Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Mosaic wonderland

By Alistair Bancroft

North America

North America

Located on South Street, Philadelphia’s Magic Garden is a magical place – a mosaic wonderland filled with hidden features and artistic truisms.

View all 5 Photos

Isaiah Zagar, a local artist, began tiling South Street in the late 1960s, when he moved to the area with his wife Julia.  Work started on the Magic Gardens in 1994, in a vacant lot nearby Zagar’s studio. 

Isaiah spent the next 14 years, crafting the space out of cement, bottles, folk art, spare bicycle parts, plates, tea cups, hand-made tiles, mirrors of every shape and size, and more. 

The neighbourhood You will come across other walls in the neighbourhood covered with Zagars signature style.

The neighbourhood You will come across other walls in the neighbourhood covered with Zagars signature style.

The tiled immersive passages of the Magic Garden cover an indoor and outdoor space equivalent to half a city block, weaving over- and underground.  The variety of materials and colours used, and the complexity of the space give the garden a wondrous, dreamy appeal, and a creativity that feels almost childlike.

Magic Garden

Magic Garden

Admission is fairly cheap and they have a small gallery in the back where they have different artists work on display - however, outdoors is definitely where you will want to spend most of your time!

Bicycle parts Spare bicycle parts feature prominently

Bicycle parts Spare bicycle parts feature prominently

Tiles Watched it go frame by frame

Tiles Watched it go frame by frame

Detail A bowler hat nip

Detail A bowler hat nip

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens Directions

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is located at 1020 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, between 10th and 11th Streets on South Street.

Magic Gardens 1020 South Street,
Philadelphia,
PA 19147

Alistair Bancroft

Alistair is a technologist based in London. Follow Alistair on Twitter @0_7734.