Although technically named South Broad Street, the center of Philadelphia’s performing arts community—stretching from City Hall to Lombard Street—has earned the nickname Avenue of the Arts. And for good reason. The energy is contagious as theatergoers, orchestra fans, opera lovers, dance aficionados and artists spill onto the street to mix with the locals who live, work and dine on the storied thoroughfare.
Home to the striking Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the legendary Academy of Music, The Wilma Theater, Merriam Theater, University of the Arts, Arts Bank and other cultural landmarks, the Avenue of the Arts has earned its artsy cred. Music fans can look down and trace Philadelphia’s musical legacy along the sidewalk’s Walk of Fame. And everyone stands in awe of City Hall, the architectural exclamation point on a street lined with elaborately adorned buildings.
While The Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadanco, Opera Philadelphia and other internationally acclaimed cultural groups perform inside the buildings along the Avenue of the Arts, activities that take place outside have endeared the avenue to the masses. Any local will proudly recall the thrill of cheering as their championship sports teams celebrated in a huge victory parade. And they can readily describe the annual tradition of standing on the sidewalks, defying the cold weather to ring in the New Year with the Mummers Parade, the nation’s oldest folk parade.
Restaurants & Bars:
- 10 Arts – This intimate space located inside the sophisticated and casually elegant Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia serves contemporary, regional American cuisine that. 10 S. Broad Street, (215) 523-8273, 10arts.com
- 10 Arts Lounge – Also inside The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, 10 Arts Lounge offers a modern lounge setting for light dining and cocktails among the soaring lobby columns.
10 S. Broad Street, (215) 523-8273, 10arts.com
- Bliss – Chef Dan Nolan puts diners in touch with their inner gourmand thanks to his menu of creative contemporary American cuisine served at lunch and dinner daily. It’s also a great place to dine alfresco and enjoy people-watching on the Avenue of the Arts. 220 S. Broad Street, (215) 731-1100, bliss-restaurant.com
- Capital Grille – Diners enjoy dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, signature cocktails and wines chosen from the award-winning list of 350 bottles. 1338 Chestnut Street, (215) 545-9588, thecapitalgrille.com
- McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant – Menus change daily at this steak and seafood spot, committed to serving the freshest fish, oysters and mussels. Wines from the Northwest, single malts and martinis wash them all down well. 1 S. Broad Street, (215) 568-6888, mccormickandschmicks.com
- Palm Restaurant – Those who want to dine among the rich and powerful head to the Palm, located inside The Bellevue. Caricatures of local and national celebrities cover the bright walls, and diners feast on Italian-American fare. 200 S. Broad Street, (215) 546-7256, thepalm.com/philadelphia
- Perch Pub – Located on the second floor, Perch Pub boasts spectacular views of the Avenue of the Arts, along with a menu of American-inspired comfort food. Like a good traditional pub, there are separate areas for dining, playing darts and just sitting at the bar to watch the game. 1345 Locust Street, (215) 546-4090, perchpub.com
- Sbraga – On Broad Street, Top Chef Season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga creates inventive, modern American fare at his eponymous restaurant. The restaurant features a four-course, $55 prix-fixe menu; a $75, six-course tasting menu; or a la carte menu items at the bar. Guests who choose the tasting menus have the option of sitting at the chef’s counter, where they can watch the culinary team preparing their meal. 440 S. Broad Street, (215) 735-1913, sbragadining.com
- Tavern on Broad – Inside this belowground bar and restaurant, people enjoy classic American fare such as burgers and house-smoked BBQ pulled pork. The impressive schedule of weekly events and 34 HD televisions attract out-of-town fans and locals eager to watch their respective teams win. 200 S. Broad Street, (215) 546-2290, tavernonbroad.com
- Estia – Known for its high-end fare, this authentic Greek restaurant specializes in whole, fresh seafood flown in from the Greek islands. The rustic yet elegant ambiance provides a Mediterranean backdrop for diners to enjoy their meal paired with their choice of 300 wines. 1405-07 Locust Street, (215) 735-7700, estiarestaurant.com
- XIX (Nineteen) – On the 19th floor of the Hyatt at The Bellevue Philadelphia, XIX wows guests with sweeping skyline views and a central raw bar of clams, shrimp, crabs and oysters. Also on tap: an afternoon tea and weekday happy hour specials. 200 S. Broad Street, (215) 790-1919, nineteenrestaurant.com
- Academy of Music – Home of Opera Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Broadway Philadelphia series, this historic theater has seen countless performances and shows throughout its more than 150 years. Broad & Locust Streets, (215) 893-1999, academyofmusic.org
- Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Why do people love the Kimmel Center? Incredible world, pop, jazz, classical, theater and dance performances take place across its campus in the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theater and Academy of Music, and free building and theater tours offer an insider’s peek throughout the week. 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 790-5800, kimmelcenter.org
- Merriam Theater – Part of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts campus, the 1,870-seat Merriam hosts stand-up comedians, celebrity chefs and dance and theater acts. Intimate and enthusiastic crowds add to the performance. 250 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
- Suzanne Roberts Theatre – Home to the Philadelphia Theatre Company, this sparkling newer addition to the Avenue of the Arts is a hotspot for theater and dance. The theater also hosts a summer camp for teens teaching acting, directing, playwriting and designing. 480 S. Broad Street, (215) 985-0420, philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
- The Wilma Theater – Productions at The Wilma Theater aim to engage actors and audience members alike with thought-provoking, daring performances. Under its Wilma WynTix initiative, all tickets for the mainstage runs are available at the subsidized rate of $25 or $10 for students and theater artists with valid ID. 265 S. Broad Street, (215) 546-7824, wilmatheater.org
- The University of the Arts – The only private university in the nation dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing, UArts features several professional gallery spaces that showcase the work of visiting artists, as well as students, faculty, staff and alumni. uarts.edu
- Arronson Gallery, Hamilton Gallery and Solmssen Court hold rotating exhibits throughout the year. Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street, (215) 717-6001
- Gallery 1401 features work from the Photography department, as well as noted international photographers. Terra Hall, 211 S. Broad Street, 14th Floor, (215) 717-6300
- Gallery 817 is the Interdisciplinary Fine Arts program’s exhibit space. This gallery also exhibits works of the faculty, alumni and visiting artists. Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, 8th Floor, (215) 717-6495
- Gallery One is the only Philadelphia gallery run exclusively by students and only one of a few galleries of its kind in the country. Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street
- Richard C. von Hess Illustration Gallery is the Illustration department’s primary exhibit space. Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, 7th Floor, (215) 717-6240
- The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, the university’s main gallery, hosts works from various artists throughout the year. Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, (215) 717-6480
- The Sol Mednick Gallery, named in honor of the famed photographer and UArts alumnus, is the university’s primary photography gallery and the only endowed gallery in Philadelphia dedicated solely to photography. Terra Hall, 211 S. Broad Street, 15th Floor, (215) 717-6300
Shops & Spas:
- Bellevue Salon and Spa – Indulgence is the name of the game at this modern, European-style salon and spa in the historic Hyatt at The Bellevue Philadelphia. From distinctive haircuts and blowouts to head-turning highlights and color, this spot is all about creating style and glamour. Broad & Walnut Streets, (267) 514-8000, bellevuesalonandspa.com
- Richel D’Ambra Spa & Salon – Guests at this comfort zone escape stress with body, hair and skin treatments. Special services include the ultimate antiaging facial, couples’ massages and aromatherapy treatments incorporating seasonal natural flower essences, Reiki, raindrop therapy and a four-handed massage. 10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8035, richeldambra.com
- Salon Royale Court – Clients get the royal treatment through the modern salon’s comprehensive menu of services, including precision cuts, artistic color, elegant up-dos, pristine mani-pedis and eyebrow waxing. The second-floor location offers a stunning view of bustling Broad Street below. 215 S. Broad Street, 2nd Floor, (215) 893-3800, salonroyalecourt.com
- Shops at The Bellevue – The bottom floors of The Bellevue house chic designer boutiques, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Nicole Miller, The Walking Company, Tiffany & Co. and Williams-Sonoma, as well as a food court. Broad & Walnut Streets, (215) 875-8350, bellevuephiladelphia.com
- City Hall – Festooned with symbolic carvings and sculptures by Alexander Milne Calder and capped off with a 37-foot statue of William Penn, City Hall, the nation’s largest municipal building, is an architectural treasure inside and out. For an elevated view of Center City, visitors can take a 15-minute Tower Tour of the Observation Deck or join in the two-hour guided building tours, which also include the Observation Deck. Both are offered on weekdays only. Broad & Market Streets, Room 121, (215) 686-2840, phlvisitorcenter.com/cityhall
- Gershman Y – A center for Jewish arts and culture, the Gershman Y hosts a wide range of programs and activities from Jewish film festivals to discussion groups to the rollicking Latkapalooza. It is also the site of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and sports museum honoring local Jewish teams and athletes, many of whom played in the building.
401 S. Broad Street, (215) 545-4400, gershmany.org
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