Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia's West Side
On an impromptu trip to Philadelphia, I am once again reminded of the synchronicity that accompanies traveller's luck. Having missed the bus to D.C. for my Dad's birthday, I decide to hop on a bus to Philly. Turns out the twins I end up staying with for the next two days have the same birthday.
A two hour bus ride from New York City, Philadelphia is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle. Philly's West Side shares a similar vibe with Portland, OR or the more suburban areas of Austin, TX: a laid back, somewhat gritty but liberal oasis, located at the intersection of communities. Baltimore Ave in particular is filled with old victorian houses, some that are crammed with young folks living in communal housing for $250 – $300/month. The beautifully rustic old houses are in varying stages of repair, nestled in beautiful tree-lined streets about 15 minutes from U Penn/Drexel campuses, and a 45 minute walk to the downtown area. If you don't feel like walking, hop on the 34 trolly, a $2.50 commute to downtown.
West Philadelphia, Baltimore Ave
All resources below are located between 40th & 53rd street on Baltimore Avenue.
Serendipity Café – Biker friendly cafe/smoothie/juice bar with a large loose herbal tea selection. Great resource hub and friendly living room vibe. “People come in here all the time saying 'I have this condition', or 'do you have anything for headaches' and it's really gratifying to be able to serve them something gentle and fortifying”.
Hibiscus – Rasta Vegan Food and Juice. Delicious smoothie selection and supplements. 4907 Catharine Street. I had to ask if all the pineapples they had on display were real! “Have a blessed day”
Food Coop – Relatively cheap for a large coop grocery store, friendly staff, bulk selection, cheap local eggs! Everything you want from a grocery store without the hype. Open to non-members, but bring your out of town coop membership card in to get their 5% discount.
Studio 34 Yoga – Ongoing classes daily, varying styles. Check for events, teacher trainings and more. $6 classes and a very down to earth volunteer staff.
A Space – Anarchist space hosting various ongoing workshops, events, and classes. Permanent free pile outside the front door. I attended a Shape Note Singing chorus practice which rang on into the night. “Rule #2: Be Real.”
Clark Park – Large outdoor space, great for frisbee, picnics, games. Host of local farmer's markets Saturday's and some Thursdays during the summer.
Best Vegan Hoagie in Philly: $5 tofu hoagie at the deli on 47th and Baltimore Ave.