¡Philly Te Ama!
Feel the pulse of Latino Philadelphia
Get in touch with the city’s Hispanic heritage!
The hub of Latino culture and life in Philadelphia, El Centro De Oro is home to several international non-profit organizations, many third and fourth generation family-owned businesses and residents descending from almost every Latino country across the globe. Take a shopping trip through the neighborhood and pick up Spanish literature, art, contemporary books and gifts or take home some Latin rock, Batchata or Merengue music. Treat your mind to a veritable outdoor gallery of vibrant wall paintings that tell the story of Hispanic Filadelfia as you travel through our vecindarios (neighborhoods).
Satisfy your urge for succulent arroz con pollo, carne a al parrilla and ceviche with a visit to one of the region’s many renowned Latin restaurants. From trendy Nuevo Latino restaurants in Center City to neighborhood stalwarts that have been serving up traditional delicacies for generations, you won’t have any trouble finding a wonderful Hispanic meal in Philadelphia.
To feel the vibrant pulse of Latino Philadelphia, follow @PhillyTeAma on Twitter.
Arts & Culture:
HACE Business & Visitor Center | Official Site
Located at what locals consider the start of El Centro de Oro, the HACE Business & Visitor Center provides visitors with information about cultural activities, events and businesses in the vibrant neighborhood. The center also houses an art gallery featuring the work of local artists.
Taller Puertorriqueño | Official Site
Dubbed the “Cultural Heart of El Barrio,” Taller Puertorriqueño, the first and only Latino organization in the state to receive the Governor’s Award for the Arts, showcases the city’s most extensive collection of Puerto Rican and other Latin American paintings, sculptures and other visual arts.
Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas | Official Site
Visual and performing arts are the focus at Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas, founded in 1991 by a group of Latin American folkloric dancers and musicians. On the weekends, Raíces offers Flamenco dance classes and hosts a Latin music jam session. Attendees of these events and walk-ins on weekends can check out changing art exhibitions featuring the work of local or international Latin American artists. The organization also presents music and dance showcases at venues throughout the region.
Owned by the Gonzalez family for three generations, Centro Musical stocks the largest collection of Latino music CDs in the entire state. It’s also a one-stop shop for musical instruments. 464 W. Lehigh Avenue, (215) 425-7050
Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour | Link
In Philadelphia, more than 3,000 indoor and outdoor walls have been transformed with images of heroes, landscapes or inspiring scenes. On the second Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday of every month between April and November, a Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour departs from the Independence Visitor Center to showcase the murals of North Philadelphia, including those found in El Centro de Oro.
Latin Art Gallery | Official Site
Opened in October 2008, the Latin Art Gallery showcases an exceptional collection of modern art in a wide range of mediums and themes. The gallery also offers art classes for all ages.
El Cafeito | Official Site
A touch of Old San Juan in Old Kensington, El Cafeito serves fresh fare that is both health-conscious and delicious. Open for breakfast and lunch, patrons can enjoy some of the homemade specialties while taking advantage of free Wi-Fi.
Alma de Cuba | Link
Inside three floors of island elegance, Alma de Cuba is a great spot to sip a classic mojito and feast on authentic Cuban cuisine, including ceviche of all sorts, black bean soup, tuna empanadas and loads of other Latin-inspired dishes.
Amada | Link
In 2004, Chef Jose Garces started his Philadelphia restaurant empire with the opening of the casual yet sophisticated Amada, which serves up Spanish tapas like manchego and artichoke empanadas and super clever combos of Spanish cheeses with homemade spreads.
Cantina Dos Segundos | Official Site
Like its Passyunk Avenue sibling Cantina Los Caballitos, Cantina Dos Segundos serves up creative Mexican fare such as veggie “beef” tacos and slow-roasted goat along with flights of tequila, fresh fruit margaritas and a fiesta-like atmosphere.
Distrito | Link
Chef Garces (featured above) drew inspiration from Mexico City for University City’s Distrito, a brightly colored, fun house-like eatery with cuisine like chili-marinated lamb chops, scallop and pineapple skewers and hibiscus cosmos.
Lolita | Link
Chef Marcie Turney creates contemporary Mexican dishes at Lolita, an intimate spot with a décor of sultry reds and blacks against a backdrop of exposed brick walls. This BYOB spot is also BYOT—as in bring-your-own tequila to add to fresh margarita mix.
Mixto | Official Site
Latin-American and Caribbean plates are the specialty at Mixto, a neighborhood favorite serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Patrons pour in for the mouthwatering mojitos and sensational sangria, along with the fun atmosphere. Bartenders create the non-alcoholic batido de frutas (fruit smoothies) with imported Latin American fruits.
Sazon | Official Site
At Sazon, Northern Liberties’ Venezuelan BYOB restaurant, the atmosphere is simple and the fare, like arepas and arroz con pollo, is hearty and features plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Tequilas | Official Site
It’s all in the name at Tequilas. The beautifully decorated, upscale Mexican restaurant keeps dozens of fine sipping tequilas on hand to complement the expertly prepared, authentic Mexican cuisine.
Tinto | Link
Garces’ second Philadelphia hotspot, wine bar Tinto specializes in “pinxtos,” the Basque region’s Spanish- and French-influenced version of tapas.
Nightlife, Dancing and More Dining!:
Brasil’s Restaurant and Night Spot
Brasil’s Restaurant and Night Spot offers dancing almost every night of the week at their upstairs dance floor. The salsa dancers here are the real deal, and they teach some of their favorite moves during Wednesday, Friday and Saturday classes. 112 Chestnut Street, (215) 413-1700
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar | Link
Cuban and Latin cuisine and mojito flavors of all kinds are served in a setting straight out of old Havana at the bi-level Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar. Floorshows and salsa dancing evoke the authentic spirit of 1940s Cuba on Fridays and Saturdays.
Isla Verde | Official Site
Located in the heart of the Hispanic community, Isla Verde serves Chef Juan Carlos’ delicious tapas creations. Revelers dance to the hottest local DJs on Friday nights and groove to the house band on Saturday nights.
Tierra Colombiana | Official Site
Specializing in authentic Colombian and Cuban cuisine, Tierra Colombiana draws a late-night crowd to its cozy, tropical space for musical performances featuring Latin sounds from Central, South and North America and the Caribbean.
Vango Lounge and Skybar | Link
While diners enjoy the modern Asian décor and Japanese fusion fare at Vango Lounge and Skybar, the biggest draw is the upstairs deck—complete with oversized beds, outdoor seating and a not-to-be-missed view of the city skyline—where fashionable patrons mingle and sip colorful cocktails. Monday nights get even hotter when Latin beats provide the perfect dancing music.
Philly Te Ama Video Series:
The Philly Te Ama® video series highlights different notable Latinos and their reasons for loving Philadelphia. The series includes 10 three- to five-minute videos debuting over the course of 10 weeks on uwishunu, broadcasting each person’s thoughts on why the Philadelphia region is a great place to live, work and play.
The video player below includes all of the videos that have been released to this point: