Updated: Apr 9, 2021
If you're planning a weekend getaway to Philadelphia, Queen Village is the perfect neighborhood to stay in.
Why? You get history along the waterfront, charming cobblestone alleys, hidden courtyards and some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. It's a 10-minute walk to all the famous tourist sites, but you'll be living like a local.
I may be slightly biased, because I lived in Queen Village for 7 years, but there's also reason I stayed so long! Here are some of my favorite spots in the neighborhood - that altogether make the perfect weekend itinerary.
MY PERFECT WEEKEND IN QUEEN VILLAGE
SOUTH FRONT STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT
Discover mid-18th-century homes along Front Street between South and Christian Streets - including my old apartment in Workman Place.
Workman Place is a historic, gated courtyard of homes. The first was built in 1748 for George Mifflin, grandfather of the first Governor of Pennsylvania.
You can wind up and down the streets perpendicular to Front St. and you'll find more courtyards and cobblestones:
Across the street from Workman's Place is the Front Street Green. There are always lots of pups and views of the Delaware River - so it all makes for a lovely walk!
BRUNCH: FITZ AND STARTS
Fitz and Starts is a from-scratch cooking cafe, bakery and bottle shop that sources from small and local farms - and you can taste it in every bite.
I don't normally have salad for brunch, but I highly recommend it here. The first time I tried a salad here, with each bite I was saying, "this is the best egg I've ever tasted," or "this is the best lettuce I've ever had." I didn't realize I could so distinctly prefer a lettuce until I had it in their salads.
WHAT TO ORDER: salads, egg & cheese sandwich, daily quiche, fresh bread and pastries, coffee and the Bloody Mary.
☞ 743 S 4th St.
Moon + Arrow
Across the street from Fitz and Starts, Moon + Arrow is a socially-responsible and environmentally conscious boutique for handmade and vintage jewelry, clothing, accessories, home-furnishings, decor, and apothecary.
☞ 742 S 4th St.
My go-to consignment shop for designer women's clothing, accessories and jewelry. My favorite find here was a leather Marc Jacobs bomber jacket.
☞ 527 S 4th St.
Best vintage selection from the 1950s - 1990s. Men and women's apparel, accessories and homewares.
☞ 508 South St.
If you are coming to Philly, you have probably heard of South Street. One thing you will notice as you are walking in the neighborhood and along South Street is the mosaic mural art: the work of Philly legend, Isaiah Zagar.
Since the late 1960s, Isaiah and his wife Julia have beautified South Street and successfully protested against a highway that would have eliminated the street. He's created hundreds of mosaics, and their shop, Eyes Gallery, is still open today.
Since 1968, Eye’s Gallery has been a South Street destination for Latin American crafts, ethnic clothing, folk art and unique objects from developing countries.
I love to wander through the three floors of colorful folk art and pretend I'm in Mexico, Peru, India or somewhere else far, far away for an hour or two.
☞ 402 South St.
DINNER: JIM'S STEAKS
Adjacent to Eyes Gallery is, in my opinion, the BEST Philly cheesesteak.
☞ 400 South St.
WHERE TO STAY: A TRINITY HOUSE
A Trinity is the quintessential, historic Philadelphian rowhouse. A Trinity house, a design named after the Holy Trinity, is three floors and usually one room per floor. They were built as affordable housing for people working in the city's port beginning in the 1680s, but now are covetable historic homes. With wood floors, exposed brick, beamed ceilings, fireplaces, triangle attic bedrooms and stone floor basement kitchens - you won't find more character anywhere else.
This Airbnb is in the heart of Queen Village, its name "Historic Gem" holds true. I've booked this home twice now for photo shoots for my business, Hidden Intimates. The red clawfoot bathtub... just WOW!
One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday morning is to stop in at Bodhi Coffee, then cross the cobblestones to the farmer's market. The coffee is so good, the roommate I lived with in Queen Village now has a dog named Bodhi.
☞ 410 S 2nd St.
Head House Square
Head House Square is paved in cobblestones and lined with restaurants, bars and shops. In the center are the Shambles - where on Sundays, you can shop at one of the oldest continuously run farmer's markets in the nation.
☞ 401 S 2nd St.
Adjacent to the Queen Village neighborhood is Society Hill, another area you'll want to wander through. If you are starting in Head House Square, Stamper St. runs through the middle, and on it you'll find Blackwell Place.
If you reach the end of Stamper St., turn right into the Society Hill neighborhood. From here, and around every corner, there will be an architectural gem. Secret gardens and courtyards, old gaslight lamp posts and peaceful parks. You won't want to miss these streets:
S. American St.
Instead of taking Stamper St., you could also walk right through the Head House Shambles and it turns into 2nd St. You'll find this hidden alleyway before you hit Delancey St.:
DINNER: ROYAL IZAKAYA
The mysterious blue door...
When Royal Izakaya first opened in Queen Village, just a block from my apartment, I was so curious what was behind the blue door. Surrounded by residences, and seeming to be one - there was a red lantern outside, and always lots of cool people outside. Once I found out it was a restaurant, I was an immediate regular.
An izakaya is a type of casual Japanese bar with snacks, usually with a red lantern outside. Sometimes they are even called akachōchin (red lantern). In my opinion, the Royal Izakaya's lantern has become an iconic part of the neighborhood.
WHAT TO ORDER: Bao buns and sake are a must! Also gyoza, shumai and sushi.
If you are feeling adventurous, get something you've never heard of. I do this every time and I have always been so pleasantly surprised! My favorite new snack discovery was the skate wing jerky. Mmmm.
☞ 780 S 2nd St.
MORE FAVORITE QUEEN VILLAGE SPOTS:
Twisted Tail - 509 S 2nd St.
BeerLOVE - 714 S 4th St.
L'Etage (for when going dancing is a thing again) - 624 S 6th St.
Ritz Five - independent movie theater - 214 Walnut St.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
You could go to other neighborhoods during your stay, but what more could you need? Queen Village has the history, food, architecture, best cheesesteak and the fun.