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Abundant in Entertainment and Great Food, Fishtown Is Philly’s Hottest Neighborhood

The Fishtown neighborhood has been named a lot of things: New York City’s 6th borough, the hottest neighborhood in the country, the hipster heaven. Whatever you call it, one thing is true, Fishtown is booming right now. Its location, further out from Center City yet still connected, appeals to young families and professionals tired of the hustle and bustle but who still want the urban lifestyle. It’s boasting an eclectic mix of art and culture alongside one of the best food and nightlife scenes in the city.

Where is Fishtown?

Fishtown is a small neighborhood located directly north of Northern Liberties, next to Olde Kensington and just below Olde Richmond. Its eastern edge hugs the Delaware River, where many tall, modern buildings are fighting to capitalize on the expansive views of this up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s somewhat of a border or a transition area, where this part of Philly shifts from urban (Fishtown) to more residential (Olde Richmond). Due to its location right on top of it, a similar price point, and the shared, more hipster vibe, Fishtown often gets lumped in with Northern Liberties, but they are two distinct neighborhoods.


Ask any of the locals and they’ll say the same thing about Fishtown: it has changed a lot in recent years. It has been labeled the hottest neighborhood in America at points, which is perhaps surprising to those who have been there for generations.


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Originally, Fishtown was part of a network of mostly working-class neighborhoods where much of the citiy’s blue-collar European immigrant population lived. Now, it is the sparkling hub of Philadelphia, a nod to the development that has been sweeping the city for decades. Yet still, to this day, Fishtown has the largest number of historical (not designated) buildings in the city.

Developments spring up almost nightly, it feels like, with everyone wanting to get in on this booming market. Real estate prices have multiplied every decade while still offering bargains, a developer’s dream scenario. The result has been new buildings and a shift in the entire neighborhood to a younger, more lively area.


What to do

Fishtown is the best of both worlds, an urban environment with fun bars and delicious restaurants mixed in with winding, residential streets and modern apartment buildings.

One of Philly’s casinos is down on the waterfront here as is Penn Treaty Park which provides seven acres of green space for local families, dogs, and residents to enjoy. Lokal Hotel’s Fishtown location offers a quaint, boutique spot to spend the night.


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With awards for restaurants and businesses pouring in and developers itching to get their fingers on a piece of it all, Fishtown has become arguably the hippest place in Philly. Yet amazingly, the rental prices are still somewhat affordable on average when compared to the rest of the city. Or at least, not wildly expensive.

There are plenty of other interesting things to do around here and one of them is signing up for tango lessons at the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School where you can learn to dance like a pro and have some fun at the same time.


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Where to eat & drink

One of the best places here is Suraya, a Lebanese eatery that has dominated Philly’s food media coverage for the past couple of years since it opened. Nearby Philly Style Bagels took home the award for the best sandwich a few years back (not in Philly, in the country).


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The neighborhood has a thriving party scene, bolstered by spots like Barcade and Frankford Hall, while also hosting some of the best-known restaurants in Philadelphia.

Evil Genius has become one of Philadelphia’s best loved beers, and it brews right from Fishtown. Their rotating mix of homemade beers is served up in a small indoor bar or cozy outdoor garden.


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Moving to Fishtown

Real Estate Snapshot

Rent in Fishtown is a bit higher than the city’s average but certainly not the most expensive in Philly. Apartments in Fishtown average at $1,770 a month, higher than Philly’s $1,652 and roughly the same as neighboring Northern Liberties. It’s more affordable than the other neighbor’s averages, with Olde Richmond beating it out by more than $100 a month.


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Fishtown is served by the Market-Frankford, one of the two rapid travel septa lines that goes all the way back to Center City in under 10 minutes. A light rail also travels from Girard Station further into Fishtown. If you’d rather skip public transit, Fishtown is an easy 2- or 3-mile drive (or a long walk for those inclined to a bit of exercise) back into Center City.


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Schools & Employment

Public schools in Fishtown are not as highly graded as others in the city, but Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School is a well-regarded specialty high school in the neighborhood. There are private options, though, such as St. Laurentius Catholic School. Temple University’s main campus is in nearby North Philly, but not directly in Fishtown.

Most residents in Fishtown either commute into the city or work in one of the area’s small businesses. There isn’t a lot of “industry” or corporate outposts in this part of the city, but many locals have tried out entrepreneurship by opening up a small shop or restaurant.

Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email. Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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