4 Things to Know about University City

Thinking of moving to University City in Philadelphia? You don’t have to be a student to fit in there. A collection of neighborhoods on the easternmost side of West Philly, University City has a lot to offer everyone.

Home to several of Philly’s universities and colleges, University City is aptly named. In fact, it was two alumni from the University of Pennsylvania that first coined the name in the 1950s, in the hopes of getting Penn faculty and staff to move into the area. Their plan must have worked — as today, more than 50,000 people live in the district, according to the 2016 State of University City Annual Report. Between 2013 and 2016 alone, the population in the area grew by 11 percent.

If you’re thinking about buying a house in UC (the median sale price is $316,000), here are a few things to know about it before you make the move.

It’s Actually a Collection of Neighborhoods

Everyone always says Philly is a city of neighborhoods. Well, University City is actually a neighborhood made up of neighborhoods. When you live in the district, you might actually find yourself living in a smaller neighborhood such as Squirrel Hill, Cedar Park, Spruce Hill, or Powelton Village. Although these neighborhoods fall under the umbrella of UC, they each have their own distinct style and their own community associations.

You Can Probably Leave the Car Behind

University City is well served by public transit, so depending on where you need to go in your daily life, you might be able to go car free once you move in. 30th Street Station is on the northeastern border of the district and offers commuter rail service as well as connections to Amtrak and NJ transit. The Market-Frankford elevated line makes its way east and west through the area, and several trolley lines traverse the district. UC even has its own shuttle service, LUCY, which is open to all for the cost of a bus fare and free for UPenn students and faculty.

The area is also one of the more walkable and the most bikable parts of Philly. There’s less traffic over in UC and plenty of bike lanes, so cyclists tend to feel and be safer on the streets.

If You Love Green, University City is the Area for You

Although Philadelphia overall has a commitment to going green, UC might have the greatest number of options for people who are interested in greening up their lives. The area has several programs in place to reduce food waste and to keep food out of landfills. For example, the Food Recycling Project offers simple steps to help area residents and businesses cut back on food waste. Residents can bring their food scraps to the Dirt Factory for composting or sign up for compost pick-up. The district is also home to several farmers’ markets, which let you purchase locally grown produce and other locally produced products, reducing your food miles and eco-footprint.

It Has a Lot of Community Programs
If you’re looking for an area with a built-in sense of community and with lots of programs and activities for residents, UC has it. The district hosts or sponsors a variety of programs throughout the year, from the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll in the summer to UC Dining Days. The district also has programs to keep the area clean, to help job seekers find work, and to help local businesses grow and thrive.

When you move to a big city, it is easy to feel like a face in the crowd or just one among many. UC’s community focus and friendliness will help you feel right at home, and part of something, as soon as you move in.


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