While it’s easy to stick close to campus for food options, there is a lot to explore beyond the “Penn Bubble.”
On 40th Street you have your classics and student favorites, including Greek Lady, Ben & Jerry’s, Qdoba, Hip City Veg, Smokey Joe’s and necessities like Dunkin’ Donuts and Fresh Grocer (or FroGro as Penn students call it).
But if you are looking for something different than the usual food choices within University City, check out these places:
Green Line Cafe (4426 Locust St.)
This coffee shop has excellent drinks that are both fair-traded and organic. They support local musicians, artists, activists and thinkers with in-house events, such as monthly poetry readings. This can also be a favorite lunch spot with great sandwiches, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Distrito (3945 Chestnut St.)
This cantina restaurant is the essence of hip and modern. The walls are pink, and you can eat in an old buggy! They have of variety of different tacos, and when you turn 21, you can get the sweet and strong margaritas. Overall, the food is both colorful and flavorful. The restaurant is owned by the famous Iron Chef Jose Garces who owns many well-known restaurants in Philadelphia.
Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant (229 S. 45th St.)
If you would like to be more adventurous and enjoy authentic ethnic food, check out Abyssinia. The food is inexpensive, especially for its generous servings. You could also go along with friends and get the sharing platter to have a family-like dinner. Abyssinia also has great vegetarian options.
Honest Tom’s Taco Shop (261 S. 44th St.)
Honest Tom’s was originally a food truck and now has its own outpost that sells incredible tacos and burritos with options such as chicken, pork, steak and yucca beef as well as sweet potato. Make sure to try all of their hot sauces, including their Halloween Jalapeno sauce. They also serve breakfast burritos and tacos.
Mariposa Food Co-Op (4824 Baltimore Ave.)
The co-op is a full-service supermarket selling organic and local food. It provides residents of West Philadelphia with access to and information about the importance of healthy food. You can also be a member of the Mariposa Food Co-Op to help supply the store with money to purchase items that are local and organic.
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Looking for a great place to spend a weekend afternoon? Try some of these scenic outposts:
Bartram’s Garden (5400 Lindbergh Blvd.)
Bartram’s is the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America and is located on the west bank of the Schuylkill River. This is a great place to get you out of hectic campus life and enjoy nature. Many students volunteer at Bartram’s at their Community Farm and Food Resource Center.
Mann Center (5201 Parkside Ave.)
The Mann Center is a nonprofit performing arts center located in the Centennial District in West Fairmount Park. In 2010, 2011 and 2014, the Mann was nominated by Pollstar, a concert industry trade publication, as “Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue” in North America. Some of the bands/artists who have played there include the Avett Brothers, Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Ed Sheeran, Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men and more.
Philadelphia Zoo (3400 W Girard Ave.)
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Though the zoo is not west of 40th Street, it is still an escape from campus and a unique visit while in Philadelphia, especially since it was the first zoo in the United States. Become a kid again as you watch your favorite animals roam around and while you enjoy Dippin’ Dots with your friends. Go in the fall and spring when the weather’s still nice to walk around.
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