March 22, 2021 | , ,

A Mini-Guide to the Gayborhood

The Gayborhood is set in the heart of Washington Square West, Philly! An iconic LGBTQ community scene in the city, the Gayborhood is a neighborhood hotspot. Complete with shopping, dining along 13th Street, and everything in between, the Gayborhood has it all. The area is tucked into the Midtown Village neighborhood and spans Pine Street to Chestnut Street, as well as 11th Street to Broad Street!

Dining

The dining experience is central to the Gayborhood, as the space grew out of the popular restaurant Lolita in 2004. Local restauranteurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran opened this Mexican eatery, which soon brought more restaurants to the area and launched the Gayborhood into its current glory.

Marcie and Valerie soon dreamed up other restaurants to expand the neighborhood dining experience. The couple opened Mediterranean-style Barbuzzo, along with the mid-century-inspired American eatery Bud and Marilyn’s.

COVID-19 Update: Reservations are highly encouraged since these establishments have lower capacity levels. They are each offering indoor dining and outdoor dining on what is deemed as a heated “streetery!” Pickup and delivery are encouraged as well. Pro Tip for the over-21 crowd: Alcoholic drinks can only be picked up, not delivered!

Highly-acclaimed for its nightlife, the Gayborhood features places like Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar—a staple sports bar built for Philly’s queer community, now operating on a first-come-first-serve basis because of COVID—and Toasted Walnut, a popular lesbian bar that has now fallen victim to the effects of COVID. The bar’s legacy will be engrained in Philadelphia and the Gayborhood for years to come.

Looking for something sweet? Check out trans-owned bakery, Cake Life Bake Shop, which is gearing up for a 2021 re-opening!

Shopping

Full of small businesses to support, there’s no shortage of shopping in the Gayborhood!

A highlight of the neighborhood is Philly Aids Thrift at Giovanni’s Room. Originally offering LGBTQ fiction and non-fiction works, Philly Aids Thrift has expanded its selection to music, art, comics, books, and more! It is also the oldest LGBTQ and feminist bookstore in the country. The thrift store has donated over two and a half million dollars to 21 AIDS agencies in the Greater Philadelphia area. Do good while shopping small!

In the market for locally designed apparel? Naturally Queer has you covered! Owner Jourdan Porter designs apparel and merchandise for queer and trans people of color.

Philly is full of creatives! Be sure to explore The South Street Art Mart. Only intended to be a holiday pop-up shop in November 2018, this artist-run retail shop received overwhelming support and was able to stay open. The Art Mart features 100+ Philly-area artists and other creatives.

Things to Do

A hub for the LGBTQ social scene, the Gayborhood offers many community events and spaces. The major events were cancelled as a result of COVID-19, but hopefully there will come a time for marching with pride again!

During National Pride Month in June every year, thousands of people flock to Philly for the LGBT Pride Parade and Festival. The Parade is a march from the Gayborhood down Broad Street, culminating in a Festival at Penn’s Landing. Along the parade route, performers adorn the streets of the city. The Festival is full of dancing, food, and fun for everyone.

Another popular, yearly fall event is Philadelphia OutFest, the world’s largest National Coming Out Day festival! Plus, October is the Midtown Village Fall Festival, featuring live music, food, shopping, crafts, and more!

The William Way LGBT Community Center is a supportive space, offering social wellness programming. Although the center’s building is currently closed due to the pandemic, many of their programs and services are available virtually. The William Way Center’s curator of LGBT Archives, Bob Skiba, created a tour of the Gayborhood called The Philadelphia LGBT Mapping Project.

Moves Philly is a collective for creative QTPOC to build community to share resources and connect with one another.

 

There you have it—a trip to the Gayborhood will leave you entertained (and most likely FULL!) as you explore Philadelphia and beyond. To support the Gayborhood and its mission, consider donating or checking out these action items.

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