Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Right now, I’m sitting at home scrolling through Snapchat and slowly dying on the inside with every “View my Story” I come across. People are sandboarding in New Mexico and relaxing in Cancun, and I am spending spring break vicariously living through ten seconds of others’ adventures and pure bliss.

MjAxMy01MjM2ZjFiMWIxMTU2ZGM1 (1)So if you’re in the same boat as me and have no big plans for break, I totally recommend finding some local places to drive to. That way, you can discover new places and new things to do without having to spend thousands of dollars on airfare and hotels, or hearing, “You’re home for only one week, and you don’t even want to spend it with us!” from your parents (as I did when I told my parents I intended on going to Cusco, Peru, for spring break).

One local place that is a quick drive away and is like nothing you have ever seen before is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, in Philadelphia, PA.

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From the outside, this doesn’t look like anything special. But once you step inside, this place could give Hogwarts a run for its money.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is essentially an outdoor museum created by artist Isaiah Zagar. Zagar’s artwork is heavily influenced by his travels (he visited Peru for three years with the Peace Corps) as well as by personal connections with other artists. After coming back from Peru, Zagar settled in Philadelphia and began creating public art and murals using non-traditional objects such as bicycle wheels, empty glass bottles, and handmade tiles. He and his wife devoted themselves to revitalizing the South Street neighborhood by renovating derelict buildings and adding mosaics on surrounding walls. Along with help from the community and other artists, and after several legal battles involving a highway construction where South Street was, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens officially opened to the public in 2008. It became incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the intention of preserving Zagar’s artwork.

I took the following images when I went here, and hopefully it will give you a glimpse of just how intricate and unique this place is. I could have spent forever looking at all of the objects used and how just regular, everyday junk was transformed into beautiful art.

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And of course, since in this day and age, “Nothing happens unless it’s on Instagram,” bring a friend or a bunch of friends to take pictures with, as these murals are excellent backgrounds. Or, if you can go without your phone and live in the moment, bring your friends with you to just share your amazement at how cool the Magic Gardens are. I know I did.

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Definitely the coolest background for a photo

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Attempt #136 at being artsy with an iPhone and a beautiful tile mosaic

I won’t spoil all of the hidden gems of this place with this post so I definitely urge you to explore this magical place for yourself. Parking is cheap and convenient, and the city itself is a wonderful place to explore. So fear not bored spring-breakers, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is waiting for you!

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