7.7 out of 10

University City

Ranked 11th best neighborhood in Philadelphia
39.9537499113629 -75.1955184782714
Great for
  • Schools
  • Eating Out
  • Internet Access
  • Cost of Living
  • Medical Facilities
Not great for
  • Pest Free
  • Childcare
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Peace & Quiet
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Families with kids
  • Students

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"A Collegiate Culture"

University City, whose name is coined for the many universities and colleges in the area, is located in the eastern-most section of West Philadelphia. Home to well-known academic institutions like Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania and the University of the Sciences, University City is home to students, recent grads and professors.

The University district has become a hub for arts and culture; the campuses have transformed the urban space by incorporating green space, quads and large art installations, making the area aesthetically pleasing and lively. The student body is extremely diverse, and shops, restaurants and bars make for a great nightlife. Once you step off the main streets, blocks are lined with old, Victorian houses. However, many of these houses have been converted into apartments and are rented to large groups of college students, making for rowdy blocks and poorly maintained streets.

The area is very accessible by subway, bus and train. 30th Street Station, the main railroad station in Philadelphia, services Regional Rail and Amtrak trains; it is an easy way to travel to the suburbs, New York and other stops along the Northeast Corridor. University City is also home to numerous public and private schools, as well as top medical facilities like CHOP, the top children’s hospital in the country.

Overall, the area is affordable and fairly safe. However, as you move farther away from campuses and student housing, crime rates rise. The safety issue and the loud nightlife are not ideal for families with young children, but is a good option for college students and grads looking for a lively social life.
Pros
  • College neighborhood
  • Great Schools
  • Public Transportation
Cons
  • Some crime
  • Student traffic
  • Noisy
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"A vibrant, bustling part of the city"

There is always something going on in University City thanks to the residents that inhabit this lively, academic neighborhood. Home to students of Drexel University, Penn University and the University of the Sciences, University City is one of the best places to live if you are starting out at college or looking for a place to meet other college students.

The majority of homes and apartments in University City are rented by students, which means that this location is probably not ideal for families with children. At any hour of the day, groups of students can be seen walking the streets, on their way to or from class or other activities. Weekends are noisy, and the streets are crowded.

However, with the influx of students moving to this area, the neighborhood has recently added a number of new dining and shopping areas. The main streets, Market, Walnut and Chestnut is where you'll find the majority of bars and restaurants, but some are also tucked along Sansom Street.

Head to this neighborhood if you are a student, or even recently graduated. The social atmosphere is excellent, and there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people. University City is also one of the safer areas of the city, as Penn security canvases the streets on bikes at all hours of the day and night.
Pros
  • Safe
  • College neighborhood
  • Great Schools
  • Public Transportation
Cons
  • Student traffic
  • Noisy
  • Students everywhere
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"An academic neighborhood"

University City is a part of town that is what it says it is. This neighborhood encompasses 3 major universities - University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The area also houses Community College of Philadelphia West District, Lincoln University - Urban Center and the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. Aside from its universities the area includes 9 public schools, 5 private schools and 1 parochial school for families with school-age children. This neighborhood boasts education.

University City is also famous for its extensive medical and science community which include the coveted Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

There are organizations such as the Philadelphia Elwyn for the mentally disabled and Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House for children with illnesses who are in the area for medical attention. Philadanco calls University City home as well. This is Philadelphia's most prestigious dance company having performances all year round and also offers instruction for children, as well as a summer camp.

Aside from the student atmosphere, the neighborhood has beautiful Victorian-style homes for families and those who have been turned into apartments for working individuals. These blocks are relatively quiet and seem like they aren't even a part of the hustle and bustle of the college part of the neighborhood.

There is tons of public transportation that can get you to most parts of the city. A special line called TheLoop takes students around the area so they can get to classes that aren't in walking distance. Traffic is pretty hectic during the morning and evening rush hours. Parking during the day is not great but at night it's not hard to find a spot.

The nightlife in this area is somewhat quiet with a few bars in secluded areas as to not frustrate the inhabitants of the neighborhood. There are also University security that ride through the area and are around to help students out late and visitors who need directions, making the area very safe.

There may be a lot of students due to all the schools, but University City is a place that will take your breath away if you've never entered it before. Just being in this neighborhood makes you feel like you can be just about anything. It oozes culture, enlightenment and refinement.
Pros
  • College neighborhood
  • Great Schools
  • Public Transportation
Cons
  • Limited parking during the day
  • Student traffic
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"University City and You"

As the name implies, University City is a clusters of three universities: University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and University of the Sciences. With expansion, it now encompasses the area from the Schuylkill River to 52nd Street.

The University of Pennsylvania is the oldest college founded by Benjamin Franklin and is an Ivy League institution which maintains its Quaker roots. Penn alone has twelve libraries, most of which are open to the public. Drexel University was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel and has a strong engineering tradition. The University of the Sciences was once the College of Pharmacy but has since expanded its course offerings.

As home and rental prices have risen accordingly, both Penn and Drexel have developed housing initiatives to undergird purchases by faculty and staff. Penn has initiated the Penn-Alexander, a primary school for young families with children. Drexel is now working with the Promise Academy, once the University City High School.

With many countries represented, the atmosphere is cosmopolitan yet academic. Lectures that are free and open to the public happen frequently. Coffee shops and outdoor cafés are plentiful. Every manner of food flavor is represented by the carts that have established their turf!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Hip, trendy and diverse"

University City is a funky little neighborhood located in West Philadelphia. It is bound by 29th Street to the east, 50th Street to the west, Spring Garden Street to the North and Woodland Avenue to the south. It is named after the six colleges and universities located in the area including University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.
It is one of the most diverse areas of the city and is home to families, young professionals, artists and students. It is one of the prettier architectural parts of Philadelphia and offers ornately adorned houses with candy colored paint and wide front porches, tree lined streets and well kept yards.
University City is a social hub that offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. There are also a lot of museums and art galleries located in the area which offer unique opportunities for those that choose to visit them.
The neighborhood is also home to some of the most prestigious medical industries in the world and offers first class services to its citizens.
Traffic can get really bad in this section of the city, but everything is super close together, so riding a bike is no problem at all.
University City is definitely a neighborhood worth checking out!
Pros
  • College neighborhood
  • Public trans
  • Fun area to live
Cons
  • Traffic
  • Noisy
  • Students everywhere
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"College Student Central"

The name of the neighborhood kind of gives away what it is all about. Students, students and more students inhabit University City as they attend Penn or Drexel whose campuses are located there.
Most of the houses in the main part of University City are inhabited by college students so if you are a looking to live with several people in large house this is the place to go. Rent varies from place to place but there are always co-shares and subleases posted on campus and websites so it is relatively easy to find a place that fits your needs.

Public transportation is really accessible in University City and driving is not too difficult either you just have to be cautious of students jumping out in front of you. And watch the potholes; they sneak up on you in this area. It’s also a little safer than other parts of West Philadelphia as it has many security officers patrolling the neighborhood.

The best time of the year in University City is at the end of a semester, this is what some people refer to as “Penn Christmas” because students who are leaving throw out some great stuff because they can’t or don’t want to take it with them. Their trash can end up being your treasure, if you don’t mind digging through dumpsters.
Pros
  • Public Transportation
  • Great Schools
  • Penn Christmass
Cons
  • Potholes
  • Student traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students

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Best Streets in University City

1

Sansom St

4/5
"Visit Philadelphia's Jewlers Row"
39.9548797283178 -75.2024983878881
2

Market St

3.5/5
"A Day Out On One Street"
39.9552600742249 -75.1867807616313
3

Walnut St

3.5/5
"Great Shopping and Best Burrito!"
39.9529432143382 -75.1931909284585
4

Locust Walk

3/5
"Shady walk, great for people watching"
39.9523780457809 -75.1979156495412
5

Locust St

2.5/5
"Great area at Washington Square Park"
39.9531405037263 -75.204218748979

Unranked Streets in University City

"City life at its best"
39.9536070022335 -75.204525999086

Ludlow St

2.5/5
"Traverses through the heart of the city."
39.9559533031073 -75.1987137337448

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