Bordered by Fishtown and Port Richmond to the south, Kensington is a traditionally working-class neighborhood experiencing an explosion of hip nightlife spots and a thriving arts scene. As with most Philadelphia neighborhoods, Kensington’s exact borders have shifted over time and are imprecisely defined in the modern day. The generally agreed-upon boundaries are Castor Avenue to the north, Front or Fifth Street to the west, and Trent Avenue to the east. Kensington includes a number of distinct neighborhoods. Depending on who you ask, West, East, and Olde Kensington, Olde Richmond, and Harrowgate all fall within Kensington’s boundaries.
Philadelphia Center City:
17 minutes by car / 11 minutes by public transportation
Kensington: Thriving modern living built on a strong industrial past
Kensington’s modern resurgence builds on the area’s industrial past, with historic factories housing contemporary art spaces and cool start-ups. The Philadelphia Brewing Company is a prime example, pioneering the booming local craft beer scene since it took over the site of an 1885-built brewery in 2007.
The Neighbors: A diverse community with youthful energy
Once a predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood, today’s Kensington is one of Philadelphia’s most diverse communities. Young urban professionals poured into Kensington as its cool factor exploded during the 2010s. Located just a few miles north of Center City, it’s an easy place from which to commute. The thriving local microeconomy makes it an incredibly enticing place to live.
What to Expect: A major hub of Philadelphia’s contemporary arts scene
Much of Kensington’s modern popularity stems from its arts scene. Frankford Avenue is full of galleries and performance spaces. The creativity and eccentricity of this ultra-cool neighborhood comes to the forefront during May’s Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival, which sees parade floats race past cheering crowds.
The Lifestyle: Hip bars and restaurants along the invisible Fishtown border
The ill-defined border between East Kensington and similarly-hip Fishtown is full of stylish restaurants and cool nightlife spots. A few spots which Kensington firmly claims as its own include the quaint Franny Lou’s Porch coffee shop and retro chic hangout Martha, which serves excellent wine, beer, hoagies, and charcuterie.
Unexpected Appeal: Steel factory farms and competitive ax throwing
Kensington’s creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit has given the neighborhood some unique attractions. Urban Axes lets you challenge friends to a bout of competitive ax throwing. Greensgrow Urban Farm hosts workshops and sells fresh produce from a hydroponic farm hosted in a former steel galvanizing factory.
The Market: Historic homes and stylish new-builds
Kensington is a historic neighborhood with real estate that features many distinctive row houses and townhomes. Many properties have undergone extensive modernization and refurbishment. Stylish newly-built properties have also been added to Kensington in recent years.
You’ll Fall in Love With: History and modernity
This thoroughly modern neighborhood is full of reminders of its industrial past, with factories and schools listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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