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Statues of a police officer and musician outside a shop on 2nd St

Although it's dear to the hearts of America's flag-wavers, there's a lot more to Philly than the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Despite the support of patriots and the cappuccino set, the 'City of Brotherly Love' has long been the butt of jokes by WC Fields and other laugh-a-minute types.

When the insults finally soaked in - just in time for America's bicentennial in 1976 - the city began renovating. The soon-to-follow Rocky films sentimentalised Philly's tough-guy reputation, born in the Ben Franklin fraternity of rebellious Constitutionaries.

Ah, America, land of contrasts. Philadelphia now enjoys recognition as a major cultural center with world-class museums, performing arts centers and some stunning architecture - and don't forget those pretzels! Cheered for their cheesesteaks and hallowed for their hoagies, Philly's foodies recently took the lion's share of Condé Nast Traveler's best-of-the-nation restaurant recommendations, while the city itself was voted the country's friendliest.

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