Exploring the Vibrant Sharswood Neighborhood in Philadelphia

Laura Williams

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Exploring the Vibrant Sharswood Neighborhood in Philadelphia - Featured - Photo Source DALL-E

Nestled in the heart of Philadelphia, the Sharswood neighborhood is a vibrant and diverse community that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. Located on the edge of North Philadelphia, Sharswood is surrounded by several other fascinating neighborhoods, including Brewerytown, Fairmount, and Francisville. With its rich history, exciting events, and delicious restaurants, Sharswood is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.

Uncovering the Rich History of Sharswood

The Sharswood neighborhood in Philadelphia has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. Originally known as the “Spring Garden District,” the area was primarily farmland until the mid-1800s when it began to urbanize. Over the years, Sharswood has undergone significant changes, experiencing periods of growth, decline, and revitalization. Today, efforts are being made to uncover and preserve the neighborhood’s history, shedding light on its past and shaping its future.

Early Settlement and Development

The early settlement of Sharswood can be traced back to the late 18th century when the area was part of the larger Northern Liberties Township. As Philadelphia expanded, the neighborhood began to develop, attracting residents who sought affordable housing and proximity to the city center. The construction of the Spring Garden Water Works in the 1820s further spurred growth in the area, providing a reliable water supply for residents and businesses.

During the mid-19th century, Sharswood became a thriving community with a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The neighborhood was home to a diverse population, including immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Eastern Europe. The construction of rowhouses and small businesses along major thoroughfares like Ridge Avenue and Girard Avenue contributed to the neighborhood’s vibrant character.

Decline and Urban Renewal

Like many urban neighborhoods, Sharswood experienced a decline in the mid-20th century. Factors such as deindustrialization, suburbanization, and disinvestment led to a decrease in population and the deterioration of housing stock. The construction of the nearby Richard Allen Homes public housing development in the 1960s further impacted the neighborhood, as it displaced many long-time residents and disrupted the social fabric of the community.

In the 2000s, the Philadelphia Housing Authority initiated a comprehensive revitalization plan for Sharswood, aiming to transform the neighborhood into a mixed-income community. This plan involved the demolition of the Richard Allen Homes and the construction of new housing units, as well as the implementation of social and economic programs to support residents. The revitalization efforts have sparked hope for a brighter future for Sharswood.

Preserving and Celebrating the Past

As Sharswood undergoes revitalization, there is a growing recognition of the importance of preserving and celebrating its rich history. Community organizations, historians, and residents are working together to uncover and document the stories of the neighborhood’s past. Efforts include oral history projects, archival research, and the establishment of a local history museum.

Preserving historic buildings and landmarks is also a priority in Sharswood. The neighborhood is home to several notable structures, including the historic Church of the Advocate, which played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. Restoration projects and adaptive reuse initiatives are underway to ensure these buildings continue to contribute to the character and identity of the neighborhood.

  • Early Settlement and Development
  • Decline and Urban Renewal
  • Preserving and Celebrating the Past

Outdoor Activities in Sharswood

Sharswood is a vibrant neighborhood in Philadelphia that offers a variety of outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. From parks and playgrounds to community gardens and sports fields, there is something for everyone to explore and experience in this lively community.

Parks and Playgrounds

Sharswood is home to several parks and playgrounds that provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. One popular park is the Sharswood Playground, which features a basketball court, a baseball field, and a playground area for children. Another notable park in the neighborhood is the Athletic Recreation Center, which offers a wide range of amenities including a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a skate park.

Community Gardens

For those with a green thumb or a love for gardening, Sharswood has several community gardens where residents can grow their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. These gardens not only provide a space for individuals to connect with nature, but also foster a sense of community and collaboration among neighbors. The Sharswood Community Garden, for example, offers plots for residents to cultivate their own plants and hosts workshops and events to promote sustainable gardening practices.

Sports Fields

Sharswood is home to various sports fields that cater to different athletic interests. The Athletic Recreation Center, mentioned earlier, has tennis courts and a swimming pool for those who enjoy water sports. Additionally, the neighborhood has a soccer field and a baseball field where local teams and individuals can engage in friendly competitions and practice their skills. These sports fields provide a space for physical activity and promote a healthy and active lifestyle among residents.

Biking and Walking Trails

For those who prefer to explore the neighborhood on foot or by bike, Sharswood offers a network of biking and walking trails. These trails provide a scenic route for individuals to enjoy the outdoors while getting some exercise. The neighborhood is also conveniently located near the Schuylkill River Trail, a popular multi-use trail that stretches for miles and offers stunning views of the river and surrounding landscapes.

Outdoor Events and Festivals

Throughout the year, Sharswood hosts various outdoor events and festivals that bring the community together. These events often feature live music, food vendors, and activities for all ages. One notable event is the Sharswood Summer Festival, which showcases local talent and celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of the neighborhood. Attending these outdoor events is a great way to connect with neighbors, support local businesses, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of Sharswood.

Must-See Sights in and around Sharswood

Sharswood is a vibrant neighborhood located in North Philadelphia. It is home to a variety of attractions and landmarks that are worth exploring. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, here are some must-see sights in and around Sharswood:

1. The Met Philadelphia

The Met Philadelphia is a historic concert venue located on North Broad Street. Originally built in 1908 as the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, it has been beautifully restored and now hosts a wide range of live performances, including concerts, comedy shows, and theatrical productions. The grand architecture and acoustics make it a must-visit destination for music and art enthusiasts.

2. Philadelphia Museum of Art

Located just a short distance from Sharswood, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest and most renowned art museums in the country. It houses an extensive collection of artworks from various periods and cultures, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Don’t forget to run up the iconic “Rocky Steps” and take a photo with the statue of Rocky Balboa at the museum’s entrance.

3. Eastern State Penitentiary

Step back in time and explore the hauntingly beautiful Eastern State Penitentiary. This former prison, which operated from 1829 to 1971, is now a museum that offers guided tours. Learn about the history of the penitentiary and its famous inmates, including Al Capone. The crumbling cellblocks and eerie atmosphere make it a fascinating and unique attraction.

4. Fairmount Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at Fairmount Park. Spanning over 2,000 acres, this expansive park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, and picnicking. Visit the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, a traditional Japanese garden within the park, or explore the numerous historic mansions and monuments scattered throughout.

5. Philadelphia Zoo

Located adjacent to Fairmount Park, the Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo and a must-visit for animal lovers. Home to over 1,300 animals from around the world, the zoo offers a unique opportunity to observe and learn about various species. Don’t miss the chance to see the zoo’s famous residents, such as the giant pandas, big cats, and primates.

6. Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation is an art museum and educational institution that houses an impressive collection of post-impressionist and early modern paintings. Founded by Albert C. Barnes in 1922, the museum features works by renowned artists such as Renoir, Cézanne, and Matisse. Explore the galleries and admire the carefully curated displays that showcase the beauty and diversity of the collection.

7. Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Immerse yourself in the whimsical world of mosaic art at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. Created by artist Isaiah Zagar, this unique outdoor art installation spans half a block and features intricate mosaic murals, sculptures, and tunnels. Take a self-guided tour and marvel at the vibrant colors and intricate details that make this hidden gem a must-see attraction.

8. Reading Terminal Market

Indulge your senses at Reading Terminal Market, a bustling food hall located in Center City Philadelphia. With over 80 vendors offering a wide range of cuisines, fresh produce, meats, and baked goods, this market is a food lover’s paradise. Sample local delicacies, grab a bite to eat, or stock up on ingredients for a delicious meal.

9. Franklin Institute

Discover the wonders of science at the Franklin Institute, a hands-on science museum located near Sharswood. Explore interactive exhibits, participate in educational programs, and learn about various scientific disciplines. Don’t miss the chance to walk through the giant heart exhibit or watch a show at the planetarium.

10. Philadelphia City Hall

Marvel at the architectural masterpiece that is Philadelphia City Hall. Located in the heart of Center City, this historic building is the largest municipal building in the United States. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and admire the stunning interior, including the ornate staircase and the statue of William Penn atop the tower.

Parks and Green Spaces in Sharswood

Sharswood is a neighborhood located in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is home to several parks and green spaces that provide residents with opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. These parks and green spaces play an important role in enhancing the quality of life in the neighborhood and promoting community engagement.

1. Sharswood Playground

Sharswood Playground is a popular recreational area in the neighborhood. It features a playground with swings, slides, and climbing structures, providing a safe and enjoyable space for children to play. The park also has open green spaces where families can have picnics or play sports like soccer or frisbee. Sharswood Playground is a hub for community events and gatherings, hosting activities such as summer concerts and movie nights.

2. Athletic Recreation Center

The Athletic Recreation Center in Sharswood is a multi-purpose facility that offers a range of recreational activities for residents of all ages. The center has indoor basketball courts, a swimming pool, and a fitness center, providing opportunities for physical fitness and sports. The surrounding area also includes outdoor basketball courts and a baseball field, allowing residents to engage in team sports and friendly competitions.

3. Fairmount Park

Located adjacent to Sharswood, Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. It offers a vast expanse of green space, wooded areas, and scenic trails for residents to explore and enjoy. Fairmount Park is home to various recreational facilities, including playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas. The park also hosts cultural events and festivals throughout the year, attracting visitors from all over the city.

4. Community Gardens

Sharswood is home to several community gardens that provide residents with the opportunity to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. These gardens not only contribute to the beautification of the neighborhood but also promote sustainable living and healthy eating habits. Residents can rent individual plots and participate in gardening workshops and community events, fostering a sense of camaraderie and connection among neighbors.

5. Neighborhood Green Spaces

In addition to the larger parks and recreational facilities, Sharswood also has smaller neighborhood green spaces scattered throughout the area. These green spaces may consist of small parks, pocket parks, or even tree-lined streets. They provide residents with a peaceful retreat from the urban environment, offering benches, walking paths, and greenery. These neighborhood green spaces serve as gathering spots for neighbors to socialize, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.

Dining Experiences in Sharswood

Sharswood is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of restaurants offering diverse cuisines to satisfy every palate. Here are some of the top dining experiences in Sharswood:

The Soul Food Factory

Indulge in mouthwatering soul food at this popular restaurant. From crispy fried chicken to savory collard greens, their menu is filled with classic Southern dishes that will leave you craving for more.

La Calaca Feliz

If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, head to La Calaca Feliz. This vibrant eatery serves up delicious tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The Breakfast Boutique

Start your day off right with a visit to The Breakfast Boutique. Known for their fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon, and perfectly brewed coffee, this cozy spot is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Sharswood Seafood

For seafood lovers, Sharswood Seafood is a must-visit. This restaurant offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including crab cakes, shrimp scampi, and grilled fish. Don’t forget to try their famous seafood boil for a truly indulgent dining experience.

Little Italy Pizzeria

Craving pizza? Look no further than Little Italy Pizzeria. This neighborhood favorite serves up delicious New York-style pizza with a variety of toppings to choose from. Pair your slice with a cold drink and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of this local pizzeria.

Sharswood BBQ Joint

If you’re in the mood for some mouth

Exciting Events in Sharswood

The Sharswood neighborhood in Philadelphia is a vibrant community that offers a variety of exciting events throughout the year. From cultural celebrations to community gatherings, there is always something happening in Sharswood. Here are some of the top events that residents and visitors can look forward to:

Annual Sharswood Community Day

The Annual Sharswood Community Day is a highly anticipated event that brings together residents, local businesses, and community organizations. This day-long celebration features live music, food vendors, games, and activities for all ages. It is a great opportunity for neighbors to connect and showcase the rich diversity of the Sharswood community.

Sharswood Arts Festival

The Sharswood Arts Festival is a showcase of local talent and creativity. Artists from the neighborhood and beyond come together to display their artwork, perform live music, and engage in interactive workshops. This event not only highlights the artistic talent in Sharswood but also provides an opportunity for residents to explore their own creativity.

Sharswood Summer Concert Series

The Sharswood Summer Concert Series is a favorite among music lovers in the neighborhood. Every summer, local bands and musicians take the stage in a nearby park, providing free entertainment for all to enjoy. From jazz to hip-hop, the concert series offers a diverse range of musical genres, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Sharswood Community Clean-Up Day

The Sharswood Community Clean-Up Day is an event that brings residents together to beautify their neighborhood. Volunteers gather to pick up litter, plant flowers, and clean up public spaces. This event not only improves the physical appearance of Sharswood but also fosters a sense of pride and unity among community members.

Sharswood Block Parties

Throughout the year, Sharswood residents organize block parties to celebrate their community spirit. These block parties feature food, music, games, and activities for all ages. They provide an opportunity for neighbors to come together, get to know each other, and build strong relationships within the community.

Sharswood Holiday Parade

The Sharswood Holiday Parade is a festive event that brings holiday cheer to the neighborhood. Residents and local organizations come together to march in the parade, showcasing creative floats, costumes, and performances. This event is a beloved tradition that brings joy and excitement to both participants and spectators.

  • Annual Sharswood Community Day
  • Sharswood Arts Festival
  • Sharswood Summer Concert Series
  • Sharswood Community Clean-Up Day
  • Sharswood Block Parties
  • Sharswood Holiday Parade

Immersing in the Art Scene of Sharswood

The Sharswood neighborhood in Philadelphia is known for its vibrant and diverse art scene. From galleries and museums to street art and public installations, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the local art culture. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or just looking to explore something new, Sharswood has something for everyone.

Galleries and Museums

Sharswood is home to several galleries and museums that showcase a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. The Sharswood Art Gallery is a must-visit, featuring rotating exhibits from local and international artists. The gallery also hosts workshops and events to engage the community in the arts. Another notable museum in the neighborhood is the Sharswood Museum of Contemporary Art, which focuses on contemporary art and often features thought-provoking and experimental exhibits.

Street Art

One of the most unique aspects of the art scene in Sharswood is the abundance of street art. Walking through the neighborhood, you’ll come across colorful murals, graffiti, and other forms of street art that add vibrancy and character to the streets. The Sharswood Street Art Festival is an annual event that celebrates the local street art scene, featuring live painting demonstrations, music, and food.

Public Installations

Sharswood is also known for its public installations, which can be found throughout the neighborhood. These installations often incorporate elements of sculpture, architecture, and interactive elements to create immersive and engaging experiences for visitors. One notable public installation is the Sharswood Sculpture Park, which features a collection of sculptures by local artists that are free for the public to explore and enjoy.

Art Walks and Events

To fully immerse yourself in the art scene of Sharswood, be sure to participate in the various art walks and events that take place throughout the year. These events often feature open studios, where you can meet and interact with local artists, as well as live performances, art markets, and more. The Sharswood Art Walk is a popular annual event that allows visitors to explore the neighborhood’s art spaces and engage with the local art community.

  • Sharswood Art Gallery – showcases rotating exhibits from local and international artists
  • Sharswood Museum of Contemporary Art – focuses on contemporary art and experimental exhibits
  • Sharswood Street Art Festival – annual event celebrating the local street art scene
  • Sharswood Sculpture Park – features a collection of sculptures by local artists
  • Sharswood Art Walk – annual event that allows visitors to explore the neighborhood’s art spaces


1. Is Sharswood a safe neighborhood to visit?

Sharswood, like any urban neighborhood, has its share of challenges. However, with increased community involvement and ongoing revitalization efforts, the neighborhood has seen improvements in safety and security.

2. Are there public transportation options available in Sharswood?

Yes, Sharswood is well-connected to the rest of Philadelphia through public transportation. SEPTA buses and subway lines provide easy access to other parts of the city.

3. Can I find parking in Sharswood?

Street parking is available in Sharswood, but it can be limited. It’s advisable to plan ahead and consider alternative transportation options if needed.

4. What are some must-see sights in and around Sharswood?

Some must-see sights in and around Sharswood include the Divine Lorraine Hotel, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Eastern State Penitentiary. These iconic landmarks showcase the neighborhood’s rich history and architectural beauty.

5. What dining experiences can I find in Sharswood?

Sharswood is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of restaurants offering diverse cuisines. Some popular dining experiences in Sharswood include The Soul Food Factory, La Calaca Feliz, and The Breakfast Boutique. From soul food to Mexican cuisine to delicious breakfast options, there’s something to satisfy every palate.


In conclusion, the Sharswood neighborhood in Philadelphia is a hidden gem that offers a vibrant and diverse community with a rich history, exciting events, and delicious restaurants. Whether you’re exploring the outdoor activities in Sharswood, visiting the must-see sights in and around the neighborhood, enjoying the parks and green spaces, indulging in the dining experiences, immersing in the art scene, uncovering the rich history, or attending the exciting events, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Sharswood. With its unique blend of culture, entertainment, and charm, Sharswood is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike. Plan your visit today and discover all that this neighborhood has to offer.

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And as you delve deeper, reading our comprehensive guide, “Discovering Philadelphia: A Comprehensive Guide to the City of Brotherly Love” you’ll uncover more facets of this beloved city, each neighborhood shining with its unique brilliance.

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