By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Adjacent to the second busiest train station in the country, The Porch at 30th Street is viewed as one of the most creative and animated public spaces in Philadelphia. It offers everything from great food to a plethora of free entertainment.
“It’s a really wonderful, kind of urban oasis right outside of 30th Street Station,” says Lori Brennan, Marketing and Communications Director for the University City District, “offering lovely plantings, moveable tables, chairs and umbrellas for shade so that people can hang out outside while they wait for their train or as they’re commuting from University City to Center City and vice versa, and then enjoy the programming that we supplement on top of that in this lovely outdoor space.”
Brennan says this is the third year of programming at The Porch. She says each year they look to build upon past successes. With thousands of passers-by each day, the popularity of the food trucks should come as no surprise.
“We have expanded that program to offer food options five days a week. That looks like lunch service Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and breakfast and lunch service Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Brennan says. “We’re really excited about hosting some trucks that are new to Philadelphia, some trucks that have been around a while but are new to The Porch, and then bringing back some of our old favorites.”
In addition to the food offerings, Brennan says another popular program is free outdoor fitness classes.
“We partner with Bodyrock Bootcamp, which is a local fitness shop on Lancaster Avenue,” she says. “Nate (Mcintyre) comes out every Thursday at 6 p.m. and does one of three different types of classes, totally free. Zumba, Bokwa and Bootcamp are offered. It’s basically a great chance to do a free workout in a cool, outdoor environment.”
And, if you’re a fan of live music, The Porch offers a great opportunity each week to listen to some of Philly’s rising stars.
“We have a great partnership with WXPN where we’re bringing back WXPN Local Wednesdays at the Porch,” Brennan says. “The first Wednesday of every month, beginning in April and running through October, we’ll be hosting live music from Philly’s up and coming rising stars. Singer-song writers, some of them acoustic, some of them amplified, but really artists that WXPN is proud to present and sort of help bring up through the ranks of the music scene in Philadelphia. And we’re offering them another venue to showcase their talents.”
For those who enjoy the arts, Brennan says one of the most unique components added this year is a second round of funding received from the William Penn Foundation to support cultural programming at The Porch.
“This idea came from the fact that we view this space as really key to the city of Philadelphia, she says. “It’s extremely visible and it’s a great place for arts organizations all over the city and the region to be able to showcase themselves and to get the word out about who they are and what they do.”
And, if you’re watching your wallet…no worries. To enjoy yourself at The Porch, the only thing you’ll need to spend is a little of your time.
“All the events that we produce at The Porch are free for everyone, accessible to anyone,” Brennan says. “We encourage you all to come out.”
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