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Holiday Happenings and Shopping Unique to
University City

frostyWhile there are numerous places to shop on and around campus, there are several shops near Penn that are unique, one-of-a-kind stores—like snowflakes—that make the holiday shopping experience more interesting. Below are more than a dozen such destinations with a glimpse of what’s in store this season.


Holiday Fest: December 13-17

Learn to snowshoe, help a local family, and do some holiday shopping at University Square during the annual Holiday Fest, December 13-17. This year, in addition to enjoying the specials offered by many merchants of Penn’s shopping and dining district, adventurous patrons can take advantage of free showshoe lessons from Eastern Mountain Sports on December 14 and 15 at noon at their store on 36th Street.  

Shoppers will also have an opportunity to share their holiday spirit with families in need by donating to a toy drive organized by Penn VIPS (Volunteers in Public Service). Bring small, unwrapped gifts to the 36th Street Plaza (between Sansom and Walnut Streets) on December 13 and 14, from 3 to 7 p.m. 

Sculptors from Fear No Ice will transform 1.5 tons of ice into works of art, as shoppers sip hot chocolate courtesy of MBNA America.

Holiday Fest Specials

Camera Shop, Inc.—138 S. 34th Street  (215) 387-0600—$10 off any memory card 256MB or above, with the purchase of any digital camera $150 or more. Bring in any memory card and put the images on a CD for only $1.99.

Douglas Cosmetics—3603 Walnut Street  (215) 222-2366—Special free gift with every purchase.

Eastern Mountain Sports—130 S. 36th Street  (215) 386-1020—Mention the Holiday Fest and receive 10% off your total purchase.

Gap3401 Walnut Street (215) 387-0172—Bring this ad in to receive $10 off a $75 purchase or more.

Houston Market—3417 Spruce Street (215) 746-6071—Free fountain beverage with meal purchase.

Modern Eye—3419 Walnut Street  (215) 386-5953—25% off non-Rx sunglasses, in stock only.  25% off any complete pair of glasses, in stock only ($100 max discount). Offer cannot be combined with insurance or other discounts.

Penn Bookstore—3601 Walnut Street  (215) 898-7595—20% off tradebooks and 20% off Penn branded merchandise on December 13 and 14.

Penn Computer Connection—3610 Sansom Street  (215) 898-3282—a variety of holiday deals, including buy an Apple computer and an Epson printer and receive up to a $100 rebate.

Penn Running Store—3701 Walnut Street  (215) 898-5462—discounts on selected merchandise.  Gift certificates also available.

The Energy Zone—3701 Walnut Street  (215) 387-4977—a juice and snack bar. Discounts on selected merchandise.

The Left Bank—3131 Walnut Street (215) 222-5400—Receive $300 off 1st month’s rent.

Triangle Diner—3716 Spruce Street  (215) 573-4431—Free fountain beverage with meal purchase.

University Jewelers—3421 Walnut Street  (215) 386-1100—a discount on all merchandise.

World Café Live—3025 Walnut Street  (215) 222-1400—10% off food purchase of $25 or more.

The Penn Bookstore contains all of the books, supplies, and more that it features year-round, but with holiday flair and holiday specials, such as The Christmas Carol and Joan Matthew’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook, $29.95 each.  Along with all of the books, the store also offers a fun array of gifts and games. For the chocolate lover, there are boxes and boxes of Godiva chocolate. For $9.98, you can buy a box of Penn holiday cards for those back home.  

House of Our Own is an old-fashioned bookstore with new and used books. It is the perfect place to find those old treasures, classics, and particularly unusual titles—anything from a Henry James boxed set collection to a modern Salvador Dali art book. The store feature discounts and specials, on hard covers and others. You may be pleasantly surprised with cocoa and cookies that complement the festive atmosphere.

The Penn Book Center is the place to go for the bookworm in your life. All children’s books are 10% off, while selected titles are offered at an even greater discount. Find best sellers, new releases, and the occasional offbeat title.The Last Word Bookstore, for those on a tight budget this store fits the bill. With used books in subjects ranging from photography, science, and reference, to name a few, the prices can’t be beat.

The Computer Connection has an online Holiday Wishbook this year with the latest electronic peripherals for your computer or iPod at www.business-services.upenn.edu/computerstore/. If you want to print your digital photos without a computer, take a look at the Epson PictureMate Personal Photo Lab, at $199.

Modern Eye features fun and interesting glasses for people of all ages. There are a variety of frames, from basic to unusual, and a large array of designer options. Modern Eye is holding a year-end inventory reduction sale over the holidays, with a closeout on frames by Zip + Homme, Microshapes, Gianni Po, Duo, and many more. With lenses, these frames are marked down from $375 to as low as $149. 

Messages is the perfect place to shop for all of your holiday trinket needs. You can get anything from a Boyd’s Itsy Bitsy Ornament for $4.99 to a porcelain holiday serving platter for $59.99. In addition, Messages has a vast collection of cards, gift wrap, and stocking stuffers. Messages also features silver-plated menorahs ($33.99) and a huge selection of dreidels. 

Find holiday stocking stuffers at the Paper Garden such as $6.50 Spongebob Squarepants beenie babies, $4 collector’s magnets, as well as a wide variety of Hello Kitty paraphernalia. Gear up for Christmas with a mini Advent calendar, $5.95 and under.

Want a holiday gift with international flair? Avril 50 has the largest selection of international coffees, teas, chocolates, and newspapers in University City.

University Jewelers is the premier place in University City to purchase jewelry for that special someone in your life. December brings extended store hours (open Saturdays 10-4), discounts on everything in the store, and free gift wrapping. University Jewelers features Seiko, Pulsar, and Tissot watches, Seiko clocks and giftware, 14 karat gold and sterling silver jewelry, as well as items featuring the Penn insignia. Engraving is available on most items.

The Chocolate Guy is the perfect place to shop for that chocolate lover in your life. The Chocolate Guy is a sweet shop featuring chocolate roses, chocolate lovers aprons and accessories, and the ever-popular naughty section. For the holidays, try putting together your own personalized chocolate basket or tray. These customized gifts can feed from 5 to 30 people, and range in price.

Roses Florist is a University City mainstay, celebrating its 23rd Christmas at Penn. Along with poinsettias in all sizes and colors, mini Christmas trees, decorated Norfolk Pine trees, and Christmas cacti, Roses Florist also features holiday fruit baskets for $35 and up. Worldwide shipping is available, as well as guaranteed   same-day delivery for  campus destinations.

The Black Cat features rare and offbeat housewares and personal items like one-of-a-kind Bulgarian pottery ($12-$90), handmade journals from Chiapas, Brooklyn-made earrings, or soap and body lotion sets ($31) as well as Burt’s Bees body soaps. “Whole World Products” include pieces made from recycled materials, the work of local artists and crafts people, fairly traded international handicrafts, and products sold in support of disabled or disadvantaged people. Free gift wrapping for purchases over $5.

Trophy Bikes has not only bicycles, but also messenger bags, cozy apparel, and many fun bike accessories. It is the only bike store around to sell foldable bikes. This place is a biker’s paradise selling Jamis, Fuji, Waterford, Gunnar, Independent Fabrications, Moulton, and Breezer just to name a few. It has everything needed for your bike, even bike mechanics (www.trophybikes.com).

Discounts to Popular Area Arts and Dining Spots

University City District (UCD) and Aroundphilly.com have collaborated on a new and exciting dining and culture discount program. Discounts come in the form of two business card-sized coupons (one for culture, one for dining), each offering savings to University City restaurants and arts and cultural activities. The Aroundphilly.com Cultural Discount Card includes enticing discounts like “buy one admission, get one free” and “20% off classes” from spots such as the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, International House, Penn Museum, and University City Arts League. 

The Aroundphilly.com Dining Discount Card includes “15% off your food purchase” at Zócalo, Penne Restaurant and Wine Bar, World Café Live, The Restaurant School and Vientiane Café. Offers expire in February 2005, so visit University City District today to receive your complimentary discount card (supplies are limited). UCD is located at 3940 Chestnut Street (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.). Call (215) 243-0555 for more details.

Aroundphilly.com, “Philadelphia’s best online city guide,” was developed four years ago to offer in-depth search information for all establishments within the city, as well as providing inside editorial and reporting content for all events, openings and newsworthy items in Philadelphia.





  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 14, December 7, 2004


December 7, 2004
Volume 51 Number 14


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