News & Politics

Shapiro touts Pennsylvania as the ‘Great American Getaway’ ahead of 2026 events

The governor revealed a new state tourism brand a day before revealing programming for the America250 celebration in 2026

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks at the Franklin Institute Tuesday morning.

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks at the Franklin Institute Tuesday morning. Photo by Stephanie Ramones for Visit Philadelphia

Just over two years away from the country’s anticipated 250th-anniversary celebration, Pennsylvania politicos gathered in Philadelphia to showcase the city and begin revealing programming for the 2026 events. 

Inside the Franklin Institute – one of Philadelphia’s most popular tourist destinations – Gov. Josh Shapiro and city officials touted the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, the commonwealth’s hosting capabilities and what it means to be the epicenter of the country’s semiquincetennial celebration at the birthplace of American democracy. 

“There is a tremendous responsibility for us here in Philadelphia to honor the legacy of our founding fathers and the work they did here 250 years ago that laid the groundwork for this great nation,” Shapiro said Tuesday. 

As part of Visit Philly’s event schedule leading up to America 250 in 2026, the organization announced a partnership with TED Conferences, specifically TED Democracy. The organization will host a series of fireside chats, speakers series, and more to encourage debate and discussion around democracy and the nation’s founding principles. 

Jay Herratti, CEO of TED Conferences, called the partnership with Visit Philly a “beautiful alignment.”

“Together, through a multiyear program, TED and Visit Philadelphia will honor the critical role of Philadelphia in the founding of the United States, and we are doing this in the lead-up to America’s very special 250th anniversary in 2026,” Herratti said. 

Shapiro, noting the negativity that often accompanies political news and the current state of affairs, said the TED Democracy events and America250 provide “a chance to celebrate Philadelphia (and) celebrate Pennsylvania.” Shapiro also confirmed that he will be taking part in one of TED Democracy’s fireside chats, which are set to begin next month and run through 2026. 

Tuesday’s press conference also comes a day after Shapiro launched a new state tourism brand: The Great American Getaway. 

“We need a tourism brand that is exciting, that sells,” Shapiro said Monday at PNC Field in Moosic, home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. “And it sells what is so great about Pennsylvania, and I want you to know that you have an administration that is ready to go out and promote the heck out of this commonwealth.”

The redefined focus on tourism and Pennsylvania’s attractions comes as the commonwealth is planning to host several marquee events in the coming years, including the 250th birthday of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the FIFA World Cup and the MLB All Star Game in 2026 – all of which will at least partially be held in Philadelphia. 

Jazelle Jones, city representative and director of special events for the City of Philadelphia, noted that 20 citywide conventions and events will take place in 2026, making the city a “national gathering point” during this historic period. 

“So many organizations and entities have also come to the wise conclusion, just like the good folks at TED, that Philadelphia is the place to be in 2026,” Jones said.