Don’t let the less-than-awesome moniker fool you: this neighborhood above NoLibs is the coolest place you’ve never been. Bring your bike, which you can lock up on one of the sculptures in the ArtsRacks Program, cash (credit is so passé) and an appetite for good music and local, vegan food.
To see all that Fishtown has to offer, you’ll have to start early and start caffeinated. The Canvas Coffee Company (400 E. Girard Ave.), best known for its strong coffee and lime muffins, is home to free wireless and local artwork. Relax and watch the trolley pass until you’re sufficiently jittery. Then, head next door to DiPinto’s Guitars (407 E. Girard Ave.) to salivate over a collection of custom made instruments.
And before you start eating too much to fit into vintage threads, head to Circle Thrift (2007 Frankford Ave.). With its mission to better the community by providing cheap clothes (average prices ranging from 75 cents to $6) and job opportunities, you can feel good about spending money on the range of house wares, clothing, shoes and accessories this warehouse-like store has to offer. Getting hungry? Stop into Sketch (413 E. Girard Ave.), Fishtown’s most famous burger joint. Doodle on the chalkboard walls while you wait in a cozy booth for your Seitan or, the most popular choice on the menu, the Smashed Onion Burger.
Once you’re full, walk it off along the Delaware River in Penn Treaty Park (1199 N. Delaware Ave). Then follow the neon pink light to Bambi (1817 Frankford Ave) — a gallery and consignment store aimed at promoting the arts in Fishtown. With First Friday events every two months, unique exhibits and launch parties open to the public, there is always a reason to visit. Your last stop is Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.). Its first floor presents a restaurant that serves unique entrees like grilled octopus and cheesesteaks made with gruyere and a wide range of local beers. Head upstairs Thursdays through Sundays to enjoy live music in close quarters, getting personal with your favorite bands.
But don't fret if you miss your train back: it gives you the chance to treat your hangover at Ida Mae’s Bruncherie (2302 E. Norris St.) the next morning.