Exploring South Street, Philly

South Street has long been an important part of Philadelphia’s social and cultural scene. While the street has changed over the years, its popularity has remained constant. Check out all the things South Street has to offer.

Over the years, South Street, Philly, has been a bit of a chameleon, changing its name and identity as time has gone on. Back when William Penn first laid out the plans for the city of Philadelphia, South Street was known as Cedar Street and acted as the boundary for the city. By the middle of the 19th century, the city changed the street’s name to South, along with the names of a few other streets. Whether you have lived in the city for years or are just passing through, South Street is definitely a street worth exploring from a variety of angles.

East of Broad Street

You can divide South Street, Philly into a few distinct areas. The area to the east of Broad Street, toward the Delaware River, is the area that’s commonly associated with the hippies in the 1960s and the punks in the 1980s. Some relics remain from those eras, but for the most part, the South Street of today is thoroughly modern. You might think of modern-day eastern South Street’s identity as eclectic. You can catch a concert at the Theatre of Living Arts, a smaller venue with space for up to 1,000 people, or you can spend an evening in one of the several coffee shops along the corridor. If you’re in the mood for a bit of retail therapy, you can find a mix of small boutiques and shops, as well as several chains. On South Street, small record stores sit next to nationally known sneaker stores, and vintage stores are just steps from cell phone retailers.

West of Broad Street

The atmosphere on South Street on the west side of Broad Street is quite a bit different. While the eastern part of the street has had many identities over the years and a wide variety of offerings, the western part of the street has emerged as a destination for savvy diners looking for a new restaurant. In recent years, the number of dining options on the street have expanded considerably. Former venue and bar the Tritone closed and became the Cambridge, a pub serving dinner, brunch, and cocktails. Other dining options on this side of South Street include the accurately named Indian Restaurant, Thai eatery Sawatdee, and Jet Wine Bar.

Over the River

South Street, Philly comes to an end once you hit the South Street Bridge, which crosses over the Schuylkill River. As a bit of throwback to its earlier history, the street name changes to Cedar Avenue once you get to West Philadelphia, on the other side of the river. Unlike its bustling neighbor to the east, Cedar Avenue is largely residential. If you’re looking to buy a home in Philly, Cedar Avenue might be worth a look.

South Street has evolved considerably over the years, forming a variety of identities. What’s remained the same is that it’s a gathering spot for people to get together and have an enjoyable day or evening out.

Image Source: Flickr/Peter Miller

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