10 Best People-Watching Spots in Philadelphia

Who needs Netflix? This is the best possible way to spend a lazy Sunday in Philly.

Photo by J. Fusco for GPTMC

Singing Fountain in East Passyunk | Photo by J. Fusco for GPTMC

What’s my favorite sport? It’s not CrossFit or running—it’s people-watching. On my off-days from the gym, you’ll often find me parked on a bench quietly observing the hustle and bustle of life around me. People-watching makes me happy: It’s fun, entertaining and a great reminder of the diverse mix of people all around me.

Here, the 10 best spots for people-watching in Philadelphia. 

1. The Art Museum Steps

The Art Museum steps provide incredible people-watching. During the week, you can see athletes of all stripes sprinting up the steps and tourists taking photos of the museum—and that famous Rocky statue. The weekends bring gorgeous brides and handsome grooms laughing while they hold their best Rocky poses.

2. Singing Fountain

Make a night of it at this town square-like fountain in South Philly’s East Passyunk neighborhood, where music pipes through mounted speakers and the fountain makes for a pretty people-watching perch. The small park (triangle?), situated along East Passyunk Avenue, draws young families, post-college transplants and South Philly Italians who’ve lived in the ‘hood for generations.

3. The Green Line Café

Head to the 43rd and Baltimore outpost of this coffeehouse for some top-notch people watching. If you can score a table outdoors, you’ll want to nurse your cup of Joe for hours: The café is right across the street from Clark Park, a popular community gathering place with just the right amount of bustle.

4. Rittenhouse Square

This park is the social hub of Philadelphia, drawing everyone from penthouse dwellers to college students to tourists. Grab a spot on a park bench or perch on a barstool at a.kitchen + bar to take in the parade of characters.

5. 30th Street Station

Do you think of 30th Street Station as merely a train depot? Think again. Plant it on one of the beautiful carved wooden benches and enjoy people-watching at its finest. The architecture of this incredible building provides the perfect backdrop for watching travelers coming and going.

6. Citizens Bank Park

What could be better than cheering on the Phillies while also watching the sports fans in the crowd? Phillies fans are an enthusiastic and spirited bunch. Grab a hot dog, sit back and find the fan with the most face paint.

7. Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk

The pergolas and benches on the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk make for a terrific people-watching spot. You’ll see runners, dog-walkers and cyclists galore as you take in the pretty city and water views.

8. Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market is bustling with energy from the early morning until night. Between the tourists, rural farmers and city professionals grabbing lunch, there are always interesting people to observe.

9. Garage

This South Philly bar just so happens to sit across the street from Pat’s and Geno’s. Meaning? You can grab a seat facing outward from the open garage door (the place really did used to be an auto body shop) and watch while nearly everyone takes an Instagram photo of their cheesesteak. Bonus points for selfies, and extra points for selfie sticks.

10. King of Prussia Mall

Don’t let bad weather derail your people-watching plans: Make a trip to the ‘burbs and take it indoors to bustling KOP. You can park it almost anywhere for hours of spying, but a sure bet is the atrium at the entrance to Lord & Taylor. It doubles as the intersection of the Plaza and Court, so it’s always full of people. Plus, you’ll get ample whiffs of coffee from the nearby Starbucks.

» What are your favorite people-watching spots in Philadelphia? Share your intel in the comments.


Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist on staff at Bryn Mawr Hospital and in private practice in Bryn Mawr, PA.  To learn more about her practice, go here. And to read more of Lauren’s posts for Be Well Philly, head over here.

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