Frankford is the gateway to the greener, more suburban Northeast Philadelphia. Frankford Transit Stop is the terminus for the Market-Frankford line, so the neighborhood is always bustling around the area.
There’s plenty of places to check out around the transit stop, but the rest of Frankford is equally as interesting. It’s a neighborhood rich in history and unique things to do, and - perhaps most importantly - there’s no shortage of great food.
While walking in the neighborhood, you might spot a house that looks a little older than the other buildings in its vicinity. This old-fashioned, charming house is the John Ruan House, home to the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum.
The Civil War Museum was originally established by veterans in the late 19th century, and it’s packed with historical artifacts. You’ll see standard artifacts like weapons and artillery, but you’ll also be in for a surprise. One room actually contains the real head of “Old Baldy,” Major George Meade’s horse in the Battle of Gettysburg. The museum is open to the public on Tuesdays.
If you can’t make it to Frankford on a Tuesday, there are other exciting places to check out. The Quaker City Flea Market is open Friday through Saturday, and vendors sell just about everything. It’s a great place to find a vintage outfit or a rare comic book. In any case, whatever you find will probably surprise you.
It’s hard to narrow it down when there’s so many good options, but here are a few favorites.
Guess what you can find in Frankford? Gourmet potato tots. That’s right - The Tot Cart offers potato tots doused in garlic butter served with roasted chicken, parmesan, and much more. You’ll get a huge plate of the best part of any meal for $7.00.
If you’re looking for something more traditionally Philly, look no further than Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop. This diner has been done up in full-on 50’s style, and there’s even a jukebox. So have a seat at the bar and order one of the (excellent) chocolate milkshakes. Two straws optional. And don’t worry - the cheese steaks are top notch.
For breakfast, Haegel’s Bakery has to be mentioned. This family-owned bakery is located in neighboring Wissinoming, and it has been around for almost 100 years. Because every pastry is made fresh on site daily, it’s well worth the trip from wherever you’re coming from. Especially notable are the fastnachts, a pastry of German origin. They are deep-fried potato donuts, and they’re as incredible as they sound.
If you want a drink to wash all that down, stop by Rauchut’s Tavern. It’s a no-nonsense dive bar offering cheap beer, darts, and shuffleboard. There’s a DJ every weekend and friendly service all week long. And if you’re keen on Philadelphia sports, you’ll have plenty of company here.
The closest park to the Frankford Transit Center is Wissinoming Park, which is especially great for kids. Parts of Wissinoming Park are under construction right now as part of a measure to implement better rainwater management practices in the city, but most of the park is still open. There’s a small waterpark with sprinkler systems for when it’s hot, and plenty of picnic tables for parents to post up at.
Meanwhile, be sure to check out Lardner’s Point Park, a small spot tucked underneath the Tacony Palmyra Bridge. This pleasant park isn’t just a nice place to fish or have a picnic - it’s also a major movement for ecological restoration. The landscaped features that cover its 4.5 areas include marsh and wetlands, replacing what was once a shoreline littered with trash.
It’s a nice place to take in views of city skylines and views of the bridge (as long as you don’t mind the occasional sound of a disgruntled driver honking). And it also offers easy pedestrian access to the Tacony Palmyra Bridge, in case you feel like walking over the Delaware River into New Jersey.
Frankford isn’t necessarily the first neighborhood that comes to mind when planning a trip to Philly. But whether you’re visiting Philadelphia or you live here, there’s dozens of hidden surprises in Frankford waiting for you to discover.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, come check out this fascinating neighborhood, which is both historic and constantly evolving.
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