Philly Neighborhood in Focus: Old City

Old City is a neighborhood in Philadelphia located near the Delaware River.  It’s situated in Center City and is famous as the site of Independence Hall, Independence National Historical Park, Elfreth’s Alley, and the Betsy Ross House, to name a few.



About Old City

The Old City Historic District occupies several blocks between Front and Sixth Streets and Vine and Walnut Streets.  In 1972, the area was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  It is a popular destination for shopping, dining and entertainment and was recently named one of the Top Twelve ArtPlaces in America.  It is known as being successful in combining the arts, artists and venues with businesses and restaurants to make it a vibrant and walkable neighborhood.

Places to Visit in Old City

As the most historic square mile in the United States, Old City offers a myriad of opportunities for entertainment and fun.  Some of the interesting things to see and do in Old City include:

  • African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • Arch Street Meeting House
  • Benjamin Franklin Bridge
  • Betsy Ross House
  • Carpenters Hall
  • Christ Church Burial Ground
  • Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site
  • Elfreth’s Alley
  • Fireman’s Hall Museum
  • Free Quaker Meeting House
  • Independence Hall
  • Insectarium
  • Loxley Court 18th Century Home
  • Mikveh Israel
  • National Museum of American Jewish History
  • United States Mint

Old City Dining and Nightlife

There are more than 100 restaurants in Old City that offer a unique mix of cuisines and environments with dishes prepared by some of the best chefs in Philadelphia.   Some of the wonderful places to dine include:

  • Amada
  • Buddakan
  • Triumph Brewery
  • Kisso Sushi Bar
  • Zahav

Old City has become a popular spot for nightlife and the arts, and there are many places that visitors and residents can enjoy including:

  • 32 degrees – luxe lounge with European sensibilities
  • The Khyber – the place to go for beer in Old City
  • Tin Angel Acoustic Café – featuring local and national musicians

Living in Old City

Old City is Philadelphia’s original neighborhood.  When the area was first settled by the Quakers, they came to the neighborhood and infused it with their history and culture.  Today, many young professionals, students and families live in Old City, and it is a favorable downtown location for residents.  There are numerous amenities for those who call Old City home, including gourmet restaurants, art galleries and various boutiques.

Getting Around Old City

Public transportation is easily accessed in Old City, making it a great choice for visiting the neighborhood.  By subway, take the Market-Frankford (blue) line to 2nd and Market St.  By bus, take the #17, #33, #48, #76, #121, or #44 running east/west on Market Street or the #9, #21, or #42 running east on Chestnut Street.  If riding Amtrak, take the train to 30th Street Station and transfer to the Market-Frankford line east.

There is plenty of parking in Old City, and many facilities offer discounts for visitors.  There is free metered parking in Old City on Wednesday after 5pm, on the first Friday of every month after 5pm, and on commercial corridors through the area after 11am every Saturday from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.


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