Renting an apartment in a city’s downtown or cultural district means you can visit a gallery or take a sketching class any weekend of the year. But where in Philadelphia are the best places for art lovers to take up residence?
Rent.com compiled a list of art facilities and exhibition centers in Philadelphia – art centers, art galleries and dealers, art instruction and art schools, artist materials and supply stores, fine arts organizations and societies and art museums – mapped them out and cross-referenced them with all Philadelphia apartment buildings on the site. We weighted the proximity of each art facility to each residence and uncovered the locations of the top ten best apartments in Philadelphia for art lovers.
Photo courtesy of Westbury
Just a block off of Philadelphia’s famous Avenue of the Arts, you’ll find Westbury. This restored high-rise building offers studios to two-bedroom layouts that mix modern and retro living. Units include vintage hardware and details throughout, with some floor plans offering granite countertops.
Art lovers will enjoy everything about the area surrounding Westbury. The building is just a block away from the University of the Arts. The Kimmel Center, Wilma Theater and Academy of Music are all just a short stroll away.
In addition, it’s just a short drive to the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Curtis Institute of Music and Plays & Players Theatre.
Photo courtesy of Newport
About a block west of Westbury, you’ll find Newport. This historic building has spacious one- and two-bedroom units with stunning hardwood floors and bay windows. The property only has 46 units, so you’ll get to know your neighbors in the beautifully redesigned lobby or in the free fitness area.
This apartment building is located at the edge of Rittenhouse Square, and that means it’s walking distance to many great art-related businesses. Check out the latest exhibits at The Print Center, take in a performance at Opera Philadelphia or try to find the ultimate vintage piece at Antique Showcase and Omoi Zakka Shop.
Plus, you’re just a few blocks from The University of the Arts – one of the oldest schools for music and art in the U.S.
8. The Bentley
Photo courtesy of The Bentley
The Bentley is the southernmost high-rise apartment building as you leave Center City, and as such, paints the edge of the Rittenhouse Square area with distinction. The “Beaux Arts” style building, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017, contains newly-renovated upscale units with high ceilings, glass doorknobs, oversized windows that open, French doors, granite countertops, bookcase built-ins, oak flooring and reclaimed antique mirrors.
Seated just two blocks from the south end of Rittenhouse Square, The Bentley offers proximity to the arts community flourishing in the area. Galleries abound, including the Mangel Benj Gallery, The Print Center, the David David Fine Art Gallery and The Center for Emerging Visual Artists.
High-end frame store Formerly Taws is around the corner, and the Romanian Museum & Gallery is right across 16th. Down the street is the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the oldest multidisciplinary arts center in America.
7. The View at Old City
Photo courtesy of The View at Old City
One of the newest apartment buildings in all of Philadelphia is the sprawling low-rise campus of The View at Old City, at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Previously the site of both the Whitman’s Chocolate factory dating back to the 1950s and Pincus Brothers-Maxwell clothiers up to the 1990s, the 216 units in the block-long building include a gourmet kitchen, spacious interiors and views either out towards the Bridge onramp, onto the US Mint or over two courtyards.
The two courtyards maintain distinct personalities, one “passive” for quiet relaxation, the other “active” for exercise, outdoor grilling and sunbathing by the infinity pool. At just five stories above street level, the rooftop offers closeup views out over Franklin Square.
The View is literally across the street from the U.S. Mint, which offers a view of the art that inspires the design of our currency, but does not offer free samples. Next door is the National Constitution Center, which has rotating exhibits of modern and historic art from Revolutionary America. Just to the west is Franklin Square, which has outdoor art exhibitions on the grounds throughout the year. Art galleries abound nearby, as well, including Khmer Art Gallery, Vox Populi and Apple Jacks Studio.
6. 1500 Locust
Photo courtesy of 1500 Locust
You’re not going to find a better place for Art Lovers than Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts. And in the heart is 1500 Locust, a 44-story skyscraper in classic ’70s style architecture.
The building may be from the bicentennial era, but the units are distinctly modern, with Berber carpet in the bedrooms and tile flooring throughout the rest of the living areas, cherry cabinets, en-suite laundry and Center City views off quaint balconies.
The Avenue of the Arts is a hotbed for art fans of all eras. Just down Broad Street is the University of the Arts, the only art university in America which allows students to study across disciplines, but you yourself can take classes in your spare time at Philadelphia Sketch Club.
Art studios and galleries proliferate along this strip, such as the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Seraphin Gallery and the Troyka Fine Arts Gallery. Museum lovers shouldn’t miss exhibits at the Romanian Museum and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
5. 1501 Locust
Photo courtesy of 1501 Locust
One block up on The Avenue of the Arts is the boutique 1501 Locust apartments. A much newer building than its across-the-street counterpart, the units in this low-rise above a bank and SEPTA subway station are large and spacious, sunny one- and two-bedrooms with full-unit hardwood flooring, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
More about amenities of the bustling 15th Street neighborhood than community elements, 1501 Locust is one of the more reasonably-priced upscale buildings in Rittenhouse Square East.
1501 Locust’s location at the center of Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts affords ample opportunity to take advantage of the abundance of neighborhood art galleries, such as the Arader Galleries, Photo Pop Philly and the Millennium Art Gallery.
Although catering to the performing arts, the nearby The Kimmel Center and Academy of Music are both architectural wonders, and both feature wonderful art collections in their lobbies and theaters.
4. 1401 Walnut St.
Photo courtesy of 1401 Walnut
Settled in between the turn-of-the-century Bellevue Hotel and the Civil War-era Union League, 1401 Walnut is smack dab in the middle of the Avenue of the Arts corridor. The modestly-sized building is the former Manufacturers’ Club of Philadelphia, circa 1911, but contains voluminous 1,250 to 2,500-square-foot units with 13-foot ceilings.
Apartments are furnished with hardwood floors and Italian tile, sub-zero appliances in gourmet Poggenpohl kitchens and recessed halogen lighting throughout. Outside your front door is Walnut Street Row, with its trendy shops and stylish restaurants.
1401 Walnut’s access to The Avenue of the Arts is unparalleled. Right next door, the Union League of Philadelphia houses a massive collection of works dating back to the Civil War, highlighting important eras in American art. As well, the Sol Mednick Gallery, Emmerson Art, Carre d’ artistes and E-Moderne Gallerie are just across Broad Street.
And if you’re in need of supplies for your apartment art studio, or just want to hang out with cutting-edge art students, the massive Center City Blick Art Materials location is just up the block.
3. Griffin Center City
Photo courtesy of Griffin Center City
In the shadow of Billy Penn, the Griffin Center City is an 18-story “Beaux-Arts” style apartment building from the 1800s, but renovated in 2016, at the north end of the Avenue of the Arts cater-cornered to City Hall.
The sleek and contemporary units feature hardwood flooring in the living areas, stylish kitchens with free-standing islands and quartz countertops, glass showers, and smart locks and smart blinds. Interior amenities include a community game room and full-sized golf simulator. Outside, you’ll find a fire pit seating area and outdoor catering kitchen on the rooftop lounge.
Right on the other side of City Hall is the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, a world-renowned art school, featuring both professional and student galleries with permanent and rotating collections, as well as breathtaking outdoor installations.
There are many galleries between the Griffin and the edge of Chinatown including Space 1026, West Philadelphia Bronze Company and the Fleisher Ollman Gallery, plus the city’s Art Gallery at City Hall. Don’t miss the fascinating art collection at the Masonic Temple, and learn the latest techniques by sitting in on a pop-up art class Blick Art Materials, a block away.
2. The Beacon
Photo courtesy of The Beacon
Situated on the site of the former Brown Brothers Harriman Co., the oldest private bank in America, The Beacon is a brand new luxury building in the Rittenhouse Square East neighborhood.
The units contain large window walls and high ceilings, with gourmet kitchens filled with stone countertops and stainless steel appliances, full-length hardwood floors and charming secluded balconies.
The Beacon’s Rittenhouse location is central to Philly’s art school enclave in the museum district, including the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Moore College of Art & Design and the Hussian College School of Art.
Having such consortium of art colleges has fostered an abundance of high-end frame stores and collections in a compact area, including FrameWorks Studio, New Image Art & Framing, Liberty Art & Framing, Collectible Art & Frames and more all in close proximity.
Of course, there are numerous studios and galleries all around Rittenhouse Square as well, such as the Schwarz Gallery, Twenty Two Gallery, Gross McCleaf Gallery and Newman Galleries. Don’t forget to take a short ride up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation.
1. 218 Arch Street
Photo courtesy of 218 Arch Street
If you glance at a map of Philadelphia, it’s no surprise that the new 218 Arch Street gets the nod as the Best Philly Apartment for Art Lovers, with the heart of Old City’s gallery row on one side and Independence Mall off the other.
This newly-constructed 10-story mixed boutique and loft-style residence features units with floor-to-ceiling windows with “convector-free glass,” hardwood floors throughout and a contemporary kitchen with under-mounted sink, granite countertops and a breakfast bar.
The apartments at 218 Arch sit right alongside a fabulous row of studios and galleries along 2nd Street, including the celebrated Bluestone Fine Art Gallery, Illadelph Glass Gallery, Lindsay Rapp Gallery, Vivant Art Collection, Muse Gallery, Gallery51 and more along a single block.
A number of art supply stores inhabit the neighborhood as well, with Artist & Craftsman Supply, The Artist Room and Old City Art and Framing down the street.
And peer into America’s revolutionary past with art displays at national museums like The Benjamin Franklin Museum, the new Museum of the American Revolution and the Betsy Ross House – right across the street from 218 – here at the north end of the Independence Mall district.
We looked at all apartments in Philadelphia and rated them on the number of art businesses within a half-mile radius. We used an exponentially decreasing scale based on distance from the apartment. For instance, art studios located across the street from a specific property would carry more weight than those a quarter-mile away. Our establishment counts come from commercially available business listings.
The rent information included in this article is based on January 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.