Washington Square West
So You’re Thinking of Living In…
Washington Square West
Washington Square West, located in Center City’s southeast quadrant, boasts an eclectic mix of residents and some of the most attractive residential. Home to one of Philadelphia’s world-renowned medical schools and the heart of its gay and lesbian community, it enjoys a bohemian reputation and an attractive quality of life.
Bounded on the north by Chestnut Street, on the east by 8th, on the south by South Street (including the 700 block of Lombard) and the west by Broad, “Wash West” is home to everything from art-school students to society matrons. Washington Square West real estate is similarly diverse, ranging from 19th-century trinities to modern townhouses along with many multifamily apartments and condominiums.
The neighborhood takes its name from the square at its east end, the southeast of William Penn’s five original public squares. Washington Square itself is a tranquil oasis that is also the final resting place for scores of Revolutionary War soldiers.
Attractions and Amenities
Living in Washington Square West puts you close to just about everything Center City has to offer. It is bordered on two sides by major shopping and entertainment zones, and its northwest corner, also known as Midtown Village, is home to many fine restaurants, shops and nightclubs. This area is also the heart of the “Gayborhood,” with shops and bars that cater to gay men and lesbians; the annual Outfest celebration in October takes place here. The neighborhood is also home to two major theaters: the Walnut Street Theatre, the country’s oldest, and the Forrest Theatre, local outpost for many a traveling Broadway production.
Some of the neighborhood’s better known restaurants and bars are:
Neighborhood shopping can be found along South Street from 7th to 11th, on 10th from Locust to Spruce, and along Antique Row, from 10th to 12th along Pine Street. The neighborhood’s two supermarkets are across 10th Street from each other at South. Convenience retail can be found at many corners in the community.
In addition to Washington Square itself, the neighborhood has two other parks: Louis I. Kahn Park and Seger Playground. Thomas Jefferson University also maintains an open commons on Locust Street in the middle of its campus.
The nation’s oldest hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, is one of two hospitals located in Wash West. The other is the teaching hospital of Thomas Jefferson University.
Wash West shares its neighborhood public school with Society Hill, where the Gen. George A. McCall School is located. Independence Charter School is located just outside it on the north near Independence Mall.
Major churches in and near Wash West include St. John the Evangelist (Roman Catholic), St. Stephen’s and St. Luke and the Epiphany (Episcopal), Broad Street Ministry (open to all, run by the Presbyterian Church) and St. George’s (Greek Orthodox).
Wash West is home to many “little streets” – narrow, intimate residential streets that offer surprising tranquility for the middle of a big city. Some of the most desirable blocks include the 300 block of South Camac Street and Clinton Street, home to some of the neighborhood’s most substantial homes.
According to data from Trulia.com, in the quarter ended May 30, 2011, the median sales price for homes in Wash West was $370,000. Large townhouses and smaller trinities – so called because they consist of three rooms stacked one on top of the other – dominate the housing stock, but there are also many condominium properties. An ample supply of rental property appeals to students and short-term residents. The local civic group, the Washington Square West Civic Association, is the oldest such organization in Center City, advocating for the community’s interests since 1935.