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September 11, 2017

What’s overrated and underrated in Philadelphia?

Are cheesesteaks overrated? What about the Art Museum? Surely not Rocky...

Analysis Opinion
Ben Simmons cheesesteak The Tonight Show/NBC

Sixer Ben Simmons eats a Dalessandro's cheesesteak on "The Tonight Show."

My friends and I are constantly debating the overrated and underrated nature of everything. Was Donovan McNabb underrated? (No.) Is mini-golf overrated? (Probably.) Is grilled cheese underrated? (YES, oh yes.) And is there a more overrated show than “Game of Thrones?” (I’ve actually never seen it, which I guess makes me overrated.)

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Nevertheless, I’ve compiled a brief list of overrated and underrated Philly things. “Hot takes” are overrated these days, so instead, I’ll gladly admit that I don’t know everything – something that is actually underrated in our society – and I’ll welcome your feedback on my controversial choices below.


Overrated: Cheesesteaks

I know, I know – cheesesteaks are our thing and they’re a huge part of this city’s identity. And, yes, they’re fine and some places like Jim’s are more than fine and other places like Dalessandro's are extremely fine. That said, I just think that they are slightly overrated, as a whole, by people in this city. Can we agree on “slightly overrated?” In particular, I think cheesesteaks are overrated as a meal. I prefer them as a late-night supplement.

Underrated: Roast pork sandwiches

Going back to cheesesteaks, I honestly don’t find them to be that filling. Maybe that says more about me if a 1,000-calorie sandwich isn’t filling me up. But then there are roast pork sandwiches – John’s and Tony Luke’s come to mind – and those sandwiches are a serious meal. Roast pork sandwiches often have more flavor and are more filling than cheesesteaks. Next time a friend is visiting from out of town, impress them by suggesting one of our top roast pork joints.


Overrated: Waiting in line for a photo with the Liberty Bell

God bless the broken bell, but I’m not waiting 30 minutes for a photo that likely will have other people in the background. The bell is majestic, but photographs simply don’t do it justice. If an inanimate object can be photogenic, then the Liberty Bell falls short. Plus, you get to the bell and you have about eight seconds of enjoyment before thinking, “Well, that’s it. Where to next?”

Underrated: Waiting in line for a photo with the Rocky Statue

Not only is each person in and out within 15 seconds, but the line itself usually has a nice blend of locals and tourists, not to mention an interesting mix of personalities. Plus, it’s almost impossible to see someone’s photo with the Rocky Statue on Instagram or Facebook and not click "like."



Overrated: Going to a Phillies game and getting an autograph

As an adult, I put virtually no value on having someone else write their name on something. Even as a kid, this did nothing for me. It’s nice to chat with a player, but the value placed on an autograph is one of the silliest parts of our society.

Underrated: Going to a Phillies game and getting a foul ball

I have only gotten one foul ball in 3 1/2 decades of attending Phillies games. My dad is 0-for-6 decades. The elation of catching one line drive off the bat of Bill Mueller in 1998 has stuck with me my entire life. And if I ever catch a home run, the whole city can boo me, and I’m not throwing it back onto the field. I’ll throw my Tommy Joseph autograph instead.


Overrated: The Art Museum

If you’re a true art aficionado, then by all means, go and stare and enjoy the hell out of those paintings. But if art isn’t your No. 1 passion in life, the Philadelphia Museum of Art becomes a game of “Find somewhere to sit down” or a constant countdown of “How long do I have to stay in this place?”

Underrated: The Mutter Museum

Now there's some crazy s**t. If the Art Museum is that guy at the party that you get stuck talking to, then the Mutter Museum is the conversation that you never want to end. You can see the entire place in an hour, but you likely will wish there was another room. The Mutter Museum offers the perfect combo of education, stimulation and mummies.


Overrated: “Jawn”

I find that most people who use this word are people who I don’t like. Plus, I think many locals only say it to appear “more Philly” to other lame people.

Underrated: “Yo”

It’s such an obnoxious way to get someone’s attention, but when you’re in a city of 1.5 million people, sometimes you have to be a little obnoxious.

Bonus entries:

Overrated: Schyulkill Expressway

Underrated: Kelly Drive

Overrated: Mummers Parade

Underrated: Thanksgiving Day Parade

Overrated: Philadelphia skyline

Underrated: Boathouse Row

Overrated: Local radio (sports talk)

Underrated: Local radio (music)

Overrated: Scrapple

Underrated: Soft pretzels

Care to chime in? Tweet us @thephillyvoice with your opinion on this list – whether or not it is pristine in its true form or pure garbage. Tell Drew what you think @DrewTweetsNow, and thanks for reading.