Six Ways to Saturday in University City

An at-your-leisure guide to making the most of a weekend afternoon on Penn’s campus (whether you need a study break or a reprieve from the work week).
From a brief stop for a British Islander (your new espresso order) to a trip to a tucked away boutique, here are six reasons to explore University City now.
1
dine
Dine
Breakfast
Lunch
Snacks
Address

4000 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The best kind of Saturday begins alarm free. When you’re good and ready, amble over to Locust Street for the opposite of your Monday through Friday, tepid-by-the-time-you-get-back-to-it black coffee. Smile back at the barista, scoot up to the bar, and say hello to the British Islander — an espresso and steamed milk drink laced with thick ribbons of English toffee, macadamia nut, and white chocolate. This is how you lean into the colder months, people. And this is where you slip your phone back into your pocket, soak in all the cozy coffee shop vibes, savor your beverage, and see what the day might hold.

2
shop
Apparel
Address

226 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Maybe you need a separate pair of shoes for the gym. Maybe you’ve gotten your money’s worth out of your last pair of Uggs. Maybe you’re desperate for something that will keep you comfortable all shift. The Natural Shoe Store — just a hop, skip, and a jump from the coffee shop above — has your name on it. Featuring Nike, New Balance, Clarks, Rockport, Dansko, Timberland, and more, this 40th Street shop has been serving the Penn community since 1978 and remains beloved for its family appeal, friendly service, and approachable pricing. Poke your head in the door — you never know what you may find.

3
dine
Breakfast
Lunch
Snacks
Address

4013 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

With 25 years of bread baking and general kitchen wizardry under its belt, a stop at Metropolitan Bakery is never a bad bet. And at just 0.1 of a mile from The Natural Shoe Store, you’re almost close enough to smell Metro’s French baguette, organic spelt, and cracked wheat emerging hot out of the oven. To get your hands on a loaf of your own, take a left out of The Natural Shoe Store and another left on Walnut Street. If lunchtime is approaching, shrug off your coat and settle in for a stellar grilled cheese, create-your-own salad, and — whether you eat in or out — one of the sour cherry chocolate chip cookies to go.  

4
shop
Apparel
Address

120 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Sure, you know the LOFT, with its feminine and flattering looks for women of all shapes and sizes. But Store #1912 at Sansom Commons has two enormous floors to browse, with the latest from Missy, Plus, Lou & Grey, and Petite in addition to their standard collection and amazing sale section. Whether you’re looking to incorporate a stylish blazer into your wardrobe, take an outfit from day to night with a little added sparkle, or find a pair of pants that hugs all the right places, take a look around the LOFT to explore what’s new and now. To get there, head down Walnut until you hit 36th Street and take a left.

5
play

Institute of Contemporary Art

Play
Museums
Address

118 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

University City isn’t all retail shops and restaurants — keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see world-class museums and galleries tucked in among the storefronts and scenic parks. As you leave the LOFT, give your credit card a break and pop into the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Philadelphia’s always admission-free museum. Easily recognizable thanks to the big white initials on the building’s glass exterior and “free for all” reminder above the door, the ICA is an internationally renowned venue for contemporary art and culture. Exhibitions change throughout the year, so come early and come often.   

6
shop
Furniture
Specialty
Address

3610 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

A straight shot up the street from the ICA is Hello World, a home decor and lifestyle shop specializing in midcentury-modern furniture and gifts not easily found everywhere else. Hello World has a host of glowing Yelp reviews, and it’s not hard to see why. J, the owner and buyer, has been connecting the Philadelphia community to quality merchandise at a great price for over 18 years. Dogs are equally welcome to poke around — bring yours in for a chance to appear on the boutique’s Instagram account! 

Next Saturday, ditch the car and enlist a friend (furry or otherwise) to enjoy the height of urban living. Whether you’re looking for a popular coffee shop, a neighborhood shoe store, a beloved bakery, a national brand, a free museum, a local boutique, or all of the above – it’s all here, within a one-mile stroll on Penn’s historic campus. 

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