Published: May 20, 2019
By: Frances Ellison
If it's been awhile since you visited Fairmount, here's a refresher course on what you're missing out on. Read on for a guide to some of our favorite Fairmount restaurants, music venues, and more.
If you’re exploring Fairmount, you can’t miss Eastern State--literally. The decommissioned penitentiary takes up a full city block, and now opens its gates to tourists in the mood to learn some unconventional history, or just snap some beautifully spooky photos. Insider's tip: Don’t skip the audio tour--it’s narrated by Steve Buscemi! And the penitentiary’s staff and special exhibits are excellent sources of knowledge on prison reform and social justice issues related to mass incarceration.
Headed by Philly's own star chef Marc Vetri, Pizzaria Vetri is a city staple. With three locations throughout the city (and one in the King of Prussia Mall!), there's no denying that Vetri is a hot ticket spot. Known for classic, Neopolitan-style pizzas with an array of premium ingrediants and toppings, the original Pizzaria Vetri is a must for any Fairmount adventure.
If you've ever wanted to visit a traditional Japanese-style tea house, then Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is the place for you! Originally an exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Shofuso touched down in West Fairmount Park in 1958. Tour the nationally-ranked garden and house, participate in a traditional tea ceremony and much more at this beloved city landmark. Make sure to visit in April when they host the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival!
Yes, the name of this local brewery is a play on the famous Dostoevsky novel, and there's plenty of Russian-style fare on the menu to match! During your visit in Fairmount, make sure to stop in for a cold, housemade brew from their rotating tap list and enjoy a meal. C+P also partners with community organizations in the Fairmount area; we love a brewery with a heart of gold!
There's not much to say about the Philadelphia Zoo other than to go see it for yourself! Opened in 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo is America's first zoo, opening with just 1,000 animals and an admission price of just $.25. Now with over 1,300 animals, a new children's zoo, and the Zoo360 exhibit (a first-in-the-world trail system for the animals), there's more reason than ever to make it a part of your Fairmount adventure!
Right across the street from Eastern State, you’ll find one of our favorite bar/restaurants in the neighborhood: Urban Saloon. With a wide beer selection and great menu of bar food favorites, it’s a perfect dinner spot. On Monday nights at 8pm, catch up-and-coming Philly comedians at Laughs on Fairmount, the (free) open mic in the back room.
Need a creative fix? Since 2004, Philly Art Center: Fairmount has offerred classes for all ages as a community hub of creativity. Sign up the kids for art and music, or unleash your own inner artist with more advanced adult classes in painting, sculpture and screenprinting.
Frances Ellison is the Assistant Manager of Digital Marketing for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and handles all things Phillyfunguide, including all digital content, social media and of course, the weekly Funsavers email. If you enjoy irreverently yelling into the void, read her portfolio or follow her on Twitter.