August 3, 2018

Guide To West Philadelphia

Universities, Parks, Global Cuisine, Cafes, Bookstores, Museums, Art Galleries & Parks In West Philly

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People can access West Philadelphia from Center City via cabs, the Market-Frankford Line and the trolley. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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Neighbors in West Philadelphia’s Spruce Hill often gather at Clark Park, a community hub that’s always bustling with activity. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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The University of Pennsylvania's Penn Museum is home to nearly one million objects, including Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets and Egyptian mummies. Photo by E. Mencher for Visit Philadelphia
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Abyssinia on West Philadelphia’s North 45th Street cooks up authentic Ethiopian cuisine in a neighborhood packed with African dining destinations. Photo courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Paul Robeson House is a museum honoring the life, legacy, philosophy and historical significance of Philadelphia musician Paul Robeson. Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia
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The Woodlands, a National Historic Landmark in West Philadelphia’s Spruce Hill neighborhood, combines an English garden with a rural cemetery. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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alnut Street Café opens for homemade breakfast pastry at 7 a.m., continues through the day with a raw bar and refined dinners replete with sommelier. Photo courtesy Walnut Street Café
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The tree-lined Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus is one of the city’s most pleasant spaces. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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Housed in an old firehouse, Dock Street Brewing Company draws crowds with its traditional and experimental brews and locally sourced food. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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The Logan Square location of City Tap House brings the sports bar that University City knows and loves to Center City. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
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Separated from Center City by the Schuylkill River, West Philadelphia resembles a microcosm of the city itself, with a number of smaller, distinct neighborhoods such as Powelton Village, Spruce Hill, Cedar Park and University City, home to the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the University of the Sciences. Many of its attractions and events—community gardens, ethnically diverse restaurants, offbeat performances and the like—were created to benefit the people living in the neighborhood, but the invitation to enjoy these assets is not exclusive. Ask any local for the signature characteristics of the entire area, and they’re sure to mention diversity, optimism and openness, as well as the bohemian vibe, a trait that took hold in the 1960s and is still evident today.

People can easily access West Philly from Center City via cabs, car-sharing services, the Market-Frankford Line (also called “the El” for its elevated section) and one of the nation’s few remaining streetcar networks. The trolleys run from City Hall down Market Street and through University City, with lines servicing the neighborhood’s three main corridors of Lancaster, Baltimore and Woodland avenues.

Global Cuisine:

  • Abyssinia Restaurant & Bar Abyssinia cooks up savory and authentic Ethiopian cuisine in a neighborhood packed with African dining destinations. The native Tusker Lager beer complements tasty vegetarian and meat-based entrees served on traditional injera bread. Great for hosting large groups for dining out. 229 S. 45th Street, (215) 387-2424
  • African Small Pot This friendly neighborhood joint prides itself on authentic meals from Senegal—specialties like thieboudienne and tibi—along with traditional preparations of chicken, lamb and seafood dishes. 6505 Woodland Avenue, (267) 713-7603, africansmallpot.com
  • Aksum Cafe This North African, European, Middle Eastern bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot is known along the Baltimore Avenue corridor for its vegetable tajines, Lebanese lemon chicken and shrimp, Greek lamb chops and tapas. Bonuses: A great kids’ menu and weekend brunches of sweet corn griddle cakes, shakshuka, Monte Cristo sandwiches and tofu scrambles. 4630 Baltimore Avenue, (267) 275-8195, aksumcafe.com
  • Chengdu Famous Food – Known as a Sichuan gem among locals, this establishment serves up dry pots, ice jellies and steamed and pan-fried dragon buns as part of its elaborate menu. 3635 Lancaster Avenue, (267) 728-4573, chengdufamousfoodphilly.com
  • Chili Szechuan This mid-range Chinese restaurant offers a two-part menu of Szechuan cuisine and Americanized Chinese cuisine. Popular items include chili- or flash-fried chicken and extra-spicy Dan Dan Noodles. 4205 Chestnut Street, (215) 662-0888, chiliszechuanphilly.com
  • Curry Bird – This small, University of Sciences spot is known for Cantonese and Thai fare: tom yum soup, chicken curry, veggie dumplings and bubble tea. 4604 Woodland Avenue, (267) 292-4294, currybirdphilly.com
  • Dahlak For more than 30 years, ethnic food enthusiasts have enjoyed family-style Ethiopian and Eritrean food in the cozy atmosphere inside or on the patio, where diners eat with their hands. With more than 40 beers to choose from and lively music (including karaoke and DJs), patrons get their fill of more than just food. 4708 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 726-6464, dahlakrestaurant.com
  • Desi Chaat House – Welcoming service and reasonably priced Indian cuisine is why many diners love to sit and chit-chat over a variety of chaats at this neighborhood go-to.
    501 S. 42nd Street, (215) 386-1999, desichaathousephilly.com
  • Dim Sum House – From restaurateurs Jane Guo and Jackson Fu, this expansive, three-room restaurant specializes in Cantonese dumplings, sweet sticky rice and Peking duck. With a full bar and late hours (until 1 a.m. nightly), the trendy space is party-friendly. 3939 Chestnut Street,
    (215) 921-5377, dahlakrestaurant.house
  • Distrito Chef Jose Garces’ vibrant, lively and stylish University City taqueria features Mexican street food such as tacos and nachos and a variety of tequila for fresh margaritas. For the best seat in the house, call ahead to reserve the table in the VW Bug. 3945 Chestnut Street (entrance on 40th Street), (215) 222-1657, philadelphia.distritorestaurant.com
  • Ekta Indian Cuisine – Fishtown’s popular Indian restaurant has this second, cross-town BYOB, bringing biryani and more classic dishes, eat-in or takeout. 106 S. 40th Street, (215) 222-7122, ektaindianrestaurant.com
  • Gojjo Restaurant Those seeking traditional cuisine can savor Ethiopian food and a cocktail—or an Ethiopian cheesesteak. A pool table and two outdoor patios provide ample spots for customers to enjoy themselves while dining. 4540 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 386-1444, gojjos.us
  • Greek Lady With heaping gyros, salads and desserts, Greek Lady fills hungry bellies without emptying wallets. Outdoor tables fill up fast when it’s warm outside. 222 S. 40th Street, (215) 382-2600, com
  • Han Dynasty Rated one of the top 50 Chinese restaurants in America by CNN, Han Dynasty built its reputation on its tasting menu and bold combinations—and stocks a long list of craft beers. 3711 Market Street, (215) 222-3711, net
  • Indian Sizzler – This inexpensive Indian buffet offers generous portions and dependable staples like chicken tikka masala, mulligatawny soup and tandoori. 3651 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 386-7272, com
  • Jezabel’s Studio – The studio version of Fitler Square’s Jezabel’s Café features authentic Argentine teas and cuisine, sells kitchenware and furniture and hosts international events and cooking classes. 208 S. 45th Street, (215) 985-2725, com
  • Kilimandjaro West African cuisine fills the menu at this intimate spot, where unusual spices flavor lamb and beef, and fried plantains are a favorite. It’s the first restaurant in the city to specialize in Senegalese foods. 4317 Chestnut Street, (215) 387-1970
  • Loco Pez – Fishtown’s, popular L.A.-inspired taqueria deals in trendy to traditional street fare and tequilas on a cash-only basis from a bright Cedar Park storefront. 4631 Baltimore Avenue, locopez.com
  • Makkah Market This 24/7 Middle Eastern market offers affordable dining-in and groceries, Islamic clothing and books. 4249 Walnut Street, (215) 382-1821 or (215) 382-0909, makkahmarket.com
  • Manakeesh Café & Bakery – This sweet and savory spot offers Middle Eastern baked goods (baklava, ma’moul) in addition to spit-roasted chicken shawarma, Lebanese falafel and a build-your-own-platter option that includes most of the food groups and all of the flavors.
    4420 Walnut Street, (215) 921-2135, manakeeshcafebakery.net
  • Mood Café Regulars swear by the chaat—of which there are 34 versions—and the friendly service at twin Indian/Pakistani operations, where the takeout is popular and the shaved ice is to die for. 4618 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 222-1037
  • New Delhi For a relaxing, international lunch or dinner, guests at this casual restaurant can pair an Indian beer or a cocktail (fan favorite: mango mojito) with tandoori meats, veggies and breads from the popular buffet. Established in 1988, it’s the oldest Indian restaurant in the city. 4004 Chestnut Street, (215) 386-1941, newdelhiweb.com
  • Ochatto Hot Pot – Hot pots are meant for sharing, and that’s exactly what goes down at this group-friendly Chinese eatery known for daring ingredients—beef tripe and pig stomach in chili oil, for example. 3717 Chestnut Street, (215) 921-6288, ochatto.com/hotpot
  • Pattaya Grill In the colorful bar and the sunroom adorned with trees, French-Thai specialties shine. 4006 Chestnut Street, (215) 387-8533, pattayarestaurant.com
  • Pod This novel concept restaurant seats diners in pulsating, color-changing cocoon booths or along a conveyor-belt sushi bar that delivers precise cuts of sashimi, nigiri and maki. Specialty rolls include unusual styles such as the overstuffed rainbow roll filled with crab, tuna, salmon, fluke, yellow tail and shrimp. 3636 Sansom Street, (215) 387-1803, podrestaurant.com
  • Ramen Bar ­ Japanese Hakata-style ramen, served in tonkotsu (24-hour, slowed-cooked pork bone broth), along with traditional Japanese cuisine and sushi make up the menus at these sleek and popular eateries. Diners can also partake in sake at the full bar. 4040 Locust Street, (215) 243-9999; 3438-48 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 921-5804
  • Saad’s Halal Restaurant This popular Middle Eastern mainstay is known for its falafel, shawarma, maroush and kebab sandwiches and platters, best accompanied with a side of fries or tabbouleh. 4500 Walnut Street, (215) 222-7223, saadhalal.com
  • Sang Kee Noodle House This noodle house features a modern Chinese menu, with Hong Kong noodle soup, Peking duck and weekend dim sum. Private karaoke rooms are popular for large and small gatherings. 3549 Chestnut Street, (215) 387-8808, sangkeenoodlehouse.com
  • Tampopo The second Philadelphia location of this haunt brings West Philadelphia diners a range of Japanese and Korean cuisine, including sushi, bento boxes, soups and noodle and rice dishes, all at reasonable prices. 269 S. 44th Street, (215) 386-3866, tampoporestaurant.com
  • Vientiane Café Prices are reasonable, and portions are generous at this family-run BYOB that features Thai and Lao cuisine. Owners claim vegetarians “go nuts” for the naam salad: crispy rice with coconut flakes, herbs and lemongrass, all wrapped in lettuce. 4728 Baltimore Avenue,
    (215) 726-1095, vientiane-cafe.com
  • Vietnam Café University City’s version of Chinatown’s popular Vietnam Restaurant is an inviting cafe with sleek décor, Vietnamese fare, warm atmosphere and friendly service. Those waiting for a table can migrate to the glossy wooden bar to watch mixologists craft potent tropical cocktails. 816 S. 47th Street, (215) 729-0260, eatatvietnam.com
  • Wah-Gi-Wah – This specialist in traditional Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine is best known for chargha (deep-fried spicy chicken) and kabobs. 4447 Chestnut Street, (215) 921-5597, wahgiwah.com
  • Xi’an Sizzling Woks – The West Philly outpost of a Chinatown hotspot specializes in Shaanxi cuisine, including Chinese hamburgers (pita bread soaked in lamb and beef soup), smoked tea duck and lamb skewers. 4000 Chestnut Street, (215) 222-9777 xiansizzlingwoksphilly.com
  • Yiro-Yiro – Originally based in Roxborough, this fast Greek eatery opened its second location in University City, serving gyros packed with slow-roasted meat on fluffy pita, Mediterranean salads, dips and skewers.125-29 40th Street, (267) 778-9476, yiro-yiro.com
  • Youma Among a strong African dining scene, this Senegalese spot stands out. Diners revel in tastes of Dakar with dibi (grilled lamb chops), yassa (spicy grilled chicken with habanero and green pepper), fatata (beef patties), aloco (fried plantains), thieboudienne (fried rice with vegetables and fish) and ginger juice blended with mango, strawberry, grenadine or peach. 4519 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 386-2025

  — Photo courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Fast Casual Dining:

  • Abner’s Cheesesteaks Part of the Philly college experience for more than 30 years, Abner’s also serves gyros, pizza and more to hungry students until the wee hours of the morning. 3813 Chestnut Street, (215) 662-0100, xiansizzlingwoksphilly.com
  • Atyia Ola’s Spirit First Foods This cozy cafe entices people with fresh juices, sandwiches and raw vegan and vegetarian options. 4505 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 939-3298.
  • Beiler’s Doughnuts – A satellite operation of a classic Reading Terminal Market stall gives University City a taste of fritters and other fried delicacies. 3900 Chestnut Street, (215) 921-5874, beilersdoughnuts.com
  • Brown Sugar Bakery and Cafe This Trinidadian Caribbean takeout spot offers business people on-the-go authentic roti, curried goat and oxtail stew along the busy 52nd Street corridor. 219 S. 52nd Street, (215) 472-7380
  • Dottie’s Donuts – This isn’t your average doughnut shop. It’s not even your average vegan doughnut shop. Dottie’s coconut milk-based baked goods come in flavors like apple fritter, Boston cream and birthday cake. 4529 Springfield Avenue, (215) 662-0379
  • Federal Donuts One of several Philadelphia locations, Federal’s West Philly branch serves Korean-style fried chicken, fresh doughnuts and Rival Bros coffee. 3428 Sansom Street, (267) 275-8489, federaldonuts.com
  • Franklin’s Table Food Hall – In the proud tradition of University of Pennsylvania founder Benjamin Franklin, the new food hall on campus combines ingenuity with civic pride. With stellar purveyors Goldie (vegan falafel), KQ (Kensington Quarters) Burgers, DK Sushi (Double Knot), Pitruco Pizza, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, High Street Provisions and The Juice Merchant all available under one roof, the only dilemma is choosing what to eat next. 34th & Walnut Streets, shopsatpenn.com/franklins-table
  • Hibiscus Café – This tropical-feeling spot serves up raw foods, fresh juices and vegan dishes. Veggies, meat substitutes and tofu are served in wrap, quesadilla and empanada form. 4907 Catharine Street, (215) 307-3749
  • HipCityVeg – This popular, 100% plant-based fast-food cafe, with locations in Rittenhouse Square, on Broad Street and in Spruce Street Harbor Park (in summer), attracts fans for vegan chicken or real mushroom sandwiches and salads, plus vegan baked goods, green juice and banana whips. 214 S. 40th Street, (267) 244-4342, hipcityveg.com
  • Honest Tom’s Plant-Based Taco Shop What started as a popular food truck serving meat-based Mexican fare evolved into a bricks-and-mortar restaurant that now serves an all-vegan menu in a casual eat-in cafe. New vegan offerings include “carbocoa” (carrots and lentils) in place of traditional barbacoa, and chucken (chickpeas and plantains), cooked tinga-style. 261 S. 44th Street, (267) 839-2119, honesttomsplantbasedtacoshopcom
  • Koch’s Deli – Serving University City since 1965, this institution prides itself on overstuffed deli sandwiches and hoagies. 4309 Locust Street, (215) 222-8662, kochsdeli.com
  • Kitchen Già Outfitted as a retro-modern, all-natural Italian cafe, Kitchen Già satisfies with its leafy salads, crisp sandwiches and steaming hot espresso. All ingredients are free-range, hormone-free and never fried. 3716 Spruce Street, (215) 222-7713, kitchengia.com
  • Ochatto – Across the street from the hot pot spot of the same name, this quick-service noodle house is more than just noodles. It also offers a variety of bubble teas and fast, affordable lunches. 3608 Chestnut Street, (215) 382-5555, ochatto.com
  • Satellite Cafe Satellite Cafe provides an eclectic respite for bike messengers, local punk rockers and other West Philadelphians. Vegan kale smoothies, spicy black bean wraps and strong double espressos round out the experience. 701 S. 50th Street, (215) 729-1211
  • Schmear It – Nestled in startup-rich uCity Square, this bagel shop picks a different nonprofit to benefit each month. Bagel and spread options range from classic to wild—wasabi, brown sugar and mint. 3601 Market Street, schmearit.com
  • Spread Bagelry – Based on the premise that a bakery should and could have a bar, Spread offers wood-fired, Montreal-style bagels, local beers on tap—and dedicated taps for La Colombe draft lattes and cold brew. 3602 Chestnut Street, (215) 222-0283, spreadbagelry.com
  • Wishbone Buttermilk-battered, pretzel-crusted fried chicken and homemade dipping sauces make hungry mouths water at this gourmet take-out joint. Signature pies in flavors like pumpkin, bananas Foster and apple end every meal on a sweet note. 4034 Walnut Street, (215) 921-3204, wishbonephilly.com

Other Popular Restaurants:

  • Bernie’s U City – The fourth installment of a local chain of American eateries is welcoming, casual and known for its over-stuffed cheesesteaks and poutine. 3432 Sansom Street,
    (215) 921-6242, myberniesucity.com
  • Booker’s Restaurant & Bar – Local restaurateur Saba Telda’s newest neighborhood endeavor has quickly become known for its vast whiskey bar and comfort food menu featuring mac and cheese, stuffed meatloaf and brick chicken. 5021 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 883-0960, bookersrestaurantandbar.com
  • Cedar Park Café – This no-frills neighborhood operation in the heart of Cedar Park serves the community—and the occasional visiting dignitary, such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. House specialties include chicken and waffles, fried scrapple and the number one special: meat, eggs and home fries. 4914 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 727-1144
  • CO-OP – The Study hotel’s refined new breakfast-through-dinner brasserie bases its menus on the availability of locally fished and grown ingredients. 20 S. 33rd Street, (215) 398-1874, coopphila.com
  • Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant – Founded in 1985, this award-winning brewery has called West Philadelphia home since 2007, when it opened its newest brewpub in a century-old firehouse on Baltimore Avenue. Since then, it’s been serving gourmet wood-fired pizzas, char-grilled sandwiches, salads and a half-dozen unfiltered draft selections, brewed just steps from the bar in a classic German copper brewhouse. Beer lovers know to come here for select rotating taps and takeout bottles and cans. 701 S. 50th Street, (215) 726-2337, dockstreetbeer.com
  • EAT Café – Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities and the Vetri Community Partnership teamed up on this full-service, sit-down, health-conscious, pay-what-you-wish dinner spot—whose name stands for “Everyone at the Table.” Wednesday through Friday suppers and Sunday brunch benefit impoverished 3820 Lancaster Avenue, (267) 292-2768, eatcafe.org
  • Enjay’s Pizza – Within the confines of revered University City pub Smokey Joe’s, Enjay’s dishes out hand-crafted pies and bar food such as garlic knots, crispy cauliflower sandwiches and a variety of burgers. 210 S. 40th Street, (215) 222-0770, enjayspizza.com
  • Louie Louie Bistro & Bar  Father and daughter restaurateurs Marty and Sydney Grims bring luxe and French-inspired Louie Louie Bistro & Bar to University City. The restaurant menu is made up of French-leaning comfort food such as caramelized onion tarts, tuna nicoise tartines and mussels in white wine and garlic broth. 3611 Walnut Street, (267) 805-8585, louielouie.restaurant
  • Renata’s Kitchen – This easy, do-it-all Mediterranean BYOB has built a following for its lemon poppy seed pancakes and shakshouka merguez breakfasts, falafel and hummus lunches and quiet dinners. 4533 Baltimore Avenue, (267) 275-8254, renatas-kitchen.com
  • Sabrina’s Café @ Powelton The wildly popular Sabrina’s Café planted a flag at Drexel University, bringing daily brunch and dinner special and onsite Spencer ETA Burger, for sandwiched beef, turkey and vegetarian patties with all the toppings, to go. Ross Commons Building, 227 N. 34th Street, (215) 222-1022, sabrinascafe.com, spenceretaburger.com
  • The Farmacy Graduates of the nearby Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College run this storefront BYOB, whose specialties include seasonal dinners and brunches of “build your own eggs Benedict” and chicken and waffles. 4443 Spruce Street, (215) 387-3276, thefarmacyrx.com
  • Marigold Kitchen Marigold enjoys 70-plus-year-old roots as a neighborhood stalwart. At this BYOB restaurant, guests indulge in an ever-evolving Nordic menu that focuses on using as many local ingredients as possible. 501 45th Street, (215) 222-3699, marigoldkitchenbyob.com
  • Tasties Soul Food – Not to be confused with Tasties, a casual eatery by the same owner next door, Tasties Soul Food is a new upscale, sit-down restaurant with crowd pleasers that include the baked mac and cheese, Southern fried chicken, turkey chops, candied yams and indulgent desserts like 7UP cake. 1212 N. 52nd Street, (215) 477-0281
  • Tipsy Bistro – This cozy sports bar has grown a rep for comfort food that offers an urban twist on traditional favorites. Examples include cheesesteak eggrolls and the Tipsy Blue Burger, topped with caramelized onions and fried eggplant. 3131 Walnut Street, (215) 921-8551, tipsybistro.com
  • Walnut Street Café – The all-day restaurant in Philly’s first “vertical neighborhood” at FMC Tower in Cira Centre South offers an all-diet-friendly American menu, region-driven wine list and inspired pastry program by Melissa Weller. 2929 Walnut Street, (215) 867-8067, walnutstreetcafe.com
  • White Dog Cafe Occupying four historic brownstones, this 30-something University City standby developed its following by serving environmentally sustainable, organic and local foods from farms within 50 miles. The venue itself is all charm and whimsy, with dog décor and artwork on display in various homey dining rooms and on an outdoor patio. 3420 Sansom Street, (215) 386-9224, whitedog.com
  • Zavino Though the original is in Center City, Zavino’s larger location resides in University City—much to the delight of neighbors who love the fantastic craft pizza pies and delicious pastas and salads. 3200 Chestnut Street, (215) 823-6897, zavino.com/zavino-university-city

  — Photo courtesy Walnut Street Café

Coffee & Ice Cream Shops:

  • Avril 50 With a selection of international coffee, chocolate, tobacco and tea and an array of postcards, this tiny shop is a must for lovers of foreign cultures. They can also browse a newsstand that holds newspapers, academic journals and high-end fashion and design magazines from countries and continents as diverse as Europe, China, Israel and Lebanon.
    3406 Sansom Street, (215) 222-6108, avril50.com
  • The Gold Standard Café Fresh, locally bought ingredients make up the soups, salads and sandwiches at this cozy cafe. Neighbors come here for the hearty breakfast dishes and homemade desserts. 4800 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 727-8247, thegoldstandardcafe.com
  • Green Line Cafe The original site of a family business has grown to several Philadelphia locations, all serving organic, fair-trade coffee and grab-and-go foods made daily on-site. The artwork on display changes frequently and is always for sale. 4239 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 222-3431; 4426 Locust Street, (215) 222-0799; 3649 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 382-2143; greenlinecafe.com
  • Joe Coffee – This sleek, New York City-based cafe is unerringly hip and laid back and naturally sources its beans and such from fair-trade farms and international co-ops. 3200 Chestnut Street, (215) 240-4577, joecoffeecompany.com
  • Kaffa Crossing Ethiopian-American entrepreneur Habtamu Kassa took over this African coffee shop in part to promote fair trade and awareness about Ethiopia’s blessings and challenges. As such, he prepares light East African fare to go along with his Ethiopian roasts. 4421 Chestnut Street, (215) 386-0504
  • Little Baby’s Ice Cream The super-premium, Philadelphia-style ice cream comes in a range of unexpected flavors such as balsamic banana and Earl Grey Sriracha, made in Little Baby’s Fishtown flagship. 4903 Catharine Street, (215) 921-2100; 2311 Frankford Avenue, littlebabysicecream.com
  • ReAnimator Coffee – Philly’s homegrown specialty coffee roaster has its fourth cafe in West Philadelphia (the other three are in Fishtown and Kensington. Along with the signature coffees and bulk beans, the menu offers light bites with ingredients from local purveyors. 4705 Pine Street, (215) 921-5953, reanimatorcoffee.com
  • Reed’s Coffee and Tea House This is the cafe every neighborhood should have. Along with fair-trade coffee, 20 different teas, homemade lemonade, sandwiches and baked goods, Reed’s demonstrates its commitment to the community by providing meeting space, Wi-Fi and voter registration services. Those who just want to kick back can enjoy the TV, alfresco seating and homemade Belgian waffles (on Saturdays). 3802 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 349-6298
  • United by Blue Coffeehouse and Clothier With textured decor salvaged from old buildings, the West Philly branch of this Old City operation does double duty as an eco-conscious boutique and an espresso bar with takeout. 3421 Walnut Street, (215) 222-1617, unitedbyblue.com

Bars, Pubs & Clubs:

  • Bar(n) on Baltimore – This funky, proudly dive-y watering hole stocks its bar with an impressive yet inexpensive selection of beer and cocktails and some irresistible house-smoked wings. On the entertainment front, there’s a jukebox that’s heavy on the heavy metal and pool tables. 4901 Catharine Street, (215) 307-3199
  • City Tap House Reclaimed wood, slate and tile create a handsome, 140-seat space (and 80-seat patio) comprising an elevated American pub specializing in diverse, dynamic American craft beer, along with brick-oven pizzas, free-range chicken, mussels and plenty of vegetarian-friendly options. 3925 Walnut Street, 2nd floor, (215) 662-0105, ucity.citytap.com
  • Fiume There’s no sign or website for this beloved dive bar—and that’s exactly how patrons and employees like it. Regulars know to climb the stairs above Abyssinia to this hidden spot to partake in the “citywide special” (a cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon and whiskey combo), or to pony up for a truly indulgent whiskey drink and listen to the live bands as they shake the miniscule space. 229 S. 45th Street, 2nd floor, (215) 352-3591
  • Local 44 Craft beer flows from the 20 taps at this bar, where crowds enjoy savory bar food (heavy on the vegan options) along with their drafts. The owners opened a bottle shop next door, expanding the sudsy offerings with 500 bottles and two casks that pump out beers to drink while shopping. 4333 Spruce Street, (215) 222-BEER, local44beerbar.com
  • New Deck Tavern – Three 19th-century row houses combine to make up this tavern on Penn’s campus, whose liquor license dates back to Prohibition’s end. New Deck is known for its burgers, Quizo, international draft beers and hefty single-malt c 3408 Sansom Street, (215) 386-4600, newdecktavern.com
  • Smokey Joe’s – Amid many college bars in University City, Smoke’s has been a “Pennstitution” since 1952. Candice Bergen’s gotten kicked out of here, and Eagles players used to sneak in after games at Franklin Field. These days, they serve microbrews and fancy pizza from Enjay’s. 210 S. 40th Street, (215) 222-0770, smokeyjoesbar.com

Museums, Galleries & Performance Venues:

  • A-Space This “anarchist community space” is…well, so West Philly. Art-filled A-Space hosts small music shows, film screenings, poetry readings, craft fairs, potluck dinners and political events, discussions—and a permanent prisoner support project, Books Through Bars. 4722 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 821-6877, facebook.com/A-Space-Anarchist-Community-Center
  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts As one of the nation’s premier urban performing arts centers on a university campus, the Annenberg puts on all genres of cultural performance. Jazz, world music, contemporary dance, dramatic touring theater and local Philadelphia artists make the venue a place to explore “adventuresome perspectives on contemporary issues and timeless ideas.” 3680 Walnut Street, (215) 898-3900, annenbergcenter.org
  • Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania and Kroiz Gallery This gallery exhibits the works of more than 400 architects and planners from the 17th century to the present. It also contains 225 projects of Philadelphian Louis I. Kahn, as well as his personal library.
    220 S. 34th Street, lower level, (215) 898-8323, design.upenn.edu
  • Curio Theatre CompanyThe professional ensemble company dedicates itself to developing artistic talents and producing diverse and high-quality theatrical works at an affordable ticket price. 4740 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 921-8243, curiotheatre.org
  • The Drexel Collection – Comprised of three separate galleries (the Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery, the Paul Peck Center Alumni Gallery and the Rincliffe Gallery), Drexel University’s collection started in 1891 with the founding of the school. Today, they house 19th-century paintings and sculpture contributed by friends and family of the university and an 18th-century David Rittenhouse astronomical musical clock, considered one of the most prestigious clocks in the country. 32nd & Chestnut Streets, (215) 895-2414, drexel.edu/drexelcollection
  • Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) Open to the public free of charge, the ICA has been instrumental in showcasing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists for more than 50 years. It led the way with the first-ever museum shows of Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, Agnes Martin, Robert Indiana and other influential artists. 118 S. 36th Street, (215) 898-7108, icaphila.org
  • International House Philadelphia Dedicated to broadening the horizons of the community through film screenings, live performances, art exhibits, lectures and language classes, this independent non-profit also provides housing to students and scholars from all over the globe. 3701 Chestnut Street, (215) 387-5125, ihousephilly.org
  • Kelly Writers House Penn students, faculty, staff and alumni founded this gathering space for writers inside a 13-room house on campus. Each semester, the Kelly House hosts approximately 150 public programs and projects, including poetry readings, film screenings, workshops, art exhibits and musical performances. 3805 Locust Walk, (215) 746-POEM, writing.upenn.edu/wh
  • Leonard Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University Novel, experimental art comes in all contemporary mediums: digital, video, sculptural, photography, graphics and fashion design in this free, 3,5000 square-foot gallery within the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s URBN Annex. 3401 Filbert Street, (215) 895-2548, edu/pearlsteingallery .
  • New Africa Center Dedicated to preserving the history of Islam in the West, New Africa Center is the first museum of its kind in the country. Using primarily pictures, books and magazines from America’s slavery days to the present, the museum focuses on the African-American Muslim community. 4243 Lancaster Avenue, (610) 352-0424, newafricacenter.com
  • Paul Robeson House & Museum The last house where Robeson lived lets visitors experience the legacy of this gifted man, via special events and exhibits on his remarkable life. Tours available by appointment. 4949-51 Walnut Street, (215) 747-4675, paulrobesonhouse.org
  • Penn Museum This university museum is internationally renowned for its collection of art and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Greco-Roman World, Asia and the Americas, plus special exhibitions such as The Artifact Lab: Conservation in Action. Gardens, fountains and a koi pool make the outside as impressive too. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum
  • The Rotunda Built as a house of worship in 1911, this smoke-free, alcohol-free and admission-free (unless otherwise noted) space for world, soul, hip-hop, rock, jazz and experimental music. When bands aren’t playing, the socially conscious venue attracts crowds for movie screenings, yoga classes, theater projects and art exhibits. 4014 Walnut Street, org
  • Slought Foundation This non-profit cultural center hosts exhibitions and programs with a socio-political focus. Programs explore the role of artists in society and art’s power to transform political realities. 4017 Walnut Street, (215) 701-4627, slought.org
  • Studio 34 Art shows take place often inside this 4,000-square-foot yoga and dance studio. 4522 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 387-3434, studio34yoga.com
  • Tiberino Museum “The West Philly Wyeths” open their five, artful homes overlooking a common courtyard to visitors. After patriarchs Joseph and Ellen Powell passed, their adult children continue their traditions, working on ceramics, stained glass, murals and figures. During alfresco Sunday art circles, painters bring their easels; drummers, their drums; poets, their poetry. 3819 Hamilton Street, (215) 386-3784, tiberinomuseum.org
  • World Cafe Live This music venue and restaurant works on two levels: Upstairs houses a full-service restaurant and bar with live, eclectic music and regular free programming, while the downstairs music hall caters to a larger crowd and national touring bands. It’s a perfect blend of food, drinks and jams. 3025 Walnut Street, (215) 222-1400, worldcafelive.com

Bookstores & More Stores:

  • House of Our Own Bookstore In a quiet, comfortable Victorian house on the edge of Penn’s campus, this well-organized bookshop focuses on cultural studies, history, literary criticism and social science, with new volumes on the first floor and used titles on the second. 3920 Spruce Street, (215) 222-1576
  • The Last Word Bookshop Open seven days a week, this used books dealer offers both popular titles and out-of-print books in all subjects—all protected by Lester, a former stray cat who entertains customers by climbing the bookshelves. A full children’s section keeps kids occupied while parents shop for their next “me time” read. 220 S. 40th Street, (215) 386-7750
  • Jinxed – This outpost of a popular vintage shelter store is known for larger pieces suitable for the neighborhood’s larger, Victorian homes. Jinxed also features a curated selection of vintage women’s and men’s clothing, art, magazines, books and collectibles. 4521 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 921-3755, jinxedphiladelphia.com
  • Common Beat Music – The record selection here encompasses all genres, as well as quality reissues. Guitars, vintage turntables, amps, guitar strings, drum accessories and other musical accoutrements round out the merchandise, while equipment and turntable repair are among the services. 4916 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 72-MUSIC
  • The Nesting House – This eco-conscious boutique for babies and small children (and their grown-ups) offers new and gently used clothing, toys, books and furniture—plus loads of resources for new parents in need. 4501 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 222-7500, thenestinghouse.net
  • Penn Book Center Indie since 1962, this scholarly bookstore is known for its poetry, philosophy, social sciences and children’s sections. Recently, the store has boosted its event offerings, which are always free. 130 S. 34th Street, (215) 222-7600, pennbookcenter.com
  • Penn Bookstore The official university bookstore, a frequent stop on author book tours, carries more than 55,000 titles, plus Penn apparel, home décor, electronics and baked goods in its Starbucks. 3601 Walnut Street, (215) 898-7595, upenn.edu/bookstore
  • Piper Boutique The stock changes daily at this all-natural women’s clothing boutique. Piper Boutique celebrates rustic style and textile traditions, and the staff is devoted to personalized attention for all customers. 140 S. 34th Street, (267) 233-6516, piperboutique.com
  • Snapdragon Flowers & Gifts ­–­ This eco-conscious spot features a range of hard-to-find, botanically inspired products and services, where design-minded owner Tolani Lightfoot’s talents don’t stop at succulents and herbs in urban terrariums and vertical gardens—but shoppers’ eyes might. 5015 Baltimore Avenue, (267) 209-6066, napdragonphilly.com
  • VIX Emporium This funky former 1940s millinery shop shows and sells the work of 150 local and national creators of jewelry, hand-printed stationery, hats, bags, scarves, bath products, home accessories, ceramics and more for men, women and children. Fun fact: VIX carries a line of Septa token jewelry and key rings. 5009 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 471-7700, vixemporium.com

  — Photo by E. Mencher for Visit Philadelphia

Outdoors:

  • Clark Park Established in 1895, nine-acre Clark Park is a popular West Philly neighborhood gathering place. Pre-1860s, Mill Creek flowed through the park; the basin of the old mill pond now forms a natural amphitheater called “the bowl,” site of music festivals, Shakespeare in the Park and a popular, year-round Saturday farmers’ market. Also onsite: large trees, playgrounds, a basketball court and a center circle for games of chess and pétanque (or bocce). Between Baltimore & Woodland Avenues and 43rd & 45th Streets, friendsofclarkpark.org
  • Drexel Park Both Powelton residents and Drexel students flock to this 2.5-acre oasis for its walking paths, benches and open green space, where picnics, Frisbee games, reading and sunbathing are the main activities. And the breathtaking view makes a typical day in the park visually stunning. 32nd Street & Powelton Avenue, universitycity.org/publicspace/drexelpark
  • Greensgrow West – The neighborhood goes shopping for plants and gardening gear at this colorful West Philly outpost of the Kensington-born farm and garden, where visitors can pick up an all-local Greensgrow Farm Share or shop the Friday afternoon farm stand. There’s a chicken coop too. 5123 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 427-2780, greensgrow.org
  • Penn Park This 24-acre urban recreational area on the banks of the Schuylkill River has bike trails, walkways, formal and informal athletic fields, plenty of green space and an enclosed air structure for all-weather play. 31st Street between Walnut & South Streets, facilities.upenn.edu
  • The Woodlands Less well-known than Clark Park, this 18th-century estate turned rural-landscape cemetery is the largest open space in University City and provides a great location for birdwatching. More people are discovering the spot thanks to events such as the Go West! Craft Fest. 4000 Woodland Avenue, (215) 386-2181, woodlandsphila.org

  — Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

 

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