The SEPTA (Orange) Broad Street Line
The Broad Street Line, which dates back to 1928, connects North and South Philadelphia. At 12.5 miles (roughly 20 km), the subway line transports more than 120,000 passengers daily. Here are some important things to see, eat, and do along the Broad Street Line as well as the corresponding stops.
MUTA KOREAN BBQ & KARAOKE
American Swedish Historical Museum
Lombard South Station
City Hall Station
Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
Do Like Anthony Bourdain and Start Your Day with a bowl of Pho
If you’re heading east on Washington from the Ellsworth-Federal Broad Street Line station, Pho 75 is the first Vietnamese restaurant you’ll see. It’s located at the northwest corner of Wing Phat Plaza (12th and Washington), which is home to dozens of Asian shops and smaller restaurants. This is where Anthony Bourdain stopped while filming for Season 2 (Episode 9) of The Layover.
They open daily at 9 AM, so you can eat breakfast there and still have most of the morning to explore. Their menu is basic with drinks, a handful of desserts and 17 different versions of Vietnam’s most beloved culinary export. After you choose the right combo of paper-thin meat cuts you want in your bowl, your pho noodle soup will likely show up in less time than it takes to cool off. The whole ordeal should take less than thirty minutes.
It makes sense to get the large pho as it’s only seventy cents extra. Everything on the menu is under $10. Drinks and desserts are all $3 and under. Pho 75 is cash only and not vegetarian-friendly. If you insist on using your card and/or displeasing the ghost of Anthony Bourdain by not eating meat, there are dozens of other options within one block.
Read more about Southeast Asian restaurants in Philly here.
Nearest Subway Station: Ellsworth-Federal
Learn About New Sweden at the American Swedish Historical Museum
Despite Scandinavian culture being more prevalent in the Midwestern United States, Philly is home to the oldest Swedish museum in the country. To learn about the 17th-century, pre-United States colony of New Sweden, take the Broad Street Line south to the last stop and check out the American Swedish Historical Museum.
Opened in 1926 (the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence), the American Swedish Historical Museum celebrates Swedish contributions to the new world. The 20,000 square foot interior houses 12 galleries, the most fascinating of which depict the daily lives of Swedish colonists and tell the story of how they arrived in America. The main building is modeled after a 17th-century Swedish manor house. If you’ve seen Stockholm’s city hall, the copper cupola on top of the building may look familiar.
Nearest Subway Station: NRG
Stroll Through FDR Park
The Swedish American Historical Museum is conveniently located at the northern tip of FDR Park, which is a 348-acre multi-purpose park which once hosted Lollapalooza. Whether you’re into baseball, boat racing, soccer, tennis or skateboarding, you’ll find something to keep you entertained, even if it’s only as a spectator. There are also less strenuous activities on offer in the park like bird watching, golf, and fishing in Meadow Lake. There are multiple picnic areas and during some weekends, locals set up an impromptu food market on the grass.
Nearest Subway Station: NRG
Relive Adonis and Bianca’s First Date at Max’s Steaks
If City Hall is the center of Philadelphia, then most visitors tend to either head south for sporting events or east for bars and restaurants as well as entertainment venues and historic sites. Instead of waiting in line with other tourists at Geno’s or Pat’s, save that for another trip, and head to Max’s Steaks in North Philly for lunch. If you’ve seen Creed, this is where the first date that’s not a date takes places between Adonis and Bianca. He tries his first Philly cheesesteak and learns what a jawn is in this North Philadelphia landmark, that’s just three miles north of the apartment building they lived in.
Read more about Rocky and Creed locations in Philly here.
Nearest Subway Station: Erie
Uncover Some of The Secrets of Freemasonry at Philadelphia’s Masonic Temple
After your obligatory Philly Cheesesteak, head back downtown to tour the most grandiose Masonic Temple in the Americas. The Freemasons are the oldest fraternal organization in the world and they claimed 13 of the 56 founders who signed the Declaration of Independence as well as 14 former United States Presidents.
One hour tours are available at the top of the hour Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM. The bulk of your time will be spent touring seven different courtroom-like lodge rooms, all of which will make you feel small. The tour can seem a bit rushed, but regardless, it’s a fascinating look into one of the most influential organizations of the past 300-plus years.
Tours end in the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, which houses thousands of texts and artifacts in a small compact room with an adjacent gift shop. Some of the more notable objects include George Washington’s Masonic Apron as well as a statue of him kneeling in prayer. There’s also a bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin who was another well-known member.
Nearest Subway Station: City Hall
Immerse Yourself in Mosaic Art at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Just two stops south of City Hall on the Broad Street Line, South Street is one of the most lively and quirky streets in Philadelphia. Magic Gardens is one of the most popular non-sports attractions in South Philly. Local Mosaic artist, Isaiah Zagar is the mastermind behind this non-profit amalgamation of bicycle wheels, glass bottles, ceramics, and more. You can see his work for free at various points along South Street between Broad and Front Streets.
Be sure to get your tickets to Magic Gardens online as they tend to sell out, especially in the warmer months. Walk-ups are often turned away at the door. You’ll likely see dozens of them on the sidewalk posing in front of the gardens.
Nearest Subway Station: Lombard South
Eat Korean BBQ and Practice Your Karaoke Skills in Olney
While Korean food is omnipresent in North Philly and many of its suburbs, there’s a combination Korean BBQ restaurant/arcade with private karaoke rooms just outside the Olney station along the Broad Street line. You can have a Korean experience without crossing the Pacific at MUTA Korean BBQ & Karaoke. On your way to the dining room, you’ll pass through a hotel reception-like area with a mini-arcade. In the main dining room, K-pop videos play on the big screen TV. First, order dinner from the extensive menu. If you have at least two people in your party, you can do the traditional Korean BBQ, where you grill your own meat and vegetables at the table. If not, you can still order anything on the menu, but it will be prepared in the kitchen and then brought to your table.
After dinner, you can play some video games or head straight to one of the private karaoke rooms, known to Koreans as noraebang (노래방, norae meaning to sing, bang meaning room). You can rent an entire room for $35/hour regardless of the number in your party. If you don’t quite have the courage to sing, you can get beer or traditional Korean drinks like soju (소주) to help you muster up the courage to explore your inner K-pop star.
Read more about Korean BBQ here.
Nearest Subway Station: Olney
Things to Know about the Broad Street Line
- Subway lines run from midnight to 5 AM during the week and 24 hours on weekends.
- When the subway lines are not running, they are replaced by the Owl Bus.
- With the exception of the two northernmost stops, the Broad Street Line runs underground.
- You should still have cell phone service even when you are underground.
- Broad Street Line trains run every 8-12 minutes during the week and every 12-15 minutes on weekends.
- One-way tickets are $2.50 cash or $2 if you have a SEPTA Key Card.
- You can buy 8 rides (must be within one calendar day) for $9 with a One Day Convenience Pass, so if you plan to use the subway more than four times in a single day, it’s best to buy/load the pass.