University City and Center City are great -- but there's only so much Stephen Starr, Smokey Joe's and Art Museum you can take. Philadelphia isn't just the 2nd Street clubs and Rittenhouse Square. There's a whole city out there, one that's bustling with excitement and plenty of things to do. From the Franklin Mills Mall -- only a couple feet inside the city in the Northeast -- to the Frank Rizzo mural at 9th and Montrose Streets in South "Fluffyia," there's plenty of places where you can see, shop, eat and relax. So go on, don't be shy -- go forth into the Philadelphia you've never seen before. south philadelphia I think we all know by now that New Jersey just can't stack up to Philadelphia in general, and that trend is no different when it comes to real Italian flava. Check out the Italian market for the best food in Philly, and it's not just Italian anymore: every ethnic group is represented. Former mayor Frank Rizzo is still God here, the patron Saint of South Philly watches over his Italian brethren. It's not just the boot anymore: Philly's nu-soul movement got its start in SP. Touch this Illa-Fifth Dynamite. Landmarks: Mummers Museum, Rizzo mural, Italian market, Pat's and Geno's Most happening block: Broad and Siegel The Roots' lead MC, Black Thought, may call himself a South Philly Soldier, but he doesn't have the balls to name himself after a corner in South Philly, like Beanie Siegel, who took on the nickname for the corner of Broad and Siegel. Gossip around the Street office: the rapper was shot on that very same corner. Place to eat: Villa di Roma 936 S. 9th Street (215) 592-1295 Located in the middle of the Italian Market, Villa di Roma is the kind of restaurant that might not let you order dessert if you don't finish your vegetables. The decor ain't much, but Villa Roma is a place you can come back to, a homey place, serving large portions of cheap but good traditional Italian-American dishes. Get cultured: Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial 719 Catharine St. (215) 922-3456 This division of the Philadelphia Museum of Art may not have any Rocky steps, but it does offer tuition-free art classes for adults and children on everything from ceramics to photography. An attached art gallery shows off student work. roxborough/manayunk Penn folk, go beyond yonder Main Street and explore the non-yuppiefied areas of this community. As one of Philly's many post-industrial sites, the attitude of this neighborhood is still working class, and you are bound to still see a few Starter jackets roaming its hills. Landmarks: Andorra Shopping Center, Main Street, Roxborough High School Pat's and Geno's are overrated: Dalessandro's (215) 482-5407 Chubby's (215) 487-2575 Don't believe the hype. At the intersection of Henry Ave and Walnut Lane, you can find the true mecca of Philly Cheesesteaks. D'Alessandro's and Chubby's offer the city's best duo of steaks, and as an added bonus, during Saturdays in the fall, you can watch the Roxborough Eagles' Pee-Wee football games across the street. Claim to fame: First Union USPRO Championship Bike Race Sunday, June 9th At the beginning of every summer, the First Union National Championship Bike Race takes over Manayunk, and riders are forced to climb "The Wall," one of the area's many vertical streets. And for those of us who don't want to bike up this mini-Everest, there's plenty of room for happy drunken rooting on the sidewalks. north philadelphia While some may avoid this neighborhood, we can assure you that North Philly's bad rep is undeserved. Temple University is as integrated with a neighborhood as you can get, and has some of the most interesting sites in the city. As for the area, don't sweat it. Attraction: The Shoe Museum (215) 625-5243 The Shoe Museum, hosted at Temple University's School of Podiatric Medicine, offers a whimsical look at the world of shoes. Really. It has about 800 pairs of shoes, and admission is free -- you just need to schedule an appointment in advance. Diverse music: The Association de Musicos Latino Americanos 2726 N. 6th Street (215) 223-3060 The Association de Musicos Latino Americanos is the intellectual center of all Latin American music in Philadelphia. It's a great place to dance to, hear or buy any Latin music you just can't get out of your head. Famous school: The Philadelphia High School for Girls 1400 W. Olney Ave. (215) 276-5258 The Philadelphia High School for Girls is not only the alma mater of Penn President Judith Rodin, but also rapper Eve. They didn't go there at the same time, though (natch). History: Shibe Park (21st and Lehigh), later renamed Connie Mack Stadium, was the home of the Phillies and A's for the first half of the 20th century. On October 1, 1970, the Phillies played the last game before moving into the Vet and the fans literally tore the stadium apart. The Deliverance Evangelistic Church now stands there. germantown While not too many Germans still live there, this former-revolutionary war stomping ground is now a full urbanized zone. It's one of the few places where you'll see graffiti and George Washington's old summer home on the same block. Landmarks: Market Square, Historic Rittenhouse Town, Chelten Avenue Place to Eat: The Rib Crib 6333 Germantown Ave 215-438-6793 For the past 30 years, The Rib Crib has had some of the most sought after meats in the city. Being voted Best of Philly in 1999 and 2002, they are serious about the art of barbequing. Just be prepared to take a number and wait your turn. History: Let's see, since it was settled in the 1680's, its streets have hosted the first anti-slavery protest in America, it was the birthplace of author Louise May Alcott, and it withstood important battles during the Revolutionary war. Witness the history first hand every October at the reenactment of the Battle of Germantown at Cliveden Manor (6401 Germantown). northeast philadelphia The Great Northeast. An area so different than the rest of the city that, in the 1980's, there were talks of a secession. Now that's become just a running joke in Northeast Philly, where there's nothing but rowhomes and the pizza is plentiful. Most notorious road: Roosevelt Boulevard In terms of accidents per year, the most dangerous road in the country is Roosevelt Boulevard, Route 1 in the Northeast. The 12-lane highway also has the second (Red Lion Road) and third (Grant Ave.) most dangerous intersections. Best bar: Tony's Place 6300 Frankford Ave. (215) 535-9851 The Far Northeast is zoned totally residential, so the bars are in strip malls and aren't that good. For our money, Tony's Place not only has a great bar selection -- but has the best pizza in the city, bar none.
Most popular shopping: Franklin Mills Mall 1455 Franklin Mills Circle (215) 632-1500 Franklin Mills Mall is the most visited attraction in the entire state of Pennsylvania. Scariest tourist attraction: The Insectarium 8046 Frankford Ave. (215) 338-3000 The Insectarium is the world's largest insect museum. And it's attached to Steve's Bug Off, so if you want those little buggers dead, you can do that too. mt. airy A tree grows in Mt. Airy. Actually a whole lot of them do. This residential neighborhood is a perfect balance between urban and agronomic, and is actually one of the nation's most racially and socio-economically diverse neighborhoods. It's not necessarily the place for college-age nightlife, but rather where you'll end up raising your family. Landmarks: Allens Lane Art Center, Trolley Car Diner, Carpenter's Woods Place to shop: Weavers Way Co-op 559 Carpenter Lane (215) 843-2350) Serving the community since 1973, the Weavers Way Co-op brandishes the most intimate selection of organic foods and fresh produce in Philly. Recently surviving a massive financial crisis, this utopian cooperative market also boasts services like a credit union and public notary. The only catch: to be a member, you gotta work six hours a year. But what's food without the fruits of your labor? Place to Eat: NXNW 7165 Germantown Ave 215) 248-1000 Converted from an old department storefront two years ago, NXNW has blossomed into a city hot spot for jazz bar/restaurant enthusiasts. With its name shorthand for North by Northwest, it is the integral part of a burgeoning dinning scene in Mt. Airy. All this aside, the food is pretty tasty, and the prices are reasonable, with entrees ranging from $10-$20. west philadelphia Yes, Virginia, there is life past 41st Street. And sometimes, it can be a hell of a lot more interesting than Penn. Get out there, kiddies: Smith Brothers and Salad Works can get a little boring compared to the vibrant, diverse area that is West Philly. Landmarks: Clark Park, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia Hidden gem: Big George's Stop-n-Dine 285 S. 52nd Street (215) 748-8200 Sometimes, we all need a little soul with our food. Big George and his staff strive to give you just that, with incredibly rich food served cafeteria-style: smothered pork chops, baked macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes swimming in thick gravy, sweet potato pie... it is, without a doubt, the most worthwhile heart attack you'll ever have. Shopping: Firehouse Market 50th and Baltimore Sure, Freshgrocer's alright for what it is, but when it comes down to it, you can do better. And the place to do better is Firehouse Market, with vendors who sell a little bit of everything from flowers to pastries to meats to cheap bikes. Coffeeshop: Sam's Place 405 S. 45th Street (215) 222-2926 Sam's Place may well be the only convenience store for anarchists you'll ever find. This little place in the middle of Philly's anarchist neighborhood isn't just a store, it's a coffeeshop too -- with great coffee, bagels, and sandwiches. Sit outside at one of the picnic tables with a cup of their "Whoop Ass" coffee and you may find yourself drawing the Anarchy symbol on all your clothing. northern liberties and fishtown Feeding off the popularity of Old City, bordering neighborhoods like the Northern Liberties and Fishtown are lucky enough to attract the attention of young twenty-somethings without the pocket-books of their yuppie, martini accessorizing counterparts. Key Food: Meatloaf Mondays at the Silk City Diner 435 Spring Garden Street (215) 592-8838 Silk City's been doing retro and meatloaf well before Stephen Starr bought his green Jag. So instead of paying through the nose to look cool, do your wallet a favor and go to Silk City where you'll get more for your Alexander Hamilton. Ominous bars: Ministry of Information 447 Poplar Street (215) 925-0999 Druid's Keep 149 Brown Street (215) 413-0455 If you're into having a pint with Big Brother peering over your shoulder or under the guise of some pagan figure, then the Northern Liberties with its wide array of watering holes has something up your alley. Name game: Fishtown was once called Shackmaxon circa the hey day of William Penn, once home to the Lenni Lenape -- a Native American tribe native to the Delaware Valley. Since then, its streets of have been walked by fishmongers selling their Delaware River catch - apparently the reputation stuck while the stench has dissipated.
Attraction: Penn Treaty Park Delaware and Columbia Avenues This two acre park is in memorial to the treaty William Penn peacefully signed with Lenni Lenape, or if you prefer, his big-time scamming of the Native Americans, that is, of course, depending on what history book you read. the river wards Riding the Market-Frankford El eastbound, neighborhoods speckled with ramshackle, out of commission factories and run-down brick red houses begin to make up the view. While these neighborhoods might not look too inviting, they are rich with cultural heritage and full of history. History: Before Philadelphia became a tourist town, industry hearty neighborhoods like Frankford, Bridesburg, Port Richmond and Kensington put Philadelphia on the map, earning it the title "Workshop of the World." Attraction: Frankford Arsenal 5300 Tacony Street For bullet and architectural connoisseurs alike, the Frankford Arsenal was built between 1816 and 1830 and is known its Greek-Revival buildings and high-quality ammunitions. For over a century, the Arsenal was the bullet manufacturing and research site for the U.S. Army. Now it's a just commercial center housing a pet crematory among other fine, businesses. Key Food: Teresa's Polish Buffet 2401 Venango Avenue (215) 535-3511 Czerw's 3370 Tilton Street (215) 423-1707 If you're on a pilgrimage to rediscover your Eastern European ancestry via your intestines, you don't have to search too far in either Bridesburg or Port Richmond for a tasty Polish snack. Neighborhood Anomaly: Philadelphia Wine Company 3061 Miller Street (215) 425-4144 It seems a little odd that Port Richmond, once famous for building ships, is now home to the Philadelphia Wine Company, which bottles various wines named after different city locales, including the White Fishtown and Boathouse Red. So if you've got a hankering for some fine Philly wine reminiscent of Manischewitz, call to make an appointment and taste for yourself. alternative center city If you thought Center City was just about Stephen Starr, Independence Hall and J.Crew, then you're just like everyone else. Be different, explore. Take these paths that have been far less taken. Place to Eat: Fez 620 S. 2nd Street (215) 925-5367 Just off South Street, Fez is a place to eat lots of food with lots of people. Decked out with comfy sofas and authentic drapes, Fez presents 8-course Moroccan dinners from Harira soup to lemon chicken to honey-dripping desserts for a mere $20. Fez also trumps Marakesh with their interactive belly dancer. Bling-Bling Attraction: The Philadelphia Mint 151 North Independence Mall East (215) 408-0112 Pick that penny back off of Ben Frankie's grave and you'll probably see a little P on the head side. That's Philly reprazentin' right there -- the Philadelphia Mint is one of two sites that produce U.S. coins. Educational and shiny, the mint is much more interesting than taking your parents to see the Liberty Bell. Again. Niche Bookstore: Giovanni's Room 345 S. 12th Street (215) 923-2960 In the heart of the gayborhood, Giovanni's Room is a quiet break from the bustle of its neighboring clubs and bars. In addition to the 12,000 books and videos for the LGBT community, Giovanni's Room reaches beyond Philly, bringing in prominent gay authors for readings and book signings. Vegetarian Restaurant: Kingdom of Vegetarians 129 N. 11th Street (215) 413-2290 Vegans and you-who-keep-kosher may not think of Chinatown when you think of a healthy meal, but the Kingdom of Vegetarians boasts the best of both in their Hong Kong-style menu. The restaurant is completely non-smoking and offers 10% discounts to VegDining Card holders. Reservations are required. Landmark: Bicentennial Moon Tree Walnut Street & Independence Mall West Who knew that trees could fly? Carried to the moon and back by astronaut Stuart A. Roosa, the seed of this Sycamore tree was planted in Washington Square in 1975. History: The Slinky was invented in Philadelphia by naval engineer Richard James in 1945 and was sold at Gimbel's Department Store, then located at 8th and Market. Made of 80 feet of wire, the toy sold out completely during its first Christmas season. Fifteen years later, James left his wife, six children and the Slinky fortune to sell bibles in Bolivia. chestnut hill Posh and quaint are the best ways to describe Chestnut Hill, the city's center of tennis whites and golf sweaters. But despite its old money, the welcoming small town feel is accentuated up and down its main drag, the upper parts of Germantown Avenue. Landmarks: Water Tower Recreational Center, Pastorious Park, Wissahickon Ice Skating Rink. Place to Eat then Play: Valley Green Inn Springfield Ave & Wissahickon (215) 247-1730 If you ever want an escape from traffic and city life, head down to The Valley Green Inn. Not only will you find a charming restaurant, but access to miles and miles of running and walking trails -- minus the cars. Being here, you'd forget that you are still in Philadelphia. Oh, and did we mention, you can feed ducks in the creek? Places to Shop: Despite a few obligatory chain stores (You cannot escape the Gap or Borders anywhere), Chestnut Hill offers many one-of-a-kind homemade shopping options. Get off of e-bay and try offerings like stationary stalwart Paperia (8521 Germantown Ave, (215) 247-8521), wacky craft and toy store O'Doodles (8335 Germantown Avenue, 215-247-7345) and Intermission (8405 Germantown Avenue, 215-242-8515) a shop with show-biz inspired clothing, jewelry, and knick-knacks.