From its art and history to its dining scene and cultural effervescence — and everything in between — Philadelphia is, quite simply, a special place.
That fact, long understood by residents of the Delaware Valley, if not the rest of America, was recently recognized on an international level, as our nation’s first capital was selected by Michelin for inclusion in its distinguished collection of global guidebooks.
Philadelphia’s Green Guide was published in March, with enough time for travelers to have it in hand for the summer.
To put into perspective just how much of a feather this is in the city’s cap, only seven other U.S. cities (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Portland, and Washington, D.C.) can claim such an honor.
Since 1900, the Michelin Guide, published by the French company renowned for its tires, has featured destinations around the globe and has long been recognized internationally as the most prestigious standard for restaurant and hotel recommendations.
Michelin’s very first Philadelphia guide highlights attractions, restaurants, hotels, and experiences in the city and The Countryside of Philadelphia. The guide lauds Philadelphia as the “Frenchest American city,” saying it “offers the perfect compromise between American excess and European spirit.”
“Philadelphia is a condensed version of today’s America: a historic city turned towards the future,” said Philippe Orain, editor-in-chief of the Michelin Green Guide. “It will entice you, thanks to its old neighborhoods rich with incredible restaurants, its museums of unbelievable culture, and its glittering skyscrapers.”
This new spotlight on the City of Brotherly Love and the surrounding Pennsylvania and Delaware counties was the result of an international public relations strategy that made Philadelphia worthy of the world’s attention and, thus, Michelin’s acclaim.
“All throughout the pandemic — when other destinations closed down their operations overseas — we kept our offices going in the U.K., Germany, China, India, and France,” said Robin Bloom, the Director of Content for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), the city’s official tourism promotion agency that is charged with driving international tourism to Philadelphia. “When borders opened back up and flights returned to Philadelphia International Airport in the spring of 2022, we planned FAM (familiarization) tours and welcomed travel journalists from around the world.”
Within six months, the PHLCVB had hosted more than 50 global journalists, influencers, and bloggers.
“Our global tourism team resumed sales missions and traveled to Europe with the Philadelphia Orchestra, using that wonderful opportunity to showcase all that is special about Philadelphia,” Bloom said. “Philippe Orain attended the performance in Paris. All of this combined activity resulted in great coverage in top global publications and caught the attention of Michelin.”
After it was approached by Michelin to partner on the creation of a destination guide, the PHLCVB collaborated with Chester County Tourism and the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board to extend the guide’s coverage to feature suburban attractions like Longwood Gardens in Chester County and Normady Farms in Montgomery County.
“Philadelphia truly is a global city and recognition of our excellent hotels, restaurants, and attractions from Michelin with a dedicated destination guide is the result of our collective work elevating the region on the international stage,” said Gregg Caren, CEO of the PHLCVB. “We are confident the Michelin Green Guide will help inspire even more travelers to experience our city.”
Now that Philadelphia has its own Green Guide, there is hope that the city will soon have a Red Guide, a series separate from the more-generalized Green Guide that zeroes in on restaurants and hotels. The only U.S. cities with a Red Guide are New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Some of the standouts listed in the Green Guide include the Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia Orchestra, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Barnes Foundation.