March 20, 2018

Latino/Hispanic Philadelphia Fact Sheet

Facts & Figures About Latino/Hispanic Life, Culture & More In Philadelphia

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Salsa rhythms and traditional foods and crafts are just a few of the highlights of Feria del Barrio, the annual September festival in Centro de Oro. Photo by G. Widman for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Inspired by Mexico City, Distrito is known for its tacos, huaraches, nachos, margaritas and secluded karaoke room. Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Cinco de Mayo in Philadelphia gets underway with the traditional El Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia parade. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Strength In Numbers:

  • The 2010 U.S. Census reported 187,611—that’s 12.3%—of Philadelphians are Latino/Hispanic. In July 2016, the census estimate for Philadelphia’s Latino/Hispanic population rose to 14.4%. The 2010 Census broke down this population as:
    • 121,643 Philadelphians are Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent.
    • 15,531 Philadelphians are Mexican or of Mexican descent.
    • 3,930 Philadelphians are Cuban or of Cuban descent.
    • 46,507 Philadelphians are of other Hispanic descent.
  • Each year, more than two million domestic leisure visitors to Greater Philadelphia are of Hispanic/Latino origin (source: Longwoods International). Most city attractions, including the Independence Visitor Center, Barnes Foundation, Liberty Bell Center and The Franklin Institute, offer guides, maps and/or tours in Spanish.

Community, Art & Culture:

  • El Centro de Oro, centered at 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia, is a hub of Latino culture. The neighborhood is home to residents from almost every Latin American country, a strong concentration of Puerto Rican families, non-profit organizations and Latino-owned businesses. Taller Puertorriqueño, in El Centro de Oro’s new El Corazόn Cultural Center, serves as a community center, art gallery and event space for symposia, readings, film screenings, artist workshops and more. The onsite gallery shows Latin American and Caribbean art, with a permanent collection of works by Carlos Pascual, Daniel de Jesus, Marta Sanchez, Antonio Martorell and Ralfka González. Each September (timed to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month), Taller puts on the Feria del Barrio, a street festival featuring live music and dance, local artists and vendors, family fun and a market.
  • South Philadelphia also has a rich concentration of Hispanic/Latino residents and culture. The open-air market along South 9th Street, for decades known as the Italian Market, is now home to tortillerias, taquerias, pastelerías and a bilingual writing center. Each May, South Philly’s Washington Avenue plays host to the annual and popular Carnaval de Puebla, a vibrant parade and festival showcasing folk traditions from the Mexican state of Puebla, where many Philadelphians have roots.
  • At the Penn Museum in West Philadelphia’s University City, Central American and Mexican galleries feature ancient Mayan stone monuments from Piedras Negras in Guatemala and Caracol in Belize and Mayan hieroglyphic writing, painted pottery, figurines and jade carvings. Closed for renovation in early 2018, the galleries plan to reopen on November 17, 2018.
  • Along South Street, Eyes Gallery stocks an accessible repository of folk art from Mexico, Peru and beyond. Seven blocks away, still along South Street, Eyes sibling Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a stop-you-in-your-tracks, walk-in mosaic of Mexican sculpture, tile and mirror.
  • Throughout the city, more than 4,000 murals adorn walls and public spaces, thanks to Mural Arts Philadelphia. Among the many that feature Latino/Hispanic artists and themes include The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century (also known as the Pope Francis mural) by Cesar Viveros; Washington Square West’s A Tribute to Gloria Casarez, honoring the late Latina LGBT activist and South Philadelphia’s Aqui y Alla, exploring the impact of immigration on Mexican youth, both by Michelle Angela Ortiz; Fairhill’s Latinx Heroes, artist Danny Torres’ painting honoring Latin Fiesta Pioneer Awardees; Hunting Park Avenue’s Sembrando Sueños, Cosechando Esperanzas by Patricia Barrera and students from Esperanza Academy Charter School. Also not-to-be-missed: Crusando el Charco at 5th and Norris Streets and Celebrando Nuestra Cultura at 5th and Somerset Streets. muralarts.org

Food Scene:

  • Philadelphia’s reputation as an open-to-all city extends to its flourishing culinary scene, which features a multitude of Latino restaurants with executive chefs and chef-owners hailing from all over Latin America, the Caribbean and South America. The region’s culinary stars include James Beard Award-winning chef Jose Garces, who has more than a dozen popular restaurants, including Amada, Distrito, Volvér and Buena Onda. Two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot presides over Old City’s eminent Cuba Libre. James Beard nominee and immigrant rights activist chef Cristina Martinez has achieved Mexican street-fare perfection, right down to handmade masa tortillas, at acclaimed El Compadre. David Suro Piñera, a Guadalajara, Mexico native and founder of artisan tequila brand Siembra Azul, is widely credited with introducing Philadelphia to upscale Mexican fare via Rittenhouse’s elegant Tequila’s restaurant.
  • Recent additions to the food scene include trendy Queen Village Venezuelan street foodery Puyero, from brothers Gil and Simon Arends and Gil’s wife Manuela. In Fishtown, Manuel Gomez serves traditional Venezuelan arepas in TartAreperia 18.64. Restaurateur Miguel Toro, owner of popular Northeast Philadelphia Peruvian-Portuguese hybrids El Balconcito and El Balconcito II, launched glamorous Vista Peru for ceviche and pisco in Old City in early 2018.

Latino/Hispanic Calendar:

  • Semana Mexicana, May 1-6, 2018 – Each May the region dedicates a week to Mexican culture, beginning with the raising of the bandera de México at Philadelphia City Hall, continuing with Mexican Restaurant Week and concluding with Cinco de Mayo parties in Center City and Kennett Square in Chester County.
  • Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, June 1-3, 2018 – Since 2012, this event has screened a long weekend’s worth of multi-genre works from new and veteran Latino filmmakers.
  • Hispanic Fiesta (July 7-8, 2018), Caribbean Festival (August 19, 2018) and Mexican Independence Day Festival (September 16, 2018) – These essential ingredients to summer in Philly are part of the PECO Multicultural Series on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing.
  • Nuevofest, July 15, 2018 – Presented by WXPN and AfroTaino Productions, the free alt-Latin music festival, a production of WXPN’s Latin Roots Live series, at World Cafe Live features acts from New York to San Antonio to Spain. (215) 413-9006, latinroots.org
  • Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15, 2018 – Early fall means the Feria del Barrio (see above) and the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival (September 30, 2018) along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, two highlights of a month-long celebration of Latino pride and Hispanic heritage.

Destination Resources For Media:

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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