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Dec 5 2017

What's In The Neighborhood?

Fairmount & Spring Garden

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 Garden distinguishes itself while complementing its neighboring districts. Beautiful Victorian architecture constructed for wealthy industrialists during the second half of the 19th century mixes with a decidedly relaxed vibe. Recent and continuing developments, particularly around its North Broad Street border, are generating buzz for the area.

Restaurants & Bars:

  • Alla Spina – James Beard Award-winning chef Marc Vetri keeps to his Italian roots for this garage-style gastropub. The brew crowd comes for craft beers on 20 taps, including an exclusive Victory house beer and Italian craft beers not found anywhere else in the city—plus in 50 bottles. Foodie fans swear by the meat-heavy menu that includes pig head bruschetta and sausage cheesesteak on a pretzel roll. Warm-weather alfresco tables, happy-hour specials and Sunday brunch add to the draw. 1410 Mt. Vernon Street, (215) 600-0017,
  • A Mano – Chef Michael Millon serves seasonal, handcrafted (a mano means “by hand”) Italian dishes at a bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot that earned three out of four bells from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Best part? A Mano now takes reservations. Cash only. 2244 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-1114,
  • Angelino’s Restaurant & Pizzeria – Seekers of pasta with homemade sauce, pizzas, sandwiches and neighborhood atmosphere head to this BYOB shop. 849 N. 25th Street, (215) 787-9945,
  • Bar Hygge – Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga; Danish for “cozy camaraderie”) brings together the couples behind Conshohocken’s Baggataway Tavern and Mount Airy’s Earth - Bread + Brewery. The stylish and rustic neighborhood brewpub focuses on beers, wines and seasonal small and large plates. 1720 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 765-2274,
  • The Belgian Café – From the same people responsible for lauded beer bar Monk’s Cafe, this spot maintains a selection of cool and interesting beers on tap, as well as an extensive knowledge of mussels. During the warmer months, outdoor seating makes a prime people-watching spot. 21st & Green Streets, (215) 235-3500,
  • The Bishop’s Collar – “The Collar” is a great place to grab a quick bite during the day. But it’s an even better place to drink and make new friends at night. 2349 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 765-1616,
  • The Black Taxi – This Irish pub features old-school Irish-American fare (shepherd’s pie, Irish stew), lots of liquor, rotating beers, as well as gluten-free beer in a neighborhood setting. 25th & Aspen Streets, (215) 232-1086,
  • Bridgid’s Restaurant & Tavern – This cozy longtime pub specializes in Italian food, craft beers and an extensive local and imported beer list. 726 N. 24th Street, (215) 232-3232,
  • Buena Onda – A member of chef Jose Garces’ family of restaurants, this Baja Peninsula-inspired, do-good eatery is known for mahi mahi tacos and tofu chorizo quesadillas—served on house-made tortillas. Fifty cents from every guacamole or bottled water ordered goes to the Garces Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Philadelpha’s immigrant community access health and educational services. 1901C Callowhill Street, (215) 302-3530,
  • Dasiwa – This modern BYOB serves sashimi, udon, Korean entrees and many kinds of sushi. 735 N. 26th Street, (267) 761-9523,
  • Dim Sum & Noodle – Small, shareable servings of classic soups, dumplings, bao, plus bigger portions of bulgogi, honey walnut shrimp and braised pork ramen elevate this eat-in or take-out spot beyond the average. 2000 Hamilton Street, (215) 515-3992,
  • Doma – This 35-seat Japanese BYOB with Korean influences serves lunch and dinner to in-the-know neighbors. Regulars swear the hot-stone bibimbap rivals anything found in Chinatown. 1822 Callowhill Street, (215) 564-1114,
  • Era Bar and Restaurant – Serving Ethiopian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this laid-back spot also offers beer, wine, drink specials and pool. 2743 Poplar Street, (215) 769-7008,
  • Fare – Dedicated to healthy, local (and when possible, organic) food, Fare features small plates, salads and main courses at brunch and dinner. In warmer months, patrons can enjoy their food on the outdoor patio, which has a vertical herb garden. 2028 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 763-5500,
  • Figs – Still a relatively well-kept neighborhood secret, this cozy corner BYOB dishes out Mediterranean food in an authentic Moroccan setting. Cash only. 2501 Meredith Street, (215) 978-8440,
  • Gyu-Kaku – Yakiniku, Japanese barbecue cooked over a flaming grill, is the house specialty here. Helpful staff guide patrons through a la carte orders, which include vegetarian and vegan options. Regulars know to order Lady M’s green tea mille crepe for dessert. 1901 Callowhill Street, (267) 603-9482,
  • Hickory Lane – Cozy atmosphere makes this quaint bistro a neighborhood favorite. The chef favors in-season ingredients for brunch and dinner dishes, which means the menu changes often. 2025 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 769-2420,
  • iPho – Van Nguyen brings traditional Vietnamese noodle soups, vermicelli, broken rice, banh mi and bubble tea to a corner bistro. Diners have the option of eating in or taking out. 1921 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 763-7777,
  • Jack’s Firehouse – Set in a 19th-century firehouse—the fireman’s pole is still standing—Jack’s has been serving innovative American cuisine, along with impressive whiskey and scotch selections for nearly 30 years. The restaurant has a prime view of the imposing Eastern State Penitentiary across the street. 2130 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 232-9000,
  • Kite & Key – Named for Ben Franklin’s famous experiment with electricity, the Kite & Key offers a wide variety of craft and imported beers from around the world. The pub fare rivals the beer selection. Highlights include mussels and a veggie burger, which can be enjoyed in the beer garden. 1836 Callowhill Street, (215) 568-1818,
  • La Calaca Feliz – This highly praised and brightly colored neighborhood spot dishes out modern Mexican cuisine and pours a few dozen tequilas. The carnitas tacos are a must-taste. 2321 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 787-9930,
  • LaScala’s Pronto – This step up from the neighborhood pizza place offers Italian-American dishes, pastas and brick-oven pizza for eat in or take out. Guests can BYOB for a casual dinner and drinks with friends or family. 1501 Spring Garden Street, (215) 751-0200,
  • London Grill – A neighborhood staple since 1991, London Grill is one part pub with local microbrews on tap and a classic cocktail menu and one part white tablecloth restaurant. Next door sits Paris Wine Bar, focusing on local and sustainable wines. 2301 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 978-4545,
  • McCrossen’s Tavern – Chef Jeff Lord is known for stepped-up tavern favorites at this neighborhood staple, where a progressive beverage program is matched by friendly, polished service. 529 N. 20th Street, (215) 854-0923,
  • Osteria – Twice honored by the James Beard Foundation, this Vetri restaurant offers house-made pastas, thin-crust pizzas and wood-grilled meats and fish. The 300 Italian bottle wine list won Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.” 640 N. Broad Street, (215) 763-0920,
  • Pizzeria Vetri – Awarded three out of four bells by The Philadelphia Inquirer, chef Vetri’s pizzeria serves traditional, wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, salads and more. Patrons can choose from a variety of beverages on tap, including four rotating beers and red and white wine. The restaurant also offers a selection of bottled and canned beers. 1939 Callowhill Street, (215) 600-2629,
  • Rose Tattoo Café – Family owned and operated, the greenhouse-inspired Rose Tattoo serves American cuisine in four romantic dining areas, including a balcony with plants and flowers.19th & Callowhill Streets, (215) 569-8939,
  • Sabrina’s Café & Spencer’s Too – South Philadelphia’s 9th Street Italian Market brunchtime darling operates this outpost just northwest of Center City, where hungry diners fill up on oversized portions of comfort food during lunch, brunch and dinner. The brunch line is worth the wait. 1804 Callowhill Street, (215) 636-9061,
  • Santucci’s – This family business of nearly 60 years has expanded from Juniata Park in Northeast Philadelphia to South Philadelphia and, more recently, Fairmount. Known for its square pizza served with sauce on top of cheese, this location has a sports bar with drink specials and serves breakfast and brunch on weekends. 655 N. Broad Street, (267) 639-6014,
  • Snap Kitchen – Health food fans rejoiced when the Austin, Texas-based Snap Kitchen opened up their first East Coast stores in Philadelphia. Locals describe the business as a healthier version of Wawa, thanks to prepackaged breakfasts, lunches and dinners, all clearly labeled as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan or Paleo—and with calorie counts. 1901 Callowhill Street, (215) 845-0001,
  • SOUTH – Restaurateurs the Bynum brothers return to their roots with Lowcountry cuisine (heirloom grits, homemade pickles, gumbo and cornmeal-crusted salmon with collard green pesto), live jazz and a wide selection of American whiskeys and fun custom beers from Evolution Brewing. 600 N. Broad Street, (215) 600-0220,
  • Stockyard Sandwich Co. – This farm-to-table—and nose-to-tail—spot offers seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner by chefs Mike Metzger and William Lindsay, who previously worked together at University City’s White Dog Cafe. 1541 Spring Garden Street (215) 977-9273,
  • St. Stephen’s Green – This neighborhood hangout serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch and is known for an extensive beer list. 1701 Green Street, (215) 769-5000,
  • Sweet Nectar Dessert Kitchen – Baker Robin Broughton-Smith was Jay Z’s accountant before she opened this spot, known for its cakes, cupcakes, cookies, baked doughnuts and muffins—all made with locally sourced produce and no artificial food dyes. The shop also offers BYOB cupcake-decorating classes. 547 N. 20th Street, (267) 318-7143,
  • Trio – This Thai-inspired, Pan-Asian BYOB counts drunken noodles among its most popular dishes. 2601 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 232-8746,
  • Umai Umai – This small Japanese BYOB serves some unusual maki: The Godzilla, for example, has shrimp tempura, eel, avocado, honey, macadamia bits and strawberry; the Spartan combines miso-marinated beef tenderloin, cucumber, mozzarella cheese, shrimp tempura and paprika aioli. 533 N. 22nd Street, (215) 988-0707,
  • Urban Saloon – One of the largest bars in the neighborhood makes for a great spot to catch a game on TV while sipping craft beer or enjoying a casual meal. 2120 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 232-5359,
  • Zorba’s – Loved for its authentic Greek food and atmosphere (maybe it’s the three generations of Greek owners speaking in their native tongue), this spot is one of the neighborhood’s well-kept secrets. Zorba’s keeps its lunch, dinner and dessert menus classic and reasonably priced. 2230 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 978-5990,


  • OCF Coffee House – Part of the collection of Philadelphia cafes operated under OCF Realty, this neighborhood cafe has a contemporary feel. Customers drop by until evening hours for coffee, conversation, sandwiches, healthy eats and more. 2100 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 773-8081,
  • Rybread – Father and son teamed up to share their passion for food at this sandwich-centric cafe. The sandwiches, made with fresh ingredients, are loosely based on the son’s seven-week “unemployment opportunity” road trip across the country. Images of his journeys adorn the walls. 1711 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 769-0603,
  • Vineyards Cafe – This neighborhood spot serves customers all things fresh——coffee, crepes, cold and hot drinks, as well as pastries and sandwiches—from morning through mid-evening. 847 N. 16th Street, (215) 232-3000,

Shops & Markets:

  • Ali’s Wagon – This family-friendly store sells fun, local and fair-trade adult and kids’ clothes and accessories, eclectic housewares, bath and body products and gifts for all ages. It also hosts parenting classes on a range of topics. 2017 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 787-0611,
  • Bookhaven – Breaking the used bookstore mold, Bookhaven packs its two floors with amazing finds, arranged in an organized fashion (by genre, then author) rather than in piles. There are, however, the quintessential bookstore cats. 2202 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 235-3226
  • Division IV – From the same owners of Ali’s Wagon, this urban lifestyle store is a one-stop shop for home and hostess needs, featuring kitchen and pantry items, barware, handmade furniture and engagement and wedding gifts. 1632 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 886-8336,
  • Fairmount Bicycles – This full-service bike shop sells new and refurbished bikes, as well as all the necessary accessories and safety equipment. Cycling enthusiasts can also rent bikes for an hour, a full day or the entire week. 2015 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 507-9370,
  • Fairmount Pet Shoppe – This quaint pet shop keeps furry friends happy with toys, foods and accessories. The store partners with animal shelters to find homes for cats and kittens—which means there are animals to play with.) 2024 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-6080,
  • Fairmount Running Company – A favorite among the neighborhood joggers, this shop is staffed by lifelong runners and coaches and carries every major brand of running sneakers, apparel and accessories. The store also hosts a weekly run on Wednesday nights that starts in front of the store at 6:45 p.m. 2023 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 639-6046,
  • Philadelphia Bikesmith – New bikes of all types, plus tune-ups, gear, accessories and fittings at this shop come with careful guidance. 1822 Spring Garden Street, (267) 324-5910,
  • Plants, Etc. – Stocking an assortment of plants, flowers, herbs and gardening tools, this neighborhood florist also creates flower arrangements for special occasions and designs backyards and flower boxes. 2313 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3060
  • Tela’s Market & Kitchen – Part coffee shop, part market, Tela’s caters breakfast, lunch and dinner with fresh, local and prepared foods. Patrons take out or eat in. 1833 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 235-0170,

Other Reasons To Visit:

  • Eastern State Penitentiary – Once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, the massive Eastern State Penitentiary is open year-round for tours. During the Halloween season, the venue’s Terror Behind the Walls haunted experience frightens even the most daring souls. 2027 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300,
  • Fairmount Water Works – Constructed in the early 1800s to provide safe, clean drinking water to a growing city, Fairmount Water Works is unique among environmental centers because of its location at the river’s edge in the center of a major metropolis (and behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Interactive, user-friendly exhibits, an interpretive center and programs share information about the water in our world. Guided tours of the National Historical Landmark and its surroundings explore its past, present and future impact. 640 Water Works Drive, (215) 685-0723,
  • Neighborhood Potters – Owners Sandi Pierantozzi and Neil Patterson opened this studio/gallery more than 15 years ago with the mission to bring a little warmth and soul into everyday lives with beautiful, useable, handmade pottery. Classes are available for students of all levels, and the shop is open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment. 2034 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-1617,
  • Philly Art Center – Cultivating creative genius since 2004, the art center promotes out-of-the-box thinking through dynamic arts programming in a wide range of media. Each studio, including the Fairmount location, serves as a creative community hub, offering classes, camps and parties for babies, kids, teens and adults. 2501 Olive Street, (215) 765-ARTS,

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, and, 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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