The piazza at Schmidt’s
In 1860, Christian Schmidt founded a brewery in Northern Liberties that would pass through five generations of his family. When C Schmidt & Sons went out of business, the site was redeveloped to create an enormous, cobblestone plaza. The Schmidt’s Commons piazza hosts music performances and free fitness classes and broadcasts sport on its 400 sq ft LED screen.
Watch out for the city’s baseball mascot, the green Phillie Phanatic, which has purple eyelashes and an extendable tongue.
Northern Liberties is characterised by Italianate, Greek revival and Federal architecture, and in 1985 the Northern Liberties Historic District joined the National Register of Historic Places.
In the 1990s, artists began flocking to the area to set up studios in the warehouses left over from the neighbourhood’s industrial past. Northern Liberties now has a reputation as a hipster paradise.
The strikingly different North Bowl offers three floors of retro bowling alleys in a renovated car workshop. Down the road at Silk City, enjoy pulled-pork empanadas in a 1952 diner, or head to the gastro-pub Standard Tap to give your patronage to local craft brews on the rooftop patio.
One of America’s “Great Waters”
Northern Liberties sits on the bank of the Delaware River, which was named after a Hampshire man called Thomas West, the third Baron De La Warr. Head to Festival Pier for concerts overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, or moor your yacht a little downriver at the 300-slip Philadelphia Marine Center.
Buzzing local business
In 2008, three local businessmen set up the 2nd Street Festival. One day each August, a six-block stretch between Germantown Avenue and Spring Garden Street is filled with food trucks, three music stages and a market, which was curated last year by Art Star, a local boutique. The street party raises money to fund business improvements in Northern Liberties.
Photographs: G Widman for GPTMC; J Fusco for GPTMC; Bruce Andersen/Evrik; Mfschramm/Dreamstime; Sborisov/Dreamstime