Fifty in Philly


Angelique Frazier ’20, Leslie Quan ’22, Olivia Reilly ’23, & Steph Wengler ’23

Video: Leslie Quan ’22
Explore University City in Philadelphia with only $50 to spend.

Most students who attend Saint Joseph’s University are from the greater Philadelphia area, or within 2 hours of campus. The other majority is still from the East Coast, and the minority has traveled longer distances. Many students who are from the suburbs have never been exploring in the many parts of the city. Most have only visited the city hall area, or the shopping district. Philadelphia has many hidden gems to explore for a low cost. It is understood that college students normally have no money to throw around for the day, in respect for that we will be showing you cheap ways to get the most bang for your buck in University City. 

A short 17 minute drive from Saint Joe’s can put you right in the heart of University City (U City) in Philadelphia. U City is home of the Drexel Dragons and University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Quakers. Both campuses’ provide a different dynamic that is fun to explore for the day. Walking around is both free and fun to see the other students live on their campuses, also a plus if you have friends that go to these universities, you can pay them a visit! Sometimes, you can catch a football game at UPenn on a Saturday for as low as $11.50 for a game.

If sporting events are not how you want to break your budget, a great free place to visit is Philadelphia’s park in the sky. Cira Green is located right in the heart of this district. Though a weather dependent activity, you will not be disappointed on the amazing views if you can get up there on a clear day. Planning on going at night? Cira Green features free movie screenings in the parks on Saturday nights. If you’re in the mood to grub while you watch, Sunset Social, a popular burger joint is located in the park for a reasonably priced burger that gains high reviews. Offering veggie options, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Cira Green food area also includes a bar for the over twenty one students enjoying the park around happy hour. Around UPenn and Drexel there are many other bars and places to hang out if nightlife is your thing. 

Photo: Leslie Quan ’22
Philadelphia skyline as seen on top of Cira Green.

After a sports event, or a movie on a rooftop, food is all that’s on the brain. University City has some great affordable restaurants with outstanding reviews. A personal favorite of many locals is White Dog Cafe. Located just off of University of Pennsylvania’s campus, White Dog Cafe serves amazing food starting at brunch and going into dinner. White dog is known not just for the amazing food, but also environmental sustainability. It is engaging in the farm to table movement. This is definitely a pricey alternative to grabbing fast food, but it is worth it to lay low in the day enjoying free options, and then opening your wallet for dinner. This on trend restaurant also includes a bar for those visitors of age. 

Wrapping up your fun filled day with $50 can be a difficult task when getting down to the final bills. What goes best with a great meal? Ice cream. Restaurant desserts tend to be pricey, and University City is filled with hip places to get some quality dessert. Hand rolled ice cream was is all the rage on instagram, so why not spice up your social media and grab some at The Creamery. This is located on Walnut street and is a great place to finish off the night. They offer a large variety of flavors in soft serve, and hand rolled ice cream. 

Graphic: Angelique Frazier ’20

Driving back to campus is a breeze as city traffic around 9pm has died down, most people are either in or out for the night so it is no issue taking the highway back. Staying on a budget with the money you earned at a summer job or from a current on campus job can be difficult, but there are ways to do it. Learning your way around the city can open up doors for you and your friends to keep the weekend interesting without spending your entire life savings.

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