Over the past few years, I’ve been writing love letters to Philadelphia. The first one took me 25 years and it’s 160 pages long. Since then I’ve written two more. I guess you could say I feel passionate about the city.
I moved here in 1991 and got my dream job with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. I had to hit the ground running - learning about William Penn’s brilliant city layout and how Willard Rouse cursed our sports teams (and how figurines atop the Comcast buildings ended it). I spent nearly a decade showing travel writers - the world’s most jaded travelers - around the city. From being serenaded by future opera stars at a South Philly restaurant to singing the praises of cheesesteaks sizzling nearby, I noted what surprised and delighted them. It’s all in the first admiring missive.
For the past 20 years, I’ve run Spotlight Public Relations, a public relations firm specializing in restaurants and hospitality. I’ve worked with tourism bureaus in Philadelphia and South Jersey, the unofficial “mayor” of Chinatown, boutique hotels, a historic tavern, celebrity chefs, and one of the nation’s largest shopping malls.
I published my first love letter in 2016 - a book called 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia. It includes the tried and true attractions, hidden gems, under-the-radar and only-in-Philadelphia places and tips to enhance each experience.
This fall, the second edition of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia will be published. The fact that there was a compelling need to write a second edition after only four years says volumes about Philadelphia. The latest edition includes many things that weren’t here 4 years ago -- parks that make ingenious use of former industrial space, a major museum in the historic district, award-winning restaurants, an urban shopping mall, a concert venue that seats thousands, and the tallest skyscraper in the city.
In-between I wrote Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia, which tells the sweet & spicy stories behind 90 of the region’s most beloved chefs and restaurants. Plus tips on how to make the most of Restaurant Week, find and get into speakeasies, order secret menu items and more.
But, those three love letters to Philadelphia aren’t nearly enough. To stay up-to-date on our vibrant region, follow this blog for the very best things to see, do and eat. Stay tuned for the scoop on how to help restaurants survive with limited capacity, new attractions, don't-miss-events, restaurants openings and lots and lots of tips!
Irene Levy Baker is the author of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. For signed copies of the book, visit www.100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com. Use promo code: TheCityPulse for free shipping.