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At first glance, Fishtown appears unassuming, quiet, and a little rough-around-the-edges compared to the sleek skyscrapers and cosmopolitan hotspots of Center City. The humble, unpolished facade of this former working-class Irish community, however, belies a creative electricity and trendy funk. If you’re looking for an adventure, head up the river.

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Images via philadelphiafishtown

PHILADELPHIA’S CREATIVE FOOD HAVEN

A revolution in culinary experimentation and expression has pushed Fishtown to the front of Philadelphia’s foodie destinations. It’s almost sacrilegious to pick favorites from the neighborhood’s outstanding list of restaurants and coffee shops, but there are some definitely worth mentioning:

  • Philly Style Bagels – These are hands-down the best bagels in the city; they’re boiled in beer instead of water, giving them a thick texture and malty flavor.
  • La Colombe – Unlike a typical coffee shop, this sleek and trendy cafe is spacious, with long tables and booths providing ample seating. The house-brand artisanal coffee and phenomenal breakfast dishes make this flagship a premiere eatery.
  • Frankford Hall – This German-style beer garden is the perfect place to enjoy a liter of beer in a stein, play ping pong by fire pits, or grab some authentic sausages and pretzels.
  • Loco Pez – Some of the best tacos in town are available at this cash-only, LA-style taqueria and dive bar. The kitschy, retro (hipster) vibe is a fun option for late-night Mexican food too.

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Image via ingognitoinfashion

STROLLIN’ THE STREETS, SEEIN’ THE ART

There are no historical landmarks or Rocky steps, but Fishtown has plenty of things to do and see. In line with Philadelphia tradition, the neighborhood is decked with sprawling, kaleidoscopic mural. Whimsical and imaginative blends of splashing colors, creative geometry, and pop culture references create eccentric pieces that reflect the weird unconventionality of Fishtown. The Mural Arts Program has created a handy map featuring some of the area’s most iconic and inventive compositions. Explore the streets to find graphics that aren’t on the map.

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Image via so_sophieee

HIDDEN TREASURES AND VINTAGE FLAIR

Fishtown is also home to a variety of independent shops, studios, galleries, and music venues. From vinyl to live shows, check out these spots:

  • Milkcrate Cafe – This vinyl record boutique and cafe combines the joys of thumbing through records and sipping coffee.
  • The Parlour – A hair salon with top-notch beauty products.
  • Jinxed– A favorite for vintage, salvaged home goods.
  • Pizza Brain– A pizzeria that is also a pizza museum.
  • Johnny Brenda’s– a bi-level gastropub with craft beers and seasonal American food that also featured indie rock performances.
  • Bottle Bar East– A bi-level hangout and gastropub featuring over 800 beers in coolers and on tap, as well as numerous local art installations and foosball tables.

Header image via bigntoasty