philadelphia that is more than just dusty stacks of Colonial history, telling a shutdown America that Philadelphia's abundance of city parks and museums are open, maybe even encouraging tourists to stick around long enough to see private attractions like Penn's Anthropology Museum, Reading Terminal Market, and Boathouse Row, attractions a cranky federal government can't touch.

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