South Philadelphia may have begun as a separate town, but today it is a bustling neighborhood of the larger city of Philadelphia. South Philly is known for cheesesteaks and being the home of the famous Italian Market. Here, older ways of life have survived and are on display at the butcher and fish shop. South Philadelphia has a strong industrial past, which attracted many immigrants including Irish, Italians, and Poles. A vibrant culture developed as a result of these immigrant groups, and today South Philly is one of the most lively and unique areas of the city to visit.
Local people often argue that the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia come from this section of the city. Surely, people from center city or even Northwest Philadelphia may make the same argument, but there does seem to be a consensus of history and quality when it comes to the cheesesteak in South Philly. One of the most popular places to get a cheesesteak is Geno’s Steaks, where the sandwiches have been served since 1966. The best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia have become a tradition of the city, and Geno’s is no exception. It may not have an indoor dining room, but Geno’s is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Be prepared to order quickly and move along—service at Geno’s is known to be fast!
Another neighborhood in the area is Queen Village Philadelphia. Located within walking distance of Center City, this part of the city is known for having a suburban, neighborhood feel. A variety of supermarkets, cafés, and restaurants are available, but most visitors come to the area for the nearby Italian Market. Located on Ninth Street, the market is home to a great variety of seafood, cheese, fresh and frozen pasta, and meats. Even if you aren’t in the market for something fresh, the Italian market is a great place for an afternoon stroll. The bustle of the market will leave you feeling as if you’ve visited another point in time.
It should come as no surprise that the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia and a successful large Italian market is situated in an area of the city with roughly 21.5 percent of the population claiming Italian heritage. Another important component of life in South Philadelphia is sports. Major and minor league teams in football, baseball, basketball, and hockey all play in this section of the city. Sports teams include the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, MLB’s Phillies, NBA’s 76ers, and the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. There is a great deal of local pride in the Philadelphia sports teams, and a trip to this area of the city should include at least one entertaining game.
For the traveler interested in history, there are a few sites to see as well. Most notably, the Old Swedish Church is a favorite attraction for visitors. The area is also home to a variety of shopping options, though it is generally not as commended as other areas of the city for variety and originality. Sports may be the most dominant nightlife attraction, but there are also some choices for bars and pubs. Queen Village is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and many visitors arrive to check out Fabric Row, where fabrics have been on sale for decades. For a glimpse of an authentic neighborhood of the city, it's well worth checking out South Philly.