Living in University City
While you may think University City apartments are only for students, this West Philly neighborhood offers an all-ages appeal. The scholastic crowd supports tons of shopping, restaurants, and culture—and that’s good news for the whole community. While some locals complain of “Penntrification,” others appreciate the redevelopment that U Penn has promoted. In general, this neighborhood is split between east and west sides by 40th Street. If you’re looking to rent a University City apartment, you’ll be looking on the west side—unless you’re living on campus.
Back in 1677, this patch of land was known as Blockley Township. When Philadelphia was founded, people began calling Blockley “West Philadelphia” instead. German immigrants came calling, then many from the Caribbean. University of Pennsylvania alumni helped rebrand this area in the 1950s as part of an urban-renewal push. U Penn is not the only school on this side of the Schuylkill River, however. Here you’ll also find Drexel University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
University City Lifestyle and Entertainment
Lifestyle in University City revolves around the campuses. As you wander these streets you’ll find an eclectic mix of stores, eateries, galleries, and other diverse outposts of creative culture. Student-friendly bargain restaurants are easy to spot, but there are plenty of fancier places as well. Perks of living in University City include free lectures, museums, and an active social scene.
If you’re looking for some parkland in University City, check out Penn Park alongside the Schuylkill River. You can also take jog around the large Woodlands Cemetery, which is closer to the residential west side of the neighborhood.
University City Info and the Rental Market
University City is a diverse area both ethnically and economically. On the west side you’ll find Victorian and early 20th-century houses as well as most of the neighborhood’s residents. On the east side, you’ll find the schools and student housing, such as the “Superblock”—three high-rise dorm buildings. All over you’ll spot students, professors, and staff. It isn’t an out-of-control fraternity scene here, however. Plenty of families and professionals opt to live in this area. The average two-bedroom University City apartment rents for $1195 a month.
If you’re commuting from University City, watch out because traffic can get bad. On the plus side, nothing’s too far away. Public transit options are easily accessible. You can grab SEPTA trains at University City or 30th Street stations or take your pick of bus, subway, or trolley routes.
University City Resources
The Walnut Street West branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia system is on South 40th Street, in University City. There are United States Post Offices on Market Street and on South 40th Street. Medical facilities in this part of town include the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. University City falls within City of Philadelphia City Council District 3.
University City Zip Codes
The 19104, 19139, and 19143 zip codes serve University City.