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National Geographic names Philadelphia to its ‘25 Best Trips In 2020’ list

Philly is third on the list, just after Zakouma National Park in Chad, and just before Puebla, Mexico.

The Center City Philadelphia skyline as seen from North 15th Street.
The Center City Philadelphia skyline as seen from North 15th Street.Read more / File Photograph

Philadelphia is officially one of 2020’s must-see places, according to National Geographic, which puts it alongside destinations in such countries as China, Hungary, and Egypt.

National Geographic on Tuesday released its “25 Best Trips in 2020,” putting Philly about a third of the way into the list, just after Zakouma National Park in Chad and just before Puebla, Mexico. National Geographic encouraged travelers to visit the City of Brotherly Love in the new year to “rediscover an American classic.”

The only other location in the United States to make the list is Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

“Think of Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati: resurgent, postindustrial American cities that are channeling creative forces to reinvent themselves for a new generation,” the Philly writeup reads. “Philly is like this but better.”

Elements such as Philly’s art community, historical attractions, and museums cemented our position on the list, which is nice. However, we are going to dock National Geographic for the inclusion of the apparently obligatory cheesesteak and Rocky references — even if done a little self-consciously.

“It’s a scrappy underdog with a heart of gold and — who can resist the Rocky reference? — the eye of the tiger,” National Geographic wrote. “Slowly but steadily Philly has changed from a city of industrial might in the first half of the past century to a city of ingenious makers.”

Released annually, National Geographic’s Best Trips is a collaboration between its editorial teams for the 17 international editions of Traveler magazine. Factors for inclusion include affordability, cultural engagement, and geographic and thematic diversity, all with an eye toward sustainable tourism.