Piazza Pod Park Brightens Northern Liberties
A new place to gather, eat, shop, and play opens this weekend.
If you’ve walked around NoLibs recently, you may have seen a giant robot appear to wave at you from up above. Our new friend is named BeBot, and he stands 33 feet tall to signal a new era for the neighborhood: Piazza Pod Park.
Located at 1069 Germantown Avenue in Northern Liberties, Piazza Pod Park is 35,000 outdoor square feet of fun for adults, kids, and dogs to gather, eat, shop, and play. The space gets its name from the colorful “pods” made from recycled shipping containers housing retail, restaurants, and more around the park’s perimeter. The pods include everything from a HIIT fitness studio (Fit Academy) to a cozy air-conditioned nursing pod, and of course lots of delicious bites and drinks.
It all starts this Saturday, June 8 with a Grand Opening including a bouncy house, face painting, live music, fun and surprises from Tildie’s Toy Box, and more!
Here’s what you can look forward to when Piazza Pod Park opens, and what to look forward to as things develop:
Play and Relax
The first thing your kids will gravitate towards will likely be the play area with little climbing structures and abstract rocking horses. Look for more playground equipment to be added by July.
The play area is conveniently next to Tildie’s Toy Box, which has opened a little outpost of the East Passyunk favorite toy store (and LOVE Award winner two years in a row!), so you can pick up fun books, arts and crafts, building toys, games, and more. Tildie’s will also focus on outdoor items families can enjoy while at the park.
There is plenty of seating to relax and enjoy the space, plus indoor seating in the communal pod. Need to beat the heat with baby? Right next to the kids’ play area are two air-conditioned pods with chairs for nursing, changing tables, and a little bit of peace away from the excitement outside. It’s a cozy touch that signals that the park is truly welcoming to all.
In addition to these constants, events like movie nights, live music, and even visits from The Clay Studio are planned. More on that later, but for now, stop by on Sunday afternoons at 3 pm for PopUp Play sessions with engaging free STEAM-based activities for the whole family!
Fishtown favorite PlayArts is also planning a weekly residence, bringing free hands-on sensory and art activities for ages 1 to 5.
Eat and Drink
We are so excited for Piazza Pod Park because it gives us yet another opportunity for mixing our adult and kid friends into one big happy outing. The eclectic lineup of food and beverages means that your kids can enjoy water ice while you hit up the wine bar (or cocktail bar, or beer stand… take your pick!), all in the shadow of a benevolent robot overlord.
If you come early for breakfast, Spread will be serving its Montreal-style bagels—plus, exclusive to Piazza Pod Park, smoothies. And for something a little sweeter, grab French Toast Bites by Lokal Artisan Foods (including vegan offerings!), or any number of amazing baked goods from Essen (who will also be brewing Elixr Coffee). A word of advice: the chocolate halvah babka is always a good idea.
For meals later in the day, grab tacos at El Camino Real’s Tiki Tako (which will also have tiki drinks for the grownups), empanadas from the aptly named Empanada Box (plus elotes, a must-have!), or Asian cuisine from Dim Sum House‘s Lil’ Sum Sum.
And for the perfect summertime dessert, hit up Mama Maria’s Italian Ice. This Port Richmond joint is known for its unique flavors, and their pod outpost is no different. Look for an exclusive water ice flavor inspired by BeBot called “BeBananaz,” which will have banana, caramel, chocolate chips, and granola.
Frosé All Day
Now onto the adult beverages! First up, Urban Village Brewing Company’s Wine Bar will have eight local wines by the glass, plus sangria and frosé! That’s slushy rosé, for those of you not in the know—but we see you, dear readers, and we’re pretty sure you’re in the know when it comes to all things involving wine glasses alongside sippy cups.
Next to the wine bar, you can stop by Craft Beer Concepts inspired by BRU Craft & Wurst for a selection of beers, including one draft brewed exclusively for the park. And for even more options, hit up Blume’s lovely outpost for botanically-inspired cocktails, including draft cocktails in little plastic bags!
In addition to BeBot—the giant robot statue originally created for Burning Man by London artist Andrea Greenlees— the park will also feature Think Cubes, color-changing light-up blocks which will light the path to the subway from the park with thousands of LED lights. The park itself is full of little pieces of public art, from the murals adorning the shipping-containers-turned-pods to climbable shapes for the kids.
Piazza Pod Park is located at 1069 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties. Starting June 8, it will be open seven days a week, from 7 am—10 pm (and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Pods have their own individual hours—for example, Tildie’s closes before nightfall, while the bars aren’t open until later in the day—so check the website for their finalized schedule if you have your heart set on a particular vendor.
If you’re planning to go on a sunny afternoon (peak frosé -and-play time), be sure your whole family wears sunglasses like they’re going out of style. The park is bright, modern, and clean, but that color scheme on the pavement reflects the sunlight right back at you, and it can be startling if you’re not prepared.
Bathroom pods for Piazza Pod Park guests and visitors can be found behind the dining pods. Changing tables are also in the nursing pods. Free parking (with validation from a park vendor) is available in the parking lot immediately next to the park. Piazza Pod Park is also a short walk from Girard Station, on SEPTA’s Market/Frankford Line.
Lead photograph by Laura Swartz.