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University City

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This neighborhood at University City’s southwest corner is distinguished by huge, roomy Victorian twin homes that date to its establishment as one of the city’s early “streetcar suburbs.” An influx of new residents has brought rejeuvenation to both Cedar Park’s housing stock and its main commercial district, Baltimore Avenue, which features an array of restaurants serving cuisines not found in the rest of the city - Ethiopian/Eritrean and West African, to name two - small boutiques with personality, and the neighborhood’s commercial centerpiece, a restored early-20th-century firehouse that is now home to the Dock Street brewpub.

Powelton Village:

Named for early settler Samuel Powel, this neighborhood next to Drexel University takes great pride in its Victorian ambience. It boasts a number of fine old mansions built when this area was the destination for the city’s “new money,” mansard-roofed twin houses on tree-shaded streets, and an outstanding K-4 public school. Drexel students lend a youthful note to the neighborhood’s personality and provide much of the patronage for the restaurants along its southern edge, but the neighborhood’s heart is solidly residential and tranquil.

Spruce Hill:

Spruce Hill is the heart of University City, and its fortunes have long been tied to those of the University of Pennsylvania just to its east: many Penn students, faculty and staff call this neighborhood home, thanks in part to Penn-sponsored loan programs that encouraged employees to purchase the large Victorian twins and rowhomes that dominate Spruce Hill’s housing stock. The neighborhood’s public school is also Penn-assisted and is so popular there’s a lottery to get in it. Corner homes in this neighborhood are likely to sport interesting small restaurants on their street floors; neighborhood shopping can be found aroung 40th and Walnut and 43d and Locust, and thanks to those Penn students, there are plenty of entertainment options in and around the neighborhood.

Walnut Hill:

While Walnut Hill has more of a workaday vibe and development pattern than Spruce Hill to its east, it too has many ties to the University of Pennsylvania, whose loan programs also cover home purchases in this neighborhood. The main thoroughfares for car traffic between Center City and the western suburbs, Chestnut and Walnut streets, slice through this neighborhood, and with the traffic come an array of busineses that cater to passers-through as well as residents. On its western edge is 52nd Street, West Philadelphia’s main street, lined with shops catering to an urban clientele. Walnut Hill has a broad range of housing options, from modest two-story rowhomes and twins to duplexes to spacious Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts homes. Apartment buildings dominate along Walnut, and the neighborhood is also home to the elegant Garden Court condominium.

Squirrel Hill:

The dome of the Byzantine St. Francis de Sales Church marks the summit of Squirrel Hill, the leafy green neighborhood located just south of Spruce Hill and Cedar Park in University City. Surrounding the church are the neighborhood’s signature homes - large Queen Anne twins designed in such a way that they look like single homes, a feature that appealed to the upwardly mobile residents who moved here in the mid- to late 19th century. The Route 13 streetcar on Chester Avenue is Squirrel Hill’s connection to the outside world along with 49th Street station on SEPTA’s Media/Elwyn Regional Rail line. While corner stores can be found scattered throughout the neighborhood and there is a commercial district in the 5100 through 5400 blocks of Chester Avenue, the community is largely residential in character, and many residents patronize the shops on nearby Baltimore Avenue or around 40th and Walnut.

West Philadelphia:

Fans of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” know it as where Will Smith was born and raised - and he was born and raised there - but the territory west of the Schuylkill River encompasses a lot more than that. At its eastern end is University City, Philly’s second downtown, home to the largest concentration of academic and research jobs in the city and surrounded by residential neighborhoods noted for their large, stately Victorian and Queen Anne-style homes. At its western end is Cobbs Creek, the park that runs along Philly’s border with Delaware County, offering a bike trail and recreational opportunities for West Philadelphians of all stripes. In between are a diverse variety of neighborhoods with housing from modest to grand, bisected by 52nd Street, “West Philly’s Main Street,” a hub for neighborhood retail. Baltimore Avenue and Lancaster Avenue are other West Philly shopping hubs.

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Listing information last updated on March 28th, 2017 at 9:00pm EDT.