The trend in travel is to experience your destination like a local. So we’ve pounded the pavement (so you don’t have to) to give you the inside scoop on where to shop like a local in Philly. This is a city of neighborhoods and each offers its own unique retail attitude. I’ve focused on four districts that are must-visits for most travelers.
Starting point: Second Street
Old City boasts more than historic venues and colonial sights; it also teems with locally-owned boutiques and offbeat art galleries. Art lovers should report to Second Street, which is rife with galleries. Find contemporary art at 3rd Street Gallery on Second Street and LGTripp Gallery, or stop into Muse Gallery, an artists’ cooperative, featuring a range of mediums and styles. For unique, global finds visit Vivant Art Collection and Impact Imports.
Shop indie boutiques like Lost + Found, Vagabond and The Geisha House on Third Street for trendy women’s clothing and accessories. Be sure to stop into Art in the Age for one-of-a-kind and locally-made finds.
Vibe: Chic, designer
Starting point: Walnut Street
Head to posh Rittenhouse Square for a designer experience. Walnut Street is home to loads of luxe and fashion-forward brands, including Tiffany and Co., Free People, INTERMIX, Vince, My.Suit, Zara and Stuart Weitzman.
Tucked on 17th and Samson streets you’ll find Italian designer footwear boutique Head Start Shoes. Nearby, browse fiction, art books and children’s literature at Joseph Fox Books. Next door, stadler-Khan is a local treasure for unique gifts, vintage jewelry and clothing.
Local fashion forces Joan Shepp and Seun Olubodun take residence on Chestnut Street. Joan Shepp’s eponymous, multi-level concept store has been the premier fashion retailer in this city for more than 40 years. Here, you’ll find clothing and accessories from luxury designers like Phillip Lim, Vivienne Westwood and Moschino. Nearby, The Shops at Liberty Place is an indoor shopping complex, featuring stores like Express and Kiehl’s.
Vibe: Homegrown hip
Starting point: 13th Street
In the not-too-distant past, this neighborhood was nameless. But thanks to an energetic merchants association, the area around 13th Street between Chestnut and Locust streets has been reborn as a hot spot for dining and shopping. Gift shops on 13th Street run the gamut: Find one-of-a-kind jewelry from local and international designers at Bella Turka; handmade all-natural soaps, scrubs and soaks are packed into locally-owned Duross & Langel; Open House is the place to find stylish home accessories, children’s gear, quirky books and gifts. Across the street, Verde sells trendy accessories and jewelry and women’s clothing.
For high-end vintage pieces, a visit to Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment Shoppe on 12th Street is a must. This tiny boutique is packed with sequined gowns, costume jewelry and beautiful clutches. For stationery, cards and pretty little gifts head to The Papery.
South Street & Queen Village
Starting point: South Street
One of Philadelphia’s most famous streets, South Street attracts the free-spirited, funky and creative types with its eclectic mix of shops, eateries and music venues. Stop into Urban Princess for locally-made clothing, purses, jewelry, home goods and more. Just off of South Street, Crash Bang Boom outfits glam punk and goth shoppers with studded jewelry, neon hair dye and band tees. Find gems, crystals, jewelry and mythical home décor at Mineralistic. For brands like French Connection, Citizens of Humanity and Hugo Boss, head to Platinum. Then walk to Mushmina, a ways away west of Broad Street on South Street--trust us, it's worth it. Shop fair trade clothing, accessories and home goods straight from Morocco.
South of South Street, Queen Village boasts historic charm, while offerings contemporary appeal with its popular pubs, cafes and shopping along Fabric Row. You might guess what you’ll find there—textile resources, custom tailors and dress makers.