The West Philadelphia boundaries were defined as extending from the “Schuylkill River to 52nd Street, and from Haverford Avenue to the Media-line railroad tracks south of Kingsessing Avenue. Although, over the years many have viewed it as a smaller domain. There are several local neighborhoods within West Philly that have taken on its own feel. These include Garden Court, Cedar Park, Squirrel Hill, Spruce Hill, Walnut Hill, Powelton Village and Woodland Terrace.

University City, which is the easternmost part of West Philadelphia, situated directly across the Schuylkill River from Center City. University City has gone through its own recent renewal, which is being called ‘Penntrification’. A term that combines the University of Pennsylvania’s role in the gentrification of the neighborhood. In the mid-1950s, two realtors and Penn graduates coined the name “University City”, in an attempt to attract Penn faculty back to the neighborhoods near Penn. They were successful in the campaign to rename part of the area University City. It’s even labeled on several street signs and maps. Today, Drexel University and The University of the Sciences also call University City home.

Like most of Center City’s residential area, it is comprised of rowhomes. Unlike most of residential Center City, University City has several neighborhoods with semi-detached and detached homes. A large portion of these homes are large Victorian-style and are used for student housing. Several closer to the campuses are owned by the Universities.

Many young professionals and families are flocking to the area. Families with younger children are specifically looking to move into what is now the reputable Penn Alexander School catchment. This highly sought-after Elementary school is a partnership among the University of Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to build a model university-assisted, K-8 public school for West Philadelphia children. Brilliant! This carved out neighborhood within West Philadelphia that covers this catchment has seen home values increase tremendously since the school opened its doors in 2001. There are several hospitals in the area which include Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (Presby), and The VA Medical Center of Philadelphia (The VA).

Hands down the most diverse neighborhood for foodies. Choose from American, African, Asian, Middle Eastern cuisine, and every Continent in between. Some restaurants worth notable mention are Marigold Kitchen, Aksum, Abssynia, Kilimandjaro, African Small Pot, Dahlak, Manakeesh, White Dog Café, Pod, and… The list goes on. Email me for my personal favorites!