A Guide to Grocery Shopping at Penn

Photos by Pinn Chirathivat

Whether you’re new to Penn or have been here a while, there will be instances where you have to buy groceries. With the many different options on and off campus, how do you choose a grocery store? Below lies a list of the most commonly visited grocery stores and all the information you might need to make your next grocery shopping decision!


4001 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Formerly Fresh Grocer, Acme opened last semester after many renovations. Now sporting a wood finish and a Starbucks near the entrance, the store objectively has a better layout and better product organization on shelves than before. The product selection has also improved slightly and continues to offer ready-made meals. However, some downsides are that prices have risen to reflect a slightly higher quality in products and yet may lack diversity in some product categories (such as produce and alcohol as I’ve heard). Overall, Acme is a decent place around campus to find groceries for your next cooking experiment!

Gourmet Grocer

3800 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Located within 1920 Commons, one of Gourmet Grocer’s major benefits is that it accepts Dining Dollars. While small, it offers snacks, drinks, spices, pastas, ice cream, and just about anything you might need. Also albeit a bit overpriced, they are close by on campus and great for when you’re in a pinch. My favorite thing about Gourmet Grocer is its meal combo you can get late at night. For the price of one Swipe, you get an appetizer, entree, dessert, and drink to go. If you have little time but need to quickly pick up something, Gourmet Grocer is the place to go!

GIANT Heirloom Market

3401 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

One of my personal favorites, GIANT Heirloom Market is a medium-sized market located below Domus Apartments. Well-organized, well-stocked, and fairly priced (for the most part), they offer ready-made meals, sushi, vegan/vegetarian options, fresh produce, and more. If you choose to venture underground, there’s a bar there with 6-pack beers, wine, and make-your-own selections. Complete with self-check-out service and regularly-offered store coupons, GIANT Heirloom Market is worth it for the experience alone!

Photo of Central Food Hall in Thailand by Pinn Chirathivat

Trader Joe’s

2121 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Trader Joe’s needs no introduction, and anyone who goes ends up loving their selection. Personally, I’m obsessed with their frozen section, specifically the Asian foods (Korean Short Ribs, Scallion Pancakes, Kung Pao Chicken, etc.) and always end up spending a lot of money when I go. While the store is located near Rittenhouse Square, Penn Shuttle East actually takes you straight to the entrance for your convenience and can take you back to campus. In terms of convenience and quality, Trader Joe’s is definitely a highly recommended place for grocery shopping!

H Mart 

7050 Terminal Square, Upper Darby, PA 19082

Another one of my personal favorites, H Mart sells mostly Korean snacks and foods, although their selections also include fresh produce and cuts of meat for grilling, cooking, or whatever you might need it for. H Mart is a bit farther away than the other stores, and may require more time spent to get there and back, but Uber or Lyft usually does the trick. I also love that H Mart has two stories: the first floor is strictly for grocery shopping, but the second floor is a food court mixed in with other stores that sell housewares and beauty items. In this food court, you can get inexpensive Korean food, milk tea, dumplings, and more. If you have more time to go grocery shopping and a desire to try new foods, H Mart is great for both of those things!

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