Known for its easy access to major sporting arenas in Philadelphia’s Stadium District, South Philadelphia is also known for multicultural and foodie attractions.
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D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats is home to South Philadelphia’s most delicious ice treats. Owner Chris brings his grandmother’s infamous sorbetto recipe to visitors of all ages. This spot is famous for mile high Sundaes, creamy gelatis, and soft serve ice cream.
What to Do
Catch a baseball game and root for the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Or head across the street to watch the game at Xfinity Live!, with indoor and outdoor bars and activities. Not far from the stadiums, try your luck at Live! Casino & Hotel, home to 2,100 state-of-the-art slot machines, more than 120 live action table games, a sportsbook, and more.
Stroll down eclectic South Street to explore an ever-changing line-up of restaurants and shops. For a seemingly endless assortment of local boutiques and shops selling apparel, jewelry, art, home goods, and more, head to East Passyunk Avenue.
Check out one of the world’s greatest collections of sports racing cars at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Then explore the nation’s oldest Swedish museum, American Swedish Historical Museum, located in the heart of the spacious FDR Park. Learn more about Philadelphia’s annual Mummers Parade — the city’s unique New Year’s Day tradition — at the Mummers Museum.
If you’re looking for something completely out of the ordinary, head to South Street, where you can bask in the reflections of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. This mesmerizing labyrinth is half indoor and half outdoor, with the outdoor elements often shimmering in the sunlight. The installation spans three city blocks and entices visitors to admire the largest work to date by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. Dishes, bicycle wheels, bottles, mirrors, and tiles are just some of the many items Zagar used to beautify the space.
Where to Dine
There is no shortage of excellent Italian eateries in South Philadelphia. Seen in the “Rocky” movies and known for always having fresh fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, cheese, and baked goods, the Italian Market on 9th Street is a bustling must-visit spot. Nearby, Dante & Luigi’s Corona di Ferro is one of the oldest existing Italian restaurants in the U.S., established in 1899. There’s also Victor Café where the servers double as opera singers who perform every 20 minutes. Saloon Restaurant has been serving hearty Italian dishes since 1967. For traditional Mexican food, visit South Philly Barbacoa led by Chef Cristina Martinez winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA).
Tattooed Mom offers food and drink specials in a relaxed dive bar setting along South Street. Two of Philadelphia’s most iconic cheesesteak shops — located just across the street from one another — are Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks, each offering a signature approach to the Philadelphia favorite. The ongoing rivalry began in the 1960s and it’s been a constant battle over which shop offers the best cheesesteak ever since. Thanks to the shops’ bright 24-hour glowing neon signs at the intersection of 9th and Passyunk, the corner has earned the nickname “Cheesesteak Vegas.” Grab a sandwich from each and determine for yourself who is the king of steaks.
Where to Stay
For those looking to stay in the heart of this sprawling section of the city, consider one of these hotel options, including those located near Philadelphia International Airport.
One of the area’s more unique offerings is The Deacon. This boutique hotel and event space is located inside the former home of the First African Baptist Church. It features eight beautifully designed rooms and a common area that can be rented for private functions.
In the sports complex, the new Live! Casino & Hotel offers 510,000 square-feet of gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment space. It’s located within steps of Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center. The new property also features some of Philadelphia’s most iconic eateries on-site, including Lorenzo & Sons Pizza, Termini Brothers, and Sang Kee Noodle Bar & Kitchen.
At the southern tip of Broad Street in the Navy Yard complex is the Courtyard Philadelphia South at Navy Yard. This hotel features over 170 guest rooms and a Bistro dining area. The Coutyard recently completed renovations, including sweeping updates to the lobby and 1,400-square-feet of meeting space.
There are also a number of hotel options around Philadelphia International Airport, just a short drive from South Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Airport Marriott Hotel is adjacent to the airport’s terminals and connected to Terminal B via a skywalk. The 419-room hotel also features over 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and dining at the on-site Aviation Grill restaurant. The Delta Hotels by Marriott Philadelphia Airport features 348 brand-new guestrooms and suites and is located only one mile from the airport. Other airport options include the DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Airport, Embassy Suites Philadelphia Airport, and the Hampton Inn Philadelphia Airport.
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