With new developments and small businesses popping up in the River Wards, it’s hard to keep track of where one neighborhood ends and the other begins. You could pass through three different neighborhoods just walking a few blocks down one street. So where is East Kensington exactly? We use the East Kensington Neighborhood Association boundaries: Front St./Kensington Ave. to Lehigh Ave. to Trenton Ave./Frankford Avenue to Norris St.
Within this polygon, there is much to explore, but we boiled it down to 1.3 miles. While it’s short on distance, this walking tour packs in the shopping, drinking, eating, and entertainment. Pick a few favorites and choose your own adventure for the day.
You can start your walk after hopping off the Market-Frankford line at Berks, one of the many public transit spots that make East Kensington accessible to the city.
➡️ Walk a block up Front St. until you get to Norris St.
On the corner:
1️⃣ Park Bench Dog Daycare, a 2400 square foot facility that offers exceptional daycare, custom grooming, and training in a highly professional setting. They even offer aromatherapy and calming music with their services for dogs with anxiety!
➡️ Continue on Norris St. toward Frankford Ave. You will pass Trenton Ave., a cobblestone street where the yearly Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby & Arts Festival takes place. At this intersection, you will be standing in the spot where the human-powered floats end the derby in a mud pit.
➡️ When you get to Frankford, make a left and visit the next few blocks of boutiques, wellness studios, and specialty shops. There are over 10 female-owned businesses here!
Frankford Ave. highlights:
2️⃣ Made and Maker: well-curated vintage meets local designer shop focused on clothes, shoes, housewares, jewelry and other artwork.
2️⃣ Minnow Lane: natural parenting store that is stocked with eco-friendly and organic alternatives for babies, toddlers, and parents.
2️⃣ Two Percent to Glory: collection of handpicked vintage clothing, jewelry, mid-century furniture, found objects, and original design.
2️⃣ Downerss: boutique offering all the latest in women's fashion, including clothes and accessories.
2️⃣ Field Plant and Supply: curated plant shop with ceramics, apothecary, and homewares.
2️⃣ Vestige: lifestyle store featuring a curated collection of clothing, home goods and apothecary.
4️⃣ Soup Kitchen: daytime cafe with a New American menu.
5️⃣ Little Baby’s Ice Cream: dreamlike flavors of premium handmade ice cream in a setting filled with color and texture. With a rotating menu for the dairy and non-dairy eaters, everyone can experience their own special treat.
5️⃣ Pizza Brain: brick-oven pizzeria filled with the world's largest collection of pizza memorabilia.
Continue on Frankford St and make a left on York St.
Off York St.:
6️⃣ Martha: neighborhood bar dedicated to all things local and fermented that promises “a truly weird and unique place filled with warm, passionate, and knowledgeable service, good tunes and chill vibes.” Play bocce ball while you sip on natural wine, a sour beer, or one of their amazing draft cocktails. Their menu is filled with hoagies, vegetable plates, pickles, cheese, charcuterie and more.
6️⃣ The Monkey Club: corner bar with great prices, friendly service, and a game room.
7️⃣ Franny Lou’s Porch: cafe with a community space that hosts a full calendar of events like movie screenings, skill-shares, open mics, story time, and more.
➡️ Make a right on Coral St.
On Coral St.:
8️⃣ Urban Axes: America's home of competitive axe throwing. Now is the time to find out which one of your friends can throw an axe at the most bullseyes.
8️⃣ Little Berlin: artist collective focused on innovative programming and home to Philadelphia’s largest zine collection.
➡️ Continue on Coral St, turn right on Huntington St., then right on Frankford St.
On Frankford St.:
9️⃣ Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse: a hybrid of its name and “a safe haven for all of geekdom,” offering fair trade coffee, baked goods, comics, toys & figurines, games, and comic related magazines. Did we mention it’s the only black-woman owned shop of its kind, and the first black-woman owned comic book store on the East Coast?!
1️⃣ 0️⃣ Four Sons Pizzaria & Cafe: lunch and dinner spot offering hand-tossed pizza, burgers, wings, and cheesesteaks. We tried out the General Tso’s pizza and did not regret it.
1️⃣ 1️⃣ Friend and Nemesis (F.A.N: salon that doubles as an artist collective in an ever-changing space inspired by “the energy and playfulness of a traveling circus.”
➡️ Continue on Frankford Ave until you get to Haggert St.
On Frankford Ave. & Hagert St.
1️⃣ 2️⃣ Atlantis, The Lost Bar: laid-back bar with a pool table pouring cocktails and a wide variety of local brews. It’s known for serving one of the best Bloody Marys in the city.
1️⃣ 2️⃣ Philadelphia Brewing Co.: oldest and largest brewing facility in the city with a dozen different styles of ales and lagers brewed annually. Their beer garden, factory store, tasting room, and free brewery tours have hours posted on their site. Originally the Weisbrod & Hess Oriental Brewing Company built in 1885, the building has been carefully renovated, helping preserve the industrial history of the area.
Also a favorite but not on our walk:
Thang Long Noodle: family-owned eatery offering Vietnamese classics, including pho and bubble tea. Craig Laban calls it his favorite pho in Philadelphia.
By now you’re probably exhausted, full, buzzed, and have bags filled with great finds. Time to lyft, walk, bus, or subway home. With new developments and small businesses quickly popping up in the area, you will have to come back for a second visit.
New to the neighborhood in just the past couple months include Flow State Coffeebar, a cafe and gelato shop with coworking space and Thunderbird Salvage, an eclectic collection of goods in an old church. Both on the 2400 block of Frankford Ave.
Coming Soon to the neighborhood:
Hello Donuts / 2557 Amber St.: headquarters and retail spot for these purveyors of fine traditional and vegan donuts.
Kensington Food Coop / 2666-, 2672 Coral St.: member-owned grocery store to serve the neighborhood.