Philadelphia, PA - Finding goggling tourists, branded conventioneers, questing foodies, suicide taxis, and fuming delivery trucks make tiny Chinatown feel like a buzzing hive. Across the expressway to the north, Spring Garden — where David Lynch got his inspiration for Eraserhead and Diplo used to have his home base — can feel like a wasteland in comparison, but it’s starting to stir.
Beyond the colorful China Gate at 10th and Arch Streets lives Philly’s vibrant Asian enclave, settled in the mid-19th century by Cantonese immigrants. Eat everything in the former — try noodles at Pho 75 or the thousand-layer bread at Rangoon — and watch as the latter becomes the next big neighborhood, mark our words. And don’t forget: Chinese New Year happens in the spring.
What to do?
- Soften tomorrow’s hangover with a 3 a.m. feast at Tai Lake (the seafood rolls are swimming when you arrive)
- Reading Terminal Market deals in fast lunches and diverse groceries
- Space 1026 houses artists’ studios and is always good for a gallery show
What to Know...
The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. provides resources; First District Councilman is Mark Squilla (215-686-3458).
The China Gate - Built by Chinese artisans in 1982 and recently refurbished, the dramatic gilt-painted entry symbolizes Philadelphia's connection to Tianjin's sister city. Designed by architect Sabrina Soong, the structure recreates a Qing Dynasty style with Tianjin tiles.
Asian Arts Initiative - This community-based arts center operates a gallery, conducts workshops and children’s afterschool programs, and hosts performances with an Asian theme and monthly movie nights. It also installs works around Chinatown that promote cultural exchange, including murals with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
Getting Around -Bus lines that stop in Chinatown include the 23, 47, 47M, 48, and 61. The Chinatown subway station conveniently stops at Race and N. 8th streets.
Accommodations - As Chinatown is just a few short blocks from City Hall and the Convention Center, there are numerous hotels nearby, including the Hilton Garden Inn, Four Points by Sheraton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City, Loews Philadelphia, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown and more. Browse hotels near Chinatown and book your stay below.
- Philly's Yè Shì the Sixth Chinatown Night Market Event
- Philly's Chinatown Bars & Nightlife Guide
- Philadelphia's Chinatown Neighborhood Guide
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