Traveling to Northern Liberties – the Safest Ways to Get There

Traveling to Northern Liberties

Finnigan's Wake, your destination when traveling to Northern Liberties, at 3rd and Spring Garden Streets. For a better view of the elaborate mural about the door, just click directly on the photo to enlarge it. / CC BY-SA 3.0

Traveling to Northern Liberties Via Taxicab - The Best Way To Get There

Please see our thoughts on the Northern Liberties main page. Use this rule of thumb - the further north you're going in Northern Liberties, the wiser it is for you to take a cab both to and from your destination. And if you're from out of town, take the cab both ways, regardless of where you're headed in Northern Liberties.

Traveling to Northern Liberties Via SEPTA Regional Rail

If you are traveling from one of the more distant Philadelphia neighborhoods, or from the suburbs in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you can take SEPTA Regional Rail service, which runs throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. Unfortunately, there is no SEPTA train station in Northern Liberties, but here's how you can get to the closest one, at 11th and Market Streets. From there, you can walk, take the Phlash, or SEPTA City Transit, as described above. However, we recommend the cab, especially at night.

By far, the closest SEPTA train station is Market East Station - at which nearly every inbound train will stop, and you will arrive at 11th and Market Streets. This puts you 13 blocks from Finnigan's Wake. You can walk that if it's a nice day or early evening, if you don't mind the walk.

You can also connect with the Blue Line, from Market East, without even having to go outside. When you ascend from the SEPTA Regional Rail platform after you get off your train, go to the ticket window and purchase one token for every person in your party.

(Note: you should buy two tokens for each person, if you plan on taking the Blue Line back, although we would not advise doing that late at night - take a cab. Only take the Blue Line back if you're leaving Northern Liberties, during the day or the early evening - no later than 8 PM.)

Once you have your tokens, follow the blue-and-white signs for the "Market-Frankford Line", until you reach 11th Street Station. Once you're there, make sure you follow signs reading "Eastbound to Frankford". Drop your token in the turnstile, and follow the directions above - you can get off at 5th Street, 2nd Street, or Spring Garden.

Also, be cognizant of the fact that - unlike SEPTA Regional Rail, where they'll wait for you to get off the train - the el doesn't work that way. You have to be standing in front of the door when you get to your destination, in order to jump off immediately. Due to the close proximity of all three of these stations, don't even bother sitting down - just stand and pay close attention to the station stops.

Finally, keep track of your time. Make sure that you know when the last train leaves Market East, to take you home, on your particular line. We recommend that you take a cab back to Market East, anyhow, for safety late at night - but one upside is that you're less likely to miss your train if you take one, because you'll be going back directly to the train station. Make sure that you tell your driver, "Market East Station, 11th and Market Streets". Check the official SEPTA site for the schedule.

When you're back, ask the driver to go north on 11th Street, halfway up the block, and get off on the right side, that says "Market East Station." Late at night, that's the only entrance to Market East that SEPTA keeps open - and you don't want to waste time frantically trying to get into the station, and miss your train. When you get to that door, try it to make sure it's open, then hustle down the stairs; you'll see signs for "Regional Rail".

Traveling to Northern Liberties Via the Phlash Trolley

Due to the fact that it is north of Center City, Northern Liberties is one of the few places in central Philadelphia, that is better served by SEPTA, than the purple Phlash Trolley - for three reasons.

One is the fact that the Phlash only operates six months of the year - from May 1 to Halloween.

Another is the fact that although you can visit it during the day (when, it should be noted, it's safer than at night), Northern Liberties is best known for its nightlife and bar scene - i.e., at night. But the Phlash shuts down for the day around 5:30 - 6:00 PM, depending on the stop.

Finally, because Northern Liberties is north of Center City, the Phlash - which primarily exists for out-of-town visitor - is best for "tourist Philadelphia". It has no direct stop in Northern Liberties.

That having been said, if you are visiting Northern Liberties while the Phlash is operating - during the day, between May 1 and October 31 - you can get within a couple of blocks of it. And one good idea is to take the Phlash there late in the day - at 5 PM, let's say- and then cab it back to Center City at the end of your merriment.

So here's how to do it. While it doesn't go directly to Northern Liberties, there are two stops which are close by:

#5 - 6th and Race Streets - behind the National Constitution Center

From 6th and Race, walk east on Race until you reach 3rd Street, where you turn left to walk north. Go up three blocks till you reach Finnigan's Wake, at 3rd and Spring Garden Streets, and the "Welcome to Northern Liberties" sign painted on the blue wall of its Quiet Man Pub, pictured on the Northern Liberties main page.

You can also do it this way-

#2 - 3rd and Market Streets - Old City

From 3rd and Market, just walk north on 3rd, for five blocks, till you arrive at Spring Garden Street, at Finnigan's Wake.

Traveling to Northern Liberties via SEPTA City Transit Lines

SEPTA City Transit lines offer a wide variety of options for getting to Northern Liberties.

The Blue Line - Also Known As the Market-Frankford Line and "the El"

The SEPTA Blue Line has three stops to reach Northern Liberties, depending on where you'd like to end up.

Its 5th Street Station - across the street from the Liberty Bell - puts you at 5th and Market Streets. From there, just walk five blocks north on 5th, and turn right at Spring Garden, where you walk two blocks to Finnigan's Wake.

Its 2nd Street Station - Old City - puts you at 2nd and Market Streets. From there, just walk five blocks north on 2nd, and you're in Northern Liberties (you can turn left on Spring Garden and walk one block east to Finnigan's Wake, if you want to).

Finally, the "El" becomes elevated, on the way from 2nd Street Station to Spring Garden Station, from which you can also reach Northern Liberties. But only try this one, if you're from here, unless you're very familiar with SEPTA. Here's how:

The el car will leave its subterranean home on Market Street and climb to the surface. Its first stop is at Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Streets.

Important Note: This stop will not put you on Market Street, but at the intersection named above.

And when you get off the el car at the platform, it will in fact be elevated.

From there, walk west on Spring Garden Street (you should see 2nd Street, then 3rd, indicating that you're going west, away from the Delaware River).

If you do this, make sure that you get off at Spring Garden - you can't miss it, it's the first stop where you can see outside. Why?

If you overshoot it, you'll have to get off at the next stop, use another token, and figure out how to get back to Spring Garden Station, and that's a huge inconvenience, waste of time, with the added danger of getting lost.

Also, do not try to go back home, that way - take a cab back to Center City, either to your hotel or one of the train stations.

Traveling to Northern Liberties Via the Broad Street Subway

Although the Blue Line is much closer, you can take the SEPTA Broad Street Subway - also known as the Broad Street Line or the Orange Line - from which, you can also make a free transfer to the Blue Line.

You can take the Broad Street Subway to its City Hall Station stop, at Broad and Market Streets. Once you step off the subway car, follow blue-and-white signs for the "Market-Frankford Line". Once you've gotten to the Blue Line's 15th Street Station, follow signs to the platform reading, "Eastbound to Frankford". Then follow the directions above, in terms of where to get off the Blue Line.

However - if you're familiar with the city and SEPTA - you can get off the Orange Line at two other stops.

One is Race/Vine, one stop north of City Hall, from which you exit at either Race Street or Vine Street. You want Vine Street, and you'll emerge at Broad and Vine Streets. Walk east along Vine for 11 blocks, till you reach 3rd Street, where you turn left, and walk up to Finnigan's Wake at 3rd and Spring Garden Streets.

The other is Spring Garden, which is one stop north of Race/Vine. You emerge at Broad and Spring Garden Streets. From there, you walk east along Spring Garden, till you reach Finnigan's Wake.

However, the SEPTA 43 Bus also runs east from Broad and Spring Garden; once you emerge from the Orange Line, look for a 43 sign. Ride the 11 blocks to 3rd Street and Finnigan's Wake - it will be right there. Make sure that your bus is going eastbound toward the Delaware River, also; ask the driver - "Are you going to 3rd Street?" when you get on. You do not want to make a mistake and get on a westbound 43 from there.

There are a couple of reasons for this advice, but before we get started-

(Important Notes: Do not take the Broad Street Subway to Northern Liberties, after the PM rush hour ends - and this is especially true, if you're from out of town or unfamiliar with the Orange Line.

Also, although the Orange Line and Blue Line both have stops called, "Spring Garden" - they are not the same stations! The Orange Line Spring Garden is at Broad and Spring Garden, but the Blue Line station is at Delaware and Spring Garden - 13 blocks away!)

So back to the reasons for transfer to the Blue Line.

One is the fact that the Orange Line permits you to take a free, easy, and convenient transfer, right to the Blue Line, at City Hall / 15th Street Stations. Regardless of where you get off the Orange Line, it's an extremely long walk to Northern Liberties. It will be much faster and safer to transfer to the Blue Line, get off at one of the three stops serving Northern Liberties, and walk from there (and cab it back to Market East Station or your hotel.)

The other is the fact that you do not want to be making the walk from Broad Street, all the way over to Northern Liberties, at night. We wouldn't even recommend that, during the day, let alone at night.

Traveling to Northern Liberties Via SEPTA Buses. From the Blue Line or the Phlash

As a general rule, we would not recommend SEPTA bus service, given that service is sporadic outside of the rush hours, and you really should be taking a cab up there, anyhow, both to save time and for your personal safety, particularly at night (the time when you're most likely to be going to Northern Liberties).

However, depending upon which Blue Line station you use, there are SEPTA buses that take you to Northern Liberties. You can also take the Phlash trolley, and link up with a SEPTA bus. Here's the summary:

If You Get Off at the Blue Line's Spring Garden Station

No bus is needed; just walk over a block and you're in Northern Liberties. As you can see, this saves some time, as there's no need to find a bus stop, wait for one, or ride on one - but make sure you're thoroughly familiar with both SEPTA and the geography, before you try it.

If You Get Off at the Blue Line's 5th Street Station

Your first choice will be the SEPTA 57 Bus, which runs northbound up 3rd Street, and southbound down 4th Street (both streets are one-way).

When you come up from the Blue Line, walk two blocks east to the intersection of 3rd and Market Streets, and find the 57 sign at the corner. Ride the five blocks north, and get off at Finnigan's Wake at 3rd and Spring Garden Streets.

If You Get Off at the Blue Line's 2nd Street Station

Likewise, your first choice is the 57 bus. Since you're at 2nd and Market Streets, walk one block west to 3rd and Market, and look for the 57 sign - the same as above.

You also have a second choice, although this seems counterintuitive. After coming up from the 2nd Street Station, you'll be at 2nd and Market Streets, you can also walk one block east over to Front and Market Streets - although you're trying to end up at 3rd Street - and look for the sign for the SEPTA 5 Bus.

The SEPTA 5 Bus runs northbound from Front and Market; it will take you in a small circle, and start going northbound up 3rd Street. Ride up the five blocks to Finnigan's Wake - it will drop you off at the corner of 3rd and Spring Garden.

If You Get Off the Phlash (daytime hours only - it stops between 5:30 PM - 6:00 PM)

Get off the Phlash at its stop at 3rd and Market Streets, and look for the sign for the 57 bus - just follow the same directions, above.

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