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Black-Owned Shops, Restaurants, Day Spas & More Boom In Philadelphia
Shops, restaurants, galleries and bars owned and operated by African-Americans are abundant in Philadelphia. Among Philly’s destination-worthy black-owned businesses: high-end lingerie boutique Coeur, nerdy-cool hangout Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, healthful juice and açai bowls bar Stripp’d Juice, top-shelf nightclub Reserve, and and West Philadelphia’s inimitable arts space, the Tiberino Museum.
Here’s a traveler-tailored list of some of the city’s standout black-owned businesses.
- Amazulu Collections – Charita Powell, owner. Seven days a week and for more than 25 years, this popular Reading Terminal Market stand has represented artists from all over the world and lived the motto, “where cultures meet.”
What's In The Fishtown Neighborhood?
Like its hip neighbor Northern Liberties, Fishtown has quickly become one of the coolest sections of Philadelphia, thanks to an influx of quality restaurants, inventive bars, impressive music venues and forward-thinking art galleries.
Philadelphians have found new and innovative uses for Fishtown ever since William Penn made peace with the Lenape Indians in what’s now Penn Treaty Park. It’s the only place in the city where, in the same evening, someone can buy a custom-made guitar, drink craft beer while playing Tetris, eat stellar Yugoslavian food, sample Philly-made craft whiskeys and visit the world’s only pizza museum. Fishtown’s Frankford Avenue...
What's In The Northern Liberties Neighborhood?
Once considered an up-and-coming neighborhood, Northern Liberties has officially arrived, evidenced by the international restaurants, respected gastropubs and trendy boutiques—all this while maintaining the artistic vibe that made it so cool in the first place.
The warehouses that populate the former manufacturing district found new life as condos, galleries, stores and restaurants, and along with newly designed buildings, Northern Liberties enjoys a pleasant mix of older functional and modern design. Two shopping/dining/art/entertainment plazas helped make the area accessible and thriving: Liberties Walk and The Schmidt’s Commons.
The neighborhood lies north of Old City, and its borders (depends who you ask,...
Philadelphia's Shopping Scene Is Proudly Independent
In Philadelphia, owner-operated shops are a way of life—and have been since the 17th century. Independent storefronts fit naturally into the city’s fabric; their size and spirit thrive amid similarly independent restaurants, bars and cafes in close-knit neighborhoods.
It’s perhaps no surprise that college-filled, athletics-obsessed Philadelphia is the birthplace of iconoclastic retailer Urban Outfitters (and stylish spawn Anthropologie, Free People and Terrain) and throwback pro sports apparel phenom Mitchell & Ness. Also not too surprising: The city’s recent surge of upscale boutiques and haberdasheries that have followed Philly’s surge of stylish residents and visitors. Certainly pleasantly surprising to...
What's In The East Passyunk & Pennsport Neighborhoods?
For decades, insiders have headed to South Philadelphia—particularly the neighborhoods east of Broad Street, for the red-gravy Italian restaurants. Today, the area around East Passyunk Avenue—a diagonal interruption to Philadelphia’s grid layout—has enjoyed much revitalization. This is especially so on the food front, with many new eateries earning enormous acclaim from Bon Appétit, The New York Times, Travel & Leisure and more.
Visitors who stroll down Passyunk (pronounced “pashunk” by old-timers) find boutiques, coffee shops, gastropubs, excellent Malaysian, French, Mexican and Filipino fare, as well as the ristoranti (Marra’s, Victor Café, Mr. Martino’s, Tre Scalini) that first made this street...
What's In The Avenue Of The Arts Neighborhood?
Although technically named South Broad Street, the center of Philadelphia’s performing arts community—stretching from City Hall to Lombard Street—has earned the nickname Avenue of the Arts. And for good reason. The energy is contagious as theatergoers, orchestra fans, opera lovers, dance aficionados and artists spill onto the street to mix with the locals who live, work and dine on the storied thoroughfare.
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, the Avenue of the Arts has earned its...
What's In The Logan Square Neighborhood?
Logan Square’s personality defies a single definition. What’s there? Corporate and municipal office buildings; the museum-packed Benjamin Franklin Parkway; and green spaces, including the square that gives the area its name. Once called Northwest Square, Logan Square—one of the city’s original five squares—was renamed to honor 18th-century mayor James Logan.
City Hall is a natural focal point of the Logan Square neighborhood. Its elaborate architecture and ornamentation makes people stop and take notice—and photos. The sprawling building is adorned with carvings of allegorical figures and is capped off with a massive statue of William Penn, all of which was designed...
What's in the Washington Square West Neighborhood?
Washington Square West is a historic Center City neighborhood comprising a 17th-century park, the vibrant enclaves of Midtown Village, the Gayborhood and lots more.
Named “Southeast Square” in 1682, Washington Square once served as a grazing pasture and potter’s field on the edge of the original city of Philadelphia. Today, modern residences surround the park, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, a sycamore moon tree and a steady stream of visitors. To Washington Square’s north are the nearly 300 jewelry merchants of Jewelers’ Row. And to its south is Antique Row, tree-lined blocks of...
What's In the Chestnut Hill, Germantown & Mount Airy Neighborhoods?
Diverse and historic, Chestnut Hill, Germantown and Mount Airy are urban neighborhoods in northwest Philadelphia. Each enclave has a distinctive style, feel and highlights that represent the communities’ past and present. All are worth day trips, and fortunately, getting there is a cinch via SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transportation system. Check bus and regional rail schedules at septa.org before heading off to explore these vibrant neighborhoods.
Chestnut Hill (via the Chestnut Hill East/West train lines or the #23 Bus):
With a higher elevation than the rest of the city, Chestnut Hill, a National Register Historic District, was once a vacation
Philadelphia's Literary Legacy Makes For A Novel Visit
Literary roots run deep in Philadelphia, a city that has inspired countless authors and continues to nurture their legacies. Throughout the region, lovers of literature can connect with such classic authors as Poe, Whitman and Michener in places where they lived, worked and created some of their most celebrated works. And with so many libraries, book collections and indie bookstores, literature lovers can delve deeper into the collected works of these and other favorite authors.
Here’s a look at some of the region’s literary locales and independently owned booksellers:
Attention On The Author:
- The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic
What's In The Fairmount & Spring Garden Neighborhoods
Because of their proximity to the renowned arts and cultural institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s Fairmount and Spring Garden neighborhoods are often referred to as the “Art Museum area.” But the personalities of these historic, laid-back, diverse communities are distinct in their own right.
Fairmount stands on its own as a destination in Philadelphia. The residential neighborhood is considered a sort of urban suburb, thanks to friendly residents and atmosphere. What’s a visitor to do here? Eat, drink and tour the former prison-turned-museum, Eastern State Penitentiary.
Wedged between the cultural powerhouses of the Parkway and better-known Fairmount, Spring...
An Abundance Of Day Spas & Salons Make Philadelphia A Relaxing Refuge
A vacation isn’t a vacation without at least an hour or two of pampering built in. Philadelphia day spas and salons are equipped to answer the call, offering clients a variety of luxurious customized services to refresh both body and spirit. They feature the latest in body treatments, relaxation therapy and beauty services—from the most all-natural mani-pedis to deeply transformative Thai yoga massages to rejuvenating facials.
Hotel Day Spas/Salons:
- A bucolic, 31-acre estate once owned by famed playwright George Kaufman now sets the scene for The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm’s lovely spa, where pros mix all-natural ingredients right
Shopping, Spas & Beauty In Rittenhouse Square
The blocks around Rittenhouse Square are Philadelphia’s preeminent go-to for style and beauty. High-end shops, locally owned boutiques, bargain stores and day spas are more numerous between Broad Street and the Schuylkill River and Market and Pine Streets than in any other Philadelphia neighborhood. (Ditto restaurants and bars, venues for showing off high style.)
Like all neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Square offers tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes. It’s also the home of many national retailers. Busy Walnut Street, also called “Rittenhouse Row,” boasts a lineup that includes American Apparel, Athleta, Apple, Barbour, Barney’s New York, Dr. Martens,...
An Essential Guide To Philadelphia For LGBT Visitors
Philadelphia, the United States’ birthplace, is proud of the roles it has played—and plays still—in the founding, furtherance and celebration of the LGBT civil rights movement. The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection hosted the country’s first major demonstration for LGBT rights, the Annual Reminders, in 1965. Today, visitors to Philly can easily explore sites where LGBT history was made and where queer life continues to thrive.
To see and do it all, visitors need to spend at least a couple of nights, and that’s made easy with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package®, offering free parking...
What's In The Chinatown Neighborhood?
Beyond the colorful Friendship Arch at 10th and Arch Streets lives Philly’s vibrant Asian enclave, settled in the mid-19th century by Cantonese immigrants. Stretching from Vine to Arch Streets between 9th and 12th Streets, the neighborhood is packed end to end with restaurants and stores that represent Hong Kong, Cantonese, Fujianese, Northern Sichuan and Taiwanese cultures, with a sprinkling of Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese, Vietnamese and hipster thrown in for good measure. On any given day or night, Chinatown bustles with activity and authenticity, from the steaming platters of hand-stretched noodles to the seasonal street festivals...
Go Beyond The Gayborhood To Explore Philadelphia's Other Options For Nightlife, The Arts & Drag Shows
It’s no secret that Philadelphia is one of the LGBT-friendliest cities in the country, but Philly pride extends past the rainbow flag-adorned Gayborhood. Neighborhoods throughout the city offer endless options for queer folks looking for a gay old time. Groups QOTA (Queers on the Avenue) and OUT in Fishtown welcome partygoers south and north of Center City, respectively, for monthly happy hours, food and fun. LGBT-owned hangouts Menagerie Coffee and The Victoria Freehouse satisfy cravings for caffeine, cocktails and culture in Historic Philadelphia. South Street’s iconic dive bar Bob and Barbara’s Lounge hosts the city’s longest-running drag show.
Pet lovers are crazy about their animal companions—and, according to the American Pet Products Association, they spend nearly $63 billion a year in the U.S. on pet services and accouterments to prove it. For those who love to spoil their pet but hate to leave him or her behind while traveling, the Philadelphia region proves to be the “purr-fect” getaway. Pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, shops and parks welcome visitors and their animals, so it’s easy to bring furry friends along for the ride.
- Delaware County’s Brandywine River Hotel welcomes dogs in pet-friendly rooms for a $25-per-dog-per-night fee for
Graduate Hospital goes by many names (Center City South, South of South, G-Ho), which is fitting for a neighborhood that draws its personality from the people inside it: young transplants, born-and-raised neighbors, hip urban professionals, craft beer crowds and more. In recent years, the area stretching from Lombard Street to Washington Avenue and from Broad Street to Gray’s Ferry Avenue has accumulated a healthy dose of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and markets that reflect the area’s residential and cool vibe.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) has picked this ’hood for its summertime PHS Pop Up Garden three years in a...
Long known as the edgiest street in Philadelphia, South Street welcomes more than just hippies these days. Shoppers searching for a statement-making look, visitors hungry for a real Philly cheesesteak and music lovers who want to catch an up-and-coming band head to the storied boulevard. Also lining South are ethnically diverse restaurants, bars that keep the party going long after dessert, galleries and performance spaces.
Over the past decade, the development of South Street’s east side has spread west of Broad Street, but the traditional definition of the district (depending on who you ask) spans up to 14 blocks: Front...
Philly's Top Spots for DNC Souvenirs
Donkey charms, donkey ceramics, donkey scarves, donkey soaps, donkey everything and anything: These are just some of the Philly-designed finds for sale around town during the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Year round, visitors to the city stock up on tricorn hats, feather quill pens and miniature Rocky statues, but July 25 through 28 will be the time to scoop up memorabilia to mark a milestone in U.S. history.
Here are some Philly stores selling souvenirs worthy of delegates’ suitcase space:
Official DNC Merchandise:
- Two types of pop-up shops dot the city and region during the DNC. Both sets of