August 13, 2021 | , ,

Guide to Philly: Find Your Fit in Philadelphia

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Discover everything there is to love about Philadelphia with Campus Philly’s Guide to Philly! We’ve compiled the best neighborhoods to explore, tons of student deals and discounts, delicious eats all around the city, career and networking advice, and, of course, ways to get around by train or subway, car and bike, and on foot!

Find Your Perfect Fit in Philadelphia 

 

Neighborhood Guides

We might be biased, but there’s really no better city to be a college student than in Philadelphia. We connected with a few college students in and around the Greater Philadelphia region to hear their recommendations and go-to spots in every Philly neighborhood.

Check out these student-curated guides to our favorite neighborhoods in the city!

The Gayborhood

The Gayborhood is set in the heart of Washington Square West! 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.

For dining in the Gayborhood, check out these iconic spots:

For shopping in the Gayborhood, check out these small businesses to support:

Click here to view our FULL list of things to do in the Gayborhood, and check out our Day in the Gayborhood coverage below!

Washington Square West

Told by Maggie Davis, Temple 2023 @mmaggiedavis

 
“Washington Square West has so much to offer for everyone’s interests—it’s the best spot to explore!”
 
  • My Go-to Happy Hour: Sampan! They have the best happy hour food available. Almost the entire menu becomes $5 to $6 and comes out in FULL portions. I recommend trying the KimChi Fried Rice and Edamame Dumplings. They serve a specialty cocktail for $5, too, if you want more than just food!
  • Favorite Hidden Gem: Lombard Cafe. I stumbled into this coffee shop a few years ago and was amazed! They have such good drinks and pastries, and it’s great to support a small, local business. Ask for a lavender oat milk latte next time you go!
  • Best park to hang out: Washington Square! Right around the corner from Lombard Cafe, this is the best place to go and relax in the city. Bring a coffee and a book, and you can sit for hours!
  • My favorite study spot: WeWork on 11th and Ludlow. This shared workspace is a great place to study in the city and still have a quiet, professional environment.
  • Easiest way to get around: SEPTA. Easy, cheap, and hard to get lost when it goes in a straight line!

Rittenhouse

Check out these recommendations from Philly-area students! Where are you exploring first?

  • Restaurant to visit when your parents are in town: “The Love. My ultimate favorite restaurant in Philly. Get the fried chicken sandwich—it’s the best I’ve ever had!” –Sylvia Goldfond, University of Pennsylvania 2023
  • Must-try for Foodies:El Techo! Amazing Latin-American street food.” –Tiffany Wiedeman, Duquesne University 2017
  • Favorite outdoor space: “Rittenhouse Square! There’s such a happy energy there and it’s right in Center City—close to so many great restaurants AND there are cute farmers market there on Saturdays.” –Sylvia Goldfond, University of Pennsylvania 2023
  • Ways to get around:Indego! Philly’s bike share system.” –Christina Nguyen, University of Pennsylvania 2025

Chinatown

Told by Leslie Quan, Saint Joseph’s University 2022 @leslie_quan

Photo credit: @leslie_quan

“I love how there’s always something new to explore in Philadelphia, especially in Chinatown! There’s something for everyone and all the food is delicious.”

 

West Philly/University City

Told by Medha Gupta, Drexel University 2023 @_medhagupta_

“I love the distinct personality each neighborhood of Philadelphia has! One of my favorite areas is West Philly.”

 

 

Fairmount

Told by Jessica Caampued, Temple 2023 @jessicaxcaamp

Photo credit: @jessicaxcaamp
  • Must-try brunch: My favorite breakfast spot is Sabrina’s Cafe! I love their chicken and waffles.
  • Hidden Gem: A beautiful hidden gem in Fairmount is Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.
  • Great spot for pictures: My favorite outdoor space is the Azalea Garden!
  • Favorite study spot: My ideal spot to study is at OCF Coffee House! I love to sit down and enjoy a matcha latte while I study.
  • Best way to get around: I usually walk everywhere, but sometimes I like to take an Indego bike!

Old City

Told by Fay Johnston, Temple University 2022 @designatedpeakxv

“I love how you can access all cardinal points of Philly in 25 minutes or less! There is so much history, live music, and art throughout Old City.”

South Philly/East Passyunk

Told by Danny Loder, Haverford College 2024 @danny_loder

Photo credit: @danny_loder

“I love Philly for its exciting neighborhoods, rich history, and its comfortable and vibrant energy. What I love most about the Passyunk area is that there is no shortage of historic, iconic Philadelphia foods! It is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Philly, and it’s sure to leave you with a fun time and a full stomach.”

  • Must-try bites: With Philadelphia’s famous cheesesteak tradition, the two most famous places to get your fix are located right across from each other on East Passyunk Ave: Pat’s and Geno’s. I love to grab food from there and eat right in Capitolo Playground, which has great views of the downtown skyline.
  • Go-to outdoor space: If you’re looking for a more quiet scene than this vibrant corner, it can be found not far from here at Benna’s Cafe. There are other nice places to relax or study as well, like at the Singing Fountain!
  • Favorite bakery: My favorite bakery in the whole city is Termini Bros (the cannolis are a must), and Di Bruno Bros is famous for its selection of cheeses and gourmet grocery.

Fishtown/Northern Liberties

Told by Sylvia Goldfond, University of Pennsylvania 2023 @syl.gold

“Combine all the best parts of a city and all the best parts of a cozy town, and you get Fishtown—full of hole-in-the-wall spots to explore, and high-energy city life!”

  • Must-try restaurant: Suraya is a must-try! Amazing Lebanese food.
  • Best spot for thrifting: Urban Exchange Project is a perfect vintage thrift store—super good finds here!
  • Best way to get around: Honestly? Walking—get those steps in! The views along the way are beautiful. If you get a little tired though, SEPTA is also super convenient and easy to navigate.

The Delaware River Waterfront

Told by Kayla Brown, Jefferson University 2024 @kay.angelique14

“I love The Waterfront because of all the possibilities available. You can tailor your plans to see, do, and explore whatever you want!”

  • My go-to foodie spot: Philly Taco! They have the best Birria Tacos.
  • Lucky find: The vintage arcade at Spruce Street Harbor Park!
  • For an iconic Philly park: Check out Spruce Street Harbor Park, of course. Including the amazing food, there’s so much to do!
  • My ideal spot to study: Waterfront Cafe—ideal views, too!
  • Best way to get around: Walking! All the parks on the Waterfront are walkable and nearby to one another.

Manayunk/East Falls

Told by Matthew Shanahan, Saint Joseph’s University 2022 @matt_shan

Photo credit: @matt_shan

“I love Philadelphia for the history that is contained in the city. It is the birthplace of our nation and home of so many great museums and places to learn and relax. Manayunk is a great neighborhood to visit!” 

  • Favorite restaurant on Main Street: The Goat’s Beard. This venue is found on the corner of Main Street and Pensdale Street and is a great location to have a nice lunch, dinner, or bar date. While inside I had the pulled pork sandwich and their ‘Acid Trip’ IPA (21+) and both were delicious. Awesome place overall!
  • Hidden Gem: The Tubby Robot Ice Cream Factory. This spot has such a cute design and is filled with delicious and unique ice cream flavors!
  • Favorite outdoor space: The Manayunk Canal. This boardwalk-style towpath has a nice view of the Manayunk Canal and a path to run, walk, and bike.
  • Go-to study spot: Pretzel Park. This small park is a quick walk from Main Street and welcomes you with a large statue of a pretzel! This space contains a dog park, playground, and a great view of the historic St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.
  • Best way to get around: Walking! Manayunk isn’t a huge neighborhood, so walking is a great way to see all that it has to offer, while taking in some fresh air.

North Broad

Told by Danielle Freeman, Temple University 2021 @ddfree

Photo credit: @ddfree

“I love Philly, especially the North Broad area—it’s a melting pot!”

  • My favorite food truck: Honey Truck on Temple University’s campus for breakfast!
  • Lucky find: Crab DuJour for seafood boils! It’s a newer spot so not as well-known in the region.
  • For the best views and bites: Attico Rooftop is the best for picturesque dining.
  • My go-to study spot: I loved studying in a private breakout room in The Charles Library on Temple’s campus.
  • Best way to get around: Get around via the Broad Street Line if you’re not driving or biking!

Eat Like a Local

From the classic Philly cheesesteak to “wooder” ice (and everything in between!), here are some of the best picks for every meal, recommended by Campus Philly foodies.

Foodie recommendations from Christina Nguyen, University of Pennsylvania 2025 

Photo credit: @bok_bar

Foodie recommendations from Julia Mateja, University of the Arts 2024

Photo credit: Julia Mateja

“I love Philly because there’s something to do for just about every interest!”

  • Nemi Restaurant in Port Richmond has the best Mexican dishes in a gorgeous indoor and outdoor atmosphere. My favorite dish is their black bean quesadillas and their happy hour option of chicken enchiladas!
  • ReAnimator Coffee in Port Richmond is the best place to grab your favorite blend of coffee and treats in a modern cafe setting. I love their matcha lemonade!

Foodie recommendations from Lily Tang, UMass Amherst 2021

Photo credit: Lily Tang

“Something I love about Philly is the diversity of people, cultures, and experiences that exists here. For example, you can go to Chinatown to learn more about Chinese-American history and culture, while grabbing some amazing food! It is also a great way to support local, Asian-owned small businesses.”

  • Bai Wei, located in Chinatown, is the best soup dumpling restaurant in Philly!
  • Tea-Do in University City is a great spot to read or study! Plus, they have great bubble tea.
Photo credit: @notjustnutella

Foodie recommendations from Alexis Culp, Temple University 2021

Photo credit: Alexis Culp

“I love Philly because there are so many opportunities to eat and learn about community members who own the businesses!”

  • Prohibition Taproom is a must-try for happy hour; they have awesome drink specials and cheap appetizers!
  • John’s Place on Spring Garden Street is definitely a hidden gem. This spot isn’t always open but it’s been around forever. They have awesome deals and the most amazing breakfast.
  • Bison Coffee is an awesome, new industrial shop that has plenty of seating and great pastries—also makes a good study spot!
Photo credit: @prohibition_taproom

Plus, check out these foodie recommendations from Philly-area college students:

  • “A must-try happy hour in Center City is Harp & Crown. Their happy hour is from 4-7pm and features $5 bites (even a whole pizza!). They also have delicious cocktails for $6 (21+). This is one of my favorite happy hours in the city and great for a student’s budget.” –Amanda St. Paul, Temple University 2023
  • “My favorite local spot is Tom’s Dim Sum for AMAZING dumplings and buns (and really late hours!). My favorite spots in Reading Terminal Market are Lancaster County Dairy for outstanding (and always different!) fresh juices, Beiler’s Donuts for a sweet pick-me-up, and Market Barkery for a discounted “yesterday’s loaf” of incredible sourdough bread. I am a graduate student on a budget, after all!” –Meredith Jarvis, Cairn University 2022
Photo credit: Reading Terminal Market

Getting Around

SEPTA

SEPTA is Philadelphia’s local transit agency, responsible for regional rail, subways, buses, and trolleys. SEPTA connects Center City with the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs as far as Trenton, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware.

“Best way to get around? SEPTA, of course!” –Maggie Luong, Temple University 2023

 

Here’s what you’ll need to ride the system.

SEPTA Key Cards are available at SEPTA Sales Offices and Fare Kiosks, which you can find at the five Center City Regional Rail Stations, all Subway/Elevated Stations, and major Bus Loops. Sales Offices and Fare Kiosks accept credit/debit cards and cash. You can load a daily/weekly/monthly pass or Travel Wallet (pay as you go) on your SEPTA Key.

Best part—you can reload your SEPTA Key online. Quick Trips (single-ride tickets) are also available from Fare Kiosks. Cash (exact change only) is accepted on buses and trolleys and on Regional Rail. Quick Trips (single-ride tickets) are also available from SEPTA Fare Kiosks at all Broad Street and Market-Frankford Line stations and at all Center City Regional Rail stations. The kiosks accept credit/debit cards and cash—no exact change needed!

“My favorite way to get around is the bus! Phone chargers, above ground, and convenient.” –Kayla Brown, Jefferson University 2024

Learn more here!

 

Additional ways to get around.

Biking is an inexpensive and popular way to get around quickly. Indego, Philadelphia’s bike share system, offers monthly memberships and single rides. Check out bicyclecoalition.org/resources for safety tips, maps and favorite routes on the Circuit Trails—our regional trail network—plus information on taking your bike on the bus or train.

You can take PATCO from Center City, with stops along Locust Street and at 8th and Market streets. PATCO rides on the Ben Franklin Bridge into Camden and the suburbs of Collingswood, Haddonfield and Lindenwold. New Jersey Transit trains from 30th Street Station connect to Cherry Hill and Atlantic City.

Walking! There’s no better way to get to know the city and discover hidden gems. Look into taking a guided walk tour with your friends; you’ll learn and see a lot.

Learn more about getting around town (or leaving town!), with Campus Philly’s Getting Around page.

Student Deals & Discounts

Your student ID is your all-access pass to free and discounted admission to events, museums, and activities across the city! Check out some of our recommendations below.

For the museum-lovers…

For the music-lovers…

Photo credit: Blue Cross RiverRink

For the explorers…

View our full list of Student Deals & Discounts, and keep up-to-date on the latest Philly events, activities, and things to do with the Campus Philly Calendar!

Career Advice

Start your career right with our curated list of job opportunities for college students and recent grads.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time job or an internship based in or around the Philadelphia region, there are tons of companies that are currently hiring, and looking for young professionals just like you.

The Campus Philly Job Board is the perfect place to start your search. Browse through tons of opportunities, from larger companies like Dunkin, Vanguard, and GLG, to smaller companies like FringeArts, to startups, non-profits, and everything in between—today’s the perfect day to launch your career in Philly.

Photo credit: Kevin Kinyua

Plus, hear success stories from these young Philly professionals:

Check out even more success stories on the Campus Philly blog!

Get involved with Campus Philly:

Campus Philly is always hiring contributors to write for the Campus Philly blog and/or contribute photo and video content! Your content will be shared on Campus Philly’s blog, website, email campaigns, and all over social, reaching thousands of college students and young professionals.

If you’ve got a story to tell, whether it’s about your own experience as a college student or young professional in the Philadelphia region, career advice to share with fellow job seekers, insight into what makes a particular Philly neighborhood so amazing, or you have the perfect article or photo for our audience of college students and recent grads, we want to hear from you.

Apply for the paid Campus Philly Contributor Program today!

Campus Philly Events

The fall 2021 lineup of career events is here! Campus Philly’s career events, hosted both virtually and in hybrid format, are the best opportunity to directly connect with employers in the region who are currently hiring for entry-level jobs and/or internships.

Want to know even more about our events? Sign up for our newsletter today! We’ll email you with exclusive details about all of our upcoming career events and College Nights!

Spark: Virtual Recruiting Event – Sept. 30

Find your dream job or internship, or connect with recruiters from companies who can help you discover what career excites you most, at Campus Philly’s kickoff career event for the fall 2021 semester, happening virtually on Brazen. 

This is your opportunity to virtually meet with employers in and around the Philadelphia region who are hiring right now, attend panel discussions and info sessions with young professionals, and meet with recruiters to share your story on why YOU would be a perfect fit for a particular job or internship. 

We’ll have panel discussions and interviews with recruiters from GLG(they’re hiring a lot of entry-level roles!) as well as Coded By Kids, who will share how YOU can work in Philly’s growing tech scene, even if you’re not a computer science major. Interested in a career that helps people? Join the discussion with Merakey, hiring for different internships and entry-level jobs in health and human services. 

Sign Up For Spark Now!

Black and Brown Students in Tech – Oct. 19

Diversity is Philly’s strength, and Philly’s tech scene is booming. Find your dream job or internship in tech (even if you’re not a computer science major!) at Campus Philly’s second annual Black and Brown Students in Tech virtual recruiting event, taking place on October 19 on Brazen. This is your opportunity to virtually meet with tech employers in and around the Philadelphia region who are eager to meet youattend panel discussions and info sessions with young professionals, and meet with recruiters to share your story on why YOU would be a perfect fit for a particular job or internship. 

SIGN UP HERE to be the first to know when the registration link is live (we’ll email you!)

Bonus: three lucky attendees will win a virtual Lunch and Learn with one of the tech companies listed below, complete with a $25 Black and Mobile gift card to enjoy a delicious takeout lunch while learning more about what it’s like to work for one of Philadelphia’s top tech employers.

Create: There’s a Creative Opportunity for Everyone in Philly – Nov. 4

No matter what your creative passion, there’s an opportunity for you in Philly. Sign up today (for free!) for Create, our annual event for creative majors and college students looking to pursue a creative career path in the Philadelphia region. This year, we’re thrilled to be hosting the event both virtually and in-person at the University City Science Center. 

Join us for a panel discussion featuring young professionals in different creative careers in Philly (think videographers, marketing managers, UX/UI designers, and more!), info sessions with employers who are currently hiring creative majors for internships and full-time roles, and networking with Philly creatives just like you. Sign Up Here!

Let’s keep in touch! Get the latest Philly updates on our Instagram. 

 

 

Stay up-to-date on the latest student events, deals, and ideas this semester.