South Philadelphia Ride Guide
West of Broad Street
Philadelphia's culture has often been described neighborhood-by-neighborhood but, when you reach South Philadelphia, you're in South Philadelphia. That's not to say there aren't smaller neighborhoods within the community or that people don’t identify with them, but many long-term residents are more inclined to tell you they live in South Philly, describing their locations by cross streets and landmarks well before they'd get into a conversation with you on where Point Breeze becomes Gray's Ferry.
The truth is South Philly is a culturally diverse and resourceful community where neighborhoods are interwoven and people with long-term roots live side-by-side with those who have more recently decided to find a home there. You don't have to be born in South Philadelphia to experience the passion and connections the community inspires; just have a conversation with anyone who considers South Philly home.
While the neighborhood is often identified more as a whole, since it's such a large part of the city with so much to offer, this particular guide is primarily focused on the areas in and around the half of South Philly that's west of Broad Street. Keep an eye out in the coming months as we’ll be introducing Neighborhood Ride Guides for the other half of South Philadelphia and several other communities!
Check out the interactive map below for some of the resources and sights that South Philadelphia has to offer, along with suggested bike routes! Click on the various map icons for more information. You can even view it on-the-go using the Google Maps Mobile App.
If you'd like to take this info with you on your ride without needing access to the internet, you can view and save a pdf of the original printed ride guide.
Get some exercise in while enjoying the great murals, gardens, and parks of Point Breeze and Grays Ferry. Don’t miss the “Anti Violence Imagine” mural at 28th & Dickinson!
Route starts at 22nd & Tasker Streets and runs north on 22nd Street. You can grab an Indego bike from the Point Breeze & Tasker station
Schulykill River Park & Trail Tour
The Schuylkill River Park has basketball courts, baseball fields, playgrounds, urban gardens, great views of the city, and connections to the River Trail and Center City. It’s a great getaway, just a few minutes from Point Breeze!
Route starts at 22nd & Tasker Streets and loops back to the start via 24th street. You can grab an Indego bike from the Point Breeze & Tasker station!
Marian Anderson Tour
Celebrity singer Marian Anderson was a legend from the neighborhood. Visit her mural on your way to the Marian Anderson Historical Residence & Museum. Call ahead at 215.779.4219 and make sure to dock your bike at the 21st & Catharine Indego station.
Route starts at the 18th & Fernon Indego station and runs north on 18th Street.
Here are some routes we recommend to help you get to University City and Center City.
Both routes start from the Indego station at Point Breeze & Tasker, traveling north on 22nd Street.
For more information about available stations in the area, please visit the station map.
Diversified Community Services — The Dixon House
A nonprofit multipurpose social service agency working with children, adults, and families providing quality early childhood edu- cation, youth development, and family development programming. Their vision is a diverse, prosperous, and vibrant Point Breeze community where all residents are treated with dignity and respect. The Dixon House has been a go-to place for neighbors and community members to receive housing, counseling, and other forms of financial guidance as part of Diversify Community Service.
Coalition Against Hunger – South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S. Inc.
Founded in 1996, Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger strives to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. The Coalition connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education, provides resources to a network of food pantries, and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions that prevent people from going hungry. South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S. INC. is a food pantry where Coalition Against Hunger distributes pre-packed bags and boxes of food.
Young Chances Foundation Community Engagement Center
The Young Chances Foundation was created in 2012 to provide South Philadelphia children with the opportunity to have fun, strengthen family relationships, build positive leadership skills through peer-motivated activities, and provide resources to help assist with general and higher education. It works to promote safety, reduce teen violence, alleviate tensions within the community, and reduce poverty in South Philadelphia and surrounding communities. In 2019, YCF opened it's own Community Engagement Center, where they offer year-round youth educational/recreational programs, host community events for parents and seniors, and provide information on life skills for the community.
Christian Street YMCA
The Christian Street YMCA was the first Black YMCA to have its own building and was a social center and meeting place for African American organizations over the decades. Famous basketball player, Wilt Chamberlain led the Christian St. YMCA to the national title in 1953 before he went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Also, famous African American photojournalist, John W. Mosely kept a darkroom and studio in the basement of the Christian St. YMCA. Mosley is famous for preserving a record of African American life in Philadelphia. Today, the Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
Vare Recreation Center
Located in the Grays Ferry section of South Philadelphia, Vare Recreation Center has served the community for over a hundred years. The center includes a pool, basketball courts, fields, play space and is home to both the community's football, and gymnastics teams. Vare Rec also provides many programs for the community's enjoyment and wellbeing ranging from homework help to health education. As one of the most active recreation centers in Philadelphia, it is an activity hub for people of all ages.
Ella Pridgen-Best was a community champion and former Indego Ambassador. A lifelong resident of South Philadelphia, Ella was a strong advocate for safety and health in her community. As president and founder of the nonprofit “Don’t Shoot... I Want A Future,” Ella worked to encourage youth to stay focused on positivity and growth through education and physical activity as a way to avoid crime and violence. She was always happy to share her joy of riding Indego with anyone who would listen. For her, it was about engagement and building connections.
In recognition of all the work that Ella Best did, the City of Philadelphia renamed a block in her honor. The 2700 block of Sears Street in South Philadelphia became Ella Best Way. The 22nd & Federal Indego station, where she led many community rides is also dedicated to her. For more details, including personal reflections from the community on Ms. Ella Best's impact, check out this blog entry.
Alfred Brown & Donna Brown
Married in 1971, Alfred and Donna Brown were a power couple dedicated to community activism in Point Breeze. Alfred’s motto was “If I can help somebody” and this was reflected in the work they achieved at the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center (PBPAC). The Browns mentored countless children and created a home for many young people in the community.
Their work helped PBPAC gain corporate sponsorships, organize the Annual Point Breeze Summer Fest, and provided a chance for many in the community to see the world through Mr. Brown’s love for traveling. In recognition of their contributions, both were awarded the Governor’s Award for Creative Communities in 2004 by Governor Ed Rendell. Philadelphia City Council renamed Point Breeze Avenue between Morris Street and Moore Street to “Alfred Milton Brown Way” on April 20, 2015.
Point Breeze Performance Art Center
1717 Point Breeze Ave.
What makes a great community space? In 1984 Dorothy Nolan, a seamstress living in Point Breeze saw that a safe haven for youth was needed in the community. The doors at 1717 Point Breeze Avenue opened and the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center came to life. The mission of the Center promoted “art for social change”. While the Center was in full operation it provided counseling, mentorship, educational, vocational and cultural exchange programs.
Over the years thousands of people enrolled in classes and workshops. The Point Breeze Performing Arts Center provided cultural enrichment that transformed a neighborhood and showcased the power of their “community youth”. The Point Breeze Performing Arts Center has left a creative footprint which shines the light on how to make a community space, a home for its residents.
Ralph Brooks Park & Community Garden
20th & Tasker
A multi-faceted neighborhood revitalization project with a focus on providing a safe, engaging space for youth and adults in Point Breeze, South Philadelphia. The rehabilitation and expansion of Ralph Brooks Park continues to serve as a catalyst and hub for neighborhood renewal and intergenerational engagement, both through the development process and ongoing use and stewardship of the park.
Marian Anderson Rec Center & Mural
740 South 17th St.
This recreation center and the mural that graces the wall outside its main entrance honor accomplished Philadelphia native and opera legend, Marian Anderson. She is remembered as one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century and an important civil rights activist who used her voice to ignite change. The mural was created by Joshua Mays.
Keith Haring Mural & Garden
2149 Ellsworth St.
Painted on the sidewall of a rowhouse located at 22nd & Ellsworth Streets, "We the Youth" was created by Keith Haring in collaboration with CityKids of New York and Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia in September 1987. With bright primary-colored beauty, lyrical characters, and childlike innocence in the work and on the wall, Haring’s artistic vision – his energy, life, and spirit – is a colorful burst of energy quietly nestled in the South Philly neighborhood.
"Peace Wall" Mural & Garden
1308 South 29th St.
This mural was made to unify and restore peace to the area after racial violence made national headlines in 1997. Residents chose the design, then lined up to have their hands photographed. The diverse, yet converging hands symbolize the community’s commitment to ending racial division. Jane Golden and Peter Pagast were the mural's artists.
"ASpire: No Limits" Mural & Concert Garden
21st & Ellsworth
Created by Ernel Martinez, in collaboration with Mural Arts and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, of the Grammy© Award-winning band The Roots, "ASpire: No Limits" is a mural celebrating the life of Shawn L. “Air Smooth” White, Ph.D. Dr. White was a community leader, father, and educator who created educational health initiatives on HIV/AIDS as well as sexually transmitted diseases aimed at young African American men in Philadelphia. Dr. White was a champion for health advocacy, juggling many health awareness programs before he passed away suddenly (from hypertension) in April 2013.