Location: at the crossroads of the Mid-Atlantic states and New England, 100 miles south of New York. With a population of 5.8m, it is the fifth largest city in the US.
History: founded in 1682 by William Penn, an English Quaker, it was the nation's capital from 1791 to 1800.
Main attractions: Independence Hall, Society Hill, Penn's Landing waterfront, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Independence Seaport Museum.
Eating out: food outlets at the Italian Market and Reading Terminal Market, Chinatown, City Tavern, and the restaurant belt in Rittenhouse Row.
Nightlife: Penn's Landing for jazz, rock and blues clubs. Most bars stay open until 2am. Samuel Adams Brew House, one of two micro-breweries, is hailed as Philadelphia's first brewery since Prohibition.
Shopping: The Gallery at Market East and The Shops at Liberty Place; also Franklin Mills Mall and King of Prussia Mall, 15 miles west of the city and the largest complex on the East Coast with nearly 400 stores and 35 restaurants. Zero sales tax on clothing.
Getting there: daily nonstop services from London by British Airways and US Airways.
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