Are you looking for a fun place to play games with your friends and family? Philadelphia has lots of places where you can have fun and scratch that competitive itch. Whether you’re looking to play video games, arcade games or board games or you’re looking to immerse yourself in an escape room or virtual reality, this list is for you. These are 10 of the best gaming activities to do in Philadelphia.
Localhost in Philly
401 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19108
Nerd Street’s Philadelphia Localhost gaming venue is located in Center City. Nerd Street is a national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers. Gamers of all ages and skill levels can play games on one of the more than 100 high-speed gaming PCs or 20 consoles, including PlayStation 5, XBox Series X and Nintendo Switch. Each PC has over 40 games already downloaded or you can download your own game. Localhost is open seven days a week and hourly play begins at $5 per hour. People of all ages are welcome, but kids 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Localhost is the perfect place for everything from esports tournaments to corporate outings. There's regularly scheduled programming for tournaments, summer camps, youth leagues and more.
TAP Esports Center
924 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Located in Chinatown, TAP Esports features nearly 80 high-speed gaming PCs all outfitted with HyperX peripherals. Over 30 games are already downloaded to the PCs or you can download your own game. People of all ages are welcome but children 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Besides hourly play, TAP is a place for private events, local esports tournaments and other gaming group meetups. As far as food options, there's a grab-and-go ramen shop in the works. TAP is open until 2 a.m. weekdays and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for those late-night gamer hours.
1114 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Barcade opened in Fishtown in 2011, and there’s another location coming to Center City this fall. They’re two of Barcade’s nine locations across the nation. Barcade is a place to play classic arcade games like Donkey Kong, Dragon’s Lair, Duck Hunt, Galaga, Frogger, Mortal Kombat II and Ms. Pac-Man. Each Barcade has about 40-75 games to choose from as well as pinball machines. Most of the games are classics from the 1980s and are playable via tokens which cost $0.25. Barcade is a 21+ bar where you can enjoy craft beer. Each location offers between 25 and 30 American craft beer varieties.
1001 Market St APT 3010, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Round1 is a one-stop shop for family fun with all kinds of games, including arcade games, bowling, billiards and ping pong. R1 is best known for featuring a lot of exclusive Japanese arcade machines and claw machines with lots of adorable plushies. The Japanese chain has locations across the U.S., and the Philly venue is located in the heart of Center City.
1642 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Located near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Thirsty Dice is a board game cafe that features nearly 1,000 different games to play. The games you can play include Azul, 7 Wonders, Cards Against Humanity, Catan, Chess, Clue, Ethnos, Jenga, Monopoly and Ticket to Ride. This September, Tuesdays are Dungeons & Dragons nights and Wednesdays are for Quizzo. People of all ages are welcome but children 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Playing a board game will cost $7 for an unlimited amount of time weekdays and two hours on weekends. Food and drink are available as well as ice cream from Philadelphia’s own Bassetts Ice Cream.
Queen & Rook Game Cafe
607 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Queen & Rook is a board game cafe located along the border of Queen Village and Center City. Queen & Rook boasts the largest collection of board games in Philadelphia with over 1,300 games. It’s $7 for 2.5 hours of gameplay and there’s an extra $5 seating charge for RPG and TCG play Friday through Sunday. Children 12 and under play for free. The board game cafe offers food and drink, including vegetarian and vegan options. Queen & Rook is moving a bigger location just around the corner at 123 South Street this fall. The new location will include a retro video game arcade and expanded food options, in particular wood-oven pizza. Queen & Rook also offers youth camps and after school programs.
The XVR Lounge
5131 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19139
If you’re into virtual reality, the XVR Lounge in West Philadelphia is the place to go. The available VR experiences are categorized as either arenas or escape rooms. There are 19 different escape rooms for $30 per person for one to three people. There are five arena games for two to four players at $24.99 to $29.99 per person.
1516 N 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122
The Holodec is a place to immerse yourself in virtual reality. It’s located in North Philadelphia in Billy Penn Studios. The Holodec has VR experiences for individuals and groups and also has console gaming available, but is only open Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and bookings must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Additionally, the Holodec is home to the Autisarians, a group that helps individuals with autism through VR. Nerd Street shined a spotlight on the Autisarians for FTW Philly a couple years ago.
Olde City Escape Games
221 Chestnut St #300, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Olde City Escape Games is an award-winning escape room experience. There are three games to choose from for $35 per person. The games are hourlong experiences for two to 10 players. Located a couple blocks away from Independence Hall and other colonial sites in the area, Olde City’s escape rooms will take you into Philadelphia’s distant past (A Quest for Freedom), 1980’s past (The Midnighters) and the future (2084).
Gotham Escape Room
1425 Arch St Level B, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Gotham offers a wider variety of experiences than other escape rooms in the area with six different rooms to choose from: Chamber of Horrors, Ultimate Heist, Game of Stones, The Mystery of Dr. Frankenstein, Sleeping Spirits and Case: “Lust and Lace.” All games are for two to 10 people with prices starting at $25-$30 for bigger groups and prices rising for smaller groups. Chamber of Horrors is a bit scarier, which is why it’s for people 16 and up, while Lust and Lace is a more adult experience for people 18 and up.
Lead photo credit: Nerd Street