Northern Liberties

Hipsters of the world unite! Just kidding. Northern Liberties is truly one of the hottest neighborhoods in Philly right now! This is a go-to spot for music, art, food, community events, fashion…just about everything that would be important to a college student. It’s also just a great place to hang out with an eclectic, interesting group of people and a great insight in the Philadelphia community in general.

Photo © G. Widman for GPTMC

Insider Tips

Locals often refer to Northern Liberties as “NoLibs.”

Reaching NoLibs by public transit is a cinch! Just take the Market-Frankford Line to the Spring Garden or Girard stop.

Driving to the area? NoLibs offers lots of free parking!

NoLibs stretches from Callowhill to Girard, and 6th street to the Delaware River.

Many businesses in Northern Liberties are closed on Mondays.

On a Budget

Sketch $$
413 E. Girard Ave.
This isn’t your average burger joint. At every table, you’ll find a set of crayons and scrap paper. As a result, hundreds of drawings cover the walls at Sketch (get it?). Its open kitchen produces high quality, innovative creations, like the American Kobe beef burger—and delicious concoctions result. Don’t miss the hand cut fries, served with aioli and wasabi sauces.


1050 N. Hancock St.
Located in the Piazza at Schmidt’s, PYT’s highest-priced single menu item ranks at only $12. While the weather is warm, relax in its outdoor lounge area. On weekend nights, the popular hang-out spot is bound to be packed.


Milkcrate Café $
400 E. Girard Ave.
Part coffee shop, part record store, this is definitely a unique business in Philadelphia. It rose from the ashes of South Street’s Cue Records, and it now offers the standard café fare of lattes and Wi-Fi—in addition to a vast record collection and friendly service. You’ll find bins stuffed with $1 records, some first-press gems, and a selection of CDs and DVDs.


Study Spots

Red Cup Café $
400 Fairmount Ave.
The cups aren’t actually red, but the coffee is hot and delicious! This coffee joint opens early, making it the perfect pit stop for your morning cup of joe. It also offers free Wi-Fi and spacious tables for you to spread your books or laptop on.


Outside Itch

The Piazza at Schmidt’s (free)
Second Street and
Germantown Avenue
This is a fantastic spot for window shopping! From art galleries to smoothie shops to a spa, you’ll never find yourself bored. Need a place to stretch your legs? How about 80,000 square feet worth of space? You can also catch the latest Philly sports game for free on its huge high-def television screen mounted on the side of a building. Radio 104.5 has also started a yearly tradition of summer block parties featuring national music acts, put on for the community for free!


Arts & Culture

Art Star Gallery & Boutique $$$
623 N. Second St.
If you’re into supporting local artists, visit Art Star where you can buy handmade ceramics, prints and more. Check out its well-arranged crafts and clothing sections. Work your way to the gallery in the back, featuring rotating exhibitions. Don’t miss its annual Art Star Craft Bazaar, where you can kick off each summer with new pieces for your wardrobe or art collection.


DiPinto Guitars $$$
407-409 E. Girard Ave.
Philadelphia’s only nationally-recognized luthier shop, has made guitars for Jack White and Lil’ Wayne. Though it outsources the bulk of its manufacturing, this shop is its only retail outlet. In addition to its own guitars and basses, DiPinto carries a solid selection of vintage instruments and amps. Be sure to ask Chris DiPinto himself about his story while you’re testing out a guitar.



North Bowl Lounge ‘n’ Lanes $
909 N. Second St.
North Bowl is true to its slogan of being “strikingly different.” This bowling alley features cheap food, retro lanes and benches straight out of the 1950s. It usually opens in the evenings, but on the weekends, you can enjoy games all day. After 9 p.m., however, you must be 21.


Penn Herb Company, Ltd. $$$
603 N. Second St.
Billing itself as “nature’s wonderland,” this is the place to find health-related items. Shelves stacked to the ceiling are packed with vitamins to improve everything from heart rate to hair growth. Wheat grass snacks and drinks are available that might not be found in a regular grocery store. Health magazines and self-help books round out the items for sale in this wholesome, unique shop.


Don’t Miss

One Shot Coffee $
1040 Second St.


Honey’s Sit’n Eat $
800 N. Fourth St.