Downtown Philadelphia, or Center City, might have a lot to offer when it comes to nightlife, transportation, and culture, but these amenities are more than made up for when it comes to the cost of housing. The average sales price for homes in certain areas of downtown Philadelphia is well over $500,000. In some downtown areas, such as Rittenhouse Square, the average home price tops $1 million. If you want an area that has a lot to offer, including lower home prices, check out these alternatives to Center City.
Northern Liberties arguably has all the features of downtown Philadelphia, minus the higher home prices. Housing costs are a bit more expensive there, but not nearly as high as they are in Center City. Located in the lower northern part of the city, Northern Liberties features row homes, trinities, and apartments. The recently created Piazza at Schmidts turned what were once the ruins of a brewery into an open air plaza where residents of the neighborhood and visitors can relax and enjoy the occasional outdoor concert or watch the game on a large outdoor screen. The Piazza is bordered by trendy restaurants and boutiques and is just down the street from a recently opened Superfresh supermarket. The nearby Market-Frankford line will get you into downtown in minutes.
In recent years, Passyunk Square has become a popular place to live in Philly. Passyunk Avenue, which runs diagonally through the neighborhood, has experienced a renaissance in terms of restaurants and places to shop. The neighborhood is also home to a few parks, such as Columbus Square at 12th Street and Wharton Street and Capitolo Playground at 9th Street and Federal Street. If you enjoy gardening, you can sign up to participate in the Capitolo Community Garden at the northwest corner of the Capitolo Playground, or you can participate in the local pocket farm, Harry O’s Passyunk Gardens. Transportation options in the area include the Broad Street line, 23 and 47 buses. There’s also ample free parking if you own a car.
Bella Vista is located just above Passyunk Square in South Philadelphia. It’s bordered by South Street to the north, Washington Avenue to the south, 6th Street to the east and Broad Street to the west. The neighborhood is home to part of the Italian Market, an open air market selling produce, fish, meat, and pretty much anything else you’d care to buy. You’ll also find a number of restaurants and an upscale beer distributor in the neighborhood. A Superfresh grocery store and a Whole Foods market are located across the street from each other on South Street. The neighborhood is just south of the Center City area, so it’s easy to walk or take a bus to get the nightlife and cultural offerings downtown.
Point Breeze is an up and coming neighborhood in South Philadelphia, west of Broad Street and bordered by Washington Avenue to the north and Snyder Avenue to the south. The neighborhood is seeing a lot of activity from developers who have been rehabbing formerly rundown row homes. Despite the activity in the area, the median home price is still around $140,000. Along with relatively affordable homes, the Point Breeze area is becoming a popular location for a number of trendy restaurants and bars.
Wharton Square Park also offers residents a place to enjoy the outdoors. While there’s no major grocery store in the neighborhood, a Pathmark supermarket is a short drive, bus ride, or walk away.