Organizations like Walk Score regularly rank Philadelphia among the top five most walkable cities in America, based on factors such as land-use mix, residential density and building orientation. But when looking for a home in the city, what probably matters most is convenience.
Philadelphia’s Center City – as with almost any large metropolitan destination’s downtown – is by definition convenient. It’s a given. But where else in Philly can you find such walkable convenience for a more affordable cost of living?
Queen Village lies along the Delaware River just a bit southeast of downtown. Historically friendly to bohemian, punk and alternative subcultures – depending on your decade – the neighborhood has long been where “all the hippest meet and the dancing is elite,” as immortalized by The Orlons in the 1963 hit “South Street.”
Unfashionably fashionable, Queen Village contains a bevy of walkable streets, with a public art installation or a quirky store catering to neighborhood locals seemingly down every alley.
The aforementioned South Street, which ends in the Headhouse District, contains a diverse collection of more than 300 stores, shops and eateries, from preppy to elegant to edgy.
Groceries and necessities, including a brand new urban Whole Foods Market, line South Street and the bend around to 4th Street’s Fabric Row. And the Headhouse Farmers Market, with its more than 40 vendors, is open Sundays year-round.
Up in the hills of northwestern Philadelphia, the Manayunk neighborhood shelters an eclectic but tight-knit mix of working-class families, recent college grads and young upper-middle-class professionals.
With small-town charm featuring both quaint rowhouses and trendy lofts, Manayunk’s distance from Center City and isolation up steep inclines and cobblestone streets necessitated the development of a self-sustaining walkable commercial district.
Main Street – fortunately more flat and easily accessible than its precipitous parallel arteries – buzzes with a bevy of restaurants and taverns, chic boutiques, earthy art galleries and the city’s best bike shops.
More than 50 first-rate eateries boasting a myriad of cuisines dot the neighborhood known for its up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs honing their craft before hitting it big elsewhere in town.
A shopping enclave along Ridge Avenue features vintage clothing and designer furniture, as well as a large supermarket, family drug stores and a Target in walking distance. Not sure where settle in for dinner? Chew Philly Food Tours runs tasting excursions to some of the ‘hood’s hottest spots.
Photo by Tyler Rutherford on Unsplash
Underrated for its livability, South Philly is home to both large families – with multiple generations frequently gathering to chat on front stoops – and young professionals looking for affordable living.
Sporting goods stores and sports bars, including the world famous original Chickie’s & Pete’s and its renowned crab fries, fill the blocks around the South Philadelphia Sports Complex – home to the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and Flyers.
At the north end of South Philly resides the famous cheesesteak corner where Pat’s King of Steaks sits across from rival Geno’s Steaks. By the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers is The Navy Yard, a former military base recently converted into office complexes, restaurants, shopping, running trails and brand new apartment buildings.
And with large, open industrial blocks, the expanse of South Philadelphia along Columbus Boulevard and Delaware Avenue in Whitman is the city’s premier location for large-scale supermarkets and big box stores, including IKEA and The Home Depot.
Despite its trafficked commercial streets, South Philly affords everything you need within walking distance from any residential block.
While treasured national history and urban canyons draw new arrivals to Center City, neighborhood enclaves across Philadelphia offer families and young professionals affordable alternatives and convenient day-to-day living.