Published: February 28, 2022

Set Your Sights on Philly for #OTOMTG22

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, plays host to the AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience, September 10-14.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, plays host to the AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience, September 10-14. The City of Brotherly Love is known for a rich history with iconic landmarks, vibrant culture, and diverse neighborhoods—it is a city that has something for everyone. Philadelphia has a passion and appreciation for science and medicine because it is part of the city’s history as home of the first hospital, medical school, women’s medical school, children’s hospital, medical society, medical library, college of pharmacy, and first biomedical research institution.

Now is the time to start planning your extracurricular activities—beyond the Annual Meeting program offerings—that the city has to offer its visitors, including historic sites, quaint shopping districts, vibrant nightlife, restaurants, recreation, and more.

Liberty Bell Photo Credit: Robin Miller for PHLCVBLiberty Bell
Photo Credit: Robin Miller for PHLCVB
Top Can't-Miss Experiences in Philly

Whether it’s your first visit to Philadelphia or your first visit in a while, the city is filled with many can’t-miss experiences and “Instagram-able” moments that should be added to any itinerary. (Be sure to tag the Academy @AAOHNS)

Visit the Liberty Bell

A symbol of freedom, the famed Liberty Bell is synonymous with Philadelphia. The cracked bell is free to visit year-round and is found inside the Liberty Bell Center, which sits just across Chestnut Street from its former home at Independence Hall. Inside the Center, you’ll find exhibits highlighting the bell’s history, as well as written information available in a dozen languages. 

Independence Hall Photo Credit: Edward Savaria, Jr. for PHLCVBIndependence Hall
Photo Credit: Edward Savaria, Jr. for PHLCVB
Tour Independence Hall

Transport yourself back to 1776 with a tour of Independence Hall and step foot into the Assembly Room, where the Founding Father’s debated, adopted, and signed the Declaration of Independence and later the U.S. Constitution. The tour reveals interesting details about the building’s history and architecture, as well as insightful tales about the Framers of the nation shared by national park rangers. 

Rocky Steps Photo Credit: K Huff for PHLCVBRocky Steps
Photo Credit: K Huff for PHLCVB
Run the Rocky Steps

As made famous by an inspirational training montage in the 1976 film, Rocky, the 72 steps that lead to the eastern entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are now at the top of anyone’s Philadelphia to-do list. Thousands of visitors flock to the steps each day to race their way to the top and strike their best Rocky pose at the spot where he stood—arms held high with the city skyline serving as the ultimate backdrop. 

Italian Market Photo Credit: Edward Savaria, Jr. for PHLCVBItalian Market
Photo Credit: Edward Savaria, Jr. for PHLCVB
Walk through the Italian Market

You’ll find the nation’s oldest open-air marketplace, the Italian Market, along Ninth Street in South Philadelphia. The market is home to dozens of produce vendors, butchers, cheese connoisseurs, and restaurants. The cuisine offered throughout the Market extends far beyond what its name implies, with Asian and Latin American menus becoming more prevalent as the cultural identity of the surrounding neighborhood continues to change.

Snap a Selfie at LOVE Park

Installed in John F. Kennedy Plaza—now affectionately referred to as LOVE Park—for the nation’s Bicentennial celebration in 1976, Robert Indiana’s now-iconic LOVE City Hall viewed from LOVE Park Photo Credit: A Golod for PHLCVBCity Hall viewed from LOVE Park
Photo Credit: A Golod for PHLCVB
sculpture is arguably one of Philadelphia’s most photo-worthy pieces of public art. 

Explore the Museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Known as Philadelphia’s Museum Mile, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is home to many of the city’s most coveted institutions. It is here that you can study science at The Franklin Institute or learn about dinosaurs and natural history at the Academy of Natural Sciences—the first natural sciences institution in the Americas. There is The Franklin Institute Photo Credit: Paul Loftland for PHLCVBThe Franklin Institute
Photo Credit: Paul Loftland for PHLCVB
also the Barnes Foundation—home to the world’s greatest collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Early Modernist paintings—and the Rodin Museum, featuring one of the largest collections of Auguste Rodin’s work outside of Paris. Capping the western end of the Parkway is the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose 200 galleries are filled with artwork from around the world spanning 2,000 years. 

Reading Terminal Market Photo Credit: Kait Privitera for PHLCVBReading Terminal Market
Photo Credit: Kait Privitera for PHLCVB
Satisfy Your Cravings at the Reading Terminal Market

Opened in 1893, Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market is one of the oldest farmers' markets in the nation and is home to nearly 80 vendors inside, including 26 restaurants. The market’s vendors serve a wide range of cuisine, including Caribbean, Cajun, Greek, Japanese, and soul food favorites, as well as local flavors like the cheesesteak, pretzels, hoagies, and more. Not to be missed are the several stalls that specialize in traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipes.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens Photo Credit: K Huff for PHLCVBPhiladelphia Magic Gardens
Photo Credit: K Huff for PHLCVB
Immerse Yourself in Mosaics at the Magic Gardens

Encompassing three full city lots in South Philadelphia, artist Isaiah Zagar’s magical mosaic maze is one of Philadelphia’s most “Insta-worthy” attractions. Zagar’s largest work to date features an indoor gallery space and a sprawling, layered outdoor maze, with narrow pathways and hidden nooks lined with pieces of mirrors, ceramic tiles, and found objects ranging from bike wheels to soda bottles. 

Admire Some of the City’s Best Views

There are plenty of vantage points offering breathtaking views of the Philadelphia skyline from multiple angles. Catch the sunrise while perched high atop Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park or watch the sun dip behind the Center City skyscrapers as you stroll along the Benjamin Franklin Bridge’s pedestrian walkway. Give cheers to unforgettable happy hour views at Bok Bar, Assembly Rooftop Lounge, XIX Nineteen, or JG SkyHigh, or take in waterfront views at Penn Treaty Park in the northeast or aboard the historic Battleship New Jersey just across the Delaware River. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art Photo Credit: Graydon WoodPhiladelphia Museum of Art
Photo Credit: Graydon Wood
Relax along the Waterfronts

The city of Philadelphia is sandwiched between two rivers—the Delaware and the Schuylkill—with each offering their own waterfront experiences. On the eastern side of the city along the Delaware River, enjoy recreational piers and parks like Race Street Pier, Cherry Street Pier, Penn’s Landing, and Spruce Street Harbor Park, all soon to be connected by an improved waterfront trail system. To the west, the Schuylkill River Trail runs along the Schuylkill River and offers a walking, running, or biking path with ample lawn space perfect for riverside picnics.

Pennsylvania Convention Centerr Photo Credit: Greg Benson for PHLCVBPennsylvania Convention Centerr
Photo Credit: Greg Benson for PHLCVB
Survey Boathouse Row (By Day or Night)

The beginning of Philadelphia’s 2,000+ acre Fairmount Park is marked by 15 beautiful and historic boathouses along the Schuylkill River. Home to the rowing clubs of various local universities, these houses are notably lined with bright LED lights that glow in the evenings and change colors to honor certain holidays. TIP: The best view of the boathouses is from the eastern-most end of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, where you’ll find a small platform perfect for admiring the landmark.

Learn more about the #OTOMTG22 host city at

For the latest information about the Annual Meeting, go to

More from March 2022 – Vol. 41, No. 2