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“Great shows, Relaxed Environment without breaking the wallet!”

Theater of Living Arts
Ranked #127 of 463 things to do in Philadelphia
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Attraction details
Owner description: Once an avant-garde theater, now a music venue, with or without seats. Where Kevin Bacon used to kick it back in his day.
Reviewed January 10, 2012

We have been to the TLA twice now, and both times have had a great time!

Tickets are available on LiveNation but also at the box office located right at the TLA, which saves you the convenience and surcharge fees from online. You will be hard pressed to find great shows like these for the outstanding price of $20pp anywhere else. Philly has an abundance of theaters for plays and musicals, concert halls and overall entertainment venues but most start at $60pp for any show.

That being said, the TLA has little amenities and few updates to its building, interior and exterior. So if you fancy a place that you can have an expansive liquor selection, get a wonderful glass of wine or have a marble bathroom this is nowhere near for you.

Negatives: The bathrooms are microscopic and often do not even have soap in the dispensers, their is almost always "water" on the floor in them, and the entire feel of the place is a bit grungy (like it could use a reallllly good steam cleaning from top to bottom, side to side. Also, its $8 for a beer, and their are only about 4-5 beers to choose from (Yards, Yuengling, etc).

Positives: Completely relaxed vibe, they have chill bartenders and cocktail waitresses, loft-style viewing from upstairs, 21+ only section next to the bar on the first floor and a large stand-only front row stage area. So whether you want to kick it on a stool and sip on some beer listening to your favorite bands, headbang and dance with up close and personal front row band action or if you want to overlook the crowd and get an on top of you view of the bands...the TLA has all of it.

From 18-80, people of all ages come and love it, from hipsters to college students to professors to music artists to nerds to grandmas, across the racial and sexual orientation spectrums, this place is comfortable and welcoming to all.

No cavity searches: a quick look in a ladies purse by security (no dumping the whole thing out), no grooming your body with their hands for 5min.

Coat check: yes
Food: yes, popcorn, candy and the like (nothing more)
Drinks: yes, small selection of beers and liquors but in large quantaties
Venue size: Intimately large, holds about 1000 but usually has no more than 600 (not a place where you can't move around)
Policy: ONE and only one- no in-n-out, once your in your in
Cameras ARE allowed but I wouldn't carry it in on your wrist, maybe in a pocket
Dress code: comfortable, jeans and a t-shirt and not your brand new shoes (you'll most likely step in some beer at some point in the evening).
Cool level: Cresting the roof but not through it

Hope they can keep pulling great bands because I'll be back a million more times if they do!

3  Thank unique957
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"general admission"
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"south street"
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"small concert"
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45 - 48 of 48 reviews

Reviewed September 18, 2011

Location is awesome. It's right on South Street in the heart of a very busy area. Parking isn't easy and you are going to pay to park somewhere a few blocks away unless you one of the lucky ones who finds a spot in Old City Philadelphia.

I am not a very big fan of this place. I've seen two shows here (The Expendables & Marina and the Diamonds) and I am not a fan of the acoustics, the drinks policy or the smoking policy.

While I understand drinks are going to be expensive at a concert, Theater of the Living Arts forces you to drink your beverage in the bar area which is TINY and kind of far from the stage. It doesn't ruin the show but it makes it impossible to enjoy the show and enjoy your beverage.

The smoking policy is REALLY what irks me about TLA. I've never been to any venue, restaurant or sporting event that doesn't allow smokers a small area to enjoy a few drags of nicotine. I have no problem with banning indoor smoking but to not allow a person to step outside for a few minutes is outright ridiculous. I'm sure there is some reason as to why they don't allow outdoor smoking but it is still extremely annoying.

2  Thank Ne0phyteTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2009

I saw 2 concerts here in July 2009. The TLA (Theater of the Living Arts) is cute from the outside but different on the inside. The area when you first walk in is rather small. This is also where the bathrooms are located.

The concert area itself is pretty nice. Theres a balcony and a general admission area below. You get a pretty good view of the entire place from wherever you stand. The two times I went, the bands had limited space to put their merchandise. This made it a little awkward during meet and greets.

The bar area is a nice place to view the concert from because it gets you away from the general crowd, but nobody really sat at it. People just got their drink and sat down somewhere else.

The stage of the TLA is pretty nice. It is big enough for bands with more people in them. The one concert I went to had 4 guys on stage and during one of the songs, 3 more guys joined the stage as special guests. The 7 of them had enough room to play their instruments and still move around.

Lastly, the bathroom stall walls are very very dirty. There is writing/graffiti all over the place and the bathroom itself is very tiny. If you put 3 people in there it is very hard to move around. If you can, use the bathroom somewhere else before you go to the TLA.

Thank Loves2Travel4Life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2014
Google Translation

Thank Tietsjannie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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