North Philadelphia is large area north of Philadelphia's Center City that includes many neighborhoods such as Northern Liberties, Kensington, Fishtown, Fairmount, the Spring Gardens, Templetown, Nicetown, and Tioga. Unfortunately, large swaths known as North Central are plagued by violence though they include some of the city's most interesting residential architecture.
The Wagner Institute’s nineteenth century exhibit hall – a soaring three-story space – houses an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens including mounted birds and mammals, fossils, rocks and minerals, insects, shells, dinosaur bones, and the first American saber-toothed tiger, discovered on a museum-sponsored expedition to Florida in 1886. Gathered largely by founder William Wagner and Institute curators and faculty during the nineteenth century, the collections are displayed in cherry-wood and glass cabinets dating from the 1880s and maintain their original “systematic” scheme, providing a rare view of a Victorian science museum. Highlights include William Wagner’s personal mineral collection – one of the oldest in the country – and his fossil collection, representing many important European and American localities and collecting sites of the nineteenth century. The mounted skeletons, skulls and skins represent species from around the globe, including many that are now endangered. The extensive regional entomology collection is notable for its arrangement, which includes the original handwritten curator’s labels. Originally assembled to teach science, the specimens are arranged for study. The exhibit is one of the largest systematically arranged collections on display in the country and remains in active use as a key educational tool of the Institute’s free science programs. It also serves as a resource for scholarly research.
A former prison and National Historic Landmark, which once housed notorious criminals like bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone (the former tunneled out), and drew famous visitors like Charles Dickens and Alexis de Tocqueville. It was a progressive institution upon its founding, dedicated to reform, rather than punishment, and the principal new method used to enable the reform process (dubbed the ''Pennsylvania System'') was to keep prisoners in separate confinement (it was then debated whether this would help lead to reform or to mental illness). Today it is open for guided tours by day, and by night around the month of October turns into what has got to be one of the country's most terrifying haunted houses! Children below the age of seven are not permitted to visit, and it's strongly recommended that no children under thirteen attend the haunted house.
A bit of a hike from the other attractions in Independence National Historic Park is the house where Edgar Allen Poe, author of "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart," lived and wrote. Poe fans will find many activities to enjoy, including a video presentation of Poe's life, ranger-led tours, and perhaps an encounter with "Poe" himself.
The diner which has been around since 1952 was featured on the Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives." If your looking for a late night snack they have you covered, with pork belly empanadas or cilantro spiced fried calamari. After you are filled up, head over to the lounge and dance the night away.
A fun, eclectic cafe in Northern liberties that serves a funky mix of Jewish and Southern food. It has tons of fun, delicious breakfast and brunch options, and the latkes are definitely worth getting. All the eggs they use are free-range, and they make an effort to use as much local produce as possible.
It is a three story 22 room hotel with a computer work station. Each room comes with a coffee maker and wireless high speed Internet and satellite television. It also offers continental breakfast with waffles imprinted with a big T for Temple University.
This theater offers acting classes, workshops, shows, and hires interns from local performing arts high schools. The website for the Walking Fish has a calendar of events, a donation link, as well as a link for renting out the venue.
A perfect balance of restaurant, outdoor cafe and pub, spacious, lively, not too loud. All kinds of beer: Big Belgian bottles.Great Food: Pierogies, Spring Rolls, Salads, Wings, burgers, etc.- a cut above your everyday bar food)
This cafe has a pretty decent selection of coffees and teas, as well as a select of stuff to eat. They make sandwiches, salads, quiche, granola, bagels with a variety of spreads, and have some pretty good looking desserts too.
Serves hoagies, steaks, chicken steaks, buffalo wings, etc. The Templetown location is newly opened in 2016 and marks Lee's first return to Philadelphia proper in years.
Varied DJ nights all week, including nights for karaoke, indie dancing (tigerbeats), electronica, and 80s music. Cheap beer; hipster night spot.
The Electric Factory is one of the leading indoor music venues and is Philadelphia's most celebrated location for live music.
Youngish hipster crowd in a gutted rowhouse. Always live on weekends with dancing upstairs.
Coffee, tea, smoothies, and sandwiches, with a focus on soy milk and other Asian foods
Neighborhood tavern with rotating tap beers, a full bar, brunch, and burgers.
Large Irish drinking and dancing spot, bordering on nightclub in scale.
Good crowd, usually mid 20s & up. Good music and sidewalk seating.
The Art Museum Area is one of the city's fastest growing neighborhoods, rooted by three unique cultural icons. It's more than just museums, though, including the neighborhoods of Franklintown, Spring Garden, Fairmount, and sometimes Francisville. Though it is the seat of one the finest art collections in the world (you must see the Impressionist gallery), it also encompasses the Philadelphia Free Library, the Franklin Institute, the Wine School, the Eastern State Penitentiary (where Al Capone sat idle for many years), and an up-and-coming residential neighborhood that includes galleries, restaurants, and bars just east of the Parkway off of Spring Garden Street and Fairmount Ave. Kelly Drive, the most popular recreational destination in the city with bike and running paths, as well as historic Boathouse Row, begins just behind the art museum. '''Northern Liberties''', so named because it was free from the onerous regulations and taxes of Philadelphia, it has become a trendy neighborhood in Philadelphia among students, young professionals and artists is also home to many galleries and shops. NoLib, as its residents call it, is home to artist lofts, architecturally-conscious condo developments, and entertainment from bowling, to restaurants. The Northern Liberties neighborhood extends approximately from Front Street to 6th Street east-west, and from Spring Garden Street to Girard Avenue north-south. Until about the 1960s, Northern Liberties was home to Philadelphia's breweries: Ortleib's, Schmidt's, and Ballantine. These beers are tougher to find these days, but live on at Citizens Bank Park's (home of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team) Brewerytown stand. It fell into a disrepair once the breweries declined. Today Northern Liberties is an excellent place to spend an evening out, with a large number of unique bars and restaurants well within walking distance. '''Fishtown''', originally part of the Kensington neighborhood, is rumored to have gotten its name from Charles Dickens from the fish smell (it's on the river). It's also believed that Penn Treaty park is where William Penn actually met with Native Americans. Many artists moved there after Northern Liberties became too expensive. There is an increasing among of galleries, a live music club (Johnny Brenda's), and a somewhat burgeoning commercial strip along Girard Ave east of Front St. It's mainly a rowhouse neighborhood rather than one of lofts, a nice park here is Palmer Park. '''Templetown''' is a neighborhood of Temple University's main campus, one mile north of City Hall and east of Fishtown. Not many locals actually call it "Templetown", but prefer to call it 'near Temple'.