With one of the largest per-capita gay populations in the country, it's not surprising that the City of Brotherly Love has a pair of gay bathhouses, both of them conveniently located in the City Center, close to numerous hotels as well as most of the gay bars in Philadelphia.
The largest and most popular gay bathhouse in the city, the Sansom Street Gym (2020 Sansom St., 267-330-0151) is in downtown Philadelphia, but on the western side of it, about two blocks northwest of lovely Rittenhouse Square and roughly a 10- to 15-minute walk west of the Gayborhood - it's a safe area, and you'll encounter no problems getting from one area to the other. The multilevel club has a pair of staircases and a number of areas catering to different tastes and fetishes, including a decent-size workout area, a video room showing adult films that's popular for group play, a party room, a good-size outdoor space with tables and chairs, a dry sauna, and a sling room.
Sansom Street Gym offers flexible pricing, depending on when you get here, with all sorts of specials throughout the week (late-night discounts on weekdays, "businessmen" day-time deals, and so on. Admission costs $10 for a single-pass visit (or $30 for three months), and lockers start at $18.
Visit the Philadelphia Gay Guide for more information on what to see and do in the City of Brotherly Love.
Just three doors down, the same owners also operate the only gay-male adult theater in Philadelphia, Adonis Cinema (2026 Sansom St., 215-557-9319), which like the Sansom Street Gym is open 24/7. In the cinema, there are three theaters showing gay porn, and guys can also mingle and mess around in a dark room. A fun feature for voyeurs and exhibitionists - beneath the staircase at Sansom Street Gym, a viewing window allows guys to see into the adjacent Adonis Theater.
Located in the heart of the Gayborhood, on narrow Chancellor Street, right by the gay clubs Voyeur and Woody's, the long-popular Club Philadelphia (1220 Chancellor St., 215-735-7671) - typically just referred to as "Club Philly" - is the more compact of the city's gay men's saunas. It's in a historic redbrick building and on the whole, it tends to draw a somewhat older crowd of guys. Well-kept and clean with a small gym and cafe, dungeon-themed sling and play rooms in the basement, and a small outdoor deck that's a welcoming amenity on warm days, Club Philly is also right behind the city's most popular gay gym, 12th Street Gym.
The latter is not a hook-up spot, but it does have a major following in the gay community, and it's not unheard for guys who cruise each other there to venture over to Club Philadelphia to better get to know one another. A visit here will set you back $10 for a day pass (monthly and annual memberships are also available), and locker prices start around $20 with small rooms running as little as $28.
Because Club Philadelphia is located within a block or two of so many gay bars, it tends to be most popular late on weekend evenings, beginning around midnight and continuing until well after the neighborhood's many bars have closed. You may find it a big quiet here, and busier at Sansom Street Gym, at other times, but results really do vary greatly.