Philly food and drink scene

12 different Philly streets swap cars for outdoor dining this weekend

A pair of bills in City Council would extend these options through the end of 2021.

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Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

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Early fall is prime outdoor dining time, and there’s a dozen places in Philadelphia to take advantage this weekend.

As part of a program announced in June to help struggling restaurants and workers earn revenue, the city made it easier for businesses to join together and request a street be shut to cars, so it could be filled with tables instead. On Thursday, Councilmember Allan Domb introduced a pair of bills that would extend these options through the end of 2021.

After a few early missteps, where issues around coronavirus regulations were unclear, dining districts around Philly have been successfully pulling this off. Throughout the summer it’s happened in different spots on varying dates — and this weekend it’s popping off in nearly every corner of the city.

Some Philadelphians have been pushing for these kinds of street transformations to become permanent, like they have in Seattle, Milan, New York and other cities around the globe.

There’s also a battle brewing over indoor dining, with health experts still wary of the potential for viral spread. Pennsylvania just increased indoor dining capacity to 50%, but Philadelphia still caps it at 25%, which proprietors say is barely enough to break even. Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said he’ll make a decision about increasing the city limit in the next couple of weeks.

Right now, outdoor dining remains key for Philly restaurants fighting to stay in business. If you go, take steps to stay safe and keep others around you safe.

That means maintain social distancing, with your seat at least 6 feet from any other table. Wear a mask whenever you’re not eating or drinking — and ideally whenever your server comes to the table. Provide contact info when asked, for potential tracing efforts later on. And tip well! Restaurant workers are putting themselves at risk for customers’ enjoyment.

Here’s a list of al fresco options for this weekend. Expect many to continue for several fall weekends to come.

Outdoor dining street closures in Philly

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27

Unless otherwise noted, street closures last through midnight on Sunday. Dining service ends earlier in the evening, and varies by location.

Reading Terminal Market

Arch-covered Filbert Street is a great place to enjoy food from the dozens of vendors inside.

East Passyunk Avenue

South Philly’s most vibrant restaurant row.

Midtown Village

Probably the city’s densest collection of bars and restaurants.

South 9th Street Italian Market

Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese and many other cultures mingle along this strip.

Camac Street in the Gayborhood

Sports bars, gay bars, and tapas joints mix, with some parts of the street boasting the only remaining wooden cobblestones in the city. Parts are closed to traffic Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in addition to the weekend.

Clementine Street in Port Richmond

The center of the neighborhood’s burgeoning retail revitalization.

2nd Street in Old City

Pretty much the most popular tourist destination, with a mix of dance fans and history buffs.

Headhouse Square

A varied collection of restaurants and cafes made even more pleasant by the brickwork and shambles overhead.

700 block of South Street

Get into the Oktoberfest spirit — and watch the Eagles game — with Brauhaus Schmitz and friends.

18th Street in Rittenhouse

Right along the square, some of the busiest and fanciest outdoor dining in Philadelphia.

Connaroe Street in Manayunk

This lane shooting off Main Street is closed to cars 24/7 right now.

Sansom Street in University City

This strip of West Philly is basically comfort food central.

Want some more? Explore other Philly food and drink scene stories.

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Food