A new series of free, dynamically mapped and completely customizable sound-seeing tours of Philadelphia debuted today on soundaboutphilly.com. An initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), the SoundAboutPhilly tours concentrate on lesser-known city experiences and combine interesting tales, fun facts and lively music to tell the area's story. Spontaneous and intimate in tone, the tours feature distinctive and varied voices of experts, boutique owners, chefs, musicians and everyday, in-the-know Philadelphians.
“Throughout its history, the Pew Trusts has taken leadership roles in developing ways to showcase and interpret America's history,” said Don Kimelman, The Pew Charitable Trusts' managing director for Information and Civic Initiatives. “Philadelphia's neighborhoods abound with historical and cultural treasures. SoundAboutPhilly brings to life that rich history, as well as the city's vibrant present, in a unique and engaging way for residents and visitors alike. As the medium itself grows, we hope these podcast tours will become an increasingly popular way to learn about Philadelphia's varied offerings.”
Tour Topics and Tone:
The first three tours, now available on soundaboutphilly.com, are: “History Unplugged,” 300 years of non-textbook American history; “Flavorhoods,” a look at dining in different ethnic neighborhoods; and “My Philly,” recommendations straight from the mouths of local Philadelphians—with a few unabashed Philly accents and all. Each tour introduces listeners to the sounds, history and culture of Philadelphia. Even if they're not in town, potential visitors can soak up Philly while walking the dog or driving to work. They'll learn which Old City boutique hosts bridal showers, what not to say when ordering at a favorite Port Richmond pizza joint and which room in City Tavern was destroyed by a rowdy bunch of Founding Fathers as they planned the revolution.
The remaining four tours, to be unveiled about once a month after the launch, will feature the African American experience in Philadelphia, the undertold tales of the Historic District, the inside scoop on classic Philly spots and a look at the city's religious history, each transforming the area into a living museum to tell the stories of its past and present.
“The beauty of these tours is that they are flexible and customizable, enabling visitors and residents to let their interests drive their Philadelphia experience,” says Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, GPTMC. “People can listen to each 10-segment tour in its entirety, or pick certain sections from each of the podcasts to create their own Philadelphia adventure.”
SoundAboutPhilly's dynamic mapping capabilities are another unique feature of the project. The Web site integrates the audio with Google Maps to help people customize a map to match their selected tour, print it out and take it with them as they explore the city.
The Web site will grow over time as a living space for oral information about the city and region, where downloadable tours (beyond the original seven) will live in the future. And, as Philadelphia becomes an increasingly wireless city, the audio tours will be accessible to anyone with a wireless Internet connection in Philadelphia.
Listeners can listen to any tour directly on soundaboutphilly.com, download a tour or specific segments to their iTunes or other audio players or sign up for an RSS feed to receive a new tour each time one is uploaded to the Web site.
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside™ a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality. For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit www.gophila.com or call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Independence National Historical Park, at (800) 537-7676.