The City of Brotherly Love is indeed filled with sisterly affection. Within Philadelphia’s metro area, Black women can explore an abundance of Black culture, including recently opened French-influenced restaurants, intimate jazz clubs, thrift-like shops and tucked-away museums curated especially for melanin queens. And what’s a trip to Philly without visiting at least one iconic landmark?
Since Philly is home to a wealth of must-visit locales, ESSENCE takes you on a journey of spaces for us, by us.
1 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
A remarkably cozy bed & breakfast, this hospitable abode sits in a historic 1880s manor. With quiet lounge spaces, music-inspired vintage decor and magazines splashed with powerful Black women (hi, Oprah), Akwaaba’s warm and inviting space instantly made me feel at home, and even better — at peace before a long day of food tasting and site seeing. [3709 Baring St | Philadelphia, PA 19104 | Phone: (866) 466-3855]
2 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
A place with good R&B music and delicious food is harder to come by than you think, but not at Pretty Girls Cook. PGC, owned by Dominique Ryan is surrounded by nostalgic images of powerful Black women at every eye level, I dug into a variety of comfort food staples like french toast and shrimp and grits, each with a flavorful Philly twist. The hip, copper and pink decor give the notion that PGC is where I need to be for girls’ night or a quick after-work kiki. [1016 N Marshall St | Philadelphia, PA 19123]
3 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
This beautifully curated gallery doubles as a sacred sanctuary for healing and praise of the everyday Black woman — from her storied history to the politics of her hair. With intentional, thoughtfulness and an array of art forms, The Colored Girls Museum started by Vashti DuBois and her partners Michael Clemmons and Ian Friday is a therapeutic dwelling that exhibits the strength and beauty of my lineage without triggering traumas and tragedy. [4613 Newhall St. | Philadelphia, PA 19144 | (267) 630-4438]
4 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
The Sable Collective is a hub for uplifting Black women, not only by the shop’s aesthetic but its owners Shanti Mayers and Syretta Scott’s mindful curation of other Black artists. Here, I found items for wellness, beauty and joy, like Rayo and Honey’s handcrafted adornments and Chiquita Brujita’s candle designs — all things I’ve coveted online. After trying on a customized camo jacket and Moroccan slides, I walked away happily with a vintage Etienne Aigner. [3133 N. 22nd Street | Philadelphia, PA 19132 | (267) 666-0126]
5 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
Named for both Frannie Lou Hamer and Frances E. W. Harper, this corner coffee shop is a nod to Black women activists and community. As coffee ground and tea leaves steeped, I ordered a cup of Renewal of Strength Health Tonic to chat with owner Blew Kind about the quaint vibe of her “porch” and, above all, rest in the comfort of this peaceful space. [3133 N. 22nd Street | Philadelphia, PA 19125 | (215) 739-2357]
6 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
What’s beautiful about Philly is there’s a space for every type of Black woman. If you’re more blerd than Erykah Badu, Ariell Johnson’s haven, inspired by her childhood comic book, is the perfect shop for you to geek out about your interests. After flipping through books on Marvel sheroes and finding a literary masterpiece on natural Black hair, it became clear that this is a necessary space for us. [2578 Frankford Ave. | Philadelphia, PA 19125 | (215) 427-3300]
7 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
Where is the love for Black women in Philly exactly? Well, a piece of it is in John F. Kennedy Plaza. Situated at the entrance of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the iconic sculpture is a must-stop attraction for Philly first-timers and Black women looking for the perfect Instagram photo op. Even in the rain, the dazzling city centerpiece catches everyone’s eye! [Arch St. | Philadelphia, PA 19102]
8 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
Located directly in downtown Philly, Maison 208 is a sophisticated dining experience at a price point that won’t break a Black woman’s wallet. With cuisine that lightly reflects Chef Sylva Senat’s Haitian roots, every bite of delightful fare is tasty and comforting to the soul.[208 S 13th St. | Philadelphia, PA 19107 |(215) 999-1020]
9 of 9 Photo: Redens Desrosiers | rexcamera.com
In the second-floor lounge, I really enjoyed the vibe of the French-inspired eatery as a Philly native jazz band played late into the night. To experience the food, fun and history of this magical destination for Black girls, visit Philly today.
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