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Philadelphia/South

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South Philly is a district of Philadelphia.

South Philadelphia district, highlighted on map of Philadelphia County. Click for larger image

Understand

Famous for its Italian heritage as well as being featured in Rocky, South Philly is also home to FDR Park and most of Philadelphia's major professional sports teams including the Philadelphia Flyers, Sixers, Eagles, and Phillies. (the city's MLS team, Philadelphia Union, plays in the suburb of Chester). South Philly is also the home to the Philadelphia Soul, an arena league football team. You want a cheese steak? South Philly's where it's at! Recently, South Philly has become home to many Asian and Mexican immigrants. It also includes Ninth St Market (aka Italian Market) and East Passyunk St (roughly 11th and Passyunk SE to Broad St and Snyder), also known as Passyunk Square which is lined with shops, bars, and restaurants. Its upper boundary is South Street, arguably the center of nightlife and urban activity in Philadelphia, South Street encompasses almost every kind of urban attitude you'd expect in a major city. Tattoo parlors, cheese steak joints, local designer clothing stores, restaurants, music venues, and local cafes line South Street from Penn's Landing up to about 10th street. Some of the most famous include Jim's Steaks, Philadelphia Eddie's Tattoo parlor, and the Famous 4th Street Deli. Every night it seems as if there is a street festival going on here.

Get in

South Philly is technically considered to begin at South Street and below. SEPTA has many bus routes and subway stops to connect you to where you need to go.

See

  • The Italian Market, heading south from 9th and Christian, is always worth a visit. Like an old European market, the sidewalks are lined with stands selling cheap produce, hundred-year-old butcher shops, spice shops and Italian and Mexican delis.
  • Bella Vista, a traditionally Italian neighborhood just south of Washington Square, is home to the famous Italian Market, as well as an increasing number of restaurants of various ethnicities. Currently more and more people in their 20's and 30's are moving into this neighborhood, and it is becoming an increasingly popular destination for shopping, food, and drink, all within easy walking distance of South Street.
  • South West Center City This new vibrant area of the city extends south of South St. and west of Broad St. to the Schuykill River. Much of the movie "The Sixth Sense" was filmed in this location.
Citizens Bank Field
  • Society Hill A posh residential area south of Old City. Other than the stately row-houses and gleaming condominiums, there are some quality drinking and dining establishments, two of the artsy Ritz movie theaters, and a seasonally open market.
  • Queen Village Another vibrant area extending roughly from Lombard St. to Washington Ave. between Tenth Street and the Delaware river. It was named after Sweden's Queen Christina. Walking around Queen Village will give you a taste of what Ben Franklin might have experienced in Philly when he was alive, as well as give you a peek at Philly's old European roots.
  • South Philadelphia Sports Complex includes Citizens Bank Park, home to the Philadelphia Phillies, the 2008 World Series Champions; the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL); and the Lincoln Financial Field ("The Linc"), home of the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) and the Temple Owls football team (NCAA). The Sports Complex is also the host to numerous concerts and other events throughout the year such as the Army-Navy football game.
Lincoln Financial Field
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Park. Located at the bottom of South Philadelphia and rather off-the-beaten-track for visitors (for now), this large park somewhat resembles the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. (although less monumental for sure). It is hoped that in the coming decade, the newly re-developing Naval Business Center will become a major new business, residential, and tourist hub, which will perhaps draw more visitors to this hidden treasure. Spend a lazy afternoon stroll and watch a nice sunset in the Jeffersonian'esque marble gazebo. Also features a good skate park. The American Swedish Historical museum, founded in 1938, is also in the park.
  • Navy Yard Business Center [1] Newly re-developed business park formed from the old Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Do

  • If you are a bicycling fan, can bike along the Schuylkill River from Valley Forge all the way into South Philly. A riverside park, including a multi-use trail, extends down to South St. It is hoped that further biking improvements will be made, allowing easy access across town, as 22nd St. and Washington Ave. already have bike paths.
  • Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St, +1 215 922-1011‎. The TLA is a small, more intimate concert venue that often features a good mix of national acts and local musicians.

Buy

South Street [2], between 9th and Front Streets, holds a plethora of bargain stores and unique boutiques with a distinct urban Philadelphia flair. Retro Vintage, Guacamole and Condom Kingdom are among the most popular stores amidst a large amount of restaurants and bars. Fabric Row, along 4th Street from Bainbridge to Catharine, is popular with locals and visitors seeking unique fabrics.

  • Bicycle Therapy, 2211 South St, [3]. Considered the place to go for everything on two wheels.
  • Mia's Boutique, 1748 E Passyunk Ave. Voted countless times for the city's best selection of evening wear.
  • Claudio's Specialty Foods, 924-26 S 9th St (at Hall St), +1 215 627-1873, [4]. 9AM-5:30PM daily. This is actually two storefronts. One is a specialty foods shop with Italian and some Spanish goods but the second, smaller storefront is a "mozzarella factory." They produce mozzarella daily and it's among the best mozzarella in the US. For foodies, it's a must stop, especially if you're already at the Ninth Street Market. (39.93818,-75.158117)
  • The Italian Market, [5]. Home to the freshest produce and goods in Philadelphia, the Italian Market is an absolute "must" for Philadelphia visitors. Combining the hustle and bustle of a market atmosphere with friendly merchants and high-quality products, the Italian Market is both a local and national attraction.

Eat

South Philly has quite a few Italian restaurants plus diners and many places to eat. The block of South Street between Front Street and 6th Street houses several good eateries worth checking out.

  • Old Original Nick's Roast Beef, 2149 S 20th St (at Jackson), +1 215 463-4114, [6]. 11AM-1AM daily. Opened in 1938, this South Philly staple offers delicious juicy tender roast beef sandwiches and their signature gravy fries to go along with the sandwich. Great place to hangout and watch games. $10.
  • Celebre Pizzeria, 1536 Packer Ave, +1 215 467-3255, [7]. 11AM-11PM daily. Opened for over 50 years, Celebre Pizzeria has been serving up some delicious pizzas for thousands of Philadelphians to enjoy. Located one block away from the stadiums, Celebre's is a must before heading to a sporting event. Cash only.
  • Oregon Diner, 302 W Oregon Ave (at 3rd St), +1 215 462-5566, [8]. Open 24 Hours. The Oregon Diner has been family owned and operated since 1992. The Oregon Diner's hard work has landed them numerous awards, countless write-ups in local publications and multiple appearances on local television programs. The chef prepares daily soups & specials along with monthly specials to accompany an already vast menu. The pastry chef also has an enormous bakery display including cookies, pastries, pies and cakes that are baked daily on premises.
  • Brunic's, 2000 S 17th St (at McKean St), +1 215 755-7645. M-F 5:30AM-2:30PM, Sa 5:30AM-2PM, Su 8AM-noon. Brunic's is a gem. A great little place for breakfast or lunch. The service is attentive, the food arrives hot. A real family feel. Homemade comfort food, great soups during the week! A staple in the South Philly area. $5-$10.
  • Famous 4th Street Delicatessen, 700 S 4th St, +1 215 922-3274, [9]. 8AM-9PM daily. Since 1923, this corner delicatessen has been a Philadelphia tradition. Over the course of the decades, numerous celebrities and international personalities have dined at Famous. A number of films have even included the Famous Deli in their movies most notably, Philadelphia (1993) and In Her Shoes (2005). $11-30.
  • Johnny Chang's, 2601 S Broad St, +1 215 551-3000, [10]. Asian dine-in, takeout and delivery. $6-10.
  • L'Angolo Ristorante, 1415 W Porter St, +1 215 389-4252, [11]. $10-21.
  • Mamma Maria, 1637 E Passyunk Ave, +1 215 463-6884, [12]. Italian, open since 1992. Fantastico. Just like sitting down at a table in the owners town of Valle San Giovanni in Abruzzo, Italy. Hand rolled gnocchi and homemade Limoncello.
  • Marra's, 1734 E Passyunk Ave, +1 215 463-9249, [13]. A cozy, family-owned Italian restaurant featuring award-winning pizza in the heart of South Philly's Italian district. One of the oldest restaurants in South Philly. $9-21.
  • Popi's Italian Restaurant, 3120 S 20th St (at Penrose Ave), +1 215 755-7180, [14]. M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 12PM-9PM. Family owned and operated Italian restaurant, opened in 1993.
  • FrancoLuigi's Pizzeria, 1549 S 13th St (at Tasker St), +1 215 755-8900, [15]. Open since 1982. Pizza, sandwiches, and Italian specialties. Delivery available. $5-19.
  • Penrose Diner, +1 215 465-1097, [16]. M-Th 6AM-midnight, F-Sa 24 hours.
  • Dmitri's, 795 S 3rd St, [17].
  • Chickie's Italian Deli, 1014 Federal St, [18]. M-Sa 9AM-4PM. Hoagies $6-10.

Cheesesteaks

The most famous Philly cheesesteak shops are located in South Philly. Nearly all of these have been mentioned in travel guides and on national television, so large crowds of tourists are a common sight, and you should expect to wait in long lines, particularly on weekends. As these are all take-out windows, there are no indoor seating available, but some have outdoor seating.

  • Pat's King of Steaks, where 9th Street crosses Wharton and Passyunk Ave, +1 215 468-1546, [19]. Daily 24 hours. Located at the south end of the Italian Market, Pat's was credited with the invention of the original Philly cheesesteak in the 1930s. No indoor seating, but there are tables outside and a park across the street, where people will hang out to eat their steaks. $7-$10.
  • Geno's Steaks, 1219 S 9th St (at Passyunk Ave, across from Pat's), +1 215 389-0659, [20]. Daily 24 hours. Opened in 1966, Geno's is situated kitty-corner from rival cheesesteak shop Pat's and has even larger, more garish signs to advertise its location. Owner Joey Vento also uses the store to air his personal views, such as his support for police; there is a small dedication to murdered officer Daniel Faulkner (by Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981) and display cases of police badges from all over the United States. Notably, there is a window sign stating "This is America - When ordering, speak English" which has sparked controversy for being discriminatory to immigrants and tourists. Like Pat's, there are some outdoor tables available. $8-$10.
  • Jim's Steaks, 400 South St, +1 215 928-1911, [21]. M-Th 10AM-1AM, F-Sa 10AM-3AM, Su 11AM-10PM. After Pat's and Geno's earned national recognition and fame by being featured on television shows, locals have sworn that it doesn't matter if they were overrun by tourists because Jim's had better cheesesteaks anyway. Of course, now everyone has heard this, and Jim's will have long lines around the corner. $7-$10.
  • Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches, 39 E Oregon Ave, +1 215 551-5725, [22]. M-Th 6AM-midnight, F-Sa 6AM-2AM, Su Closed. Located under the shadow of I-95, Tony Luke's is popular with locals, and more difficult to get to for tourists without cars. Unlike Pat's, Geno's or Jim's, Tony Luke's offers a much wider variety of cheesesteak types, as well as burgers. Outdoor seating only. $7-$10.
  • John's Roast Pork, Snyder & Weccacoe St, [23]. M-F 6:45AM-3:00PM, Sa 9AM-4PM. Open since 1930 and has been a family business for three generations. Home of the Original Roast Pork Sandwich and Ultimate Cheesesteak. $4-10.

Desserts

  • Italiano's Water Ice, 2551 S 12th St (cross street W Shunk).
  • Termini Brothers Bakery, 1523 S 8th St (cross street Dicksinson), [24].
  • Pop's Water Ice, 1337 W Oregon Ave (cross street Juniper), [25].
  • John's Water Ice, 701 Christian St (cross street 7th), [26].
  • Isgro's Pasteries, 1009 Christian St (cross street 10th), [27].
  • Rim Cafe, 1172 S 9th St (cross street Federal), [28].
  • Belle Cakery, 1437 E Passyunk Ave (cross street Dicksinson), [29].
  • Capogiro, 1625 E Passyunk Ave (cross street Tasker), [30].

Drink

  • Cups & Chairs Tea Cafe, 701-03 S 5th St (at Monroe St/Passyunk Ave), +1 215 238-8832, [31]. This bright and cozy shop offers a great alternative to the large chains. Over 55 kinds of tea offered from around the world. (39.940249,-75.151025)
  • Benny the Bum's, 7th & Packer Ave, [32]. Seafood restaurant and bar. Great bar atmosphere with a diverse crowd.
  • Bob & Barbara's, 1509 South St, +1 215 545-4511, [33]. Classic dive bar atmosphere with PBR paraphernalia plastered on every imaginable surface—take a guess at what their drink of choice is. Known for its weekly drag show on Thursday nights (a must-see) but has added other events like a live band on weekends, ping-pong night, and Quizzo.
  • Chickie's and Pete's Cafe, 1526 E Packer Ave, [34]. A great place for every event. Huge T.V.'s are always showing games around the country, but you can also get the privacy of a booth. If you feel like picking on the food there you can't go wrong with their world famous crab fries.
  • Doc's Union Pub, 2nd & Mifflin Sts. A classic Irish pub with classic Irish characters.
  • Royal Tavern, 937 E Passyunk Ave, +1 215 389-6694, [35]. M-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa-Su 10AM-2AM. Tavern with upscale (but reasonably priced) bar food. Plenty of vegetarian options. Popular with hipsters.
  • Grace Tavern, 2229 Grays Ferry Ave (at South St), +1 215 893-9580, [36]. 11:30AM-2AM daily. A local favorite watering hole, with a great selection of different draft beers that get rotated regularly and at affordable prices. They also make some of the best burgers for the price in Philly, which come with a helping of fries and a delicious bourbon mayonnaise sauce imported from Monk's, another local pub from the same owner. $5-$15. (39.944999,-75.179615)

Sleep

  • Holiday Inn Stadium – Philadelphia, 900 Packer Ave, +1 215 755-9500, [37]. Comfortable accommodations, free airport shuttle service, an outdoor swimming pool, and convenient to the Philadelphia International Airport.
  • Skyview Plaza Hotel, 2033 Penrose Ave (at 20th St), +1 215 336-4600, [38]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Located in the heart of Suburban South Philadelphia. Within walking distance of the sports complex. approx. $90 per night.

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