Fishtown Neighborhood Guide

Posted on Jun 05, 2017


Fishtown is an artistic, up-and-coming community in North Philadelphia. Blurring the lines of neighboring “Riverwards” areas like Northern Liberties and South Kensington, its boundaries are roughly defined by the triangle created by the Delaware River, Frankford Avenue, and York Street.

Fishtown Boundaries

(The Riverwards boundaries, as defined by The Spirit of the Riverwards)

 

The Housing

fishtown neighborhood guide 1

 

New development projects, great attractions, and a “buy now” mentality have recently made Fishtown an ideal target for homebuyers. Interspersed with a few more traditional row homes, this formerly industrial area has seen an influx of new construction townhomes and condos. When walking around town, keep your eyes peeled; the artistic area is full of murals, including Shepard Fairey’s “Lotus Diamond” and a rotation of wheat paste creations like Amberella’s “Gothic Hearts.”

 

Shepard Fairey Lotus Diamond

(Shepard Fairey’s Lotus Diamond, courtesy of Steve Weinik)

 

The Neighbors

Fishtown Neighborhood Cleanup

(A Fishtown neighborhood cleanup, photo courtesy of SEPTA)

While not everyone in the Riverwards is a hipster, Fishtown folks make up a young, diverse, and active crowd.

Despite a myriad of tastes, niches, and new transplants, the community is undeniably tight-knit. Active groups like the Fishtown Neighbors Association and Fishtown Area Business Association are full of engaged citizens who truly care about their community, its people, and its artisan economy. Wearing their neighborhood pride on their sleeves, you’ll pass many houses with Fishtown-branded signs and brackets, along with kitschy trash and recycling bins decorated with aquatic monsters.

Read Ali and Sully's customer story to learn about their journey as first-time home buyers in Fishtown! 

Getting Around Fishtown

Girard Avenue Trolley

(The Route 15 Trolley, courtesy of Hidden City Philadelphia)

Fishtown enjoys prime Market Frankford Line access at Girard and Berks stations, but there’s more than one way to get around. SEPTA’s 57, 43, and 39 bus routes run through the neighborhood, while vintage trolley cars on the Route 15 line add some extra eccentricity to the district.

Where to Go and What to Do in Fishtown

La Colombe Fishtown

(Photo courtesy of La Colombe)

When in doubt, start at the intersection of Girard and Frankford Avenue. This ever-growing corridor of independent businesses hosts Amrita, a yoga and wellness studio known for aerial yoga options and a rockin soundtrack; Cake Life, a BYOB bakery run by Food Network “Cupcake Wars” winners; Jinxed, a variety store offering antiques, art, and vintage furniture; and Barcade, a gamer’s dream full of old school options like Donkey Kong and NBA Jam. Of course, you can’t forget Johnny Brenda’s. You saw it in CREED and heard Justin Bieber dropped by last time he was in town. Get there early to rack up a game of pool, then head upstairs and claim a spot on the balcony before the next band starts playing.

While La Colombe is not unique to Fishtown, their expansive flagship located on Frankford Avenue is unlike any other coffee shop in the city. Operating as a roastery, full-menu cafe, and distillery (yes – they even make their own rum), La Colombe Fishtown attracts tourists and locals alike.

Like any neighborhood, there are more gems than can be covered. There’s much more to Fishtown than what you find on Girard and Frankford, including:

  • Penn Treaty Park: After 2016 renovations, this family-friendly park boasts a new, safe, and ADA-accessible playground. Meanwhile, events like 80s Night and Champagne in the Park make it just as inviting for adults. Whatever your age, you’ll be amazed to find views of Penn’s Landing, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and the skyline in one location.
  • WM Mulherin’s: After filling up on casareccia pasta that Bon Appetit called “irresistible,” you’ll be tempted to skip the walk home and stay in the boutique hotel upstairs.
  • Flotation Philly: Quintessentially Fishtown, this “spa” of sorts allows you to float weightlessly in total peace and serenity.

 

Penn Treaty Park

(Penn Treaty Park. Credit: M. Kennedy via Fodor’s Travel Guide)

 

Fishtown Schools

Fishtown Schools

(Photo courtesy of St. Laurentius Catholic School Philadelphia)

Of Fishtown’s 6 schools, many families opt for charter or Catholic schools. St. Laurentius School, for example, was voted Philadelphia’s #1 elementary school in a Philly.com Readers Choice Awards survey. Coming on the scene in 2017, Fishtown Montessori School is now accepting applications for their 36-student preschool with 3 classrooms and outdoor space.

The Bottom Line

In a word, Fishtown is bold.

Come for the restaurants and breweries, stay for the neighbors.

If you can get past the occasional trash pile-ups, you’ll fall in love with the creative spirit.

The final verdict? Get in while the price is right.

Interested in buying or selling a home in Fishtown? Contact a Houwzer Realtor, we'd love to chat!


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