South Philadelphia

by Angelique Platas

Sep 1, 2019
Destinations

AFTER A WHIRLWIND FEW years of hosting Pope Francis in 2015, the Democratic National Convention in 2016, the NFL Draft in 2017 and even the city’s first-ever Super Bowl win followed by an epic parade in 2018, it’s no wonder Philadelphia earned GQ’s City of the Year, 2018 title. With such an exciting ascension, it seems “trust the process” isn’t just for the 76ers basketball team — it’s for the whole city.

Between Philadelphia’s rich American history, inspiring present and skyis- the-limit future, this city is having a moment, and nowhere more so than in South Philadelphia. Possibly the largest neighborhood in the city, South Philadelphia boasts culture, international flair and authentic neighborhood personality.

A bit of advice to travelers: Come hungry and keep heading south.

Start at the Italian Market, then head to the Latin section, boasting the now-famous Mexican restaurant South Philly Barbacoa, located just around the corner from Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks — the famous cheesesteak rivalry-turned-obligatory tourist visit.

The established but somehow still-growing foodie scene along Passyunk Avenue represents the neighborhood well, as it cuts through the city’s gridorganized streets in a diagonal line, commanding your attention. Walk south along East Passyunk Avenue, exploring the upwards of 20 restaurants consistently making Philadelphia Magazine’s Best Restaurants list; unique stores; and rotating, year-round outdoor festivals and events.

Dozens of local boutiques and quirky shops line the avenue, including The Singing Fountain, surrounded by fresh produce during farmers markets in the summer and Christmas carolers in the winter.

The farther south you go, the more mom-and-pop eateries, dress shops, men’s tailors, vintage shops and dive bars you’ll find, but for something uniquely South Philadelphia yet modern and swanky, the famous Bok Building offers a bit of everything.

Built in 1936, Edward W. Bok Technical High School — or Bok Vocational High School — welcomed students across a plethora of studies, from welding and auto mechanics to culinary arts. In 2013 the historic building went up for public auction and now boasts some of the most exciting restaurants, event spaces, homemade boutiques and rooftop bars in the area.

A local favorite gaining city-wide popularity, Bok Bar’s seasonal rooftop bar boasts one of the best views in the city. The former high school, now community space, is located in a residential area, offering an unobstructed city view and far less street noise than Center City’s rooftop locales. A newer resident in the building, Irwin’s was affectionately named for the building’s architect and boasts Mediterranean-inspired small plates with a twist, cocktails and sweeping views from the terrace.

Attend seasonal fitness classes on the rooftop or in the high school gym and tenant studios. Keep an eye out for local events like movie nights and tours through the local businesses housed in the building.

The South Philadelphia streets are lined with homes where residents sit outside chatting and people-watching. The region’s strong Italian heritage is palpable, but the neighborhood is definitely diverse. With so many old, new and up-and-coming local businesses and community events, South Philadelphia offers a blend of thriving cultures.

Introducing

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Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

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