Philly is its own little bubble in Pennsylvania and, as such, it has its own set of rules that both visitors and newcomers should follow carefully if they don’t want to embarrass themselves or their Philly friends. Here are some of the things that should be avoided at all cost if you don’t want to make a total fool of yourself when in Philly.
1. Greet others with “Hello.”
We’re casual folks here in Philly. If you’re not in a business meeting, drop the formalities when you’re greeting a stranger. A simple “Yo,” Sup,” or, if you’re not feeling the slang, “Hey, how’s it going?” will do just fine.
2. Ask if you can swim in the rivers.
Absolutely not. The rivers are beautiful backdrops for an Instagram photo opp, but that’s it. Don’t go bringing crazy ideas into our overly-polluted waterways.
3. Order a light beer at a craft bar or a craft beer at a dive bar.
There is a beer ordering etiquette to be followed in Philly. Don’t walk into one of the high-brow craft beer bars and ask for a Miller Lite and, likewise, do not walk into the sticky-floored local dive bar asking for the hoppiest IPA. Just let these fine establishments stick to what they’re good at.
4. Wear blue on Eagles game day.
It could be a reference to the Cowboys. It could be representing the Giants. It could mean absolutely nothing. But don’t take the chance. Wearing blue on game day is unforgivable.
5. Pronounce “Schuylkill” improperly.
Listen carefully when locals pronounce the river name; it’s closer to SKOO-kill than SHOY-kill, or the countless other ways out-of-towners butcher the pronunciation.
6. Act like Philly is just Philly.
Philadelphia may be one city but the neighborhood loyalty is fierce. There’s South Philly and North Philly, Graduate Hospital and Rittenhouse, U City, Old City, etc. — the list is endless. Some neighborhoods take up a quarter of the city and others a few blocks, but they’re all equally loved by their residents. Philly is not, and never has been, just one scene. Don’t treat it as such.
7. Compare our city to New York City.
Enough already. We’re close geographically but very different. Nothing is more irritating when you’re chatting with someone visiting and they pull out the, “Well, in New York…” Save your energy: We don’t care about what happens in New York.
8. Act like eating a cheesesteak is eating local.
We know that you need to get a Philly cheesesteak when you visit because that’s the thing everyone tells you to do, but when you’re done, do yourself a favor and eat elsewhere. You won’t be disappointed — Philly’s restaurant scene is awesome.