This year’s Guide to Philly features neighborhood guides written by students and recent grads. In this mini-guide to The Waterfront, we cover things to do, places to eat, and everything YOU need to know to enjoy the neighborhood!
As told by Ethan Jaime Rodriguez, Arcadia 2024
My name is Ethan! I’m a junior at Arcadia University and I study Media and Communications, with a concentration in Multi-Media Publishing. I’ve worked with a few publications; WHYY, PBS Newshour, and NBC10 to name a few. I hope to soon become a political journalist, but I’ve recently found a newfound love of editing and teaching. Other than media production, I really enjoy music, cartoons, and good conversations.
If you are like me and grew up in the Philadephia area, then you know that the Waterfront is definitely the place to be. It’s easily accessible via public transportation, allowing those from all around the city to come and enjoy the wonderful activities this place has in store
The Waterfront is just a few minutes’ walk from Old City and is also right around the corner from the Independence Seaport Museum. Both these destinations are filled with rich Philadelphian history, and there are plenty of artifacts, exhibits, and monuments to see as well. Not to mention, just a couple blocks down in Old City, you can find the Benjamin Franklin Museum. If you happen to stop by that neighborhood, take a gander at the Liberty Bell that is on display. You might be able to learn a thing or two!
As for the Waterfront itself, it usually changes depending on the season. In the summer months, Independence Blue Cross RiverRink hosts Summerfest. It’s equipped with a cool roller skating rink, a sweet carnival with numerous boardwalk games and rides, and a huge array of food trucks. Down the trail a bit is Spruce Street Harbor Park, topped with food trucks, more games, hammock swings, and ice cream. If you happen to be in Philly within the summer months, it’s definitely worth checking out.
In the winter months, DRWC hold their annual Winterfest. It looks a little different than Summerfest, with a holiday tree, lights, and cozy seats in the Lodge, but is still loads of fun. You can get involved in their ice skating rink which is fun for all ages. You can also help yourself to an assortment of food options all offering a wide selection of goodies. My personal favorite is the hot funnel cake that you can find there. It’s delicious. What is also interesting to note is that the food options tend to fit with the season—hot cocoa, and warm desserts. Perfect to warm you up if you’re feeling chilly.
Many of my memories took place in that neighborhood. I wouldn’t trade any of those memories for anything, and I hope that I, alongside others, can continue to enjoy the lovely neighborhood that is the Waterfront.