Campus Philly’s Mini-Guide to the Gayborhood

The Gayborhood is set in the heart of Washington Square West, and is an iconic LGBTQ+ community scene in the city complete with shopping, dining along 13th Street, and everything in between. Have you added this spot to your Philly bucket list yet?

The area is tucked in Midtown Village and spans Pine Street to Chestnut Street, as well as 11th Street to Broad Street! Map it here. Now, let’s jump into the good stuff…

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—and both spots are must-trys in Philly.

Highly acclaimed for its nightlife, the Gayborhood also features places like Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, a staple sports bar built for Philly’s queer community. The bar’s legacy will be engrained in Philadelphia and the Gayborhood for years to come!

Plus, looking for something sweet? Check out trans-owned bakery, Cake Life Bake Shop! It’s one of our favorites here at Campus Philly.

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.

BTW: 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, too, of course.

During National Pride Month in June every year, thousands of people flock to Philly for the LGBT Pride March and Festival. Along the parade route, performers adorn the streets of the city. The Festival is full of dancing, food, and fun for everyone!

The William Way LGBT Community Center is another supportive space, offering social wellness programming. And then there’s Moves Philly, a collective for creative QTPOC to build community to share resources and connect with one another.

Be sure to check out more about the Gayborhood, as told by Helen Ehrlich, a current student at Bryn Mar College, in our latest Guide to Philly!

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