Let’s say all your friends were coming to Philly for the week. What would you tell them to do? We can guess. First: Wait in line at both Pat’s and Geno’s, neither of which makes the best sandwich in the city. Second: Go to Independence Hall and then do not leave Old City or the historical district because it’s all we have to offer. Three: Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

We’ve got to be close. Mostly because we’ve spent the last several days reading through dozens of “Guides of Philadelphia” written by news organizations small and large as more than 50,000 people and a load of media attention is descending on our city in the coming days for the Democratic National Convention.

Some of these guides aren’t bad. Lots of folks outside the city seem to get that we’re not all cheesesteaks and pretzels and snowballs at Santa. But others are just so riddled with cliches and bad advice that they just need to be called out.

These are the 10 worst guides to Philly:

(And when you’re done reading them, check out our DNC guide, our neighborhood restaurant index, our sidewalk dining index, our big list of parties and events you can go to and our look at what real Philly concierges say are the best things to do. Trust us.)

1. Pokemon at the LOVE Statue

LOVE park

So, No. 1: LOVE Park does not look like this right now. The statue was moved to Dilworth Park as construction of LOVE Park continues, so some tourists are going to be a bit confused. Yahoo! started off its guide to Philadelphia with this, and honestly just kill me with all these cliches:

The birthplace of the constitution, a bedrock of American political history and home to the countrys longest standing cheesesteak rivalry, Philadelphia has remained a pillar of modern day democracy ever since the founding fathers dipped their indelible quill into ink to sign the Declaration of Independence.

INDELIBLE QUILL. Also: The longest-standing cheesesteak rivalry? As if there are so many? Anyway, the best part of Yahoo!’s guide was when it recommended things to do:

From Constitution Center to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, to the chance of catching Pokmon on Love Statue, theres a lot going on in the city of brotherly love over DNC week.

Were any of those things words? Enjoy catching your “Pokmon” in the city of brotherly ugh, people. One more thing: This guide is telling people to check out one of the city’s thousands of hotel rooms — of which there are hardly any left for the DNC. You could try Craigslist.

2. Craig ‘LeBan’! Troegs! ‘Tastycakes’!

Credit: Diana Bowen

This CNN post about food and drink attempted to pit Cleveland’s scene against Philly’s (HAHAHA) and they didn’t do an awful job but look, there are some things we need to discuss. First off, for some reason Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan’s name is spelled “Craig LeBan.” Fine. We can get over that.

What we cannot get over is the egregious misspelling of our region’s favorite pre-packaged snack cake. Dear CNN: It’s Tastykake. Not Tastycake. We’re offended to our core. And when it comes to beer, we’re glad CNN included Philadelphia Brewing Company! But the other brewery they recommended was Troegs, which is cool, but it’s in… Hershey. Try Yards next time, guys.

3. Basically do not leave Old City

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We love Old City. We love Independence Hall, and we love that Philadelphia’s rich history made it what it is today. That said: There’s so much more to this city than the historical district, so when a guide to the city includes only Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House, we have some objections.

This post from Cleveland.com laid out stops for someone visiting the city, which includes stopping at Independence Hall (twice!) and literally does not recommend any spots west of Seventh Street. It also quotes noted dead person Ben Franklin at the beginning, which is awkward. Newsflash tourists: Things exist outside the lovely historical district. Like the entire convention, for example.

4. Go to the Cheesecake Factory

Credit: Danya Henninger/Billy Penn

I’m just going to chalk this one up to poor planning. Or poor thinking. Or something. One of our reporters received a press release earlier this month from a PR company that shall remain unnamed and it was titled “Where to dine during the DNC.” It had exactly two recommendations: 1. The Cheesecake Factory. 2. The Grand Lux Cafe in King of Prussia.

*Lets out massive, disappointed sigh.*

5. The ‘Philly DOT’ and a slight (?) at Fishtown

Frankford Avenue in Fishtown
Frankford Avenue in Fishtown Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

I like the idea of Brokelyn. This website caters to broke people in Brooklyn because honestly who can afford that shit? Its guide to cheaply getting through Philly is OK, though it does recommend walking around and finding all 51 of those painted donkeys and, like, that just seems like a lot. We’d recommend just, well, walking around. It is free! And there’s a lot to see.

However, the best parts are when: 1. It refers to PennDOT as “Philly DOT.” Excuse me, we take great pride in how much everyone hates PennDOT. Do not put our city’s name in it. 2. At the end, it recommends people who are missing Brooklyn go to Fishtown to “have your own simulated Brooklyn.” Hmm.

6. The Art Museum and Independence Hall


This guide from Organizer recommends tourists visit literally just four things: Independence Hall, the Art Museum, Reading Terminal Market and the Franklin Institute. Remind me again how this is more helpful than Google? Or your own brain?

However, we do appreciate this really romantic description of Independence Hall:

Independence Hall is where the two the documents that formed our nation were signed and debated. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution encompassed the universal principals of freedom and democracy, and have influenced lawmakers around the world.

7. We JUST had the Pope


This guide to the restaurant scene from The Washington Post is actually pretty good, and recommends local favorites like The Dutch for breakfast, Oyster House for Happy Hour and South Philly Barbacoa for Mexican. But it features some weirdness in this quote from Chef Greg Vernick, who tells the Post: “We just had the pope.” Uh, did he forget that the Papal visit was pretty terrible for restaurants?

There’s also LaBan saying to eat in Philadelphia now is to “see the vitality of a city expanding its seams” and we have no idea what that means.

8. Cliche cliche cliche

The cliches go head-to-head.
The cliches go head-to-head.

So this sentence from Travel + Leisure:

Politics, much like cheesesteak is a deeply personal choice. While the dems are expected to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Presidential nominee, in an election year as unpredictable as this one anything is possible.


9. These things do not go together

Eagles tailgate
Eagles tailgate

“The Sports Fan’s Guide to the DNC.”

Do we need to say more?

10. Never Uber

Taxi, limo and Uber Black drivers protest UberX in Philadelphia.
Taxi, limo and Uber Black drivers protest UberX in Philadelphia. Credit: Via @ckrewson on Instagram

In City & State’s “Essential Guide for New Yorkers Going to the Democratic National Convention,” there’s an entire section called “Avoiding Uber” that reads:

But while the city may be taking a soft line on ridesharing, Philadelphia’s Unified Taxi Workers Alliance says real Democrats shouldn’t take that Uber.

If a taxi driver says something but nobody listens, does he make a sound?

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.