Neighborhood guides Philadelphia, PA

Northern Liberties is Philly’s Most Booming Neighborhood

When it comes to a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood, it does not get much trendier than Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties. With young professionals and families flocking to the area in droves, new developments are springing up constantly, providing some of the newest and most modern apartments in the city. If you’re looking for a building with a rooftop pool and floor to ceiling windows, but you’d still prefer to grab a drink at a local corner bar, Northern Liberties might be the perfect neighborhood for you. 

Where is Northern Liberties?

Right above Chinatown, on the northern border of Interstate-676, Northern Liberties hugs the banks of the Delaware River. It’s below the other, equally trendy neighborhoods of Kensington and Fishtown and sits next to residential West Poplar. Just below the southern border, the quaint and historic streets of Old City draw most of the tourists in Philadelphia every year.

History

Northern Liberties dates back to the same year that Philadelphia itself was founded, in 1682. It was not included in the city’s original borders, but land here was given away to people who were also purchasing land in Philadelphia proper. In the centuries that followed, Northern Liberties continued to grow as residents flocked there for the industrial jobs in the 19th century.

 

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Now, the neighborhood is an eclectic mix of the old and the new. Some buildings date back hundreds of years while others just next door are days old. In some cases, it’s a bit of both, like the Piazza at Schmidt’s where developers erected large, modern buildings intertwined with old, historical ones.

Lifestyle

What to do

Like everything else about Northern Liberties, the lifestyle here is a bit of history mixed in with the young and vibrant. For those who prefer to think about the past, a visit to Edgar Allen Poe’s residence will be a good fit. There are also ghost tours of the home, which is especially fun around Halloween.

 

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Where to eat & drink

Over at the Piazza Pod Park, a sprawling European style plaza hosts events and pop-up food trucks in addition to the already-present businesses. On warm nights, there is often live music. Local vendors serve food, beer and wine. It’s a family-friendly scene or the place to stop by when you just want a relaxed night out.

 

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Yards Brewing Company is one of the biggest draws of the neighborhood and one of Philadelphia’s original. Its sprawling campus offers brewery tours alongside plenty of beer samples. The large, open floor plan serves German-style food and offers family-style seating making it ideal for large groups. If you want to do a bit of a brewery hop, Goose Island is another funhouse-style brewery at the top of Northern Liberties.

North Bowl, a retro-style bowling alley, has all the fun you remember as a kid with all of the adult amenities you’d want. In addition to their 17 lanes, they also offer cocktails, beers and elevated bar snacks to munch on to help you get in your bowling groove.

 

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For late night snacks, Silk City is a trendy diner that is way more delicious than those plates of soggy fries from your youth. It also has an open outdoor space and on weekends, the attached room turns into a full out dance party.

Moving to Northern Liberties

Real Estate Snapshot

Northern Liberties is a pretty stereotypical up and coming neighborhood. It has completely new, modern buildings that tend to cost a little more alongside older homes where it’s easier to find bargains. If you’re looking for apartments in Northern Liberties, you should know that rental costs here come in right above the average of Philadelphia at $1,762. It’s safe to say that this could swing whichever way you wanted it to. If you’re comfortable in a bit more of a dated space, you can find a lower budget apartment. In the same sentiment, if you want ultra-modern luxury, you’ll find that here as well, sometimes on the same block.

 

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Transportation

The Market-Frankford line stops at Spring Garden station right at the heart of Northern Liberties. On the northern border of the neighborhood is also one of the few Philly streetcar lines, the 15, which leads west into the city. It’s also an easy area to drive to, with I-95 cutting down the eastern side and I-676 running along the bottom. 

Schools & Employment

The schools in Northern Liberties have not quite caught up to the rest of the area yet, but there are still some great choices. For example, William W. Bodine High School is a well-ranked, public magnet high school in the area.

Many of the small businesses in Northern Liberties are owned and operated by local businesses, giving the neighborhood a much more small-town feel than other areas of Philadelphia. This charm is part of why people move here. That, and there are opportunities for small businesses here with lower rents and a growing population that they may not find in other parts of the city.

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About the author

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 7-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 Realtor.com. 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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