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Though the large medical institution that gave this south-of-Center City neighborhood its name is no longer in operation, Graduate Hospital (zip code 19146) — has solidified a reputation independent of the adjacent neighborhoods. South Street West is the neighborhood’s main artery. It’s clean, well-lit and extremely pedestrian-friendly thanks to a vibrant entrepreneurial energy coming from the neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. The neighborhood is characterized by a mix of single-family homes new and old, brownstone apartments and boutique condominium buildings. It is a remarkably kid-friendly place (just look at the stroller-filled sidewalks), but Graduate Hospital also has the distinction of possessing some of the best neighborhood bars in the area, from long-running institutions to hip newcomers. Its close proximity to University City via the South Street bridge makes it a frequent neighborhood option for affiliates of the University of Pennsylvania.
Bella Vista (zip code 19147), which translates to mean, “Beautiful sight” was the first Philly neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants. The original heritage forms much of what exists today, but the family-oriented residential pocket has blossomed into a fascinating microcosm of South Philadelphia itself. Bella Vista’s most well-known feature is the Ninth Street Italian Market, the oldest operational open-air hub of its kind in America. Welcoming the presence of other cultures — Vietnamese and Mexican, most prominently — has helped the area grow into much more than the sum of its once-monocultural parts. This neighborhood predominately features row homes. The South Philadelphia neighborhood has much to offer visitors, but its greatest asset might be its plethora of dining options.
As a close neighbor to Society Hill, Queen Village (zip code 19147) shares similar architecture with its historical neighbor. However, it possesses a unique energy of its own. In addition to its prime waterfront location, Queen Village is home to Fabric Row (4th Street) and Headhouse Square, a beautiful historic open space that houses holiday festivals during the winter months and outdoor art exhibitions in the summer. Queen Village is a walkable neighborhood encompassed by a welcoming tangle of narrow streets, jaunty architecture, mature trees and fine dining options.
Pennsport (zip code 19148) is Philadelphia’s riverfront enclave that’s been the home of the Mummers, the bedazzled paraders who’ve been tearing up Broad Street on New Year’s Day for more than 100 years. Mummer clubs and pubs blend into the neighborhood’s quaint, narrow, well-maintained blocks in this historically residential part of town. A growing number of new restaurateurs and shop owners are breathing new energy into the area, helping expand the neighborhood’s already robust presence.
For years, insiders have flocked to the South Philadelphia neighborhood of East Passyunk (zip code 19145) for its restaurants, particularly its red-gravy Italian spots. The neighborhood surrounding Passyunk Avenue—a diagonal interruption to Philadelphia’s grid layout—has enjoyed revitalizations in recent years, creating a sort of renaissance for the thoroughfare itself. Visitors who stroll down Passyunk find eclectic boutiques, coffee shops, vintage clothing stores, gastropubs, excellent Mexican and sushi fare, as well as the amazing Italian eateries that first made this street famous—not to mention the two across-the-street cheesesteak rivals, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks.
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