Overbrook – Philadelphia, PA

Once called "The Grove of Tall Pines" by local Native Americans, today's Overbrook retains much of the greenery that sets it apart from the urban hubbub of nearby Philadelphia. Northwest of Philadelphia proper, Overbrook comprises the area east of City Avenue and west of 54th St, with St. Joseph's University at its northern tip, and the lush Morris Park running through the middle. Along with neighboring Wynnefield and Belmont Village, this area is often referred to as "The City Line Neighborhoods". With its close proximity to Philadelphia and its array of parks and historical sites, Overbrook provides residents with the natural beauty of the country while remaining close to an urban hub.

Schools in Overbrook

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Despite Overbrook's residential character, locals find no shortage of good eats in and around the neighborhood. Lancaster Avenue divides Overbrook's eastern side and houses most of the area's best dining options. No visit to Overbrook is complete without a stop to Calabash Banquet and Restaurant, an all-in-one bar, restaurant and event hall where diners can choose from extraordinary authentic island dishes. Stop by on a Tuesday for Jazz Night. When you're in the mood for Vietnamese fare, head over to Little Saigon just a couple miles away in Upper Darby. Here, swift and friendly service combines with cuisine that's to die for. The atmosphere borders on divey, but locals rave about the food, especially love the pho and spring rolls. If great Italian food wets your palate, Pica's, also in Upper Darby, fills the bill. This place serves up perfectly cooked pizza every day, and some visitors travel miles to taste it. Pica's also serves other traditional fare, include tasty fettucine Alfredo and spaghetti. With noodles made in-house, you always receive the freshest quality possible.

History & Culture

When William Penn founded the city of Philadelphia, he designed Overbrook as an agricultural area for "gentleman farmers" who would help feed the urban center. The Welsh were among the first to settle the area, establishing Overbrook Farms in 1693. Over three centuries later, Overbrook remains home to many sites on the National Register of Historic Places, most notably Overbrook High School, alma matter of entertainer Will Smith. St. Charles Borromeo Seminary lies just north of the neighborhood. This Catholic seminary offers undergraduate and graduate theological instruction. As an important neighborhood institution, the school performs several annual concerts for the public, including an Advent and Lenten program.

Transportation

Although there is plenty to do in Overbrook, the neighborhood is primarily a commuter community to nearby Center City, Philadelphia. The drive into the city takes about 25 minutes, along route I-76. For those wishing to avoid Center City parking, the commuter line offers a good alternative. The Paoli/Thorndale line brings passengers from Overbrook Station to Philadelphia proper in a mere 20 minutes, with a scenic view of West Philly that the highway could never provide. The Overbrook Station has plenty of parking, and commuters can find additional street parking along Lancaster Ave. Most major cab companies that service Philadelphia are happy to pick up and drop off in Overbrook, but it can be difficult to find one on the street, especially during non-peak hours. Customers can either call ahead of time, or track down a private car with the ever-popular Uber app. Within Overbrook, commuters have several public transit options, from the historic green trolley car running east/west on Lansdowne Ave, to the 46 bus on 60th St. Biking is also a wise option, with designated bike lanes on both Haverford and Lancaster Avenues. A trip directly west on Haverford will take bikers to the Schuykill River Trail - a beautifully maintained car-free bike path running along the Schuykill River that separates West Philadelphia from the city's main urban area.

Cost

Like the greater Philadelphia region, housing options vary greatly within the Overbrook neighborhood. At an average rental rate of $1,107 per month, neighborhood rentals prove significantly more affordable than those in nearby Center City. On the other end of the spectrum, the more rural-feeling Overbrook Farms section contains some of the area's most beautiful turn of the century stone houses and help maintain the neighborhood's decidedly historic feel. For commuters on the region's Paoli/Thorndale Line, a ticket to Center City costs $3.75. Cheaper still, the trolley through West Philly costs only $2.25. In terms of nightlife spending, residents can choose from an array of divier hangouts with $2 to $3 beer options to more upscale menus. Gas prices are typically slightly lower than the national average, cementing Overbrook as an ideal neighborhood for those wanting the culture of the city but without the price tag of Center City living.

Shopping

Overbrook holds its own when it comes to shopping. In the area west of 63rd St, Haverford Avenue constitutes the main shopping district, with grocery stores, restaurants and boutiques catering to a range of interests. As its name suggests, Haverford Ave's Renrich Vegetarian Health Store provides residents with a one-stop-shop for natural and organic health products, including a whole line of vegetarian foods. City Avenue, which runs along the neighborhood's northern border, provides the region with its big-box retailers. TJ Maxx, Payless and Autozone are just a few of the offerings at City Avenue Shopping Center at the intersection of City Ave and Landsdowne Ave. Further down the road, health-conscious shoppers can peruse the offerings of the weekly Overbrook Farmers Market, located at Overbrook Presbyterian Church at City Ave and Lancaster Ave. Look out for fresh goat milk yogurt sourced by Apple Tree Goat Dairy out of Richfield, PA.

Parks

If there's one thing the natural landscape can offer, it's the wealth of parks and green spaces in Overbrook. Mere minutes from the hustle of Philadelphia, Overbrook's Morris Park is 147 acres of lush natural woodland, free and open to the public. The park is an official part of the much larger Fairmount Park Commission, which oversees Greater Philadelphia's extensive network of trails and parks. Together with the other parks of the Fairmount system, Morris Park helps comprise one of the largest urban green spaces in the country. In 2004, the Friends of Morris Park began a revitalization effort to clean up the park and foster its natural flora and fauna. Thanks to their efforts, the park now offers a habitat to the green frog, American toad and snapping turtle, none of which were seen previously. Aside from the standard jogging, dog walking and afternoon strolling, Morris Park also acts as an outdoor venue for many local musical acts, making it a truly unique resource for families in the Overbrook community.
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