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26 Best Neighborhoods in Philadelphia 2021

By: Susan Finch
May 11, 2021

Settle into Philadelphia for a city with lots to offer, whether you're looking for upscale living or a funky, creative enclave in the birthplace of America.

Philadelphia also boasts being a walkable and bikeable city. It features historic sites, 18th Century charm, and a cost of living that's reasonable compared to the national average and similar-sized cities. Wherever you rent an apartment, you're never far from the city's cultural offerings or the best food and brews in town.

Ready to start your apartment search? Read on to find the best Philadelphia neighborhood that's right for you.

1. Old City

Stroll the cobblestone streets of Old City and step back into 18th-century charm. This popular Philadelphia neighborhood is near historic sites like the Liberty Bell, Penn's Landing, and Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

Locals enjoy trendy boutiques, galleries, theaters, and nightlife. You're also never far from great restaurants and pubs to toast to the Old City.

On weekends, head out to 2nd Street to meet up with friends at bars and eateries. Try 2nd Story Brewing for fish and chips and burgers. You may also enjoy Buddakan for modern Asian cuisine with a theatrical vibe.

2. University City

College students, university staff, and young adults flock to University City, home of Drexel University, the University of the Sciences, and the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.

People also enjoy the area for its arts and culture vibe. There are rotating exhibits at the Institute of Contemporary Art, international eateries, dive bars, and food stalls.

On weekends, stop by The Woodlands, a Georgian-style mansion with a colonnade and botanic gardens. The Penn Museum offers a culture fix with archaeological pieces divided by continents and other temporary exhibitions.

3. Chestnut Hill

The upscale Chestnut Hill represents Philadelphia's garden district with attractions like the Morris Arboretum. The trendy Germantown Avenue features galleries, antique boutiques, cheese shops, and weekend farmer's markets.

Chestnut Hill is also home to the wildly popular Harry Potter Festival each fall. Don your best wizard hat and join the crowd.

4. Bella Vista

Follow the scents of the open-air Italian Market to the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia. You'll find plenty of foodies browsing bakeries and authentic cuisines ranging from Italian to Asian. But no stop to Bella Vista is complete without an iconic cheesesteak from Genos and Pat's King of Steaks.

After exploring your way through 9th Street and the historic Italian Market, make your way to Washington Avenue. You’ll find plenty of taquerias and Vietnamese restaurants. Wherever you explore, you're bound to come back to your apartment with a feast.

5. Center City

Find your dream apartment in the heart of Philadelphia in Center City. Explore Independence Hall and learn more about the famed location where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Science lovers can brush up on their knowledge at the Franklin Institute.

On weekends, explore the restaurants at Rittenhouse Square and go shopping at the Reading Terminal Market. Or, head out to Broad Street and Market Street to take in the historic city hall and the oversized statue of William Penn.

6. Queen Village

Live in the heart of old-world charm in Queen Village, Philadelphia. Fabric row features trendy eateries and art galleries. Although you'll find plenty of charming colonial homes in Queen Village, you can also find tattoo parlors and dive bars.

Queen Village is also situated near the Delaware River waterfront and South Street. Originally named "Cedar Street" South Street, the street is home to hundreds of retail shops, bars, and boutiques. It's also home to live music and galleries, including Philadelphia's Magic Gardens.

7. Society Hill

The upscale enclave of Society Hill features cobblestone streets and tree-lined walking paths. The neighborhood is among the oldest in Philadelphia.

It’s also one of the priciest and most desirable. Society Hill is lined with Franklin street lamps and Greek Revival architecture.

Residents gather at Dock Street with trendy restaurants and taverns. Imbibe at Philadelphia's first craft brewery at Dock Street Brewpub. Over at Washington Square, stop and enjoy an urban picnic for a midday reprieve.

8. Fairmount

Fairmount is ideal for museum lovers who love exploring the best in art and culture along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The boulevard is reminiscent of Paris'S Champs-Élysées. It’s also home to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Beyond museums, the Philadelphia Zoo and Eastern State Penitentiary Museum delight visitors.

Young professionals and city lovers are also welcome in Fairmount. Cafes, bars, eateries, and bistros attract crowds looking for the best in city living.

9. Logan Square

Modern amenities meet old-world charm at Logan Square. Historic buildings line the streets against a backdrop of Philadelphia high-rises. Young professionals and tourists are the common core of the neighborhood, where you're central to everything.

Like many of the best places in Philadelphia, museums are also part of the fabric of Logan Square. Gather near the central fountain for a lunchtime reprieve before exploring the Free Library of Philadelphia. Logan Square is also home to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

10. Manayunk

Head to the banks of the Schuylkill River to find trendy Manayunk. Manayunk is among the safest places to live in Philadelphia. It boasts one of the lowest crime rates per person.

You're also just 15 minutes from some of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Those include Center City and Chestnut Hill.

The neighborhood is filled with lofts, row houses, and old Victorian homes dotting the hilly streets. Although Manayunk is walkable, inclines can be steep for walkers and bikers alike. Vibrant bars and eateries line Main Street, where small businesses love to set up shop.

11. Northern Liberties

The industrial area turned hipster hotspot of Northern Liberties features urban art and trendy boutiques. The area rose to prominence during the 90s by creative-minded and entrepreneurial locals looking for cheap apartments.

There's no shortage of places to go in "NoLibs." Meet up with friends at North 2nd street for ethnic cuisine or craft beer halls. Or try the Piazza, an old brewery turned shopping and dining complex situated beneath new, luxury apartments.

12. Fishtown

Art, live music, and culinary inspirations make up the collective vibe of Fishtown. Young professionals, college students, and hipsters love living in the working-class neighborhood of Fishtown that's rapidly changing.

Families are also an everyday staple around the community. Kids are welcome among the backdrop of this indie neighborhood.

You're never far from a beer garden, dive bar, or gastropub in Fishtown. You can also find easy access to bespoke cocktails and plenty of indie music performances and urban art to go around.

13. Graduate Hospital

Graduate Hospital got its name from a large medical institution that is no longer operating but retains its independent spirit. Its creative core can be seen in handmade art in shops peppered throughout the neighborhood.

South Street and Broad is the neighborhood's established area. However, the western edge is trending with new restaurants and boutiques.

Wherever you live, you'll enjoy a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere with a kid-friendly vibe. Despite its family-friendliness, you'll still be in one of the best places to find plenty of gastro pubs and bars.

14. East Falls

Enjoy a reprieve from the urban grind without leaving the city at East Falls. The neighborhood is slower-paced than its nearby neighborhoods and features a small-town feel with green lawns and urban parks. As one of the best places in Philadelphia, bikers zip along Kelly Drive to commute along the hills and green space into the City Center area.

Despite its laid-back vibe, you can still find some action at the mixed-use Falls Center. The refurbished Art Deco style building features apartments, offices, and retail space in a classic setting.

15. Brewerytown

Head to North Central Philadelphia to discover Brewerytown. The historic Philadelphia neighborhood once housed over 20 breweries in its peak. Many of the brewers were of German descent, which gave the neighborhood its German architectural feel.

Today, many of the brewery buildings are now apartments and condominiums. You're never far from the hip Girard Avenue corridor with pubs, eateries, shops, and cultural attractions.

16. Kensington

Once an alternative to high rents of Philadelphia, Kensington saw an influx of renters. Along with them came an influx of breweries, bars, and galleries.

The Philadelphia Brewing Company is a popular weekend spot for a drink in a restored 19th-century brewery site.

Kensington is also known for its art galleries and performance spaces. During spring, the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival features handmade, quirky parade floats that run big on imagination and an independent spirit.

17. Cobbs Creek

Situated in West Philadelphia, Cobbs Creek is bounded by Market Street, Baltimore Avenue, 52nd Street, and Upper Darby. The area boasts historic charm, and the Cobbs Creek Automobile Suburb Historic District was created in 1998. The designation protects over 1,000 buildings with Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow/Craftsman architecture.

18. North Central

North Central lies in the North Philadelphia section of the city. The urban neighborhood is known for its diversity with a mix of African American and Puerto Rican residents. Apartments are usually found in older buildings, though some apartments along North 17th Street offer updated kitchens and amenities.

19. Point Breeze

Point Breeze, sometimes called South Point Breeze, was named after a former tavern in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is mainly residential with trails and open space. This Philadelphia neighborhood is ideal for young families looking for playgrounds, parks, and outdoor activities. You will feel right at home with friendly neighbors in this tight-knit neighborhood.

20. Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square is the name of both the public park and the surrounding neighborhood. The area is known for its upscale and exclusive personality with options for luxury retail shopping, fine dining, bars, and a tree-lined park backdrop. The area is popular among locals and tourists looking to live in the middle of the action.

Rittenhouse Square isn't the only park in this historic neighborhood. The nearby Fitler Park features a half-acre community gathering space near the Schuylkill River. Locals enjoy seasonal events in a relaxing urban environment. You'll also find cultural offerings, including Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Koresh Dance Company, and expensive hotels with on-site restaurants.

21. Somerton

Somerton is located in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia. The neighborhood is home to William Penn Cemetery. You'll also find a handful of shops and eateries, although the area is mainly known for its quiet, suburban feel. Most apartments are located in smaller complexes, duplexes, or private homes. Locals have quick access to Roosevelt Blvd and Bryn Athyn College.

22. Fox Chase

Fox Chase is located in Northeast Philadelphia and is home to Burholme Park and pockets of green space. Public transportation is available thanks to the Fox Chase train station.

23. Roxborough

Roxborough is a suburban neighborhood located in Northeast Philadelphia. You'll have peace and quiet but will need to commute into other communities to find shopping, dining, and urban amenities. Roxborough is home to Temple University Hospital and Temple University Neurology.

24. Bustleton

Head to Northeast Philadelphia to find the neighborhood of Bustleton. The area was named after a local bar established before the American Revolution. Today, Bustleton is a residential community with major commercial areas stretching along Roosevelt Boulevard, Bustleton Avenue, Grant Avenue, and Red Lion road. Many locals come from Russian, Ukraine, and other former Soviet Republic countries.

25. East Passyunk Crossing

When you’re in East Passyunk Crossing, you’re in the foodie hotspot of Philly. The area spans from Broad to 6th and from Tasker to Snyder. Crowds gather to hop through the gastropubs, chef-owned restaurants, sushi bars, and Mexican eateries. The neighborhood has a youthful, dynamic vibe that attracts college students and young professionals looking for a vibrant area. You'll also find kitschy boutiques, vintage stores, and funky dive bars.

East Passyunk Crossing is also known for its community involvement. Locals can join the bi-annual clean-up, plant trees for homeowners, and help out in the mixed-use community garden. There's also a resident-led civic association for the neighborhood.

26. Washington Square West

Washington Square West is known for its rainbow flag street signs. There are different pieces to the neighborhood, including the "Gayborhood,” which draws crowds to its vibrant nightlife. LGBTQ+ friendly bars and restaurant-lined streets are abundant. There's also a trendy presence along 13th Street in Midtown Village with Irish pubs and quirky boutiques.

The third piece of the neighborhood is Washington Square, which is one of five original public squares in Philadelphia, tying the area together. Take a picnic on weekends and gather with friends in the open space. You won’t be far from Jefferson Station, which serves as a transportation hub for SEPTA's regional line. You can reach both the suburbs and Philadelphia International Airport.

Finding Your Philadelphia Neighborhood

Ready to explore the City of Brotherly Love for yourself? Learn about the average rent in Philadelphia and the cost of living. Then, start our quiz to begin apartment hunting in Philadelphia.

If Philadelphia doesn't seem like the best Pennsylvania city for you, check out the best places to live in Pennsylvania!

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AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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