UNIVERSITY CITY is situated within the area known as West Philadelphia. Most of OCS's listings in this category are for the "University City" area. More than 5000 Penn students, undergraduate and graduate, rent apartments/houses in the area. Thousands of other Penn affiliates - staff, faculty, alumni -- own homes or rent in the University City neighborhoods of Spruce Hill, Garden Court, Cedar Park, Squirrel Hill and Powelton Village. University City is home to affiliates of other colleges and universities in the area (Drexel University, Philadelphia University of Sciences, Temple University). The people living in University City come from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds, and this diversity is rewarding and enriching for the people who call this neighborhood home.
Most of the University City listings in our office are for properties west of 39th Street all the way to 50th Street, Chestnut Street to the north and Woodland Avenue to the south. A significant number of available rental units in the Powelton Village area are also available in this category. Powelton Village is the area bounded by 32nd Street to the east, Spring Garden Street to the north, 39th Street to the west and Lancaster Avenue to the south.
Housing options in University City range from large Victorian homes on tree-lined streets with large back yards and porches, two and three story row homes, to medium and large size apartment complexes. Prices are moderate, especially for the knowledgeable prospective tenant who has cared to explore the area a little farther west of campus, beyond 43rd Street, where beauty, space, comfort and affordability come together. In the area very close to Campus, prices tend to be higher, due to high demand especially for undergraduate housing. Many good housing options are available in this area but some of the places for rent can be expensive and in less than perfect condition. We advise students to carefully inspect properties and request needed repairs in writing at the time of lease signing.
The University City area is home to many cultural institutions, a wealth of cultural events, and a large number of award-winning restaurants, many of them ethnic restaurants. Programs for clean and safe streets, marketing initiatives, friendly ambassadors who guide you through the area, and many developments in retail and entertainment are making University City a destination choice for living and having fun.
University City has many advantages when you are trying to decide on a place to rent: affordable prices, large apartments, wonderful restaurants, lots of green space, parks where you can jog and walk your dog, plenty of places that allow you to have pets, street parking, walking distance to school/work, good public transportation to/from Center City and other areas of Greater Philadelphia and, most of all, vibrant communities which are welcoming you. Get to know your neighbors, become involved. Find out about the community associations in your immediate area. Find out about the many resources available in the community. University City is a great place to live.
Included under the CENTER CITY category in our listings is the area east of the Schuylkill River extending all the way to the Delaware River, including the Parkway/Art Museum area. Some of the most popular neighborhoods are: Fitler Square and Rittenhouse Square (both west of Broad Street), Society Hill, Olde City, and Chinatown (east of Broad Street). The Art Museum area listings are also included in this category.
Housing is comprised of modern luxury apartment complexes and condos, brownstones/townhouses, row homes and warehouse apartment buildings. Prices for apartments in Center City have been on the rise for the last five years, with dramatic increases in the last two years. Center City is a popular choice for graduate students, and several thousand of them choose to live there, especially in the area west of Broad Street. While many of the students who choose to live in Center City cite the existence of shops, cafes, movie theaters, and fitness facilities as the main attraction, others have indicated that they find Center City extremely overpriced for the value it offers. While street parking is not easily available, some apartment complexes offer indoor parking at additional cost. Many students who choose to live in Center City use public transportation or bike to and from Campus. Between 6:00 P.M. and 3:00 A.M. transportation to/from Center City (east, up to 20th Street) is available to Penn affiliates through the Penn Transit Service. Dial 898-RIDE to access the service. The Art Museum area has more reasonably priced apartments and a better rent/value ratio. The area is not as easily accessible from the Penn Campus. There is no direct public transportation so you can either bike, use a car or plan to spend extra time going back and forth every day.
Situated south west of Philadelphia this small county is very densely populated and offers a wide variety of housing choices - from 18th century stonehouses to modern rowhomes and community-oriented housing. Some of the neighborhoods for which you are likely to find listings in our database are: Upper Darby, Drexel Hill, Springfield, Media, Havertown, Radnor, Rose Valley, Swarthmore. The area is easily accessible to commuters via the SEPTA commuter rail service. The Penn Transit bus and shuttle has service to/from the 30th Street Station. The Market-Frankford Line and bus #21 link the University area to Upper Darby 69th Street Terminal. The area can be accessed also via major highways - I95, Route 1 and Route 3.
The Chestnut Hill area, a National Historic District, is a very beautiful four square mile neighborhood with cobblestone streets and a fascinating mix of architectural styles - grand stone mansions, farmhouses, stone and brick twins. The quaint boutiques and shops along Germantown Avenue, and the large number of restaurants and cafes, give Chestnut Hill the European Village look and feel. Manayunk is one of Philadelphia's neighborhoods that have changed dramatically in the last decade. It is now a choice destination both for living and for going out, with its bistros, restaurants, clubs, boutiques and its hilly, steep streets. Mount Airy, the area between Stenton Avenue, Washington Lane, Chestnut Hill and Fairmont Park, is a remarkable neighborhood in the city of Philadelphia, not only because of its beautiful houses and amazing green spaces but also because of its communities of dedicated people, who actively promote racial and cultural diversity and integration, thus creating a model city community.
Montgomery County comprises several distinctive areas, the most popular of which is the area known as Mainline, itself consisting of about 60 different communities. The suburban peace and quiet, the affluent life-style of these north-western suburbs of Philadelphia, and the good public schools in the area come with the price of a daily commute that can be quite time-consuming, especially during rush hour. The 76 expressway, routes 476, 309, 422 and 611 are very busy roads, especially during rush hour. The SEPTA transit system operates throughout the area with both train and bus routes and the 30th Street train station is very conveniently located. For Penn affiliates transport to/from 30th Street Station is available for free with a Penn ID. Some of the areas where you are likely to find listings in our database are: Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Narberth, Gladwyne, Penn Valley.
These neighborhoods are grouped together in our listings although they are very different from each other. Some of the neighborhoods of North Philadelphia are among the most depressed areas of the city. The Northeast is almost a city in itself. While it offers many good housing options at very affordable prices, not many Penn affiliates choose to live in the area because it is a long commute. The neighborhood around the Italian Market, called Bella Vista, is considered to offer good value at affordable prices.
We do not have many listings for these areas. Doylestown, New Hope, Solebury, Upper and Lower Southampton, Yardley, and Newtown are just several of the many wonderful municipalities that make up Bucks County. Commuting time to these places is about one hour or longer. Some New Jersey locations are an easy commute to Penn. New York listing are very rare, some summer housing listings are in New York.