South Philly’s Bella Vista: The Perfect Spot for Community-Minded Buyers
It takes more than just a house to make a home. If you’re looking for a Philadelphia neighborhood with a strong community focus, lots of activities and green spaces, and everyday conveniences within easy reach, consider moving to Bella Vista.
When you’re choosing a place to live, the location of your new home is just as important as the features and amenities it offers, if not more so. While you can always update your home’s kitchen or your paint scheme, it’s a lot more challenging to change the quality of your neighborhood. That’s why many buyers think neighborhood first when looking for a home.
If a close-knit community is high on your list of neighborhood priorities, the Bella Vista section of South Philadelphia might be just what you’re looking for. Largely populated by Italian immigrants from the late 19th century until the 1970s, the area is known today for its diversity, convenience, and focus on community.
Many neighborhoods in Philadelphia have active neighbors groups. That is definitely the case with the Bella Vista Neighbors Association (BVNA). Founded in the early 1990s as a neighborhood watch group, the BVNA’s mission has changed over the past two decades, as the interests of the neighborhood have changed. The primary focus was initially safety, but now the focus of the association is on improving the area. It organizes events such as concerts in the parks and community garden days. But the BVNA is still committed to keeping the neighborhood safe and has a public safety committee and a neighborhood watch program.
Bella Vista (a name that translates to “beautiful view” in Italian) offers residents a lovely view of the Center City skyline. Its proximity to downtown Philly means that everyday conveniences are within easy reach, too. Here, you’ll find a number of options for grocery shopping, including the Whole Foods and Super Fresh on South Street. The Italian Market that stretches down 9th Street puts fresh bread, meat, and produce at your fingertips. Don’t let the name fool you — there’s actually a wide range of cuisines represented in the Italian Market, including Mexican and Vietnamese.
This neighborhood also gives its residents a number of transit options. SEPTA’s 47 and 23 buses run north and south through Bella Vista, while the 40 and 64 head east and west. The Lombard-South Station on the Broad Street subway line is just a few blocks west of the neighborhood.
Activities for All
If you decide to buy a home in Bella Vista, you’ll find that there are many ways to get involved with your neighborhood, beyond joining the BVNA. The neighborhood offers a number of activities, from art classes to outdoor activities. The Fleisher Art Memorial offers free or low-cost art classes and workshops for people of all ages. Classes for adults fill on a first-come, first-served basis, while admission to classes for minors is by lottery. The Fleisher is also home to an art gallery, which regularly features exhibitions from faculty and students.
The area is home to several pocket parks, small areas of green space where you can sit and enjoy being outdoors. The neighborhood’s Bardascino Park features a bocce court and bocce league. Nearby Cianfrani Park features regular activities in the summer months, including outdoor concerts.
Ideally, a home should be more than just a place to rest your head and eat your meals. If you’re looking for a neighborhood that values community, you’ll find that Bella Vista is more than just a section of Philly — it’s a real, old-fashioned neighborhood.
Image Source: Flickr/Aaron G Stock