Bella Vista Neighbors Association
Translating to “beautiful sight,” Bella Vista was the first Philly neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants. Its original heritage informs much of what exists today, though the family-oriented residential pocket has blossomed into a microcosm of South Philadelphia itself.
Bella Vista’s best-known feature is the 9th Street Italian Market, the oldest operational open-air market of its kind in America. Welcoming the presence of other cultures — Vietnamese and Mexican, most prominently — has helped the area grow into much more than the sum of its once-monocultural parts.
Bella Vista offers visitors a staggering roster of dining options, from city-best brunch spots to late-night international explorations.
Two main corridors define the best the neighborhood has to offer. The historic Italian Market stretches north along 9th Street, from Wharton Street to Fitzwater Street.
Bella Vista is home to the Italian Market, first established in the late 19th century.
First established in the late 19th century by Italian immigrants, the market continues to grow, more recently including many Latino- and Asian-owned businesses peddling coffee, cheese, meat, pasta, sandwiches, produce and more — a perfect harmony with 9th Street’s beloved institutions.
While not as quaint, the east-west corridor of Washington Avenue is home to a variety of taquerias, Vietnamese restaurants and grocers, and other international finds as well as upscale sit-down restaurants and bars.
Bella Vista is a short walk from Old City hotels and multiple SEPTA lines, including the Broad Street subway and the Route 47 bus.
The neighborhood itself is quite walkable and bikeable, but finding parking can be frustrating.
The annual South 9th Street Italian Market Festival isn’t to be missed. This two-day event features vendors from throughout the neighborhood offering food, drink, live music and more. Event seating will be at a premium for the festival, so visitors should arrive early.
Though not quite as large as the Italian Market Festival, the summertime Night Market is another great opportunity to taste and experience all the neighborhood has to offer.
Sabrina's Cafe on Christian Street in Bella Vista
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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