Translating to “beautiful sight,” Bella Vista was the first Philly neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants.
The original heritage informs much of what exists today, but the family-oriented residential pocket has blossomed into a fascinating microcosm of South Philadelphia itself.
Bella Vista’s best-known feature is the Italian Market,
the oldest operational open-air hub of its kind in America. Welcoming the presence of other cultures has helped the area grow into much more than the sum of its once-monocultural parts. This historic market stretches along Ninth Street, from Wharton Street north to Fitzwater Street.
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First established in the late 19th century by Italian immigrants, the Market has grown in more recent years to feature many Latino-and Asian-owned businesses that harmonize with Ninth Street’s beloved institutions, peddling coffee, cheese, meat, pasta, sandwiches, produce and much more. The South Philadelphia neighborhood has much to offer visitors, but its greatest asset might be its staggering roster of dining options, from city best brunch spots to late-night ethnic explorations.
Bella Vista is minutes from SEPTA’s north-south Broad Street subway line. Two bus lines, the 47 and the 23, run straight through the neighborhood. Many residents prefer to walk and bike the tidy, foliage-topped streets. Like adjacent Queen Village, finding street parking is often a frustrating task; lucky, then, that Bella Vista’s centralized coordinates make it easy to access without a car.