Experience essential Philly, from running like Rocky to marveling at festivals of light

Philadelphia never has a shortage of awesome activities, but there are some things youse just gotta do while you’re in town. AVMA Convention 2022 will be in the city from July 29 through Aug. 2.

Skulls displayed at Mütter Museum
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, founded in 1787, operates the Mütter Museum, which contains a collection of more than 25,000 medical curiosities. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)

According to Visit Philadelphia, the following activities are the Top 10 essential experiences to be had in the City of Brotherly Love:

  1. Snap a photo in front of the Liberty Bell, which rang in the Pennsylvania State House. The inscription on the cracked bell reads, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”
  2. Run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art like the boxer Rocky from the movie series, then pose for a picture with a statue of Rocky.
  3. Enjoy an authentic Philly cheesesteak, a hoagie roll filled with chopped or thinly sliced steak and your choice of cheese and fried onions.
  4. Tour Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the U.S. Constitution was created.
  5. Visit one of the famous “LOVE” sculptures, a version of the iconic work of art by Robert Indiana, with an “L” and slanted “O” over the letters “V” and “E.”
  6. Chow down on food from dozens of vendors at Reading Terminal Market, one of America’s oldest farmers markets and a current food paradise.
  7. Visit the museums on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was founded in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The museum’s collection consists of more than 240,000 artworks, including “Mont Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cézanne and “Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2” by Marcel Duchamp.
  8. Amble through the world-renowned Longwood Gardens, well worth the 50-minute drive from the Center City District to Kennett Square. More than 1,000 acres are filled with 20 outdoor gardens and 20 indoor gardens.
  9. Explore the trendy Delaware River waterfront, with attractions including Cherry Street Pier and Race Street Pier plus seasonal spots such as the hammock-strung Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest.
  10. Dine at critically acclaimed restaurants. Options include street food, James Beard Award winners, bring-your-own-bottle restaurants, places with sidewalk seating, bars with great food, craft pizza, vegetarian and vegan eateries, and the storied Reading Terminal Market and Italian Market.

In conjunction with AVMA Convention 2022, the “Run Like Rocky” running tour will take place from 6-7 a.m. Sunday, July 31.

Are you ready for your Rocky moment? On this running tour, you will see some of Philadelphia’s most popular landmarks, such as the Liberty Bell, LOVE Park, and yes, the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps immortalized by Mr. Balboa himself. Led by professional running guides, this 5K tour is for all paces. Participants also get a Rocky-inspired T-shirt.

Tickets are $30 per person, available during registration. Running strollers are permitted for no extra charge.

If that’s not enough, there’s more history that might be of interest to veterinary attendees. According to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Philadelphia claims to be home to the nation’s first hospital, medical school, women’s medical school, children’s hospital, medical society, medical library, college of pharmacy, and biomedical research institution.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1787, making it one of the country’s oldest professional medical associations. The college’s Mütter Museum contains a collection of more than 25,000 medical curiosities, including a tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland’s jaw, the conjoined liver of twins Chang and Eng, slivers of Einstein’s brain, and one of John Wilkes Booth’s vertebrae.

Dr. Phillip Syng Physick lived in and had an office in Society Hill in the late 1700s and early 1800s. His patients included President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall. Among items on display at the Physick House are Dr. Physick’s surgical tools, including blood-letting instruments, stomach pumps, and tubes to remove kidney stones. The house is said to be haunted. Tours are offered of the museum and garden.

According to Visit Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is returning for the first time in three years to illuminate Franklin Square. The square comes alive with thousands of LED lights illuminating intricate lanterns constructed by artisans from China. Also on the docket are performances, shopping, the Dragon Beer Garden, and more. Tickets are required to enter the festival after 6 p.m.

A decade after British artist Bruce Munro first exhibited at Longwood Gardens, he returns with “Light: Installations by Bruce Munro,” comprising eight installations situated both indoors and outdoors, according to Visit Philadelphia. Don’t miss works such as “Field of Light,” featuring 18,000 illuminated stemmed orbs lit by fiber optics along Longwood’s Large Lake, and a giant sphere made of 1,820 recyclable bottles in the East Conservatory.