East Kensington is a neighborhood bordering Olde Richmond, Fishtown, and Norris Square. It’s an incredibly mixed balance of old and new, with its industrial history, artist collectives, community-driven green space, and new developments. Once home to a booming textile industry in the 19th-early 20th century, the area today is growing with urban homesteaders, economic investment, and the diversity of nearly twelve generations of dwellers.

Many Philadelphians know the area for the yearly Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby & Arts Festival, an event centered around a human-powered float parade that ends course in a mud pit. The event is a small introduction to the area that is embedded with the creativity of a diverse community and small businesses.

Along Frankford Avenue and tucked in the neighborhood, East Kensington offers all the amenities of a revitalized city neighborhood - curated vintage shops, hip boutiques, wellness studios, restaurants with local fare, and friendly coffee shops to name a few. The unique and hybrid businesses that make up that list give this area its edge. Whether it’s a comic book store/coffee shop, a salon/artist collective, or a space for ax throwing, East Kensington businesses are not afraid to offer their own twist on the ordinary.

Even with an influx of new development, the historical character of the neighborhood is alive and well. There are factories and buildings that have been protected from demolition and repurposed for today’s residents. Weisbrod and Hess’ Lager Beer Brewery built in 1885 is now home to Philadelphia Brewing Co. Viking Mills, a repurposed carpet mill built the 1880s, is filled with affordable work and living space for artists, teachers, and a wide range of other professionals. The former 26th District Police and Patrol Station built in 1896 is currently occupied by Philadelphia Federal Credit Union.

East Kensington is home to several community-driven green spaces that have been transformed into public parks and communal farming. EKNA (East Kensington Neighborhood Association) hosts neighborhood cleanups, tree and flower planting events and other activities to improve the aesthetic quality of the neighborhood.

With close proximity to the Market-Frankford line and several SEPTA bus lines, walking, biking, and public transit are often the preferred mode of choice in the area. In addition, Interstate 95 access is only a mile away, making it easy for driving commuters to get in and out of town.

There is more to come for this newly revitalized neighborhood. With its character of the 19th century residential and industrial landscape, affordable homes, sense of community, and a variety of shops and restaurants, East Kensington continues to attract new residents and economic development.   

Walking Tour


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