Philadelphia/Old City

Philadelphia's Old City is home to a large number of historical sites, galleries, restaurants, and bars, and is known for its active nightlife and cultural opportunities.


Old City Philadelphia, sometimes known as "Olde City", is the most historic square mile in the USA. The streets and most of the buildings are still of the original brick and stone. This vibrant old-world neighborhood is the home to many independently owned boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs.

Philadelphia’s most popular historic attractions the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, Betsy Ross House, Penn’s Landing and much more are all just minutes from each other. The area is also near the Pennsylvania Convention Center and several nationally renowned hospitals.

For shopping, visit the 3rd Street Corridor from Chestnut Street to Vine to enjoy art, design and fashion hosted by the Philadelphia region's most exciting independently owned shops and galleries. Highlights include acclaimed boutique Sugarcube, 20th century furniture design at Mode Moderne, and exhibitions at The Center for Art in Wood. It’s a haven for fashionistas and clothing is tax-free.

The area has easy access to all major transportation arteries; it is just ten minutes by car from the Philadelphia International Airport and Amtrak’s 30th Street Station.

Old City hosts a lot of nightlife; expect to see a young, professional crowd here on weekends. The club section of the neighborhood consists of restaurants and bars that frequently showcase music while street musicians entertain outside.

Just east of Old City is Penn's Landing, which is on the waterfront. You'll find an array of convenient hotels and restaurants. Every New Year's Eve and Independence Day, crowds gather on the Great Plaza to watch the fireworks. Nearby is Festival Pier, where many concerts are held.

Get in

By car

You can find parking structures and rates with the PPA Parking Finder. Parking along the streets in Old City is metered, scarce and frequently with a two-hour limit.

By bus

Numerous SEPTA bus routes serve the Old City, as well as the PHLASH Trolley trolley that operates part of the year.

By subway

The Market-Frankford Line runs under Market Street with two stations serving Old City: 2nd Street and 5th Street.


Independence Hall

Sites within Independence National Historical Park

The Liberty Bell
The interior of Congress Hall

Some historic sites in Philadelphia are associated with the Independence National Historic Park but are not located within its boundaries or the boundaries of Old City. These include the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church in South Philly, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at the Franklin Institute in Center City West, and the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in North Philly.

Important historical sites outside the park

The Betsy Ross House

Other attractions and museums

The Real World House

Penn's Landing

When it was built, I-95 effectively and disastrously cut off the Delaware river waterfront from the rest of the city. However, the walkways connecting Old City with Penn's Landing make it easy to get to the museums and sights on the water on foot. If you do make it over to Penn's Landing, here are some things to check out:

USS Olympia, still afloat after 110 years


First Friday

If you happen to be in Philadelphia on the first Friday of the month, you must attend First Friday. From 5PM-9PM, art and design galleries along with boutiques housed in historic industrial spaces of Old City like Rodger LaPelle (most of which can be found in the area between Front and 3rd Streets, and Vine and Market Streets) open their doors to celebrate new monthly exhibitions. But the art, design and fashion is only half the story. First Friday is an ideal time to watch the different communities living in Philadelphia mingle, and watch the sun go down over the city. It's Philadelphia at its best.

Theater and performing arts

  • The N Crowd: Improv Comedy, 257 N 3rd St (at the Actors Center),  +1 215 253-4276. Founded in 2005. Shows every Friday, the troupe has produced more than 300 performances of unscripted comedy. Travels to festivals and other parts of the country putting on fresh new acts every night.



In addition to myriad art galleries, Old City boasts design studios, modern furniture showrooms and amazing clothing boutiques. Also, it is the restaurant-supply outlet center of the city.

The 3rd Street Corridor located on 3rd Street between Chestnut and Vine Streets, is a premier shopping row which hosts over two dozen of the city's finest boutiques in the Philadelphia region. From vintage clothing at Briar, European furniture at La Roche Bobois, eclectic furniture at Reform, incredible contemporary and select vintage for men and women at Sugarcube, and womenswear at Vagabond. 3rd Street Corridor has the city's best locally owned independent retailers. Also of note are the array of salons and spas like Moko, Strands, Lakshmi, Hush and Spa Terme Di Aroma.



Old City is packed with restaurants, bars and smaller clubs from Front to 3rd Sts. and Race to Chestnut Sts. with the most concentration on 2nd and 3rd Sts. between Chestnut and Market Sts. Well-dressed attractive professionals crowd the sidewalks all night on the weekends, with the occasional celebrity too. Most of the venues are upscale, dressy and comparatively expensive with DJs and without; watch out for door policy and sometimes a line. There are too many to name and they're all right there, just look into the front windows to decide. You can also find more laidback drinking holes like Skinner's, Sugarmom's and Rotten Ralph's. Upstairs At Nick's has bands and special events. For a quieter drink, try Race Cafe or Continental. Cabs are everywhere at 2AM (closing time)






Go next

Routes through Old City

Upper Darby Center City East  SW  NE  North Philadelphia Northeast Philadelphia

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