Weekend Roundup: Exploring University City

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

For those of you trying to familiarize yourself with arts and cultural venues in the city, why not try exploring Philadelphia one neighborhood at a time? This gives you a chance to walk around, explore, and discover all sorts of interesting haunts. This weekend, I’ll offer a few favorites in University City.

The first stop on the Septa train in Philadelphia, University City is a short trip from Swarthmore’s campus and, as those of you who have taken a class at Penn can attest, a relatively easy to navigate area with a lot of other students and student-related activity.

Thanks to the collection of colleges there are a number of museums and galleries you can explore. One of the first that you will encounter is the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Check out pieces from Ancient Egypt in the “Amarna” exhibition as well as the “Surviving: The Body of Evidence” exhibit, which tracks changes in human evolution.

North a few blocks from the train station you hit Sansom Street, where you can sample a number of popular eateries including the Bubble Tea House (highly recommend the grilled salmon salad and the chocolate peanut butter pie) and the White Dog Café, an all-organic restaurant and University City staple.

You can also find several art galleries associated with the universities including the Esther M. Klein Gallery dedicated to the intersection of art and science, Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery (currently featuring printworks by various masters), the Institute of Contemporary Art which was once the site of an Andy Warhol riot, and Penn’s Architectural Archives.

Finally, take in a show at the World Café Live which features up and coming songwriters, world music, good food, and radio broadcasting. My pick for the weekend? “Solas” on Sunday night in World Café Down Stairs.


  1. Freshman especially should know that The World Cafe, aside from being one of the great current American radio shows in syndication, is hosted by David Dye, a Swarthmore alumnus.

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