A travel journal
to Philadelphia by Lulu Byrd
Quote: Living in nearby Baltimore for the past 2 years I discovered I love to go to Center City Philadelphia often. Philly is very diverse (ethnically, religiously, sexualorientational-ly), open-minded, has a vibrant walkable downtown core, with good public transit, great people-watching, superb restaurants, many cultural opportunities, funky and sophisticated fashions.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2000
795 South 3rd St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
+1 215 625 0556
Restaurant | "H.K. Golden Phoenix"
911 Race St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
+1 215 629 4988
Attraction | "Woody's"
The crowd was like no other Gay bar in North America I'd ever been to...50% black/Latino, with the rest a mix of Asian, Arabic and various people of European extraction. Very macho crowd on the whole, not much in the way of femme. More snazzy dressers than in the bar section, which is quite casual. People were quite sociable; it seemed like the place for friends to gather. I had a blast.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 5, 2000
Woody's Bar & Restaurant
202 South 13th St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Anyhow, we arrived in the gorgeous 30th St. Station and took a SEPTA commuter train for free (with Amtrak ticket stub) out to Market St. E station. My first stop (always) is the Reading Terminal Market, a Philadelphia tradition since the 1890s. This place is brimming with character. You can get anything from sushi to Mexican to local produce. I always get a soft pretzel there (always with mustard!) from an Amish/Mennonite stand served by a traditionally-dressed bearded man or kerchiefed woman.
Our 2nd stop is Chinatown, where I went to Chung May's supermarket to get a sweet bean curd delicacy I can't find in Baltimore. The Chinatown area is so authentically vibrant with many restaurants/stores. In my opinion, it's the first decently-sized Chinatown going north up the east coast.
Afterward we went to Old City. I had been before to a tour of Independence Hall, where the park ranger was incredibly helpful with my history questions. I highly recommend going for those interested in the birth of America.
Michael was starting to think the city was fine but wasn't willing to concede that I was right (I had told him the night before that even though I like DC all right, I preferred Philly over DC. He signed to me, 'no way'). See in my South St./Washington Square West post if he concedes!
I signed to Michael, 'there's nowhere like South St. in DC.' He signs back 'No. Georgetown's like this.' I sign in response 'No. Georgetown's more conservative.' He signs 'I like conservative.' I sign 'so that's my point. there's nowhere like this in DC.' He then signs 'DC's waaay better. People are weird here' again just to irritate me (succeeding). I sign 'You're closed-minded! That's the whole point! I like DC too, but admit this is something you can't find in DC.' We don't communicate for a few blocks.
After South, we walk up 11th St. from South up toward Market St. 11th, 12th and 13th St. are all charming narrow streets with more than a few beautiful colonial rowhouses. There are more than a few cafes on these streets, with many people sitting outside. A charming neighborhood all in all; my friend comments 'HERE is nice.'
We then walk down Walnut, cross Broad (passing beautiful City Hall). This area has many upscale boutiques and lots of fashionably-dressed people milling about, enjoying life and shopping. We buy some things at Bath and Body Works and my friend drags me into Gap and we visit a few other clothing stores. After shopping, Michael admits 'I like Philadelphia; it's a really nice city.'
I went on a relatively cold winter's Saturday and was surprised to see that the area was still very lively, with vendors displaying their produce on tables in front of various stores. I enjoyed watching a 50-year-old Italian-looking man throwing a pizza high in the air and twirling it in an artistic manner. For those cold days, there are also stores one can enter to browse and warm up.
The Italian Market is located on 9th St., with a majority of stores between Christian St. and Washington St. It is about a 5-minute walk from South St.