Academy Hill – Chester, PA

Academy Hill is named for its star, Widener University -- a private liberal arts college founded in 1821. But while the 110-acre campus of this top-rated university dominates the neighborhood, Academy Hills' proximity to nearby cities -- just 20 minutes from Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia -- apartments in Academy Hill apply to everyone wanting easy access to nearby cities while having a charming, quieter neighborhood to call home.

Schools in Academy Hill

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

You can find an array of dining options less than a mile in all directions of the neighborhood. Classic favorites such as pizza and Chinese food are just minutes away on Providence Avenue, the main road running from Academy Hill through Chester. At Giorgio's Pizza, students and residents alike enjoy choices ranging from seafood to gyros and of course, Philly cheesesteaks. Despite Giorgio's small size, customers are drawn in by the variety of well-prepared dishes. Students and local customers agree that the restaurant's steaks and grinders are the best in the area. For more sophisticated Italian eating, head to the Portobello Cafe just a mile southeast of the neighborhood. Many visitors enjoy the authentic Italian dishes with robust flavors. Many relax as they drift into the homey atmosphere that Portobello Cafe evokes. While relaxing, customers enjoy fresh pasta dishes along with one-of-a-kind meatballs and rich raviolis. Pair your favorite entree with a wine of your own choosing, since Portobello Cafe is a BYOB establishment. Just a mile south in Chester, you'll find the amazing Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack conveniently located on the Delaware river. Harrah's thrills customers with horse racing, an exciting casino, and plenty of restaurants and bars. The PPL Park, home stadium to the Philadelphia Union Philly's soccer team, sits at the south end of Chester. With over 10 concession stands, you can enjoy all your Philly favorites here at the stadium.

History & Culture

Academy Hill began expansion around the mid 1800’s, but since then has grown to be well-known and appreciated. In 1862, the Delaware Military Academy moved from Wilmington to the Academy Hill area, giving the neighborhood its name. In 1882, the Academy officially became a college, and 1972 marked its change to Widener University. Widener has four campus locations with over 80 areas of study. Another historically significant place can be found in the southwest corner of Academy Hill: a mansion formerly owned by wealthy industrialist Alfred Deshong. When Deshong died in 1913, he donated his estate and art collection to become a public park and art museum. Today, the mansion no longer stands, but many original art exhibits can be viewed at Widener University.


Travel around town or to nearby cities using the Septa bus system, which has bus stops all along Providence Avenue to get passengers downtown in fewer than 10 minutes. For further travels, the Chester Train Station sits only five minutes away from Academy Hill. The Septa Wilmington/Newark line provides easy travel to Wilmington in 25 minutes or Philadelphia in 30 minutes. Drivers have easy access to many main roads and highways, with Interstate 95 awaiting just along the southern border of Academy Hill. I-95 takes drivers up and down the east coast quickly and efficiently. It only takes 20 minutes by car to get to Wilmington, and about 25 minutes to get to Philly. Make sure to call ahead for a taxi company if you need a ride; Uber also services the area. While there aren’t any bike lanes in Academy Hill, streets are safe and clean enough for cyclists, and it only takes 5 minutes to get from campus to downtown Chester.


In Academy Hill, you can rent a one-bedroom partment for $950, lower than in many places closer to the city. It costs only $2.25 to take the bus from Widener University to downtown Chester. For further travel by bus, expect to pay anywhere from $8 to $12. Taking the train to Philly costs as little as $5.75 if purchased beforehand. Gas prices in the area run 9 percent above the national average, but 1 percent lower than the average across Pennsylvania. When you stop for a beer at a local bar, expect to pay about $4 or as low as an amazing $2 if you take advantage of specials. Craft beers may run between $5 and $8.


Academy Hill sits near many different shopping centers. A 7-Eleven, Bottom Dollar and Rite Aid Pharmacy lie closest to this neighborhood to the west. Amy’s Produce and Eddystone Produce provide residents with the bulk of their fruits and vegetables, while the Bottom Dollar and Shoprite just a mile east meet the rest of residents' grocery needs. You can pick up certain essentials at the Widener University campus bookstore but you'll have to travel a bit north of the area to find boutiques, markets, and liquor stores. Just south of Academy Hill, in downtown Chester, you'll find jewelry stores, florists, discount stores and bakeries. Naomi’s Florist and Greenhouse provides residents with flowers for many special occasions. Naomi’s offers frequent specials and online ordering. Residents also love Phatso’s Bakery on Welsh street in downtown Chester. Regulars rave about the donuts, cupcakes and fritters. Phatso’s was even on an episode of "Save that Bakery" on the Food Network. For more substantial shopping excursions, Academy Hill has several malls and shopping centers nearby. Only 6 miles northwest, at the Granite Run Mall, you can find plenty of well-known stores including Modell’s, Boscov's and Journey’s. Strip malls northwest of Academy Hill give locals access to K-mart, Giant, and Seven Seas Aquarium and Pet Center.


Several free parks surround Academy Hill. Washington Park, located at the northeast edge of campus, features 13 acres of picnic areas and woods. Many Widener students hold annual outdoor events here, and residents of the area visit the park as well to take advantage of the swings for toddlers and interactive play equipment for creative young children. About half a mile southwest of Academy Hill you'll find Deshong Park, which still stands as a beloved community park. Originally Alfred O. Deshong’s estate, it was donated at his death in 1913 for free public use. In the past Deshong’s art collections were presented here but since then have been moved to the University. In 2013 the park began renovation to liven up the area and commemorate the park's 100-year anniversary. Houston Park, Chester Park and the Taylor Memorial Arboretum sit 1 mile north of Academy Hill. Houston Park features soccer and baseball fields as well as a new walking trail and some trees that are more than 200 years old. Chester Park and the Taylor Memorial Arboretum border each other just south of Houston Park. Chester park features six tennis courts, an outdoor roller rink, and soccer fields open for use. It's also a hot spot for joggers, walkers and cyclists. For a more peaceful experience, the Taylor Memorial Arboretum hosts frequent walking tours allowing visitors to observe beautiful flowers, trees and plants. The Arboretum provides a much needed sanctuary for plants and animals of the area.
2 wks
The Hub at Widener
1470 Providence Ave, Chester, PA 19013
Call for Rent Studio - 2 Bed Available Soon