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South Philadelphia Profile

Primer on South Philly

By Molly Gavin


South Philadelphia is a constantly evolving neighborhood with a rich cultural identity. Though it has some of the cities best restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife, it is at once gritty and homey in a way that is uniquely Philadelphian. South Philly is also the home of the Mummers and Philadelphia’s beloved professional sports teams.

Geographical Borders

South Philadelphia is generally considered to be anything South of South Street and East of Broad Street. The area is made up of smaller neighborhoods such as Passyunk Square, the Italian Market and Pennsport.


As of the 2000 Census, the population was 162,683. Originally a predominately Italian neighborhood, South Philadelphia is now home to a diverse population of Irish Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Mexican Americans; a mix of old and new Philadelphians, families and young people.

Points of Interest and Things To Do:

The Italian Market: The oldest and largest outdoor market in the United States run down 9th st. from Christian to Washington. It has changed a bit since it was immortalized in Rocky’s famous training montage. Amongst the bakeries, butchers and cheese shops are cozy cafes and gift shops.

The Philadelphia Sports Complex: Home of the Flyers, Sixers, Eagles and Phillies as well as the Xfinity Live, a virtual stadium with a mini turf field, giant screens for viewing games and plethora of sports bars.

Passyunk Square: This vibrant street is a hotspot for foodies and hipsters. Excellent restaurants, bars and coffee shops line the diagonal street that twinkles with Christmas lights all year round. Check out the Pub on East Passyunk for one of the most extensive beer menus in the city or Stoogie Joes for amazing pizza.

Pat’s and Genos: At the intersection of South 9th Street and East Passyunk Avenue, across the street from each other, stand rival cheesesteak moguls: Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. Which steak is better? That is a hotly debated question and simply a matter of personal taste.

South Street: This historic street is the northern most border of South Philly. Once a counter culture hangout, the street is now mostly sneaker stores and fast food joints. Still the South Street has its charms, such as Tattooed Mom’s, the quintessential Punk Rock dive bar or Retrospect, an upscale thrift store.


South Philadelphia’s diverse cultural composition makes it one of the most exciting places to grab a bite. Here are a few standouts.

Nam Phuong, for excellent, affordable Vietnamese food.

1110 Washinton Avenue

(215) 468-0410

Sarcones Deli, for the very best hoagie in the world.

734 South 9th Street

(215) 922-1717

Ralph’s, for authentic Italian cuisine.

760 South 9th Street

(215) 551-5000

Fond, for a contemporary BYOB

1617 East Passyunk Avenue

(215) 551-5000

Cantina Los Caballitos, for outdoor seating and pitchers of margaritas.

1651 East Passyunk Avenue

(215) 755-3350


I-95 runs through South Philadelphia from Christian Street to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. South Philadelphia is very accessible by public transportation. The Broad Street Line and a plethora of buses service the area. Check  www.septa.org for schedules.

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