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Washington Square West & Gayborhood

January 10, 2024

The pulse of Washington Square West in Philadelphia is always beating as lively dining, entrancing performances and a vibrant nightlife fill this quaint historic neighborhood.

What to Do

Stroll 13th Street and shop locally owned boutiques such as Open House, sellers of quirky home goods and Philadelphia-themed gifts and Duross & Langel, curators of custom bath products. Founded by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond in 1751, Pennsylvania Hospital is the nation’s first hospital with the first surgical amphitheater and medical library — both of which can be viewed during a tour of the historic Pine Building, one of the finest examples of Colonial and Federal period architecture. Explore the charming and historic streets found throughout Washington Square West, such as Quince Street. Lined with towering gingko trees, this narrow north-south pathway runs the length of Washington Square West and is one of the area’s top photo spots.

For lovers of live performance, on any given night there’s no place you’d rather be than Philadelphia. Right on Broad Street, Ensemble Arts Philly is a collection of performing arts venues including the Academy of Music and the Miller Theatre. Broadway shows dazzle audiences every year. The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of America’s “Big Five” symphony orchestras, is a major part of Ensemble Arts Philly. Take in a show at the Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest theater presenting classic and undiscovered musicals and plays.

A theater with a large dome sits on a busy city street.

Photo courtesy of the Ensemble Arts Philly

The night is always still young when venturing out in Washington Square West and the Gayborhood. For a different type of show, Voyeur is an after-hours club energized by live DJs. Grab a nightcap at Time, a whiskey bar with nightly live jazz. Tabu is a LGBTQ+ sports bar with rotating theme nights and drag shows. At last call, head to Woody’s, an iconic LGBTQ+ bar housing drinks, dancing, and even a coffee room under one roof.

Where to Dine

For breakfast, the pillowy egg sandwiches at Middle Child are an absolute must-try. Feast on cutting-edge Japanese cuisine at Morimoto, Pan-Asian fusion tapas at Sampan or traditional American comfort food at Bud & Marilyn’s. Charlie was a sinner. specializes in vegan offerings, pairing small, plant-based plates with an exceptional lineup of artisan cocktails. Fogo de Chao shakes up the traditional steakhouse experience with a Brazilian flare. More international vibes await at Brauhaus Schmitz, where dirndl-wearing waitresses serve German brats, and Double Knot, a signature sushi bar.

Two people walk out of a restaurant.

Double Knot. Photo credit: Visit Philadelphia

Where to Stay

For those looking to stay just steps away from the attractions, experiences, and restaurants in Washington Square West, there are plenty of options.

Stay within steps of the city’s top performing arts venues at the Cambria Hotel & Suites Philadelphia Downtown. With upscale amenities throughout 223 rooms, the hotel also features a rooftop bar, Attico, with picture-perfect views of downtown Philadelphia. Also located near Philadelphia’s performing arts venues is the DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City. With over 480 rooms available, the hotel also features an on-site bistro and bar and indoor swimming pool.

Several group gather with drinks on the top of a building.

Attico rooftop bar and restaurant atop the Cambria Hotel & Suites Philadelphia Downtown. Photo by N. Santos.

The Morris House Hotel invites guests to stay in one of 17 boutique luxury rooms, each featuring designs that draw upon the history of the building. The hotel occupies the former home of the Morris family — complete with a charming outdoor garden perfect for events. The 119-room Fairfield Inn & Suites and the 168-room Holiday Inn Express are both situated near the restaurants and shops along 13th Street. Both hotels also provide complimentary breakfast and 24-hour fitness center. Other nearby options include the Alexander Inn and Sonder at the Arco.

Newer properties include the Canopy by Hilton with over 230 rooms, modern amenities, and a ground-floor American brasserie, The Wayward. Or the Guild House Hotel, named one of  The Best New Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure in 2022. This hotel fills the former home of the New Century Guild – one of the nation’s oldest and most prominent women’s empowerment organizations – with 12 beautiful suites designed by women-owned Philadelphia agency, ROHE Creative. The hotel features amenities from local women-owned businesses throughout the Victorian-era rowhouse.

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