There once was a time, and it wasn’t so long ago, that South Street was the go-to destination for locals and tourists alike. It was impossible to beat the entertainment, dining and artistic options that this strip offered over 13 blocks. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who could honestly say that this street holds the allure it once did. In its place, East Passyunk Avenue seemed to take on an upward trajectory while more shops along South Street put “for rent” signs in the window. It’s easy to see why East Passyunk took hold, too, and top-notch cheesesteak restaurants are among the reasons. If you’re planning a visit to the city or are looking for something different to do on a night out, this article is for you!
East Passyunk Avenue runs north from Broad and McKean streets to around 6th and Christian streets. Along the way, one can find ice cream shops, coffee houses, cheesesteak restaurants like Geno’s, the historic 9th Street Italian Market and plenty of landmark bars. The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District additional points to “one-of-a-kind fashion, jewelry, mozzarella cheese, charcuterie” and more as reasons why Food & Wine Magazine voted the avenue as one of the “Top 10 Foodie Streets in America.”
There really is something for everyone here and planning ahead can pay off; so can knowing about new businesses that have recently opened their doors along the avenue. According to a November 2018 article from 6ABC, a plant nursery and yoga studio are among the newcomers. The plant nursery is also a reptile shop, 6ABC points out, so “if you’re in the market for a gecko, chameleon, snake, tortoise or skink, this is your place.” Tropical plants, orchids and cacti can also be had at Illexotics, located at 1724 East Passyunk Ave. Yoga Hive, at 1914 E. Passyunk Ave., is offering group classes with durations of up to an hour. If you live in the East Passyunk Crossing neighborhood and have always wanted to try Power Vinyasa, this could be your opportunity.
Geno’s, which is among the city’s best cheesesteak restaurants, welcomes these businesses and their employees with open arms and the diversity they bring to the avenue is undoubtedly part of its draw. There’s no “right” way to experience the avenue and an exploration of the shops along the Italian market is best capped off with a “whiz with” (the fried onions are optional, of course) from Geno’s.