Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia

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South Street Headhouse District

South Street Headhouse District
South Street Headhouse District

© monavano

South Street is infamous for alternative shopping in Philadelphia. Its fiercely independent shops contain specialty goods ranging from guitars and dolls, to sex toys and bicycles, to antiques and African imports, to used books and cigars. There are bead shops and tattoo parlors. On South St., you can always find the latest, trendy neon sunglasses or striped tube socks or flat-brimmed Phillies hats. Ample vintage and consignment stores line the road and surrounding alleys where you can find dusty leather luggage, costume jewelry, cigarette-scented fur coats, elastic waistband denim skirts, worn-in heels, Mickey Mouse mugs, and dented records. If it must be skinny leather pants, black vests adorned with diagonal zippers, fishnet uni-tards, or multi-colored hair dye, South St. is conveniently stocked with Goth, punk, and metal paraphernalia, too. Fabric Row on 4th St. is one of South St.'s chief shopping spots for artists, knitters, and fashion students seeking yarn, buttons, trimming, feathers, etc.

You name it, South St. has it. Probably the most abundant, though, are South St.'s shoe boutiques and jewelry stores. Although some are only the size of a walk-in closet, the walls of these mini-outlets completely burst with things glittery, metallic, dangly, gaudy, plastic, and studded. Belts, bandanas, and accessories are in no short supply. Snakeskin, pointed toe, royal purple velvet, strapless, chunky, argyle, and thigh-high. That is South St. (Good for people watching, too.) A majority of these shops are located on East South St., and as you head westward past the Whole Foods on 9th St., you begin to encounter more hair-weaving salons and independent art galleries and less shopping opportunities.

Oh, and if you're hungry, make sure to check out Lorenzo's & Sons, on 3rd St., famed for the best pizza in the city -- rivaled only by Jim's Steaks on 4th St., which is arguably better than both Pat's and Geno's and typically has a line that stretches around the block, particularly late at night. Ishkabibble's, "Home of the Original Chicken Cheesesteak," is just down across the way and is also known for its award-winning French fries. There are also plenty of dive bars on South St. that serve up cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon -- especially Tattooed Mom, whose upstairs room is covered in graffiti- collaged walls, complete with actual bumper car booths.

Attraction Information

  • Parking Lots and Garages:
  • 516 South Street
  • 419 Bainbridge St
  • 530 S 03rd Street
  • 620 S 07th Street
  • 202 Lombard Street
  • Contact:
  • Location: Front and South Streets, Philadelphia, PA
  • Phone: 215-413-3713
  • Website: www.southstreet.com
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