‘The Mural Arts Capital of the World’ – it’s not your average destination title, but it’s one Philadelphia holds dear because it not only attracts tourists both near and far, but reflects the city’s ongoing evolution.

In 2016, the second largest city on the East of the USA has nearly 4,000 murals painted across its streets.

They vary from religious pieces, such as this tribute to Bishop Richard Allen and the A.M.E Church:

Image: Mural Arts Program

Image: Mural Arts Program

There’s music-inspired works like this incredible ‘Rhythm & Hues’ artwork:

2016-078-Rhythm-Hues-Final-1-1

Image: Mural Arts Program

And even a few psychedelic ones like this:

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Image: Mural Arts Program

As you can see, they’re pretty impressive, but what exactly inspired Philadelphia to become a Mural City?

Well, according to Brian Said, Philadelphia Tourism’s Executive Director, the idea to decorate the destination in artwork came as a solution to the city’s graffiti problem.

Speaking at an East Coast USA luncheon in Sydney last week, he explained that over two decades over, the city struggled with street art and the only way to stop it was by replacing it with pre-planning works.

Why?

“Because a graffiti artist will never paint over someone else’s work,” he said.

Now, with over 4,000 mural across the city, graffiti has turned into “a massive tourist attraction”.

Aside from murals, Philadelphia also has more outdoor sculptures than any other American city, making it somewhat of an arts capital.

“We’ve gone through a big renaissance over the last few years.”

Brian Said, Philadelphia Tourism Executive Director

Meanwhile, Said admitted that not many Australians know much about the destination, but said “that’s okay” because it gives him an opportunity to educate them.

Cheesesteak -photo by bklphoto-PHLcvb-40

Like did you know the city is only 20 minutes from the airport? Or that it’s the largest Oneworld hub in the northeast? Or that you don’t need a car to get around the city because it only takes 45 minutes to walk from one side to the other? Or that there’s over 2,500 dining establishments?

Pretty cool.

Also revealed at last week’s lunch was a really good reason for travellers to start thinking of New York as Italy. Find out why here.

Have you ever travelled to Philadelphia?