To any tried-and-true Philadelphian, Fishtown is just a neighborhood near Kensington with a funny name. But in recent years, the small area (given the name Fishtown because it was the center of the fishing industry on the Delaware River) has made a name of its own. Locals and visitors flock to the once-desolate area to dine at some of Philly’s best restaurants, shop vintage and get a taste of the “hipster” vibe the neighborhood is fondly known for. Here’s a guide to one day in this hip enclave.
Since Philly-based La Colombe is now in nearby cities like New York City and Washington, D.C., it’s likely you’ve heard of the coffee purveyor. But there is no other La Colombe like the company's HQ. The massive space (even in city standards) not only serves the brewer's signature drips, lattes on draft and tasty sandwiches, it also has a distillery that produces top-notch rum, which can be enjoyed in the café, along with wine and beer. 1335 N. Frankford Ave., 267.479.1600
Philly Style Bagels is a small shop with a big reputation—word of advice? Get here early. The bagels quickly sell out, and the classic lox sandwich was named one of the five “Best New Sandwiches in America” by Bon Appètit magazine. But if lox isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other tasty options. Order a few to go and enjoy them at Palmer Park, located just outside. Closed Tuesday. 1451 E. Columbia Ave., no phone
Although Fishtown isn’t necessarily known as a retail hub, new shops have joined mainstays creating a small shopping district worth visiting. Vintage and second-hand boutiques dominate the area, with places like Two Percent to Glory mixing it up with a curated collection of found objects, jewelry, furniture and original designs, all with a Midwest feel. Jinxed has a more masculine vibe and carries a variety of rugs, art and a small collection of vintage clothing. Urban Exchange is the new kid in town, offering secondhand name brands like Gucci, Chanel and Prada. Minnow Lane sells natural and organic products for infants and parents.
Lunch (and a museum)
As the first pizza museum in the country, Pizza Brain is a fun place to grab a slice and explore. The walls are lined with pizza-themed memorabilia and fun facts, but the pie is where they really shine. Order the Forbes Waggensense with fontina, fresh basil and smoked pepperoni and then pop in next door for a scoop of hand-made ice cream (plus non-dairy options) at Little Baby's Ice Cream. Pizza Brain, 2313 Frankford Ave., 215.291.2965; Little Baby's Ice Cream, 2311 Frankford Ave., 267.687.8567
Things to Do
If it’s a nice day out, walk off lunch at Penn Treaty Park. This small green space lines the Delaware River, offering great views and a tranquil atmosphere to relax mid-day. 1301 N. Beach St., 215.634.5300
If the weather doesn't cooperate, spend the afternoon at Yards Brewery. This local favorite offers tours on weekends from noon to 4 pm, but private tours and tastings can also be had by appointment. 901 N. Delaware Ave., 215.634.2600
At first glance, Bottle Bar East looks like a grab-and-go beer store. But once inside, you’ll discover a two-story space complete with a full bar and dining area. Go here for a drink pre-dinner (happy hour is Monday-Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm) and order from the long list of brews, plus rotating specialty cocktails, wine and appetizers. 1308 Frankford Ave., 267.909.8867
Shopping and breweries aside, Fishtown is worth the trip solely for its restaurants. Head to ROOT and grab a seat at the wine bar, where servers guide diners to wines from all over the world to pair with items like chicken liver toast and black cavatelli with rock shrimp and jalapeno. 1206 Frankford Ave., 215.515.3452
Dine at another Bon Appètit favorite, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons for some of the, dare we say, world’s best pizza, topped with ingredients like lamb sausage, caramelized onions and pistachio. Or head here for weekend brunch and try the popular donut sandwich with fried ham, fontina and egg. 1335 N. Front St., 267.753.9478