Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, each bustling with their own energy, local spots, and best restaurants. Here are some brief descriptions of Temple Law students’ favorite places to live.
For more information on living in Philadelphia, visit our series of “My Philly Neighborhood” blog posts on Voices at Temple Law.
Situated between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, south of Spring Garden and north of South Street, Center City is the heart and soul of Philadelphia. Currently the third most populous downtown after New York City and Chicago, Center City has seen a welcome resurgence in recent years. Bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and plenty of neighborhood dives can be found anywhere from Chinatown around 10th and Arch Streets, to Rittenhouse Square at 20th and Walnut, to Old City.
Center City has so much to offer. A thriving downtown, the hub of the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan region is home to state-of-the-art office towers, world-renowned museums and cultural institutions, nationally-recognized fine dining, charming historic neighborhoods with townhouses, lofts and apartments with great views, world-class tourist attractions, great shopping, and a vibrant downtown population.
West of Broad Street, between Girard Avenue and Spring Garden Streets, this section of Philadelphia is also known as the Art Museum Area. Head northwest from City Hall on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and look straight ahead to get the best view of the art museum perched atop its elevated mount. To the north of the parkway is the meat and potatoes of the Fairmount area. Plenty of bars and restaurants spot this sophisticated, middle-class neighborhood.
During the summer expect plenty of special events to pop up at the art museum and along the parkway, including Independence Day festivities. Flanking both sides of Franklin Parkway are plenty of tall high-rises full of residents who call Fairmount home. Head west of the art museum and you’ll find Fairmount Park, the neighborhood’s namesake. Beginning at the Ben Franklin Parkway, Fairmount Park encompasses more than 8,900 acres of winding creeks, rustic trails, green meadows and 100 miles of recreational trails. The world’s largest landscaped urban park also contains early-American mansions, historic landmarks, a variety of outdoor sculpture, playing fields, and 19th-century Victorian structures along Boathouse Row. There are also plenty of museums nearby, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Moore College of Art, among others.
Old City is Philadelphia’s original neighborhood. When the Quakers first came here, this is where they set up shop and port. Traditionally Old City is considered to lie south of Vine Street, north of Pine Street, and east of about 7th Street. Originally the Delaware River served as the natural eastern border of Old City, but today you’re much more likely to stop your wandering once you get to the I-95 expressway, now between the river and the Old City neighborhood. The most happening spot of old city lies along 2nd and 3rd Streets. If you’re looking for art galleries and performance theaters, head just north of Market Street. Old City is known for the most exciting collection of art galleries on the East Coast. For restaurants, look just south to Chestnut and along Market. Of course, no trip would be complete without a stroll through Independence Park, lying on the western edge of Old City, where one can learn and absorb the rich history of this old Pennsylvanian town.
Perhaps too ironically, “Manayunk” is derived from the Native term meaning “where we go to drink.” They probably meant where they drank water, from the Schuylkill River. Upstream from the mouth of Wissahickon Creek, Manayunk is another place for the young, hip crowd to unwind. Main Street in Manayunk has a huge assortment of bars and restaurants, and while some places can be pricey, there are plenty of affordable options as well. Designated as a National Historic District in 1983, “Philadelphia’s Main Street” boasts more than 65 chic boutiques and galleries alongside dozens of restaurants. You can find great live music any night of the week in Manayunk, and on weekends you can usually find hundreds of people out on the streets enjoying all that Main Street has to offer.
Surrounding suburban counties
Bucks County has more than 300 years of history, 600,000 residents inhabiting more than 600 square miles, and many towns, villages and neighborhoods that offer a great quality of life in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Here, you can relax in a riverside café, experience one of the eclectic eateries or family restaurants, or enjoy a romantic dinner to the tune of a cascading waterfall. In Bucks, there’s always something new on the menu. Stroll the quaint shops at Peddler’s Village. Explore treasure trove of antiques, crafts and collectibles purveyors. Bag a bargain at Penn’s Purchase or Franklin Mills. There’s no shortage of value in Bucks County.
Delaware County, midway between Philadelphia and Wilmington, blends the sophistication of the city with the tranquility of the countryside. You’ll find bustling industry, rolling Pennsylvania hills, turn-of-the-century small towns and gleaming cityscapes, lying just beyond neighborhoods filled with large Victorian homes and shaded streets. Media is a restored business district, complete with a trolley down the main street and anchored by its stunning white courthouse. Delaware County also has a bustling industrial waterfront along the Delaware River.
Montgomery County is a combination of 20th-century technology, traditional charm and colonial history. Shining office buildings and shopping centers exist against a backdrop of beautiful homes, historic sites and lush green countryside, yet one of the country’s largest cities, Philadelphia, is only minutes away. The region was settled by British farmers late in the 17th century. With Norristown as the county seat, it was the scene of pivotal Revolutionary War battles, including Washington’s winter encampment at Valley Forge, where he and his valiant troops fought to preserve ideas born in Philadelphia. Later industrialization came through the hard work of European immigrants in mines, foundries, and mills. Railroads soon connected these growing enterprises with the rest of the East Coast. Today Montgomery County is known for its serene parks, exceptional schools, high income average, and convenience to Philadelphia. More than 650,000 people from all walks call Montgomery County home.
Please feel free to contact the Admissions Office if you have any questions. Good luck as you begin your search!