Ciao, NoLibs! Philadelphia meets Europe at the Piazza at Schmidts, a massive open-air space located in Northern Liberties and surrounded by shops, restaurants and apartments. Catch a game on the complex’s outdoor Jumbotron, soak up the sun in a plastic lounger, or shop ’til you drop…into a chair at one of the Piazza’s many bars and restaurants, that is! Here’s our guide on where to go in the city’s favorite hipster hangout. –Chelsea Karnash
Fans of the Anthro aesthetic—especially those who tend to stick to the store’s sale racks—will really love this place. At Bloom, there’s no need to limit yourself to the reduced section; almost everything here is well-priced. That gorgeous featherweight cardigan with the flower appliqués? It’s (probably) here. And so are the beautifully packaged soaps and lotions you just have to treat yourself to occasionally.
Fiona’s Childrenswear and Special Occasion
Also known as “Fiona’s Fairys,” and who can resist a shop with a name that includes the word “fairy”?! Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, this shop sells kid’s clothing in sizes from infant to 10, including a line of dress-up fairy costumes (hence “Fiona’s Fairys”). Some of the clothes are made by senior seamstresses on a fixed income, and others are creations by local designers, but no matter what you choose, it’s bound to be cute.
This store caters solely to guys (obviously) and includes menswear and accessories that range from designer to resale. There’s also hand-crafted men’s jewelry for dude’s who like to wear a little bling, and the owner offers on-site tailoring and made-to-order clothing.
Whether you’re a hipster or just a fauxhemian, Jinxed has your fav anarchy tee or tattoo art book, plus a slew of vintage goodies. The owners are laidback and friendly, the merchandise is relatively inexpensive and there’s a sweet attached art gallery, The Toothless Cat, where you’ll find rotating installations from the likes of Ryden and Nara that’ll make your head spin. Oh, and dog lovers will fall in love with the store’s very own canine Odd Couple: a miniscule Chihuahua puppy and an older pit bull that like to cuddle together on a rug. I took pictures.
Basically, Jinxed is sort of like a prototype Urban Outfitters, before the price-jacking and invasion of teeny boppers and mass-produced kitsch ruined the vibe.
Fans of home décor will fall in love with this place, which offers everything from furniture to sculptures and knick-knacks in price points that run the gamut from shockingly high to (somewhat) affordable. Regardless, it’s always fun to look!
The Pink Dolphin
Located in Liberties Walk
Last time I strolled into The Pink Dolphin—bedraggled, thirsty and in search of water—I came out with a delish rose-flavored soda from some company I’d never even heard of. That’s just what happens when you walk into this small, friendly, gourmet food store that offers a pretty good selection of organic foods, as well as made-to-order sandwiches (using Boar’s Head meats!) at the back counter.
The Korean Short Rib, Cheesesteak Pretzel Roll and Krispy Kreme are just some of P.Y.T.’s mouthwatering burger options. Plus, the place serves up alcohol-spiked milkshakes! Try the Peanutbutterchocolatebanana (chocolate ice cream, banana liqueur, rum, fresh banana or peanut butter) or the Cookie Monster (crushed Oreos, vanilla ice cream, vanilla vodka and Irish cream), then stick around for some late-night dancing in the backroom.
Stop by retro-fab Darling’s, the self-proclaimed home of the ORIGINAL Philly cheesecake—New York cheesecake’s lighter, creamier cousin—and taste one of their ten varieties. And if you don’t love cheesecake, there’s always the diner specialty: all-day breakfast. Yum!
Italian piazza, Italian gelato. Nana’s is the only place to get Philly favorite Capogiro’s cold, creamy varieties in NoLibs. Sixteen to twenty-four flavors are served up daily, along with other Italian desserts and pastries.
Located in Liberties Walk
Hanging bouquets of dried roses around the bar and sand-colored walls lend this place a Spanish vibe that matches the food. Which is delish, by the way. Choose from a huge array of hot and cold tapas or sandwiches, but make sure to try the Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce) and Dátiles Rellenos (dates stuffed with Marcona almonds and yogurt).
The Toothless Cat
Aside from having the best name ever, The Toothless Cat regularly has awesome installations from established and emerging underground artists. Want to feast on whole roast pig and chug cans of PBR while you ponder that print of a whale-elephant hybrid? Get thee to a Toothless Cat opening night, ASAP.
The Piazza offers tons of events—some seasonal, some year-round. Farmers’ markets, flea markets, holiday shopping events, concerts and sports games (shown on the outdoor Jumbotron!) are just some of them. To see the events calendar, visit the website.