Tips for Visitors

The Nanomaterials Group and the AJ Drexel Nanomaterials Institute host visitors throughout the year. Below are suggested places to eat, relax, and enjoy yourself during your stay as well as other tips from the Nanomaterials Group members. Welcome to Philadelphia! (Note: the map below includes a quick look at places near Drexel’s campus. Scroll down for more details, and for even more suggestions throughout the city!)

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Food Near Drexel’s Campus

Food trucks: Ludlow Street
located at 31st and Ludlow Streets, between CAT and the Main Building

  • Cucina Zapata — nominated by multiple NMG members as the best food truck on campus. Combines Mexican and Thai food: chicken satay tacos, Cap’n Crunch encrusted tilapia burritos (yes, really), etc. Look for the brightly painted truck at the end of the line, at 31st street. Prepare for long lines (but worth the wait). On Twitter at @Cucina_Zapata.
  • Sue’s Lunchtruck — Kristy says Sue’s offers the best breakfast. This truck is located smack in the middle of the line.
  • Mai’s Lunchtruck — Kristy recommends Mai’s soup.
  • The Greek Truck — Amanda recommends this one as the best — look for the gray truck with the TV.

Food trucks: 33rd and Arch Streets
These trucks tend to be more gourmet-style than the Ludlow trucks. The lineup varies throughout the week, but the trucks listed below are the ones most commonly found there.

  • Mac Mart Truck — yes, this truck serves macaroni and cheese. On Twitter at @MacMartTruck.
  • Spotburger — according to some, the best burger near campus. They also serve lobster rolls in the summertime. On Twitter at @Spotburger.
  • Street Food Philly — gourmet world street food. On Twitter at @StFoodPhilly.
  • Say Cheese — serving a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches. On Twitter at @SayCheesePhilly.
  • Ranch Road Tacos — serving up delicious tacos, rice and beans. Thursdays are Burrito Days. On Twitter at @RanchRoadTacos.

Food trucks: other locations

  • La Dominique Crepe Truck: located at 33rd and Market. Recommended by Kristy.
  • Lunch truck in front of the Drexel library (33rd and Market) gets Manfred’s recommendation for their $3.50 meatball hoagies.
  • Sugar Philly Truck: located on 38th between Sansom and Walnut Streets. Recommended by Boris. Schedule posted online at
  • GiGi’s Carribean Food Truck (on 30th between Market and Chestnut) – NMG alum Jonathan Campos recommends this truck for their large jerk chicken platters for less than $10.

Best Cup of Coffee Near Campus

  • The Starbucks in Pearlstein or the Dunkin’ Donuts in 30th Street Station, says Amanda
  • The Green Line Cafe at Powelton and Lancaster, according to Boris
  • La Colombe at 19th and Walnut, says Kristy
  • Savas on Lancaster, according to John

Best Cheap Meal Near Campus

Favorite Bars

  • Mad Mex, says Amanda, because of their HUGE frozen margaritas
  • City Tap House makes Kristy’s list (lots of craft beers)
  • Slainte makes pretty much everyone’s list (close to campus, cheap, good happy hour deals)

Food, Drinks, and Entertainment Throughout the Rest of the City

(It’s okay to leave campus once in a while!)

Bars Off Campus

  • Time, at 1315 Sansom Street, gets a nod from Kristy as a “nightclub, chic bar, and Irish pub all-in-one.”
  • South Philly Taproom always has great beers on draft.
  • Prohibition has good beer selections and great bar food — try the beer-battered green beans. (Don’t expect a fancy establishment. The only sign outside is a neon red one that simply says “BAR”.)
  • El Rey has a pricey dinner menu but an excellent happy hour, with cheap margaritas (including pitchers) and $1 tacos.  (For a late night drink, try the attached speakeasy, the Ranstead Room. Look for the red light and the two RRs outside the door on Ranstead. Be adventurous and let the bartenders create a custom cocktail for you; they’re good at it. Just be prepared not to see anything clearly while you’re there, because the place is really, really dark.)
  • Frankford Hall gets the nod from Manfred for its German beer, german food and awesome outdoor seating. (Take the Market-Frankford line from Drexel)
  • McGillin’s Olde Ale House also gets Manfred’s recommendation for $7 pitchers all day and decent bar food
  • Brasil’s Nightclub gets a recommendation from NMG alum Jonathan Campos for Salsa lessons from 9:30-10:30 and an open dance floor after for a $10 cover on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Cheap Eats Off Campus

  • Phoebe’s BBQ at 22nd and South features (among other things) “Ribs with an Attitude” — and they do delivery. Get a whole chicken meal for $10.
  • The South Street Diner offers cheap dining 24/7.
  • Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop – Manfred throws down the gauntlet and claims this is “by faaaarrrrr the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. All the way up in the Northeast but worth every trip. They also have $6.50 cheesesteaks every Wednesday.”

Free (or cheap) Entertainment

  • The Academy of Natural Sciences: Free for anyone with a Drexel ID; $13 for non-Drexel students. There’s a Drexel Shuttle route that will drop you off and pick you up within a block of the Academy.
  • First Friday: On the first Friday of every month (year round) art galleries in Old City are open to the public for free from 5pm to 9pm. Many host exhibition receptions on First Friday, and a number of street vendors are usually around as well.
  • Fairmount Park: A massive park system made up of more than 9,000 acres of land, featuring trails for walking, hiking, and biking; picnic areas; museums; environmental centers; outdoor concert arenas; ballfields; a disc golf course; and more.
  • Schuylkill Banks: Walk, run, skate, or cycle along the Schuylkill River for more than a mile through the city, then connect to the Kelly Drive path and more of Fairmount Park. Don’t have a bike? Rent one at Boathouse Row. Kayaking on the river is also available (official tours are offered in the warmer months).
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art: Students with University ID get two consecutive days of admission for $14 (regular admission is $20). The first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday after 5pm is “Pay what you wish.” Don’t miss the nearby Rodin Museum, either.
  • Mütter Museum: Initially established as an educational facility for medical students and doctors, the Mütter is now a museum dedicated to being “disturbingly informative,” with a collection including anatomical specimens (slices of Einstein’s brain, the “Soap Lady,” and the liver of “Siamese Twins” Cheng and Eng), models, and medical instruments. Student admission is $10, or get admission to both the Mütter and the Penn Museum for $14.
  • Adventure Aquarium: Though located across the river in Camden, it’s worth the trip. Feeling particularly adventurous? Select one of their Adventure packages, like Swim with the Sharks.  (Going during the warmer months? Take the RiverLink ferry across the Delaware.)
  • Independence National Historic Park: Right in the heart of Philadelphia, visit the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other sites important to the nation’s history. (All park sites are free, but reservations are required to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.)  Discounted student tickets to the nearby National Constitution Center museum are available for $13.
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Museum: Located at 7th and Spring Garden. Free admission.
  • The Chemical Heritage Museum: Located at 3rd and Chestnut. Also offers free admission. Check out their events, too.

Best Concert Venues

  • For classical music (including musicals), Boris suggests the Academy of Music using Community Rush. Discounted tickets go on sale, cash only, just two hours before the show.
  • For large shows, try the Susquehanna Bank Center across the river in Camden.
  • Amanda recommends the TLA on South Street (“Only if you’re into indie music, though!”)
  • Union Transfer is a neat venue inside a former Spaghetti House restaurant.