Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Spring Garden to the Italian Market

You’ll probably end up in places you never expected along this bike ride, which, in just four right turns, brings you from Spring Garden to Columbus Boulevard to Christian Street, drops you smack in the middle of the Italian Market, and then lures you up 22nd to meet Spring Garden again. Take this ride on an empty belly!

Terrain

This ride is flatter than flat! There is a mix of bicycle lanes and on-road riding as you wander about the city.

Traffic

Spring Garden and 22nd Street have a steady stream of traffic, but you will be nestled in bike lanes on these roads (of course, their well worn lines do have a tendency to give encore-worthy disappearing acts from time to time). Columbus Boulevard has high traffic. It isn’t perfect, but it is a relatively fast road for north – south bicycle travel.

Access

Buses 7, 43, and 48 will get you close to 22nd and Spring Garden, which is near the Art Museum. There is also ample street parking in the Fairmount neighborhood.

Food and Drink

Oh have your pick! There are loads of eateries on Second and Third Street north of Spring Garden, the best Pho in the city south of Christian on 11th and Washington, and a number of lovely cafés along 22nd Street. Plus, you’ll be riding through the Italian market!

Side Trip

The Mummers Museum, dedicated to the Philly-specific celebration of the New Year, is in stiff competition for the quirkiest spot in the city. The wild and colorful collection of memorabilia and costumes is housed on Second and Washington, just south of Christian.

 

More Details

The best thing about this loop is the variety of neighborhoods you’ll visit along the way. Allow plenty of time for all the stops you’ll want to make – the route edges by Fairmount, Northern Liberties, South Street, Queen Village, Italian Market, Graduate Hospital, and Fitler Square. You’ll pass a few museums as well – the Independence Seaport Museum (maritime history), the Mummers Museum (name says it all), and the Mutter Museum (believe it or not anomalies).

Traffic depends on what time of day you pedal. As always in the city, be on the lookout for potholes, disappearing bike lanes, and scattered glass. Starting out on the Spring Garden bike lanes, you’ll see a couple of works by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (there are over 2,800 in the city!). One of particular interest is the Pedal Thru mural on Second and Spring Garden, a 300 foot slice depicting a bicycle rolling through Philadelphia. Northern Liberties is just north of this mural and can be accessed via Third Street. The turn on Columbus Boulevard may seem intimidating, but the bike lanes will offer some extra space for you to ride (and traffic on Columbus, which runs along the Delaware River, can be surprisingly light midday).

You’ll pass boats, bridges, piers and the Independence Seaport Museum. There is also a pedestrian entrance to South Street from Columbus if you’d like to meander through Bella Vista. Shortly after the right on Christian you’ll come across the Italian Market, the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the country. The market runs along Ninth Street and, due to its specific blend of cultures, vendors and products, it provides visitors with a uniquely Philadelphian experience. It is most definitely worth a stroll.

As you make the final right turn on 22nd Street, you will pick up another set of bike lanes. Keep a heads up - there are a couple of nasty potholes on this street. Follow 22nd through Graduate Hospital and Fitler Square before crossing JFK and meeting Spring Garden. The slight hill after JFK will keep your legs pumping all the way to the end of the ride.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start out heading east on the Spring Garden bike lanes.
  • 0.7 Cross Broad St.
  • 1.0 The Spaghetti Warehouse has a photo booth! Stop and take some fun shots.
  • 2.0 Make a right on Columbus Blvd (some portions of the bike lanes may long for a paint touch up). Pass Festival Pier – a popular spot for concerts in the summer.
  • 3.1 Pass the Independence Seaport Museum.
  • 3.3 Pass the pedestrian entrance to South St.
  • 3.8 Make a right onto Christian St at the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church. Christian is just south of Catharine and just north of Washington. No bike lanes on Christian.
  • 3.9 Make a left on Second St if headed to the Mummers Museum.
  • 4.2 John’s Water Ice is on the right – an excellent summer treat.
  • 4.6 The Italian Market on Ninth and Christian.
  • 5.7 Make a right on 22nd St to pick up the bike lanes. The Sidecar is on this corner - good food and an excellent beer list.
  • 6.0 Cross South St, pass through Fitler Square.
  • 6.5 Cross Walnut St and pass the Mutter Museum to your right.
  • 7.0 Cross Vine St and JFK Blvd. The bike lanes magically disappear for a few feet and reappear after JFK. There is a lot of traffic here. Stoplights and wide sidewalks with very few pedestrians will help you along.
  • 7.4 Up one little hill, and you’re back on Spring Garden.
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    11.784 km / 7.322 mi

    Total Distance

    88 m / 289 ft

    Total Ascent

    87 m / 284 ft

    Total Descent

    24 m / 78 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: All
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 7.4
    Elevation Gain: 40
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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