The Coolest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Northern Liberties 
Northern Liberties | © Justin Wolfe / Flickr
Photo of Nina Starner
26 March 2018

Philadelphia may not be quite as large as cities like New York or Chicago, but it’s still home to a ton of exciting neighborhoods to live in or visit. If you’re in town and want to know where to find the best coffee joints, the latest trends, and the need-to-know hotspots, check out our pick of the coolest neighborhoods around.

Old City

This neighborhood is home to Philadelphia’s historic sites, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Elfreth’s Alley, and the Betsy Ross House, but don’t overlook its gorgeous side streets and exciting restaurants and bars, including acclaimed spots like Olde Bar, Zahav, and Royal Boucherie.

Fishtown & Northern Liberties

North of Old City, these adjacent neighborhoods have become incredibly trendy in the past two decades. Northern Liberties is home to several dining hotspots and the Piazza at Schmidt’s, which houses plenty of food festivals, and Frankford Avenue, Fishtown’s main thoroughfare, houses some of the coolest shops and bars in the city, including the La Colombe flagship coffee shop.

Northern Liberties | © Justin Wolfe / Flickr

Midtown Village & Washington Square West

Many of Philadelphia’s best restaurants and bars reside in Midtown Village, but in between visits to Talula’s Garden and Barbuzzo, make sure to wander leafy Spruce Street, which is populated with classic Philadelphia brownstones, and stop into Washington Square Park to people watch.

Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia’s equivalent to New York City’s Upper East Side is most notable for Rittenhouse Square itself, a pastoral park populated with statues that’s always packed with locals during the warmer months. While you’re there, pop into specialty boutiques like Joan Shepp, or grab a drink at local spots like Vernick.

Rittenhouse Square | © owen galen jones / Flickr

South Philly

South Philadelphia is home to the stadiums, including Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, but it also houses Passyunk Square, home to places like Laurel, Townsend, and Fond, which regularly top lists of Philadelphia’s best restaurants. Don’t miss the Italian Market, where you can grab a sandwich while you browse streetside carts of fresh produce.

University City

The University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University are located in West Philadelphia’s University City, which is a vibrant neighborhood in its own right. Stop into City Tap House for a taste of college life, and if you’re looking for something more upscale, head to Walnut Street Cafe for their extensive wine collection.

University City | © InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr

Society Hill & Queen Village

These two neighboring areas are home to some of the city’s most beautiful and oldest brownstones, so wander little streets like American and Philip Streets. Once you’re done walking around, stop into Southwark for a cocktail, and then heading to Hungry Pigeon for one of the best dinners in the city.


After a long day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, head over to Fairmount, where you can check out Eastern State Penitentiary or grab a drink at spots like Bar Hygge, The Belgian Cafe, or La Calaca Feliz.

Logan Square | © skeeze / Pixabay

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