West Philly is a mostly residential section of Philadelphia west of the Schuylkill River, which represented the western boundary of William Penn's original plan for the colonial city. West Philadelphia is a vibrant, diverse, multi-cultural urban area, home to three excellent and world-renowned universities.

113 things to do

All Places United States Pennsylvania

Powelton Village

Is a small enclave outside the University City section of Philadelphia, from 34th to 40th streets between Market and Haverford. It remains visually identifiable, an oasis of tree-lined streets, porch-fronted suburban houses interspersed with a few mansions and their commercial support buildings dating from the second half of the nineteenth century. Large, well-cared-for homes from the early 20th and late 19th century line several streets. This area is a collection of Philadelphia natives, college students and professors.

SEE   —  Map

Tacos Don Memo

Some of the best burritos and tortas in the area actually come out of this tiny, blink-and-you'll-miss-it taco truck on traffic-heavy 38th Street. Unfortunately, there will be quite a long wait—about a half hour or so—during the lunch rush, and despite their popularity, their presence is not always reliable (though you can now follow their Twitter account for updates).


"Modern Mexican" food by local restaurateur Jose Garces. Dinner starts being served at 5PM Distrito is a restaurant that’s full of pink décor that will get your attention. This modern restaurant has unique setting from chairs, booths and taxis. Chef Jose Garces won ''Best Chef Mid-Atlantic'' award and won ''The Next Iron Chef'' in 2010.

White Dog Cafe

One of the pioneers of the "buy local" movement in Philadelphia, the White Dog uses products from local farmers, and serve beers from local breweries. As a result, prices are higher. The food is mostly American/Continental style, with pub grub served at the bar.

Microtel Airport

Economy/budget hotel offering guests free local and free long distance calls in the continental United States, and free Wi-Fi in every room of their hotels, as well as advance online check-in and check-out with unlimited access to online folio information.

Japanese House and Garden (Shofuso)

The Japanese House, as it is informally known to Philadelphians, was built in 16th century style on the grounds of the Horticultural Center in the West Philadelphia section of Fairmount Park near the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Montgomery Drive.

SEE   —  Map

Local 44

Good food and a large selection of craft beers, both local and from around the world. Although the name evokes the all-powerful Philadelphia labor union, the crowd reflects this West Philly neighborhood of young professionals and graduate students.

DRINK   —  +1 215 222-2337 —  4333 Spruce St

Barnes Foundation

Just west of the city boundaries in Merion, the former Barnes residence features a 12-acre arboretum, with over 3,000 species of woody plants and trees. The art collection moved to a new building in Center City West in 2012.

DO   —  Map

HI - Chamounix Mansion Hostel

On a scenic bluff above the Schuylkill River and 45 minutes to downtown Philadelphia's cultural and historic attractions. Associated with Hostelling International. Curfew at 2AM, daily lockout between 11AM and 4:30PM.

New Deck Tavern

An Irish pub a stone's throw away from the University of Pennsylvania, it's a popular hangout for students with good bar food. Home of the first Quizo game, which is still happens every Monday and Wednesday nights.

DRINK   —  +1 215 386-4600 —  3408 Sansom St

Koreana Restaurant

You'd never know it was there, since it's tucked behind Abner's Cheesesteaks and a Chili's, but the Korean college students will tell you it's some of the best Korean food in the city.

Belmont Plateau

Section of Fairmount Park with a great view of center city. The lower plateau has locations for grilling, baseball, and other activities. Climb to the upper plateau for the view.


An Irish themed pub owned by the same people as New Deck and with a similar but less collegiate feel. Draws more of a business crowd but has good inexpensive bar food and beer.

DRINK   —  +1 215 222-7400 —  3000 Market St

New Angle Lounge

A local bar on a triangle lot, hence its name. On Wednesdays, ordering a drink gets you a balloon which you pop, and there are instructions inside that tell you what to do next!

Kim's Oriental Food

Food truck that's immensely popular amongst college students, because it's cheap, tasty, extremely fast, and is one of the few food trucks that feels like it's always open.


Live bluegrass music on Thursday nights and $3 PBR/Whiskey specials. Located above Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant, enter on Locust street, and go up the stairs.

DRINK   —  45th and Locust St

Natalie's Lounge

Jazz club. Most popular night is on Saturdays, kicking it off with a jam session for anyone to join in and then with professional acts throughout the evening.

DRINK   —  +1 215 222-5162 —  4003 Market St

Bobby's Burger Palace

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay's first "fast casual" burger joint in a major city, featuring "Crunchified" burgers—potato chips between the meat and the bun.

Sheraton Philadelphia

Sheraton Philadelphia University City hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania features luxurious rooms, meeting space, and a restaurant near city center.

Belmont Mansion

Historic mansion built in the early 18th century located at the top of the Belmont Plateau. Mansion now includes the Underground Railroad Museum.

SEE   —  +1 215 878-8844 —  Map


An American sports bar, with decent food and beer bongs. Quizzo (that's two 'z's, outside of Patrick Hines's Quizo empire) on Thursday nights.

DRINK   —  +1 215 222-3226 —  3180 Chestnut St


Economical Ethiopian/Eritrean fare, one of the original and best east African restaurants in the neighborhood. Lovely traditional decor.

Philadelphia Airport Marriott

Connected to Terminal B of the Philadelphia International Airport via the skybridge. Has event space for meetings and weddings.

SLEEP   —  +1 215 492-9000 —  1 Arrivals Rd

Centennial Hall

Beaux-arts building of granite, glass and iron now houses a recreation center and offices for the Fairmount Park. Free.

SEE   —  Map

Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant

Good, affordable Ethiopian food, if you can stand the poorly rated service and long wait times. Vegan friendly.

EAT   —  +1 215 387-2424 —  229 S 45th St

The Please Touch Museum

A fantastic place to take young children. As the name says, everyone is encouraged to touch the exhibits.

The World Cafe Live

Offers an eclectic offering of concerts, from jazz to rock, from locally and nationally-renowned artists.

DO   —  3025 Walnut St

Dock Street Brewery

Changing selection of six microbrewed beers. Gourmet pizzas prepared in a wood burning oven.

DRINK   —  +1 215 726-2337 —  701 S. 50th St


Ethiopian restaurant with a resident DJ that plays Friday and Saturday after 10PM.

Philadelphia Zoo

World-class zoo with camel and pony rides, bird safari, and Victorian-era train.

The Inn at Penn

A four-diamond Hilton property hotel on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

SLEEP   —  3600 Sansom St

Kaffa Crossing Cafe

Cross between fair trade coffee shop and Ethiopian restaurant. Vegan friendly.

Penn Museum

An anthropology and archeology museum run by the University of Pennsylvania,

SEE   —  +1 215 898-4000 —  3260 South St

Eastern Mountain Sports

Excellent selection of Scott Bikes - Road bikes, Hybrids, and Mountain Bikes


Modern reinterpretation of Mid-Atlantic and traditional Philadelphian food.

Crossroads Music

Crossroads organizes world music concerts at various venues in West Philly.

DO   —  Map

Metropolitan Bakery

Locally-based artisan bakery with several stores throughout Philadelphia.


Stephen Starr's Asian fusion restaurant in a funky, nightclub-like decor.

2nd Friday

On Lancaster Ave -- a more "laid-back" version of Old City's 1st Friday.

DO   —  Map

The Blockley

Concert venue for smaller acts. Includes both local and touring bands.

DO   —  38th and Chestnut

Allegro Pizza & Grill

A staple of the college student's late-night delivery repertoire.

Bridgewater's Pub

Rotating selection of local and German microbrews on draft.

DRINK   —  +1 215 387-4787 —  2951 Market St

Vientiane Cafe

Thai/Laotian Restaurant. Vegan friendly.

EAT   —  4728 Baltimore Ave


Great food, with somewhat slow service.

The Blarney Stone

Dive bar popular with Penn undergrads.

DRINK   —  +1 215 222-5340 —  3929 Sansom St


The Philadelphia Dance Company.

DO   —  Map

Satellite Cafe

Local and organic coffee shop.

EAT   —  701 S 50th St

Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Theater and dining complex.

Saad's Halal Restaurant

Mediterranean restaurant.

Pho Cafe Saigon

Cheap Vietnamese food.


Pakistani restaurant.


Greek restaurant.

Sitar India Cuisine

Vegan friendly.

EAT   —  +1 215 662-0818 —  60 S 38th St

Tandoor India Restaurant

Vegan friendly.

EAT   —  +1 215 222-7122 —  106 S 40th St

The Greek Lady

Greek food.

EAT   —  +1 215 382-2600 —  222 S 40th St

Penn Tower Hotel

SLEEP   —  Map

Penn Ice Rink

DO   —  Map

Power Yoga Works

DO   —  Map

Studio 34: Yoga

DO   —  Map

Be Happy House

DO   —  Map

Millcreek Tavern

DO   —  Map


DO   —  Map


DO   —  Map


DO   —  Map

LA Fitness

DO   —  Map

Clark Park

DO   —  Map

The Black Cat

BUY   —  Map

The Fresh Grocer

BUY   —  Map

University Square

BUY   —  Map

Penn Bookstore

BUY   —  Map

About Philadelphia/West

With the exception of a few colonial and early federal mansions like the Woodlands and Bartram's Gardens, most of West Philly developed from farmland as an early suburb. Development moved west from the Schuylkill following the course of a network of trolleys (many of which still run today) and the El which runs above Market St. University City is also known as the "Left Bank" (an homage to Paris' Latin Quarter), as well as Philadelphia's "international" neighborhood because of the multitude of ethnicities living here.

Not surprisingly, West Philadelphia today presents a living catalog of 19th- and early 20th-century residential architecture ranging from dramatic ornate Queen Anne Victorian mansions to more humble brick rowhouses. Although many sections suffered decline and urban blight as the heavy industry that fed the demand for housing construction in West Philly dwindled and departed the United States, areas like Powelton Village, Spruce Hill and Cedar Park have been largely preserved and provide an opportunity to "step back into time" as you stroll the wide tree-lined streets of stately 19th-century homes. The area has been declared a National Historic District.

West Philly is home to several large educational institutions including the University of Pennsylvania , Drexel University and the University of Sciences in Philadelphia.

The area also holds most of Philadelphia's expansive Fairmount Park, the largest municipal park in the country. It is home to Mann Music Center, the Philadelphia Zoo, and soon the Please Touch children's museum. On Sundays, MLK Drive is closed to traffic, so bring your Rollerblades!

Check out Clark Park on Baltimore Ave at 43rd Street, or take a stroll on Spruce or Pine.

Source: wikivoyage