Although Philadelphia is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the U.S., it feels considerably smaller than other cities of its size. This is because it’s made up of many small, well-defined, tight-knit neighborhoods, each of which has its own distinct character. If you’re planning to buy a home in the City of Brotherly Love, it’s best to familiarize yourself with its individual neighborhoods so you can decide which area will best match your lifestyle.
In this guide, we’ll share with you the city’s best neighborhoods for people of various backgrounds, including singles, families, working professionals and retirees. As you browse our list, keep in mind which neighborhoods are pre-gentrification and which have already been gentrified, and think about which environment is more appealing to you.
Fishtown is a vibrant, hip neighborhood with a creative vibe. Although once a working-class neighborhood that served as the industrial hub of the city, its factories have been converted into sleek, modern lofts and its tiny row homes have now been turned into luxurious homes with roof decks looking over the city’s stunning skyline.
Despite the extensive gentrification that Fishtown has undergone, the neighborhood’s new businesses show respect for its history and have made a great effort to preserve its original character. Walking down the street, you can see images of fish everywhere, including on the number plates on the houses and murals in alleyways.
This district offers some of the city’s best food, music and art scenes. In fact, many Philadelphia residents consider Fishtown to be the equivalent of Brooklyn’s Bushwick due to its many off-beat bars, restaurants and antique shops.
La Colombe, the famous coffee company, has its headquarters in Fishtown, as does Philly Style Bagels. Pizza Brain and Wm. Mulherin’s Sons are some of the neighborhood’s other favorite eateries. The vibrant nightlife of Fishtown includes Yards Brewing, Frankford Hall beer garden and many interesting bistros. You can also hear indie bands play at Johnny Brenda’s, a staple of Philly’s music scene that has something happening every day or try your luck at the Sugarhouse Casino.
Located just a 20-minute subway ride away from the heart of the city, Fishtown is a good option for those who commute downtown for work. Fishtown is thought to be one of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia for Millennials.
Northern Liberties is an unmistakably hipster neighborhood that has undergone an extensive transformation in the past ten years. Ranked one of America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods by Forbes, this manufacturing and warehouse district is now a trendy neighborhood for young professionals, artists and the many other types of residents that call Northern Liberties home.
Northern Liberties is one of the greatest neighborhoods for enjoying great food and drink, thanks to its pedestrian-friendly layout, excellent bars and a vast array of authentic international restaurants. The area also boasts some of Philly’s best bruncheries.
Lovers of craft beers also come to No Libs for its bar scene, with the Yards Brewing Company and Standard Tap being great local places to grab a drink. For those who want to grab a quick bite, great pub food can be had at Blind Pig. And if you want to burn off some calories after your meal, you can try your hand at bowling at North Bowl.
One of the neighborhoods most frequented areas is Schmidt’s Commons, which offers a wealth of dining and shopping options. It also includes art galleries and an outdoor theater that hosts free screenings.
It is a also great option for those who work downtown, as residents can get to Center City in just 10 minutes on the subway.
Like many of the areas mentioned in this list, Point Breeze is one of the up and coming neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The area takes its name from an old amusement park, is one of the next areas to be redesigned and gentrified. Despite its proximity to downtown, this area still offers some of the lowest rent prices in Philadelphia. Being primarily residential, Point Breeze has a huge number of apartments available, which means that, while you’re sure to have a lot of neighbors, you won’t likely be kept up at night by raucous partiers.
Although mainly residential, Point Breeze is a great neighborhood for beer lovers, with Second District Brewing and South Philly Tap Room being great examples of the area’s delicious, locally brewed beer. Parks such as Chew Playground and Wharton Square Park provide a relaxing retreat from the city, and the neighborhood overall is very pedestrian- and biker-friendly.
The area has no large supermarkets, but it is home to many local grocers and smalls corner stores, and a farmers market is open in the summertime. Point Breeze is considered to be one of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia for singles.
Although the medical institution for which it’s named no longer exists, the Graduate Hospital neighborhood has developed a reputation quite independent from its name. In fact, Graduate Hospital is perhaps the best-kept secret in all of Philly — it’s close to the city center, clean and very walkable, which makes it a great option for young families.
The area can be best described as a mix of established institutions and hip newcomers. In the past few years, it has experienced a rapid influx of residential and commercial development, which has quickly established the area as one of the city’s best neighborhoods. The epicenter of the activity is on South Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, where many of the hippest bars and restaurants are located.
Another aspect of Graduate Hospital’s personality — which is still somewhat off the radar — is its handmade arts scene.
Brewerytown is located just above the Fairmount neighborhood and has seen an intense slew of development over the past ten years, which includes eateries, stores and museums. The neighborhood hosts a wide array of hangouts, including bars and shops and is a short walk to other city favorites including Fairmount and the Schuylkill River.
It’s still considered one of the best areas in Philly to buy a new home, as it’s still relatively affordable and has access to a Fishtown-bound trolley route, several bus lines and other key amenities. The town also provides easy access to grocery stores, with an Aldi in the neighborhood’s center and a Whole Foods just a quick bus ride away. Many people are clamoring to snatch up leases in this highly accessible, up-and-coming area.
Francisville is North Philly’s oldest neighborhood and is known for its unique, old-fashioned feel. Although it has historically been a working-class neighborhood and was considered a bit worn until recent times, the area is now revitalizing and there are many new developments popping up.
Just south of Francisville is Fairmount, a perfect neighborhood for art lovers. You can take in timeless works of art at the world-famous museums such as the Rodin Museum, Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which are just a few steps away.
Although the Fairmount neighborhood is most associated with world-class art, it is by no means the neighborhood’s only draw. Fitness enthusiasts are also attracted to Fairmont for its many outdoor activities. If you are looking for an exhilarating workout with a scenic backdrop, you can sprint up the museum stairs like Rocky Balboa or take a bike ride on the idyllic Kelly Drive, a popular loop that hugs the Schuylkill River. If you’d like more adventure, you can go rowing in the river.
Many young families choose to move to Fairmount for its inviting green spaces and booming food scene.
It comes as no surprise that Bella Vista, which translates to “beautiful view,” is one of Philadelphia’s most attractive neighborhoods. Also known as Little Italy around Philly, this charming area was first settled by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, and today the neighborhood still retains its Italian character. The neighborhood offers a number of Italian restaurants and shops and is home to the renowned 9th Street Italian Market, the U.S.’ oldest open-air outdoor market.
As the neighborhood has grown, Asian- and Latino-owned businesses have moved into the area, where they sell cheese, pasta, meat, coffee, produce and sandwiches, making the neighborhood even more vibrant and fascinating.
Bella Vista is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia for families. Located just outside the city center, there’s a little more space for stretching out. And there’s an abundance of playgrounds, parks and excellent schools to choose from, including the Christopher Columbus Charter School, Julia R. Masterman Secondary School, Central High School, Carver High School and the Science Leadership Academy.
Just to the east of Bella Vista is the beautiful Queen Village, a close-knit community that is known for its hip streets with Victorian lights, old book stores, avant-garde fashion and cuisines from around the world. The residential section features many nice, relatively affordable apartments that were converted from warehouses and schools. It also boasts charming row homes, two public libraries and many local eateries, making the area particularly suitable for professionals and young families. However, the residents of Queen Village are from a wide variety of backgrounds and from various stages of life.
For those who like nightlife, you can enjoy the variety of pubs and bars on Second Street. And those looking for fashionable clothing can check out stores on the historic stretch of Fourth Street.
Located to the south of Old City and Center City, Queen Village is a great choice for those wanting to be close to many other fun parts of the city. In this neighborhood, you’re just a short walk from the historical charms of Old City and the famous culinary offerings of East Passyunk.
Young families living in Queen Village make frequent trips to the Weccacoe Playground and the many nearby stores that sell child-rearing essentials, such as Ikea, Target and Old Navy.
The name “Penn’s Landing” honors William Penn, the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania who made a historic landing here in 1682. Spanning from the Delaware River to Front Street and from Washington Avenue to Spring Garden Street, Penn’s Landing includes some of Philadelphia’s most coveted real estate.
If there’s one thing Penn’s Landing is not short on, it’s entertainment. The area offers visitors and residents a multitude of ways to enjoy the riverfront and is great for people wanting close proximity to a variety of entertainment activities. The area offers attractions, events, classes and entertainment throughout the year, with some of its most notable offerings being its seasonal parks such as Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park.
During the warmer months of the year, you can attend multicultural gatherings at the Great Plaza, go to yoga classes at Race Street Pier while taking in the breathtaking views and see shows performed by some of the biggest stars in the music industry. And when winter comes, you can go down to the riverside for some ice skating.
Throughout the year, you can visit the Independence Seaport Museum, which features interactive educational exhibits about the seafaring heritage of the city. Exhibits like the Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna as well as the Workshop on the Water are permanent exhibits that are particularly memorable.
Now that you’ve read our list, you’re hopefully a little closer to deciding on that perfect Philly neighborhood. But once you settle on a neighborhood, you’re then faced with an even greater challenge: finding that perfect home. Whether you’re planning to buy a house or build one, you want a house that offers everything you’re dreaming of. And to do this, you’ll need the company that has the capabilities to realize that dream — Streamline.
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