Midtown Village Merchants Association
Over the years, the rectangular section of Center City between 11th and Broad streets, and Market and Spruce streets, has been divvied up and called different things by developers and realtors. But the current appellation, Midtown Village, serves it well: It resides in the dead-center middle of Center City, between the history-heavy mainstays of Old City and Independence National Historical Park, and the upscale cosmopolitan majesty of Rittenhouse Square.
As part of the larger umbrella known as Washington Square West, Midtown Village also contains the LBGT-friendly Gayborhood, with its restaurants, galleries and hot spots; the popular dining destinations of the famed 13th Street corridor; and some of the biggest and best hotels and theaters in the city.
As the hub of LBGT nightlife, there are many clubs and cafes that especially cater to the community, as well as the William Way LBGT Community Center, which serves as a locus point for social wellness programs.
The neighborhood’s current incarnation, as one of the thriving hubs of LBGT life in the city, might have only been since the ’70s and ’80s, but this neighborhood has a long and lustrous history. Among other historical highlights, Ben Franklin flew his infamous kite-and-key combination during a thunderstorm right at 12th and Chestnut streets.
In 2004, two local restaurateurs, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, opened the elegant Mexican restaurant Lolita, the first of what has now become a mini-empire of eateries between the two women. Their star power in turn attracted more high-end restaurants, which has helped make the area highly desirable.
Midtown Village is easily accessible by SEPTA subway, either from the Broad Street line at Walnut Street; or on the Market Street line at 13th.
Diners flock to acclaimed neighborhood restaurants like Asian fusion spot Sampan, Stephen Starr’s Mexican-themed El Vez and vegan hotspot Charlie Was a Sinner, as well as to a location of the award-winning gelateria, Capogiro.
Midtown Village is home to acclaimed neighborhood restaurants, fun nightlife options, major annual events and more.
The Gayborhood offers much in the way of nightlife options as well, and for those in the LBGT community, and other open-minded people, the area remains rife with possibilities. Enjoy the classic gay bar experience at Woody’s, one of Philly’s longest running gay bars; get swerving on the massive dance floor at Franky Bradley’s; take in a game or shoot some pool at sports bar Boxers; and, post-last call, wrap up your evening at Voyeur, the swank after-hours club, .
Unsurprisingly, several of the biggest annual events in the area are LBGT-themed, including the fantabulous PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival in June, which begins in the Gayborhood and eventually extends out to Penn’s Landing. Equally as captivating is Philadelphia OutFest, the world’s largest National Coming Out Day festival, which takes over a dozen blocks of the neighborhood in October.
Also in October, the hugely popular Midtown Village Fall Festival features a stunning array of live music, food and booze options, shopping vendors and crafty folks waiting to entertain gobs of frolicking children.
McGillin’s Old Ale House
— Photo by Visit Philadelphia
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