Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-Venue for the 44th NCSM Annual Conference

In recent years, Philadelphia has been named "America's friendliest city,"the "number one restaurant city," and "the safest large city." The city's rich multicultural heritage is woven into all aspects of the city, from unique neighborhoods and shops to iconic museums and attractions. It is truly a great destination, and we are excited to gather there April 23-25, 2012 for the 44th NCSM Annual Conference.

Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn, an English Quaker. Due to its excellent location on the Atlantic Coast and accessible port facilities, Philadelphia grew rapidly in the 18th century until it was the second largest English-speaking city in the world. It was called the "Athens of the Americas" as the cultural center of the New World. In Independence National Historical Park, "America's most historic square mile," visitors can see two of the nation's most precious monuments to freedom - the Liberty Bell, symbol of the nation's freedom, and Independence Hall, the birthplace of the nation, where a group of dissatisfied colonists adopted Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. And in Philadelphia in 1787 the Constitution of the United States was written. Philadelphia was the nation's capital from 1791 to 1800.

Today, with a population of approximately 1.5 million people, Philadelphia is the second largest city on the East Coast and the fifth largest city in the U.S. It boasts a thriving downtown, a multitude of historic sites of interest, many museums and cultural venues, and, of particular interest to NCSM Conference Attendees, a beautiful, newly expanded Convention Center, right in the heart of the city.

Philadelphia Firsts

  • The first flag of the United States was sewn by Betsy Ross in Philadelphia in 1777.
  • Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States from 1790-1800.
  • The first art school and art museum in America, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, was founded in Philadelphia in 1805.
  • Philadelphia was the site of the first African American convention, held in 1830.
  • In 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo became the first zoo to open in the United States.
  • The world's first computer, ENIAC, was built at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946.

Restaurants & Shopping

Five-star dining and great shopping (tax-free for clothing and shoes) are all within steps of the convention center and Center City hotels.

Philadelphia has a variety of dining options, from casual to fine dining, representing almost every type of cuisine imaginable. And you thought it was all cheesesteaks, pretzels, and scrapple! Within blocks of the Convention Center, you can find delicious homemade Italian, test out innovative Pan Asian, sample an array of Hispanic cuisine, savor spicy Caribbean specialties, and treat yourself to award-winning French cuisine, just to mention a few possibilities.

The historic Wanamaker department store building houses Macy's, offering the latest in fashion and merchandise - as well as a three-story tall pipe organ! Also nearby are the Gallery at Market Place and the Shops at Liberty Place.

But no destination is quite as tasty, diverse, or convenient as Reading Terminal (12th and Arch Streets, across from the Convention Center). One of the largest and older farmers' markets in the U.S., Reading Terminal Market offers fresh produce, Pennsylvania Dutch baked goods, and tastes from around the world - not to mention shopping for flowers, cookware, crafts, and more to brighten up your kitchen and home.

Places to Go and Things to Do

When the Conference day is done (and if you're not too tired from "thinking hard" all day), Philadelphia offers an array of places to go and ways to wile away the evening.

  • The city's world-renowned art museum is also a pop culture icon, since "Rocky" ran up its steps back in 1976.
  • Celebrate the red, white, and blue at Independence National Historical Park, home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
  • Philadelphia's historic City Hall is a 510-foot building rising from a central courtyard to the hat of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania whose statue was the highest point in Philadelphia until 1987.
  • Visit Love Park with its beautiful fountain, flower gardens, and of course infamous "LOVE" statue by Robert Indiana.
  • Friendship Gate, Chinatown's most recognizable landmark, is the first authentic gate to be constructed outside of China by Chinese artisans and is a symbol of cultural exchange and friendship between Philadelphia and its sister city, Tianjin, China.
  • Visitors savvy in history and art will love the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the United States' first art school, displaying a unique collection of American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper.
  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia was the first institution funded and built by a major municipality to preserve, interpret, and observe the heritage of African Americans. Stop by and experience an exhibit tracing the early history of African Americans in Philadelphia.
  • Hertz Rental Car Discount for NCSM Members
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