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Be a better Philadelphia citizen

One of the founding tenets of The Philadelphia Citizen is to get people the resources they need to become better, more engaged citizens of their city.

We hope to do that in our Good Citizenship Toolkit, which includes a host of ways to get involved in Philadelphia — whether you want to contact your City Councilmember to voice your support for small businesses, get those experiencing homelessness the goods they need, or simply go out to dinner somewhere where you know your money is going toward a greater good.

Find an issue that’s important to you in the list below, and get started on your journey of A-plus citizenship.

Vote and strengthen democracy

Stand up for marginalized communities

Create a cleaner, greener Philadelphia

Help our local youth and schools succeed

Support local businesses


More Local Music

Artists to improve your drive

The classics

Dr. Dog
Not many bands can capture the unique nostalgia of growing older in Philly quite like Dr. Dog. From psychedelic ballads about an evening on Baltimore Ave. on Shame, Shame to more swingy indie hits on Abandoned Mansions, Dr. Dog’s discography has something for whatever mood you’re in.

Jill Scott
The iconic singer, songwriter, model, poet, actress — and North Philly native  — is the R&B glue that holds your Philly playlist together. Let her buttery voice, backed by slow-tempo instrumentals, melt away your traffic woes.

The Roots
Chances are you’re already well-versed on these guys. Their funky hip hop surprisingly paired with a jazz quartet works so well that they’ve been the official house band of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon since 2009, host the city’s best musical Picnic, and stay involved in local life as much as international superstars can. Listen to the band’s legendary emcee Black Thought talk about the saving power of art at our Ideas We Should Steal Festival.

Get in your feels

Slaughter Beach, Dog
Frontman Jake Ewald keeps it simple with relaxed melodies and lyrics. His specific flavor of emo music is calmer, maybe even more introspective than his angsty days playing music in basements in Powelton Village with the now defunct Philly pop-punk staple, Modern Baseball.

Sometimes you just need a good cry. Philadelphia-based indie singer-songwriter Zoe Allaire Reynolds’ airy voice and gentle harmonies can guide you through any icky feelings and leave you feeling empowered.

Japanese Breakfast
If a longer commute has officially propelled you into sad girl summer, add this ultimate pop diva to your playlist. Japanese breakfast takes cutesy coming-of-age bubblegum pop and transforms it into its edgier cousin: bubblegrunge.

Get the blood flowing

Tierra Whack
The North Philadelphian should basically add “comedian” to her resume at this point. Her lyrics are witty, at times scathing — and full of female empowerment. She’s bizarre, brightly colored and always badass — the perfect Philly girl.

Hop Along
Got a lot of pent-up traffic rage? Why not channel that energy into screaming along to some music? Guitarist/Vocalist Frances Quinlan leads the band with their signature raspy voice. Think Janis Joplin mixed with a classic 2010s indie band.

Maybe you’ve seen them jamming on their brass instruments at Rittenhouse, Porchfest, Passyunk or a Sixers game. This rapidly hurtling toward stardom funk brass band inspires heart-pumping dance moves and brings the party with them wherever they go.

How to Make the I-95 Detour Not Suck (As Much)

Traffic is gonna be bad for a while. Here’s help making your way up and down the interstate more tolerable — and maybe even … fun?

How to Make the I-95 Detour Not Suck (As Much)

Traffic is gonna be bad for a while. Here’s help making your way up and down the interstate more tolerable — and maybe even … fun?

The horrible, terrible, no-good drive up and down I-95 just got worse thanks to June 11’s bridge collapse in Northeast Philly. And, although the Aramingo-to-Cottman portion of the interstate should reopen in some fashion shockingly soon, traffic is unlikely to get better soon. According to city and state officials, the full rebuild could take months.

Take heed! We here at The Philadelphia Citizen are your partners in stress management, here for you with some short-term solutions for this longish-term problem.

First: Before you hop back behind the wheel, consider taking SEPTA instead. SEPTA has added extra rush-hour trains to its Trenton line and more capacity to its Fox Chase and West Trenton lines. (Although our beleaguered transit agency ain’t perfect, trains almost never get stuck in traffic jams.)

Speaking of traffic, Penndot has been doing a pretty bang-up job of keeping us up-to-date on ongoing detours. Briefly, though, if you’re heading south, you’re supposed to exit I-95 at Cottman and head down State Road to the I-95 South entrance. If you’re heading north, exit at Aramingo and head along Tacony Street to New State Road and the I-95 North entrance. Of course, some drivers are taking more creative routes, like heading to NJ and back into PA.

Meanwhile, here are some ways to make the ride less horrible — maybe even unexpectedly delightful? — while supporting local creatives and businesses.

(Pro tip: If a police barricade blocks you from your destination, just let the folks in blue know you’re heading to Sweet Lucy’s, or Little Susie’s, or Bonk’s Bar… and they’ll let you through.)

Grab breakfast and / or lunch

From left: Susie’s Pies, Riverwards Produce, Reanimator Coffee.

Mister Chubby’s, Holmesburg
8312 State Road
Open Monday–Friday from 4:15am to 3pm, Saturday from 4:15 to 11am
For 27-and-a-half years, this all-day breakfast spot has served amazing French toast, grilled cheesesteaks, fried Buffalo chicken sandwiches, BLTs, and bacon, egg and cheeses — and they’re not gonna stop for some interstate issue. Chubby’s offers free local delivery — from before dawn, on.

Gryphon Coffee Co., Kensington
100 W. Oxford Street
Open daily from 7am weekdays, 8am weekends
Because an egg sandwich and cortado (or kombucha, or a mocha) always make everything better. Also healing: Avocado toast, mushroom panini, a prosciutto and Brie sandwich, maybe a bacon and fig grilled cheese — all available to order online.

Little Susie’s Coffee & Pie, Port Richmond
2532 E. Lehigh Avenue (at Belgrade)
Open daily, 7am to 2pm
A sweet — blueberry, cherry, glazed cherry, apple — and / or a savory — chicken pot; mushroom and Swiss; and … pork roll, American cheese, spicy mustard! — scratch-made pie ($4.50-$6) will cure what ails ya. Drinks, too: La Colombe coffees, cold iced tea, lemonade, and, as the menu says, “wooder.” Order online.

Reanimator Coffee, Port Richmond
3118 Richmond Street
Open Monday–Friday from 7:30am to 2:30pm; Saturday–Sunday from 8am to 2:30pm
Sleek and serene, this spot just might entice you to have a seat and sip that single-origin roast before you clamber back into your hoopty and hit the busy road.

Pick up groceries

Riverwards Produce, Fishtown
2200 E. Norris Street (just off Frankford Ave.)
Open daily, from 8am to 8pm
Grab some fresh fruit to tide you over on the ride, some flowers to pretty it up or many other of the local treats as this fancy farm stand off the highway.

Have a sit-down meal — or takeout

Why fight traffic when you can cop a squat and dig into some locally-made dinner until it dies down?

From left: Kielbasa cheesesteak from Gaul & Co. Malt House, Byrne’s Tavern, Sweet Lucy’s barbecue.

Bonk’s Bar, Port Richmond
3467 Richmond Street
Open daily from 11am
Anchoring crab alley, this corner tavern is nothing fancy, but it so does the trick. On the menu: steamed in-season crabs, fried pickles, other classic bar fare, relatively refined beers (plus the kind you serve in buckets), and Friday night karaoke. Yeah, boyee!

Byrne’s Tavern, Port Richmond
3301 Richmond Street (at Allegheny)
Open daily from 11am
Founded in 1978 and still feeling delightfully so, this workaday pub is known for its crabs, chicken wings, potato logs, potato pierogi and cold beer. Bonus: Parking.

Gaul & Co. Malt House, Port Richmond
2619 E. Indiana Avenue
Open from 11am weekdays; 9am weekends
The home of the Wit-or-Witowski kielbasa cheesesteak is not at all the worst place to be stuck during happy hour time. Although they’re open for lunch — $6 hot roast beef, burger, chicken parm, other sandwich specials on weekdays! — you’ll probably want to go for an early supper, when oysters are buck-a-shuck and craft beers — which you may have exactly one of, driver — are on special.

Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse, Holmesburg
7500 Street Road
Daily from 11am to 8pm (until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays)
Their street might be closed, but Sweet Lucy’s is open — and instruct you to call them at (215) 333-9663 for help getting there. The rustic, hickory-smoked, melt-in-yo-mouth pulled pork or brisket alone is worth the effort. Note: Treat yourself to the bread pudding, but take it easy on the sweet tea.

Check out these local podcasts

From left: Conrad Benner, Michael Nutter, Jason Kelce.
  • Shameless plug for The Philadelphia Citizen’s How to Really Run a City. Two legendary former mayors — Philly’s Michael Nutter and Atlanta’s Kasim Reed — join Citizen Co-founder Larry Platt and urban problem-solvers from around the country for the show Bloomberg named to its list of “10 city-related podcasts to add to your playlist.”
  • No time like the present to jump in to Dan Drago’s 25 O’Clock, the long-running Philly music podcast. Start with Episode #277, Summer ’23 music playlist.
  • Everyone’s favorite Eagle and his … less loved, real-life, Super Bowl-winning brother (what’s his name again?) are endlessly entertaining in their New Heights with Jason & Travis Kelce.
  • Your detour may take you past some amazing street art you’ve not noticed before. Jump all in with Conrad Benner’s popular StreetsDept podcast for interviews with local artists.

Listen to your local summer read

From left: You Were Always Mine, Sink, My Broken Language.
  • You Were Always Mine‘s Jo Piazza, Philly-based author and podcaster (she created The Citizen’s Philly Under Fire) and Christine Pride have co-authored their second novel, which the Associated Press says “tee[s] up the possibility for raw and thought-provoking discussions that go deep.”
  • My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes — co-author of In the Heights — was the 2022 One Book, One Philadelphia read. If you missed it then, or even if you read it with your eyes, listening to the author tell her melodic story of growing up Puerto Rican in Philadelphia is a must.
  • Sink, Joseph Earl Thomas’s fictionalized memoir of his tough coming of age in North Philadelphia, is also narrated by the author, which makes the story come alive as you drive through Philadelphia.

Rock out, Philly-style

From left: Patti LaBelle, Questlove, Jill Scott.

Breathe. Literally.

Read these before you get in the car. Practice when you feel road rage coming on.

Good luck and godspeed, Citizens.

Know a biz near the I-95 collapse that could use a boost? Let us know!

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