West Philadelphia: Top-Ranked Universities, Excellent Walkability, and Unique Attractions

Residents of West Philadelphia tend to be proud of their neighborhood and all it has to offer. West Philly boasts a residential neighborhood vibe with grocery stores, small restaurants, and other local shops.

Like Will Smith, who was “West Philadelphia, born and raised,” residents of this section of Philadelphia tend to be proud of their neighborhood and all it has to offer. Situated directly west of Center City, with the Schuylkill River as the dividing line, West Philly boasts a residential neighborhood vibe with grocery stores, small restaurants, and other local shops. Center City professionals looking for nightlife and the university setting tend to gravitate to this section of the city, and the area between 30th–48th Streets is particularly desirable.

Housing Availability and Affordability

West Philadelphia has undergone a transformation in recent years, with the expansion of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the reconstruction of the South Street Bridge and a plethora of new residential communities. In the University City section of West Philadelphia, 2.6 million square feet of new or soon to be completed residential real estate will add to the many older Victorian-style homes that now populate the neighborhood. According to Rentometer.com, average rents in University City are comparable to Center City, but median house prices are much lower. Also, the cost of living measures 28 percent lower in University City compared to downtown Philadelphia, making this area an affordable alternative.

Diversity

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ 2013 State of the City report, University City ranks among the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, with no individual racial or ethnic group reaching above 50 percent of the total population. One reason for this is that University City houses the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the Children’s Hospital, organizations that attract students and employees from all over the globe.

Walkability

West Philadelphia is filled with university and medical personnel, many of whom live within walking distance of their place of employment. According to the most recent community report on University City, around 32 percent of University City residents walk to work compared to 8 percent for the city of Philadelphia overall. Another 7 percent of University City residents bike to work, and many others use public transportation.

Attractions

West Philly has many unique attractions for both residents and tourists to enjoy. Come face to face with a 3,200-year-old Sphinx at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Looking to sample the cuisine of the newest generation of Philly chefs? Try one of The Restaurant School‘s four dining establishments open to the public. Also, for beer aficionados, the Dock Street Brewing Co. is located in a converted firehouse on 50th Street in the Cedar Park section of West Philly.

If you are looking for a diverse neighborhood that’s residential yet still close to downtown Philly, West Philadelphia might be a great fit for you.

Image Source: Flickr/Lisa Campeau

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