Although technically South Broad Street, the center of Philadelphia’s performing arts district, stretching from City Hall to Lombard Street, has earned the moniker Avenue of the Arts. And for good reason. The energy is contagious as theatergoers, orchestra fans, opera lovers, dance aficionados and the artists and performers themselves spill onto the street to mix with the locals who live, work and dine on the thoroughfare.
The Avenue of the Arts is home to the striking Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the legendary Academy of Music, The Wilma Theater, Merriam Theater, University of the Arts, Arts Bank and other cultural landmarks. Music fans can look down and trace Philadelphia’s musical legacy along the sidewalk’s Walk of Fame. And everyone stands in awe of City Hall, the architectural exclamation point on a street lined with elaborate buildings.
While The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pennsylvania Ballet, Opera Philadelphia and other internationally acclaimed artists perform inside the buildings along the Avenue of the Arts, activities that take place outside have also endeared the avenue to the masses, site of both the yearly Mummers Parade, the nation’s oldest folk parade, and recently, a huge parade honoring the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles.
Restaurants & Bars:
- Aqimero – Inside the grand lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, chef Richard Sandoval works his signature modern, Latin-American fusion on seafood, steaks and poultry prepared on a wood-fired grill. The restaurant has a sushi and ceviche bar, a raw bar and an extensive cocktail menu starring mezcals. 10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8200, richardsandoval.com/aqimero
- Capital Grille – Diners enjoy dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, signature cocktails and wines chosen from the award-winning list of 350 bottles. 1338-46 Chestnut Street, (215) 545-9588, www.thecapitalgrille.com
- Estia – This authentically Greek restaurant specializes in whole, fresh seafood flown in from the islands. The rustic yet elegant ambiance provides a Mediterranean backdrop for diners to enjoy their meal paired with their choice of wines. 1405-07 Locust Street, (215) 735-7700, estiarestaurant.com
- HipCityVeg – This specialist in fast vegan fare starts with breakfasts and continues with green smoothies and popular lunches, mostly salads and sandwiches, including an entirely cheese- and meatless version of a Philly cheesesteak. 121 S. Broad Street, (267) 296-9001, hipcityveg.com
- McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood and Steaks – Menus change daily at this upscale spot, committed to serving the freshest fish, oysters and mussels, along with Northwestern wines, single malts and martinis. 1 S. Broad Street, (215) 568-6888, www.mccormickandschmicks.com
- Tavern on Broad – This belowground pub serves classic American fare: burgers, wings, house-smoked pulled pork, big salads. An impressive schedule of weekly events and over 40 HD televisions attract both out-of-towners and locals. 200 S. Broad Street, (215) 546-2290, tavernonbroad.com
- The Palm – The Bellevue’s handsome, newly refurbished steakhouse, well-loved for its walls of caricatures of local luminaries, serves the most prime of bone-in rib-eyes, along with classic (chopped) and more modern (baby kale) salads, soups, Italian fare, potatoes galore, fine wines and giant slices of carrot cake. 200 S. Broad Street, (215) 546-7256, thepalm.com
- Volvér – Cleverly, carefully composed special occasion dinners are the hallmark of chef Jose Garces’ showpiece inside the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Pre-show dinners are two courses; Thursday through Saturday, 12-course tastings are also available, with or without a wine pairing. 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 670-2302, volverrestaurant.com
- XIX (Nineteen) – The pearl-bedecked, view-rich, breakfast-through-dinner restaurant on the 19th floor of the The Bellevue Hotel wows guests with sweeping skyline views and a central raw bar of clams, shrimp, crabs and oysters. 200 S. Broad Street, 19th Floor, (215) 790-1919, hyatt.com/gallery/nineteen/xix
- Academy of Music – The grand, 150-plus-year-old home to Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet concerts and Broadway Philadelphia performances, this gilded, crystal-chandeliered, velvet-curtained theater is always worth the price of admission. 240 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, academyofmusic.org
- Arts Bank – The University of the Arts’ 230-seat main stage is on the second floor. The fully renovated Laurie Beechman Cabaret Theater occupies the first floor of this historic building. 601 S. Broad Street, (215) 717-6000, uarts.edu
- Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Architect Rafael Viñoly designed the Avenue of the Art’s modern centerpiece, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra and more regional and international masters of world, pop, jazz, classical, theater and dance. The Kimmel is also the center of an arts campus that includes the nearby Merriam Theater and Academy of Music, and offers free building and theater tours throughout the week. 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
- Merriam Theater – The 1,840-seat, circa 1918 Merriam hosts stand-up comedians, celebrity chefs and dance and theater acts. Intimate and enthusiastic crowds add to the performance. 250 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
- Suzanne Roberts Theatre – The home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company is a hotspot for theater, dance and accessible performances for adult audiences. 480 S. Broad Street,
(215) 985-0420, philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
- The Wilma Theater – Productions, including world premieres, at this stalwart venue are reliably thought provoking and daring. Tickets for the main stage season start at $33, with student and theater artist tickets priced at $10 (with valid ID) for all performances. 265 S. Broad Street,
(215) 546-7824, wilmatheater.org
- The University of the Arts – The only private university in the nation dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing, UArts features several professional gallery spaces that showcase the work of visiting artists, as well as students, faculty, staff and alumni. uarts.edu
- Arronson Gallery, Hamilton Gallery and Solmssen Court hold rotating exhibits throughout the year. 320 S. Broad Street, (215) 717-6001
- Gallery 1401 features work from the Photography department, as well as noted international photographers. Terra Hall, 211 S. Broad Street, 14th Floor, (215) 717-6300
- Gallery 817 is the Fine Arts program’s exhibit space and also exhibits works by faculty, alumni and visiting artists. Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, 8th Floor, (215) 717-6495
- Gallery One is the only Philadelphia gallery run exclusively by students—and only one of a few galleries of its kind in the country. Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street
- Richard C. von Hess Illustration Gallery is the Illustration department’s primary exhibit space. Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, 7th Floor, (215) 717-6240
- The President’s Office Gallery is an intimate space presenting an eclectic roster of student, faculty and alumni work. 320 S. Broad Street, (215) 717-6380
- The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, the university’s main gallery, hosts works from various artists throughout the year. Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, (215) 717-6480
- The Sol Mednick Gallery, named in honor of the famed photographer and UArts alumnus, is the university’s primary photography gallery and the only endowed gallery in Philadelphia dedicated solely to photography. Terra Hall, 211 S. Broad Street, 15th Floor, (215) 717-6300
Shops & Spas:
- Artur Kirsh Salon and Spa at the Bellevue – Glamour is on the menu at this modern, European-style salon and spa tucked into the historic Hyatt at The Bellevue Philadelphia, known for distinctive haircuts and blowouts, head turning highlights and color. 200 S. Broad Street, (267) 514-8000, bellevuesalonandspa.com
- Richel D’Ambra Spa + Salon – Nestled within Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton, this comfort zone offers an escape from stress with body, hair and skin treatments, including four-handed massages, reflexology and an array of facials. 10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8035, richeldambra.com
- Salon Royale Court – Clients get the royal treatment through this modern, second-story salon’s comprehensive menu of services, including precision cuts, artistic color, elegant up-dos, pristine mani-pedis and eyebrow waxing. 215 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-3800, salonroyalecourt.com
- Shops at The Bellevue – The ground floors of The Bellevue house Nicole Miller, The Walking Company, Tiffany & Co., Tuescher Chocolates of Switzerland and Williams-Sonoma, as well as a food court. Broad & Walnut Streets, (215) 875-8350, bellevuephiladelphia.com
- Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival – The premier source for Jewish cinema arts in Greater Philadelphia puts on one of the nation’s oldest, most established, most engaging Jewish film festivals within and beyond historic Gershman Hall, formerly known as the Gershman Y. The venue serves other purposes too (below). 401 S. Broad Street, (215) 545-4400, pjff.org
- Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame honors local Jewish teams and athletes, many who played in the building. (215) 900-7999, phillyjewishsports.org
- Philadelphia City Hall – Covering 14.5 acres, festooned with sculptures representing the seasons, continents and allegorical figures by Alexander Milne Calder and capped off with a 37-foot, 27-ton statue of William Penn is the nation’s largest municipal building—and an architectural treasure inside and out. For an elevated view of Center City, visitors can take a 15-minute Tower Tour of the Observation Deck or join the two-hour guided building tours, which also include the Observation Deck. Guided tours available on weekdays only; Tower Tours available weekdays and select Saturdays (11 a.m.-4 p.m.), weather and capacity permitting. Broad & Market Streets, Room 121, (267) 514-4757, phlvisitorcenter.com/CityHall
- The Union League of Philadelphia – Founded in 1862 to support the policies of then-President Abraham Lincoln, this esteemed, elite club has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, industrialists, entertainers and dignitaries from around the globe. The League continues to be driven by its motto, “Amor Patriae Ducit” or, “Love of Country Leads.” Its landmark, Second Empire building, designed by John Fraser, with Beaux Arts additions by Horace Trumbauer, occupies an entire city block and contains The Heritage Center, home to exhibits on Philadelphia and U.S. history, in addition to historical collections. Union League, 140 S. Broad Street, (215) 563-6500, unionleague.org; Heritage Center, (215) 587-6455, ulheritagecenter.org
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