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Philly’s retail scene has a few distinct shopping neighborhoods, from the upscale flagships of Rittenhouse Row to the indie boutiques along North 3rd in Old City. Out of all of them, Queen Village — where you can find some of best vintage shopping on the East Coast — is one of the most fun to explore on foot.
Bordering Bella Vista and the eastern edge of the city, the neighborhood originally known as Southwark has a grungy, funky vibe, complete with sex shops and graffiti-covered bars. But Queen Village has a long history associated with fashion, too: The area of South 4th Street between South and Christian streets is known as “Fabric Row” and is still home to scores of third-generation textile shops. Today, these businesses operate alongside newer boutiques offering locally-made goods, curated vintage, high-end shoes, antiques, and more.
With so many great retail offerings in the area, it’s best to make a day of it and visit some of the neighborhood’s top restaurants and bars in between all that shopping. Here, we’ve outlined the best way to approach the can’t-miss stores, with a suggested timeline that you can take or leave, which includes brunch, coffee, dinner, and drinks.
10 AM: With a menu of unfussy American food, a fabulous natural wine list, Counter Culture coffee (which is available for takeaway too if you don’t want to do the sit-down thing), and an ultra-cozy interior, The Hungry Pigeon is a great bet for just about any meal of the day. Charge up here with brunch before heading across the street for the first stop on your shop-till-you-drop neighborhood tour. 743 South 4th Street
11 AM: Local favorite Moon + Arrow has a huge range of charming goods to browse, from handmade ceramics to vintage apparel to natural apothecary items. Don’t miss the in-house jewelry line made by shop owner Chelsea Pearce or the hand-dyed scarves and dresses from local artisan Kate Leeman at Riverside Tool & Dye. Before leaving, walk through the back to marvel at the huge statues and art for sale in the shop connected by a hallway that also houses Moon + Arrow’s sale items. 754 South 4th Street
11:45 AM: Almost catty-corner from Moon + Arrow is Bus Stop Shoes, a small independent shop with a selection that’s “dangerous and highly addictive,” according to local jewelry designer Angela Monaco. Keep an eye out for the shop’s blowout warehouse sales, where a pair can cost as little as $10. 727 South 4th Street
12:15 PM: Right next door is a newcomer called Cactus Collective, featuring locally-made apparel and accessories like small denim pouches and ceramic necklaces, as well as art. This former pop-up’s new brick-and-mortar location is a great place to look for affordable vintage and jewelry. 739 South 4th Street
12:45 PM: Keep heading up South 4th Street to Jinxed and Tucker's Diggs, two separate antique curiosity shops that both have a lot to offer. Tucker’s in particular has great vintage costume jewelry; at Jinxed, check out the cheeky prayer candles and the selection of enamel pins and buttons. 611 South 4th Street
1:30 PM: Round South Street to check out Eyes Gallery, which has been in the neighborhood for decades and features mosaic work by artist Isaiah Zagar on the building’s exterior (you’ll find his work on public buildings and walls throughout Philly). Inside, there are vintage textiles from around the world, plus fair-trade goods, including a pretty nice selection of jewelry. 402 South Street
2 PM: Take a break at Ox Coffee on South 3rd Street, where they brew Stumptown beans and carry hyper-local products from dairy to baked goods. (If you need something more substantial, Chelsea Pearce from Moon + Arrow strongly recommends Red Hook Coffee and Tea (765 South 4th Street) for the veggie sandwiches with tempeh bacon.) 616 South 3rd Street
2:45 PM: Back to the main event — shopping! Walk a few blocks over on Bainbridge Street to get to Queen Village landmark Philly Aids Thrift, painted bright blue, orange, and green. This multi-floor donation-based thrift shop has some unexpected things inside — there’s even a whole room dedicated to Christmas decor — but for apparel and shoes, head upstairs for more than four rooms dedicated to clothing, including the vintage room and the supremely affordable “Dollar Land” room, where everything costs a buck. 710 South 5th Street
3:30 PM: Stop by Nostalgia Vintage (704 South Street) next door on your way out for some more curated wares, but make sure you save your energy for Retrospect Vintage, one of the biggest and best shops in the area. 508 South Street
4:30 PM: If you’ve still got some steam — and dollars — left afterwards, check out Sazz and Briar Vintage’s new South Street outpost (the two separate shops recently combined and moved in from Old City) for some higher-quality finds like vintage Levi’s and colorful dresses from the ‘50s and ‘60s. 618 South 6th Street
5 PM: With most of the shopping out of the way, head to Tattooed Mom on South Street for a much-deserved reward. This funky bar is a real dive, but the atmosphere is lively: The downstairs section is brightly painted, and dime store toys like temporary tattoos and bouncy balls litter the bar.
Upstairs, it’s a different environment entirely, with graffiti from floor to ceiling. Order a beer or one of their (strong) cocktails and check out the special menu item of the day. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s quite good (and features lots of options for vegetarians). 530 South Street
6:15 PM: If you’ve got time for one more shop, don’t miss out on Repo Records, a new and used music shop right across the street from Tattooed Mom. Music-lovers will geek out over the selection, including the awesome vintage tees for sale. (Afterwards, head back to Tattooed Mom to admire all your new stuff over another beer!) 538 South Street
Read more about where to shop in Philadelphia in our Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Philly.