Photo Credit: Cherry Street Pier
This year’s Guide to Philly features neighborhood guides written by students and recent grads. In this mini-guide to Old City, we cover things to do, places to eat and everything YOU need to know to enjoy the neighborhood!
As told by Sydney Jack, Drexel University 2023
Hi, my name is Sydney Jack. I am a Junior Entertainment and Arts Management major at Drexel University. I am originally from South Florida and moved to Philadelphia to pursue my career in the arts. I love all forms of art; movies, theatre, writing, music, and more. Since moving here for college, I have enjoyed exploring the city, especially Old City!
There are a ton of hidden gems to find in Philly, but nothing can match stepping into Old City. The cobblestone streets, unique shops, and of course, the historical sites. I remember my first time hanging out in Old City was with some friends who showed me all the great thrift shops and vintage stores up and down South Street. Since then, I’m excited to go back every time and discover something new.
The best Happy Hour I’ve been to was located on 2nd Street at Mei Mei.When I stepped inside, my jaw dropped. The ambient lighting and artwork along the walls are stunning. My friend and I shared our plates, which is definitely the recommended way to dine here.
But if Taiwanese food isn’t your thing, then maybe Cuban food is! Across the street from Mei Mei is another fabulous restaurant, Cuba Libre. Cuba Libre provides an authentic experience, making you feel like you have just flown to Cuba. After eating here, I haven’t stopped thinking about how good the food was. On top of that, they transform the space after dinner hours, and the restaurant turns into a dance floor!
If you’re looking for something to do before or after your dinner, I’ve got two art scenes you need to check out. First, the Museum of Illusions just joined the scene in Philly. On 4th and Market, you can step inside this interactive exhibit and have a guaranteed good time. There are plenty of games and silly photo opportunities to enjoy here.
Not to mention—there are so many more iconic museums and sites within walking distance like…
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia
- National Liberty Museum
- National Constitution Center
- The Betsy Ross House
- Franklin Square
- Independence Hall
- Museum of the American Revolution, and so many more.
And then, of course, there’s shopping. Every month the Liberty Flea Market has a pop-up event. They sell a wide variety of beautiful vintage and artisan products. Some of the most dope vendors in Philly will be at Liberty. The next one is at Cherry Street Pier, which is along The Waterfront!
Old City doesn’t disappoint, no matter the occasion or time of day. There are endless spots to discover here, all within such a historic area.