As someone who’s lived in Philadelphia for over a decade now, there’s one thing I can tell you with no hesitation: it’s a city of neighborhoods. While of course this applies to just about any city, it’s particularly marked in Philadelphia, where a few minutes’ stroll can bring you to a totally different atmosphere. Of course, there are things that united the city into a cohesive whole, including its combination of history and modernity, the gay-friendly quality that consistently lands it at the top of rankings by LGBT groups, and the immensely walkable nature of the “Center City” area, which is where we’ll spend most of our time. Set between two rivers, and only thirty blocks wide and about ten blocks long, with numbered streets going north/south and (mostly) tree-named streets east/west, the Philadelphia’s center city is a paradise for walkers. So let’s go on a tour of the City of Brotherly and Sisterly love, neighborhood by neighborhood. I think you’ll like the things we discover. I’m just sayin’.
The Gayborhood: At the Heart of ThingsWe’ll start, of course, in the Gayborhood (aka Midtown Village), which is geographically as well as thematically a great place to begin, as it’s pretty much in the heart of Center City. For our purposes, we’ll call the Gayborhood the district from 10th to Broad Streets (Broad is the equivalent of 14th), and Market down to Pine. It’s here that you’ll find almost all the LGBT nightlife, and one of the most pleasant neighborhoods in the city. Good news: you can stay right in the Gayborhood. For convenience and appeal, I love Alexander Inn, a boutique hotel at Spruce and 12th that couldn’t be more perfectly located. Add to that Alexander’s nice rooms, super-helpful staff, and great breakfast buffet in their cozy living room, and what we have here is a winner. On the edge of the neighborhood, Loews Hotel, built in America’s first skyscraper, offers the style and friendliness we’ve come to associate with Loews.