Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia

Destination Guide Philadelphia - Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia, PA

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Old City

Old City
Old City

© Will Tung

The Old City sector of Philadelphia is a nest of nightclubs, restaurants (with either valet parking or overpriced garages), high-end hotels, historical attractions, and cafés whose umbrella-ed tables clutter sidewalks and street corners during the spring and summer months. Stretching between Vine St and Walnut St, from the North to South, with Front St as its East barrier and 6th St to the West, the area is distinguished by the red-brick colonial architecture and old-styled town squares that bi-sect entire blocks. Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House are also located in this vicinity of the city.

The Market St and Chestnut St areas are especially full of eating and drinking establishments, ranging from the stereotypically metallic but hugely popular Continental Diner with its notorious Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, to Swanky Bubbles Lounge with its massive champagne list, to traditional Irish Pubs with Guinness on tap, and classy Italian joints serving whole fish and top-shelf martinis. You can also find shops selling gourmet ice cream with fresh fruit toppings, all natural vegan restaurants with organic ingredients, and trendy cafes boasting Fair Trade coffee and tea. Be sure to wear pseudo-fancy attire or you will most certainly be refused service - doormen and bouncers in this area are sticklers about appropriate footwear: leave the sneakers at home!

One of the best features of the Old City area is the abundance of intimate art galleries. The cobblestone lined alleys team with hole-in-the wall rooms adorned with local artists' paintings, photographs, and sculptures. The first Friday of every month denotes the official "Philly First Friday" celebration; where the galleries remain open late into the evening and often serve refreshments and wine. Locals and tourists alike crowd the streets, most as onlookers and consumers, but many congregate to specifically to sell handmade jewelry, used books, and other miscellaneous treasures. Street performers set up on intersections and pick at a banjo or jam on drum sets for tips. Later in the evening, once the action of "First Friday" dies down, hipsters need not travel far in either direction to find refuge and entertainment, for if Old City isn't exactly your "scene", the up-and-coming Fish Town district is only a couple blocks to the North while funky South St is approximately the same distance in the opposite direction. But chances are, you won't need to leave Old City to find whatever sort of nightlife attraction you are seeking.

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