Philadelphia can be considered the birthplace of the United States. The Declaration of Independence was signed here, and the Constitution was written here as well. Philadelphia also served as the capital of the United States until 1800. Today Philadelphia is home to just under 1.5 million people, many of whom call it by its nickname Philly.
The main areas of the city of interest to visitors are Center City, West Philadelphia (particularly University City), and the Northwest. Center City (http://centercityphila.org/home/default.aspx) is the main downtown area, and is central to many public transportation systems. To a first time visitor, Center City would be the ideal choice to stay in and visit, with by far the most lodging options and major sights. West Philadelphia is home to several universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. The Northwest includes the historic neighborhoods of Chestnut Hill and Germantown, and a popular shopping and restaurant district in Manayunk. as well as a large wooded park running for miles in the Wissahickon Valley.