Rocky Steps, The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Posted on
Dec 3, 2013

If you happen to have the chance to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which is wonderful), here is a bit of advice: run up the steps to the museum.

Just like Rocky Balboa did.

I know, I know – it’s silly and cliche. Doing so may earn you a few eye rolls from locals and museum members. Someone might quietly shake their head. You may spot someone else running up the stairs, then proceed to shadowbox when they reach the top, and you will think, Goodness, they look ridiculous.

You’ll probably look pretty ridiculous yourself. But you should still do it.

Do it, because it’s silly and childish, but also very, very fun. Do it, because life needs balance. It can’t be all Picasso and Degas. There needs to be room for Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago, too.

Besides, you need to practice your left hook, so you might as well do it in front of a banner that says “LEGER.”

Of course, doing all of this may not put you in the best mindset for a visit to the Philly Museum of Art. You might be too hepped up on your own adrenaline to think rationally, and so you conclude that it is a very good idea to sneak into the press-only preview of the aforementioned Leger exhibit.

To your credit, you make it pretty far before a security guard nearly tackles you and escorts you out (of thankfully just the exhibit, and not the museum itself).

So you browse the other galleries, the parts that are not closed off to you … while quietly humming Gonna Fly Now to yourself.

You wander by a statue of Rodin, and blow him a kiss.

As you pass a bust of Benjamin Franklin, you toss him a wink.

You walk around for an hour, pausing every now and then to flex your fingers and practice a couple of combinations, making sure that you don’t drop your right hand while throwing your left hook.

And you think, “Man, wouldn’t it be awesome if I finally got the hang of the Philly Shell while in Philly?”

Later, you will get lost in some far off wing of the museum that you’ve never seen before. It will be full of still life paintings and many, many glass bottles.

Before you leave, you will stumble across this painting by Thomas Eakins, and stare at it for a full five minutes.

Then you will wander out, but not before checking to see if the entrance to the press-only Leger exhibit is still blocked by that formidable security guard (sadly, it is).

If you visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you should start by running up the steps. Because it will make your entire visit that much more exciting.

I suspect the important bigwigs behind the museum are aware of this. They might even embrace it. After all, just outside the east entrance, you can find this:

A statue of Rocky Balboa.

And before you leave, you spend a couple of minutes with him, too. Because, like Benjamin Franklin, he was a great Philadelphian. And for a few moments, you feel like one, too.

Leave a Comment

  • I’m going to have to get back to Philly JUST to run up these stairs!;-)

  • Liz K

    I am from Philadelphia. I live in Philadelphia. I am a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and frequent visitor. And I run up the steps EVERY TIME. If Gonna Fly Now doesn’t cause a catch in your throat and make you want to run along the Delaware River and shadowbox with a side of beef, well then you are not a Philadelphian.

    With that said, it does make me sad that people who visit our city take a picture with the Rocky statue but don’t visit our world-class museum. Go inside, people! It’s amazing!

  • TheOtherLisa

    How do you not qualify as press? Hasn’t your TRAVEL BLOG been reviewed and recommended in many popular media articles? Don’t TOURISTS visit museums?

    I’m in a complete huff on your behalf.

  • I couldn’t help but belly laugh at this article, because running up those stairs is exactly what I did, and the people rolling their eyes at me where my sons and wife. I couldn’t help it, I am a huge rocky fan and quite a few years back we decided to drive to Florida and take my boys to Disney. They were 13 and 15 at that time. On the way back we stopped in Philly because it was a great desire of mine to run those steps and see that statue. So we stayed over night and the next day there I was running up those steps. And you are absolutely right, don’t worry about who is looking or what they think, life is way to short to deny yourself based on what other people might think. And in reference Liz K. she is right, go in the museum it is fantastic. I am from Mass. and we have great museums the beauty is undeniable and you should go to them when ever you have the chance. Especially along the East Coast where all began.

  • The Philadelphia Visitor and Convention Bureau is really nice to travel bloggers. Next time you visit, you can probably score a press pass to all sorts of places in Philly. BTW, the Rocky statue was actually at the top of the Art Museum steps for awhile, but this annoyed the old guard, so then I think he went .
    .down to the sports stadiums before they found the place for him outside, but below the Art Museum.

  • Been to Philadelphia many times and NEVER been to the museum. By the way, do you have any other Sly Stone Travel tips? Maybe something from that arm-wrestling movie?

    • Everywhereist

      Yes – don’t let an arm-wrestling match determine whether or not you will get custody of your son (seriously, let the courts handle that sort of thing).

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