What do you call a perpetually “up-and-coming” neighborhood once it’s permanently arrived? A foregone conclusion, at least in the case of Northern Liberties. This former manufacturing district first started turning heads in the early ‘90s, when a progressive, artist-heavy flock, lured by cheap studio space, began migrating north from Old City.
The commingling of likeminded residents and entrepreneurs begat a quirky network of bars, restaurants and boutiques within neighborhood limits (Girard Avenue and Callowhill Street north and south, the Delaware River and Sixth Street east and west). Already a hotbed of enviro-friendly construction, NoLibs’ value was further boosted by the additions of Liberties Walk and the Piazza at Schmidts, ambitious mixed-use complexes that reimagined overlooked industrial bones. Long established as a force, NoLibs has become an economic and cultural influence on the neighborhoods around it.
Restaurants and Dining
NoLibs is easily one of Philly’s best neighborhoods for eating, given its walkable layout, top-notch bars and authentic, exciting international options. It’s also has some of the city’s most popular bruncheries.
Craft beer lovers have always been fond of NoLibs’ bar scene, but more and more options are popping up for cocktail fiends, too.
NoLibs has always been home to a left-of-center retail lineup, a personality that’s persisted throughout the its evolution from up-and-comer to Philly frontrunner. The neighborhood’s artistic daredevilry, meanwhile, has been bolstered by exciting real estate opportunities for gallery owners.
Northern Liberties’ green identity is relatively new, with intrepid neighborhood groups increasing plantings every day.