27 S Bank St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Twice a week on “College Thursdays” and “Sexy Saturdays,” you can enter and party the night away at Club 27 as long as you’re 18 years old. There are three floors of excitement with a live DJ on the second floor on both nights, so Club 27’s middle level is very popular with the under 21 crowd. A place to dance, socialize and mingle, this spot tops the list for those who won’t be drinking. If you show up a little early, there’s a reduced cover, so your night of dancing will last longer and cost a little less.
Woody’s Bar & Restaurant
202 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Price: $10 Cover, Wednesdays
College Wednesdays at Woody’s are 18 to enter and 21 to drink, but both age groups have an equal chance to rock out on the second level dance floor. The underagers come in through their own entrance and get the full club experience, from good beats to lighting special effects and a fog machine. It’s a sweaty, bumping, packed dance floor that has all the merits of a club, yet allows a younger age group in just one day a week. As far as places to go for dancing before hitting the legal drinking age, Woody’s is the place to be on Wednesday nights, right up until 2 a.m.
First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
2125 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Price: Tickets are between $8-$15
While it may seem odd at first that a top hangout for the underage crowd is at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, it’ll make perfect sense once you attend a concert there. In addition to services and cultural events, a stage in the basement of the church regularly serves as a venue for R5 Productions, a DIY agency promoting smaller, all-ages shows in the City of Brotherly Love. With a wide range of artists and bands to choose from, you can see anything from harpists to punk-rock bands amid a packed house here. It’s an intimate venue that people of all ages can enjoy, but the high energy shows attract the underagers with their varied music genres, basement acoustics and cheap admission prices.
1200 S Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Price: $2.50 – $3.50 per game, plus $3 shoe rental if needed
Open every day of the week for all ages fun, the PEP Bowl is so popular that they recommend you call ahead to reserve a lane. For those who don’t want to stop, you can keep repacking the pins until midnight on Fridays and 1 a.m. on Saturdays. After you’ve rented your shoes for a meager $3, proceed to bowl to your hearts content at a very cheap rate, from $2.50 to $3.50 a game. Along with the low rate to play, it’s BYO as far as food, music and nonalcoholic beverages, so a night at PEP Bowl won’t drain your wallet with or without a purchase from the snack bar. Your money will even go toward a good cause; the PEP is actually a nonprofit corporation that educates and helps those with developmental disabilities learn skills for employment. In addition to open bowling, the retro lanes offer special event reservations, birthday parties and leagues for any age kid.
219 S 17th St.
Philadelphia PA 19103
Whether after a night rocking out at a concert, dancing at a club or bowling strikes, the only place to go for the youth “in the know” is Little Pete’s. Good for breakfast, a late night snack or just to hang out, this 24-hour diner offers something for everybody. With very reasonable prices and a Center City location, this joint attracts those who can’t hit up an after-hours club or house party in droves. Expect a crowded and lively atmosphere until the wee hours of the morning. But this place is cash only though, so in order to get your milkshake, make sure not to spend all your money on sodas!
Lindsay Lewis is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.