‘Rocky’ tells the story of a down-and-out amateur fighter (Sylvester Stallone) ready to take his last chance at the big-time by fighting the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) on New Year’s Day 1976. As The Italian Stallion preps for the big day he trains all around the city, including a famous run through the Italian Market. To visit the South Philadelphia landmark head to South 9th Street between Fitzwater and Wharton streets, the center of the Bella Vista neighborhood. The Market is at the heart of Philly food culture, after visiting the open-air shops, head down 9th St. to Passyunk Avenue where you’ll encounter a battle as epic as Rocky’s fight with Apollo Creed — the highly caloric battle between Pat’s (1237 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia; 215-468-1546) and Geno’s (1219 S. 9th St., Philadelphia; 215-389-0659) for the city’s best cheesesteaks rages on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Make sure to ask for a “cheese wit” to get a classic steak sandwich with Cheez Whiz and onions.
The film’s most famous scene — and the most famous scene in Philadelphia film history — is Rocky’s run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia;215-763-8100). The shot was inspired by fighter Joe Frazier’s real-life workout routines and today a run up the steps is a must-see for any Philly visitor. If you make it to the top you’ll be treated to impressive views of City Hall, Fairmount Park and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. You’ll also have a start on the serious task of burning off those cheesesteaks.
photos by plastic nico/Flickr; Wally Gobetz/Flickr