Photo: Philadelphia Mummers Parade/Facebook

9 Things That Make Philadelphia so Unique

by Alicia Raeburn Jan 22, 2019

Life in Philadelphia is not quite like life anywhere else. The city is full of peculiar traditions, passions, pop culture references, customs, and quirks that make it unique and help Philadelphians bound. For better or worse, it would not be Philadelphia without these nine things.

1. Rocky

With posters, quotes, screenings, and a not-so-subtle giant statue celebrating him throughout the city, it’s clear that Rocky is the ultimate Philadelphia hero. As one of the few totally Philly movie series out there, and certainly the most famous, we’re proud of the Italian Stallion and we like to show it.

2. Wawa

It has spread across state lines these days, but Philadelphia simply would not be Philadelphia without Wawa. We have a pride in the convenience store bordering on mania, and we’re not about to apologize for it.

3. Sports bars

Every Philadelphia sports bar knows the risk it takes in hosting game day events and does it anyway — that’s true courage for you. We love our sports bars, and for some reason, in spite of the chaos we subject them to on Sundays in the fall, they still seem to love us.

4. Summer weekends at the Shore

As soon as the good weather shows up, we know that the only place worth being from Friday through Sunday is at the Jersey Shore.

5. Beer geeks

Try just grabbing a six-pack and showing up to your friend’s house without a deep and thorough conversation about where the beer is from and how it’s made and you’re in for a rude awakening. The local brews are tasty enough to make anyone happy to sip a 5-ounce pour for $13, all the while discussing the bitter aroma of toasted wheat and hints of malted caramel.

6. Philadelphia sports fandom

We know everywhere has sports teams, and they all have their own fans, but Philly fans are a special kind of crazy. People high-five in the streets, strangers hug without warning, and even the public buses flash “Go Eagles” for game days.

7. Irrational liquor laws

We all know that if we don’t plan ahead, we’re either going to spend a half hour traveling to the nearest store — if it’s even open — or spend $16 on a six-pack if it’s nearby. We’re not afraid to cross state lines in an effort to avoid the strange and always unclear liquor laws of our city.

8. A monthly payout to the Philadelphia Parking Authority

No Philadelphian has ever gone a month without having to shell out a small fortune toward parking tickets. We don’t expect the pothole the size of a crater to be filled in front of our building, but we damn well know that if our meter goes one minute over, we’ll have a city employee on our car within seconds.

9. The Mummers Parade

For one glorious day every year, the streets of South Philly are filled with men, women, and children dressed in glittering dresses and costumes of mythical proportion for the Mummers Parade. There’s not much you can rely on in life but if you’re from Philly you know that without fail, on January 1 of every single year, confetti will fall like rain and beers will flow like water and, for that one day, all will be right in the City of Brotherly Love.

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