Is Union Transfer in Philadelphia worth a special trip?
September 29, 2011 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Philly folks: I'm looking for information about the new Union Transfer music venue. What's it like? And can you recommend someplace nearby to stay?

I'm contemplating making a special trip from NYC to see Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings play Union Transfer in Philly. I'm already planning to see them two days later at Beacon Theater in Manhattan, but - what can I say. I'm a little obsessed. Have you been to Union Transfer? How is it, as venues go? Sound? Sight-lines? I'd be most inclined to make the trip if seeing them there would afford a different concert-going experience than the more staid, sit-down environment of Beacon Theater.

Sub-question: I thought about returning to NYC the same night after the show, but it does not look like the public transit options will cooperate. Any recommendations for a relatively inexpensive place to stay that is convenient to the venue?

posted by messica to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never been to the venue. If you stay for the night, you'll want to stay within walking distance, but Center City isn't likely to be very cheap. The other thing is don't look north of there for a hotel. Look south of Vine Street (like around here) -- it's a lot safer. I'd say just go on or something and keep your search within a half mile radius. There are some hotels around 12th/13th and Race that are within walking distance and possibly reasonably priced.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:31 AM on September 29, 2011

Never been there (but actually was at the obnoxious Spaghetti Warehouse that was in the space previously), just seconding DoubleLune on staying south of Vine St, the Callowhill area is a little sketchy.
posted by tremspeed at 11:50 AM on September 29, 2011

Good to know, thank you both.
posted by messica at 1:03 PM on September 29, 2011

There's a brief video tour of Union Transfer here.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:03 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

So hotels: there aren't many or any to the north, east, or west of Union Transfer. The bulk of them are in Center City, to the south, and the closest will be the ones around the Convention Center (which spans Arch to Race, 11th to Broad). There are a number right around there; I just Pricelined the Marriott at 12th and Market for ~$100 per night (Center City zone, 3+ stars). Without Priceline, your options for that price are more limited, but there are lots of hotels within an easy cab ride of UT. Which is good, because as TremSpeed said, the area between UT and Center City is sketchy at night. It's poorly lit, unpopulated (read: deserted) light industrial area. Not like you're going to get shot for sure if you go there, but it wouldn't be a comfortable walk for sure. There's active work going on to gentrify and repopulate the area, but that's years off, unfortunately.
posted by The Michael The at 5:12 AM on September 30, 2011

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