Philadelphia/Center City East

City Center East is the most dense section of Philadelphia, home to City Hall, the Convention Center, Chinatown, Washington Square West, and Gayborhood.


Gayborhood is located within Center City East. It is a square, taking up from about Broad and Walnut about 11th and Pine. Gayborhood is comprised of bars, restaurants and has a bookstore with its very own history: Giovanni's Room (James Baldwin wrote a book with this title; he based it on the bookstore). Some places that attract large crowds are Woody's (Wednesday is college night), Pure and 12th Street Gym.

Chinatown is also located within Center City East, just blocks away from the Convention Center and Reading Terminal. Compared to the Chinatown of other cities, Philadelphia's is fairly small. An important landmark to the town is the Friendship Gate, located at 10th and Arch streets. Chinatown is filled with restaurants, bakeries and gift shops. Some restaurants include Penang, Sang Kee, Banana Leaf and Tai Lake. Bakeries include Asia Bakery, Hong Kong Bakery, Mong Kok Station Bakery and KC Pastries. Many goods include milk tea, bubble tea (also known as boba tea) egg tarts, pork buns, steamed buns, chicken buns and pineapple buns.

Washington Square West is also located within Center City East: 7th to Broad Street, Chestnut to South Street, squished in between Rittenhouse Square and Old City/Society Hill. Home of Antique Row and Mid-Town Village, two great shopping districts. Historic cobbled streets, theaters, restaurants and more.

Get in

By regional rail

Market East Station is an underground station that is on Market Street between 9th and 12th Sts. It is one of three core Center City stations on the SEPTA Regional Rail system. There are several entrances, but the main one is on 12th & Filbert Sts.

By subway

The Market-Frankford Line runs under Market Street with three stations serving Center City East: 8th Street (non-free connection to the Broad-Ridge Spur), 11th Street, and 13th Street (free connection to the Broad Street Line and the Subway-Surface Trolleys).

The Broad Street Line runs under Broad Street along the western edge of the district, with stops at Race-Vine, City Hall (free connection to the Market-Frankford Line and the Subway-Surface Trolleys), Walnut-Lucust, and Lombard-South. The names of the hyphenated stations indicate the two parallel streets the station is situated between.

The Broad-Ridge Spur is a branch of the Broad Street Line that operates under 8th Street in Center City East. The stations serving the district are Chinatown (at 8th and Race Streets) and 8th Street (at Market Street, non-free connection to the Market-Frankford Line). The Spur operates 6AM-9PM Monday through Saturday, no Sunday service.



The Avenue of the Arts is on Broad Street containing many of the city's cultural institutions, especially the theater and arts area south of City Hall. The Avenue is a becoming more residential, but the main attractions include the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theatre, and the Academy of Music.

  • The Philadelphia Orchestra (at the Kimmel Center). Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the most famous and widely traveled orchestras in the world. Performs in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Theater and music

There are a number of venues for theater and music not on the Avenue of the Arts.



East of Broad St, "East meets West". Philadelphia's Chinatown is an ethnic section of the city that can't be missed. Why settle for Chinese buffets when you can get the authentic stuff right here? There's no need to. Chinatown is located north of The Gallery at Market East and close to the Reading Terminal Market.


Washington Square West

Chinatown/Convention Center

  • Bassett's Ice Cream. A local ice cream brand that has operated the same store at the same location in Reading Terminal Market since it opened in 1893, and has the distinction of being America's oldest ice cream company. While Bassett's is available at many other restaurants and supermarkets, this is the only retail outlet carrying the Bassett's name. The ice cream itself is rich, creamy and delicious. $3-$5.
  • Spataro's Cheesesteaks,  +1 215 925-6833. One of the best cheesesteaks at the market. Long lines, especially around lunch. $9-$11.



Washington Square West



City Hall

Washington Square West

Chinatown/Convention Center

Go next

Routes through Center City East (by subway)

Northwest Philadelphia North Philadelphia  N  S  South Philadelphia END
Upper Darby Center City West  SW  NE  Old City Northeast Philadelphia

Routes through Center City East (by commuter rail)

END North Philadelphia  N  S  Center City West Philadelphia International Airport
Northwest Philadelphia North Philadelphia  NW  SE  Center City West West Philadelphia
Northwest Philadelphia Center City West  NW  SE  North Philadelphia END
West Philadelphia Center City West  SW  NE  North Philadelphia Northeast Philadelphia
Norristown North Philadelphia  NW  SE  Center City West West Philadelphia

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.