Free Philadelphia

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Free Food[edit]

Food Not Bombs[edit]

Cooking[edit]

Sundays 3:00pm at LAVA, 4134 Lancaster Ave.

Mondays 5:00pm at LAVA, 4134 Lancaster Ave.

Eating[edit]

Sundays at 5:00PM across from the Free Library, Vine Street between 19th and 20th Streets.

Mondays at 7:00PM across from the Free Library, Vine Street between 19th and 20th Streets.

Wednesday in Cedar Park at 5pm , 50th and Baltimore. This is a food SHARING and there is usually not a cooked meal, rather it is left overs from the cooked meals and food donated from various local places.

See here for the Philly FnB events, and here for the main Philly FnB site.

Places to Dumpster-Dive[edit]

Le Bus Bakeries: Everywhere in Philly. Dumpster right after closing every day. Usually 1/2 a ton of bread, and separated out from the rest of the trash too!

Grocery: 13th and Walnut. They keep their trash right out front. High foot traffic area so you need a bit of guts to do it, but tons of gourmet food for free.

DiBruno Bros: Location in CC, Chestnut and 18th Sts? (there is also one in the Italian Market, but I don't have much luck there) Usually picked over, but sometimes nice things to eat.

The Italian Market: S 9th St between Cathrine and Washington Sts. An outdoor market- usually just a mess at the end of the day. Open from about 9 to about 5pm. At 5pm, some places will start giving away bread with even small purchases. Sometimes there is produce left on the side of the streets, but since the quality of food sold here isn't super stellar to begin with, I would usually only cook with finds instead of eating them raw.

Trader Joe's: locations in the suburbs. Usually a car is needed to get out to these places, but they are much safer and have more food than the inner city location does (especially since the compactor... grumble grumble). Same thing goes for Whole Foods which dot the Main Line just north of Philly.

Places NOT to Dumpster-Dive[edit]

Whole Foods @ 10th and South Sts: This location is attached to a police station. They will hassle and/or arrest you.

Trader Joe's @ 21st and Market: There is a compactor there now. It's a shame, that used to be the best resource in the city for food, especially in the winter.

Cheap/Responsible Places to Get Food[edit]

Note: these places aren't necessarily free, but they're still good spots for cheap eats.

Mariposa Food CoOp: between 47th and 48th on Baltimore. Members shopping only after 1st purchace (currently accepting new members!). Buy stuff at awesome bulk prices. Great local produce. NO CASH! Check, money order, credit card and food stamps all accepted. It's rad. [1]

Fu Wah Grocery: 47th and just south of Baltimore Sts. Order a Tofu Hoagie with everything, fills you up for $3.50, and the family that runs the place is super rad rad rad. [2]

Weaver's Way CoOp: I have never been here. Someone else should write about how wonderful it is. [3]

Free Space[edit]

  • The A-Space [4]
  • LAVA [5]
  • The Wooden Shoe Bookstore [6]

Free Medical Care[edit]

These are some ways to get free medical care in the city of Philadelphia

Medical Clinics[edit]

Sexual/Reproductive health[edit]

Planned Parenthood:

The Mazzoni Center: Awesome LGBT support center. Health care, std testing, counseling, smoking cessation groups, etc. [7]

Mental Health[edit]

[please expand]

Transit[edit]

Regional Rail Scam[edit]

If you need to get to/from Philadelphia and it's suburbs, there is a loophole that used to work for the Regional Rail lines. This also sometimes works on the amtrak if you just get on without buying a ticket. It requires you to look kind of clean because the conductors, in general, do not like punks. I also think this is easier if you are a girl and young, but I don't know really.

So basically, get on, and don't have money. That's it. They have fare payment slips that they can write up. You need to have ID so they can write your address down. But there is no record. Septa won't take you to collections for $6. Also easier if you aren't going very far.

The one time it was denied to me (most recently) was when I really didn't have any money and I really needed to get to the suburbs to have surgery at a hospital for a broken bone. I borrowed money from another passenger and paid him back via Paypal, because I wanted him to keep lending money to people. Don't screw over individuals who help you in this way! If you say you will pay them back, pay them back!

You can also get on and off regional rail trains between 30th St, Suburban Station, and Market East without paying, but that only spans 18 blocks. If you are dead dead tired and it will help you, maybe it is worth it, but it has never seemed too useful for me. Be aware however that while this will work more often than not, one is technically supposed to pay a fare between these three center city stations, so conductors can hit you up in this instance too.

Special Septa Fares[edit]

A full list of Fares and special fares is at Septa.org

Septa Senior Fares[edit]

Seniors, age 65 years or older, ride free at all times on bus, trackless trolley, subway, and trolley service. Regional Rail fares vary depending on your final destination. For information about other Senior programs read about CCT Connect. City & Suburban Transit

Bus, subway, trolley and Norristown High Speed Line rides are free at all times for seniors age 65 or older with a valid PA Senior Citizen Transit ID card or Medicare Card, issued by the Social Security Administration Regional Rail rides within the State of Pennsylvania

$1.00 for all seniors with a valid PA Senior Citizen Transit ID Card, Railroad Retirement Annuity Card, or Medicare Card issued by the Social Security Administration Regional Rail rides outside the State of Pennsylvania

Traveling between Center City Philadelphia & New Jersey or Delaware 50% of the regular weekday fare | anytime of travel

Septa Riders with Disabilities[edit]

Riders with disabilities may travel at a discounted rate on all SEPTA services.

Information is also available on Paratransit service from CCT Connect.

City & Suburban Transit | Bus, trolley, subway and Norristown High Speed Line $1.00 | Base fare, anytime $0.50 | Transfers, anytime $0.25 | Transit zone charge, anytime

Remember | Exact fare is necessary at the fare box or cashier booth.

Regional Rail 50% the regular (A) or (B) weekday fare | anytime of travel

Fares apply with a PA Disability Transit ID Card or valid Medicare Card, issued by the Social Security Administration.

Remember | (A) means a ticket purchased in advance, (B) means a ticket purchased from a train conductor

Children's Fares[edit]

Children traveling alone (without a fare-paying adult) are charged regular adult fares.

City & Suburban Transit | Bus, Subway, Trolley and Norristown High Speed Line Free anytime | Up to two children, age 4 or under, traveling with a fare-paying adult Additional children are charged the base fare.

Remember | Exact fare is necessary at the fare box or cashier booth.

Regional Rail Free anytime | Up to two children, age 4 or under, traveling with a fare-paying adult 50% of the (A) or (B) weekday fare | Additional children, traveling with a fare-paying adult

Remember | (A) means a ticket purchased in advance, (B) means a ticket purchased from a train conductor

Bikes and Regional Rail[edit]

The conductors HATE bikes. They will tell you that there can only be 2 bikes per train, NOT 2 bikes per car. It's so sad. There is plenty of room. Here are the rules for bikes on board Regional Rail: Septa.org

Also, any weekday train from 4pm to 6:30pm are considered peak trains (there are times in the morning but I don't know them). Conductors are allowed to refuse bikers service during this time, but it is up to the individual conductor. If you really need to get somewhere I suggest attempting to board only trains with the double doors (I think they are old NJTransit trains, they have large handicapped areas without seats) and board in the back in a door without a conductor watching. If you get on and outside the city, few will have the heart to kick you off once you are on.

None of this applies to you if you have a folding bike. Folding bikes are allowed on at any time.

Also, I was once told to go to the front of the train with my bike, then the back, then the front. There was a woman with a baby pram there. I had to contort the bike into a smaller, non-cargo seat. It was annoying, but they still let me on, which was awesome cause they could have kicked me off.

Buying Tokens[edit]

Septa costs $2.00/trip with $0.75 transfers. Tokens cost $1.45 each (2-packs - $2.90, 5-packs - $7.25, 10-packs - $14.50) It is much better to buy tokens. Unfortunately, the people in the booths don't have access to change, and the machines are in very few places! [[8]] has a list of places that you can buy tokens and passes. They are usually where the suits are.

Internet/Computer Access[edit]

Places with computers[edit]

The Satellite Cafe: Baltimore and 50th. Paper on the compy says 15 minute limit. Also free wiFi (open network "DrinkMoreCoffee" haha.) In the same building as a microbrewery, a worker-owned bike shop, and a sliding-scale accupuncture office. [9][10]

Wooden Shoe Books: Between South and Lombard Sts on 5th. Anarchist book store, Free computer. Near a totally gross, icky, wasteland of capitalism (south street). [11]

Philadelphia Free Library: Main branch is at 19 and Vine, but there are locations all over the area. Great air conditioning, I practically lived there last summer. The only problem is you have to prove that you live, work, go to school, or have other 'significant' buisness in the City of Philadelphia to get a library card. The best way is to borrow or fake a university ID from the area, and claim you just moved for school, and are waiting for your Drivers Liscence from PA. Say something how the library is much more organized than the DMV if you think they will go for it. This works pretty well if you have an out of state accent, or you look really young, like a college Freshman.

You need a library card to sign up to use the computers (it works on a reservation system, which means you can't always get on right away). This means they can track your usage easily. Also, there is a 1 hour limit per library account, per day. [12]

Places with free WiFi Access[edit]

The Satellite Cafe: Baltimore and 50th. See listing above for details.

Bicycle Repair[edit]

The Divine Bicycle Church @ the basement of St. Mary's: 40th and Locust Walk on University of Penn's Campus. Opened Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6:30-9pm for regular business, Saturdays from 3-6pm during the summer, and Wednesdays from 6:30-9pm for women and trans-folk.

What the bike church is- An educational Co-Operative, access to borrow free tools, and volunteer advice, get used parts for super super cheap, get old, reliable, complete and 'minimal repair needed' bikes for good deals, a safe space for those needing help in the realm of bikes and other things in Philadelphia. A place to donate bike things you don't use anymore.

What the bike church is not- A bike shop, a place to steal tools from, somewhere to get someone else to do your dirty work, a place to meet dates, a place to get super sick awesome new bikes for cheap, a place to fix bikes an make money off of us by selling them later.

Advice to new comers- please be friendly, we will be friendly back. Remember we are donating our time to you and your bike! In the summer, unless the weather is wicked bad, we will ALWAYS be busy. ALWAYS. If you need something for sure, either call ahead to see if we can help, or be there right at 6:30. We cannot guarantee to get you rolling by the next day, and you may need to store your bike until we can fix it together. If it is busy, please do not be afraid to try something on your own, there are not enough people to watch over everybody at all times. [13]

Play[edit]

The Arts[edit]

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a pay what you wish policy all day on Sundays, now that may not be Free, but for some pocket change you can experience some great artwork and historical displays. If you can acquire, fake, or borrow a Temple University student ID, flash it at the desk and tell them that you go to Tyler School of Art. You can get in for free any day of the week. I've never tried this with anyone's ID other than my own, but I doubt they really pay that much attention to the picture on it and every Temple ID looks the same, regardless of the college that the student is enrolled in, so this will work with anyone's ID. This may also work at other art museums in the city or allow you to get a discount. I haven't tried anywhere else.

Penn's Landing is a great place for free music. It is officially publicly-owned land on the central waterfront. There is a regular schedule of every type of music, and occasional festivals, and a great place to watch the cities fireworks over the Delaware River.

History[edit]

Philadelphia is the home of the Declaration of Independence and where the first American revolutionaries gathered to fight the government. At the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market St, you can find a lot about the history of the country, and info on local sights, many of which are free.

Undergound Newspaper[edit]

The Defenestrator[edit]

A radical newspaper covering local struggles and other stuff. [14]

The City Paper[edit]

The city paper is more alternative then truly underground. It is a Free Weekly newspaper that is distributed through Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. From it's about page "It is a regional newspaper serving the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, its suburbs and southern New Jersey. Specific numeric breakdown by ZIP code is available." [15]

Philadelphia Weekly[edit]

See above description of the City Paper. They are basically the same thing. [16]