If you’re looking for the hottest neighborhood in Philadelphia right now as a new place to call home, look no further than the Northern Liberties neighborhood.
Located on the north end of the Old City, Northern Liberties was considered the city’s first suburb. It was once a manufacturing center and later became a popular red light district as well as the home of many immigrants from Eastern Europe. They brought cultural, religious and stylistic traditions with them, and you can see many preserved buildings from the 1800s around the neighborhood.
Today, the popular settlers in Northern Liberties are young professionals, artists, writers, scholars and members of the non-profit sector. They have invested in local real estate, causing a rise in prices, and snapped up renovated apartments.
There is a thriving foodie culture with restaurants from all around the world. You can check out locals favorites here.
Residents of the Northern Liberties are taking the initiative to be involved in their community. They have their own Craigslist-style news aggregate and community message board service, NorthernLiberties.org, where you can get a sense of what people are thinking and feeling in the neighborhood.
The Northern Liberties Neighbor Association, a non-profit focused on outside spaces, is raising funds to maintain Liberty Lands, two acres of garden and green space that they claimed from the city and worked cooperative to improve. They built the Northern Liberties Community Center out of a city abandoned building and volunteers work there to help out with neighborhood quality-of-life issues.
The group also has an innovative History Project to collect and preserve stories about the early days of their neighborhood, where they want to collect photos of old buildings and document their building dates and early use. The project is in its infancy, but it’s a great idea for any neighborhood with history.