Micro-Road Trip: A South Philly Saturday

Posted By Susan Johnson on July 15, 2015

I’m a firm believer in making the most out of my days off. A Saturday is crucial for experiencing all of the experiences so I try to pack my day and night in with as much adventure, entertainment, relaxation, and group text messages that use the nail-painting emoji too much. Move over, work week. Here’s the guide to my perfect Saturday.


When I’m in a social mood or want to brag about how I karaok’ed Crazytown, Butterfly from memory the night before at the Nut Hut in Fishtown, I send out the magical “brunch?” text. Philadelphia has a strong brunch game and everyone knows it. A classic brunch spot is Sabrina’s, which has an extensive menu and is BYOB. For a more casual afternoon, I’ll flee to Gleaner’s in the Italian Market for my morning eats, which serves a breakfast sandwich that is out of this world.


After I feast, I usually need some fresh air and a change of scenery. I grew up in the Pine Barrens so sometimes the city is a sensory overload and I need to escape in order to recharge. What’s great about Philadelphia is how close it is to some scenic hiking trails. There are times where I will venture back to New Jersey and walk the trails of Batso, but I have learned to favor Wissahickon Creek, which is only fifteen miles outside of the city. A perfect Saturday afternoon consists of gathering a few gal pals, dipping our toes in the creek, and petting strangers’ dogs.

By this point, I’m nourished, refreshed, and I’m ready move onto my night plans. I’ve learned to find fun outside of the club and bar scene, which is why for the past two years, I’ve been going to professional wrestling events. Yes, I said wrestling. I was an avid fan of the WWE growing up and down the street from my apartment is the old ECW area, which is now the home to Combat Zone Wrestling, a local, underground wrestling company. When my friends and I arrive, we’ll buy a couple of hot dogs and Mountain Dews from the concession stand and then grab the closest foldout chairs to the ring. There isn’t a bad seat in the joint, but if you’re lucky, you might get a seat next to South Philadelphia’s finest Hulk Hogan impersonator. When in Rome, we shall do as the Romans, when in South Philadelphia, we cheer on scripted wrestling matches and high-five strangers.

The next stop on this Saturday evening is Cheesesteak Vegas, known as Pat’s and Geno’s. Are these the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia? Nah. Are they close to my house and to my favorite bars? You know it. After I order some cheese fries, I’ll bring them into Garage where I can play skee-ball, drink, eat and awkwardly make eye contact with people I haven’t met yet. Garage has an aura of being too cool for school, but it’s one of the few bars you can bring outside food into, which makes Garage a top local watering hole. One time, I brought a pineapple into Garage and no one asked questions. Another time, I paid to play a power hour of Cam’ron on TouchTunes. South Philadelphia is my oyster and I can do whatever I want there.

Susan Johnson is a designer at Karma and wishes thumb rings would come back in style.