The Avenue of the Arts is a segment of Broad Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that includes many of the city’s cultural institutions, most notably the theater and museum districts south of City Hall.
The name “Avenue of the Arts” originated in a strategy by former mayor Ed Rendell to redevelop South Broad Street in Center City. The definition has been expanded by city planners under Mayor John F. Street’s administration to encourage further development in North Philadelphia . The Avenue of the Arts is overseen by the non-profit organization Avenue of the Arts, Inc.
Officially, the Avenue of the Arts begins at Broad Street and Glenwood Avenue, north of Temple University, and runs south on Broad to Washington Avenue. Avenue of the Arts South houses many of the city’s esteemed concert halls and theatres, among them the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theatre, Wilma Theatre, and Academy of Music. The University of the Arts’ campus is interspersed with the various theatres and restaurants along this stretch of Broad Street; in fact, several of their buildings, including the Merriam Theatre, are used for high-end productions, often by touring theatre companies. Avenue of the Arts South is widely regarded as one of the most affluent sections of Philadelphia, second perhaps only to Rittenhouse Square.
The Avenue also has several museums and galleries, including the Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). PAFA is America’s oldest art school and museum, founded in 1805, and boasts a distinguished collection of American art.
Several public transportation services provided by SEPTA—including the Broad Street Line, several bus stops, Regional Rail service, Suburban Station and Market East Station, as well as nearby stops of the PATCO Speedline—make the Avenue of the Arts highly accessible to the whole of Philadelphia, as well as to inhabitants also visiting the nearby areas around Center City.