Philadelphians probably don't have to read about that in a magazine, either. They're already experiencing it by visiting the wealth of historic attractions, or taking in exhibits at the Art Museum, a touring Broadway-style production at the Forrest Theatre, or a Philadelphia Orchestra or chamber music performance at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
While acknowledging such surveys are unscientific, city culture czar Gary Steuer calls the new rating "a great barometer of the growing stature and recognition of the cultural scene in Philadelphia, which encompasses both arts and heritage."
It also helps that Steuer is able to back up that assessment with data from a recent report out of his Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, which portrayed the city as the fifth-fastest-growing "creative sector."
The latest sampling of opinions from the magazine's readers also shows the city is getting its message out, with marketing and online outreach (uwishunu.com) by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. and individual arts and culture groups.
The arts drive millions of dollars through the local economy. While not on the same scale as the region's life-sciences juggernaut, culture still generates thousands of jobs and nightlife sizzle for a thriving Center City that has spurred Philadelphia's first population growth in years.
One day, the region's policymakers may even face up to the need to create a sustainable funding source for the cultural assets that, even with strained government and corporate help, manage to earn so much praise.
As for the perception among Travel+Leisure readers that the city is too grubby, well, the survey could be on target. But that just means there's work to be done to assure no litter blocks the way to the theater.