Philly doesn't lack picturesque places for the perfect Instagram shot, from the LOVE statue to Boathouse Row. But how many pictures of your friends fake-boxing in front of the Rocky statue do you really need?
Get off the well-trod tourist path and check out South Street's Magic Gardens, the most low-key Instagrammable place in Philly. It's well-enough-known to make Visit Philadelphia's Most Instagrammable Places, but not popular enough to be overcrowded.
The Magic Gardens is an art environment and museum inside Isaiah Zagar's largest public artwork, colorful mosaics featuring found materials. Zagar started in the late 1960s, hoping to beautify his neighborhood. He expanded into several empty lots in the early '90s, which eventually turned into the gardens, an intricate display of tiles, mirrors, car parts, pieces of bikes, and more - all sealed in place by cement. Zagar even created tunnels and grottos throughout the space.
Since 2008, the gardens has not only been the background for cool kids' Facebook profiles everywhere, but also a nonprofit educating the community about folk and mosaic art while inspiring creativity. It is open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, and you can break up the monotony of your Instagram feed - enough City Hall - by having your best friend or Tinder date take a picture of you gazing wistfully as Zagar's mosaics.
The gardens also offers unique programming, like the Twilight in the Gardens series. You not only experience the gardens in a whole new (pardon the pun) light, but also can check out crazy hip performances - the last event featured the band Sociopathic Time Altering Robot Warrior of Organic Design (STARWOOD), which you should look up for the bio alone - and create your own crafts. (STARWOOD guests made their own sci-fi creations, like masks made of foil.) The last of this year's Twilight series is Oct. 21 and will feature Sandlot Trio and diddley bow making. (I thought it was a bow tie, but a diddley bow is actually an instrument.)
For more information, visit phillymagicgardens.org. Ticket prices vary from $10 for adults to free for children 5 and under. Programming tickets vary from $18 for adults to $12 for gardens members.