A Complete Guide to Living in Fishtown

A Complete Guide to Living in Fishtown

  • Christopher Hvostal
  • 04/3/23

Though its name honors the past, Fishtown has undergone an unprecedented and significant renaissance since it was first established as a small fishing village back in the 1700s. It is one of Philadelphia’s most buzzed-about neighborhoods, with a unique mix of half-a-million-dollar townhomes, charming brownstones, eclectic restaurants, and upscale shops. The past few decades have brought significant changes to this historic town, led by an influx of younger homebuyers and renters who have managed to set off a remarkable transformation and the emergence of historically high real estate prices.

The value of Fishtown real estate has tripled over the past century, and the neighborhood is so hot that many sellers have legitimate offers within weeks – buyer bidding wars are not uncommon. Could this neighborhood be worth the investment? Here is what you need to know about this charming and sophisticated Philadelphia neighborhood.

Getting to and from Fishtown

Fishtown is about a five-minute drive from the Delaware River waterfront, placing it near the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state line. It is also close to Northern Liberties, another revitalized Philly neighborhood. To get from place to place, locals and visitors take advantage of “The El,” which is the local SEPTA Market/Frankford Line subway. This is one of the most convenient ways to travel into the city.
Residents who own vehicles may park on designated streets near their homes as long as they purchase and display their parking permits. Since Fishtown is such a walkable neighborhood, you may find that you rarely need to use your car. Some people don’t mind driving into downtown Philadelphia, but dealing with the traffic can be frustrating. Finding street parking can also be difficult, but plenty of parking garages exist.
Since this neighborhood is so close to southern New Jersey, residents can get to some of the closer shore towns, like Atlantic City, in just under an hour. It is easy to hop onto I-95, drive over the Walt Whitman Bridge, and onto the Atlantic City Expressway. Other popular Jersey beach towns include Ocean City (great for families), Margate, Ventnor, Avalon, and Cape May.

A laid-back, artistic vibe

Fishtown has an appealing mix of dining options and interesting leisure activities. Suraya, a Lebanese eatery with outdoor garden seating, is one of the best-known restaurants. Wm. Mulherin’s Sons also has a unique setting. It serves gourmet Italian food inside an old whiskey distillery. These are but two of the many restaurants in Fishtown, and you will also find Asian, Mexican, American, and eateries that provide entertainment. The closest large venues for live performances are The Fillmore Philadelphia, Verizon Hall, and Theatre of The Living Arts.
The area is also known for its street art scene with fun fish-based and ocean-based themes. Strolling along the streets, you might encounter a wall painted to resemble crashing waves, stained-glass fish or seagull designs on doors, and some incredible murals that showcase very talented artists. You will notice all of this when strolling past the neighborhood’s vintage furniture boutiques, artisan butcher shops, and other specialty retail stores. Fishtown also has excellent beer gardens, whiskey bars, coffee roasters, and the Fishtown Social natural wine bar and shop. There are also nice greenspaces here, like Penn Treaty Park and the Delaware River Trail.

The Fishtown community and outdoor space

The Fishtown Neighbors Association is an excellent resource that residents turn to when they need information about building renovation and construction, licensing and inspection services, the Penn Treaty Neighborhood Scholarship, local government, and special events. This is a good site to visit after moving into this neighborhood, as it also includes information about trash and recycling, planning, zoning, hyperlocal conservation efforts, and neighborhood beautification efforts.
And when you’re ready to take advantage of the great outdoors, there are a few appealing recreation spots in the area. Located on the banks of the Delaware River, Penn Treaty Park is thought to be where William Penn and a local Lenape tribe signed a treaty of peace in 1683. This outdoor recreation area attracts people from all over Philly – it’s a lovely spot for picnics and a great place to walk your dog. Other nearby local small parks include Mascher, Norris Square, and Palmer Park. The Fishtown Rose Garden is another outdoor space that offers attractive landscaping, brick walkways, and occasional farmers markets. It is located at the corner of Frankford Avenue and Belgrade Street.

Fishtown area schools and hospitals

Fishtown families send their children to the Alexander Adaire School, an elementary school in the School District of Philadelphia. Penn Treaty School is for grades six through 12. Saint Laurentius is Fishtown’s Catholic school, and nearby private schools include Liguori Academy, Frankford Friends, Friends Select, and St. Peters. There is also a Fishtown Montessori school.
The colleges and universities closest to Fishtown include Temple University, Drexel University, and Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. The University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University are also within close driving distance. Some of the state’s top-performing medical facilities are in the region, including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, University of Penn Hospital, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is just over the bridge in Camden, NJ.
The nearest airport to Fishtown is Philadelphia International, which is only 12 miles away – the Amtrak 30th Street Station is less than six. It takes about an hour to get to Atlantic City International Airport from Fishtown and more than 90 minutes to get to Newark International.
The Hvostal Group works with buyers and sellers looking for opportunities in Philadelphia’s best neighborhoods like Society Hill, Passyunk Square, Northern Liberties, and Fishtown. If you’re ready to explore  Fishtown real estate options or learn more about the surrounding counties, contact Philly native Chris Hvostal for a comprehensive, professional consultation today. He can help you locate Fishtown homes for sale and any other properties you may be interested in.

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