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Innovation, cultural exploration and a thirst for learning characterize Philadelphia's University City district, located in West Philadelphia. With its variety of restaurants, thriving arts scene and proximity to public transportation, it holds a spot among the city's most coveted neighborhoods. In addition to two major medical establishments, the neighborhood houses major learning institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. As an added bonus, residents can easily access Center City, located just across the Schuylkill River.

Home to college students, young professionals and families, University City has grown into one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. From the parklet seating areas to the well-maintained green spaces and bike lanes, the neighborhood caters to outdoor living and residential conveniences while also providing ample retail space for businesses.

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Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Philadelphia, PA is $1,135 for a studio, $1,919 for one bedroom, $2,410 for two bedrooms, and $1,884 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Philadelphia has increased by 3.1% in the past year.

Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent
Studio
371
$1,135
1 BR
719
$1,919
2 BR
1,093
$2,410
3 BR
1,166
$1,884
Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent

Ratings

92 Walk Score® Walker's Paradise
96 Transit Score® Rider's Paradise
99 Bike Score® Biker's Paradise

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Restaurants

You can barely walk more than a block in University City without passing by one of the neighborhood's diverse selection of dining establishments or food trucks, which transform small spaces and empty lots into temporary dining destinations. For example, head to 31st and Ludlow to scope the menu of Cucina Zapata, which serves specialties such as short rib tacos and Capt'n Crunch tilapia burritos. For breakfast, nothing beats Bui's food truck's menu featuring BLT egg sandwiches, cheese steaks, hoagies and burgers.

Explore the flavors of Mexico City at Iron Chef Jose Garces' Distrito, located on Chestnut Street. The menu features classic dishes, such as grilled skewers of scallops and fresh pineapple over grapefruit and sweet pepper salsa, and a wide selection of mouthwatering house-made margaritas. When you crave something spicy, try dumplings in chili oil, spicy crispy cucumber or dry pepper fish at Han Dynasty on Market Street. In addition to a full bar, this Chinese restaurant features friendly, attentive staff who take time to explain the spice levels in all dishes.

When it comes to nightlife, you can choose from many options, ranging from checking out a show at one of the neighborhoods or chilling at Aloosh Hookah Bar and Restaurant for dinner or a drink and a late-night snack. A friendly staff can help you choose the right flavor for your hookah. Menu options include snacks such as creamy hummus, marinated olives, stuffed grape leaves, falafels, salads, sandwiches and entrees such as grilled lamb skewers. Hoist a frosty pint of beer and nibble on specialties such as handmade brick oven pizza at City Tap House, a gastropub with two outdoor terraces. Menu items include steamed mussels, craft-made sandwiches, entrees and salads. City Tap House serves a wide variety of craft beers ranging from complex wheat beers to hoppy pale ales and IPAs, making it one of Philly's best bars.

University City houses two music venues: University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center and World Cafe Live. World Cafe Live's intimate ambiance lets you enjoy the music of talented artists up-close-and-personal. It also features dining and a full bar.

History

The University of Pennsylvania moved to its current location in 1871, when the area's vibe was very rural. As the city expanded and West Philadelphia transformed into an urban area during the late 1940s and early 1950s, the idea of creating a neighborhood renewal emerged. In 1956, after the murder of an area student, Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania committed to taking part in the creation of University City, a complex devoted to research and learning.

The numerous galleries located in the neighborhood provide concrete proof of University City's vibrant art and cultural scene. The Penn Museum hosts exhibits ranging from ancient Egypt to the world's second largest exhibit of prefect crystal spheres. Philly's only contemporary art museum, The Institute of Contemporary Art on South 36th Street, features free admission and rotating fashion exhibits and abstract art.

Transportation

University City’s proximity to major roadways such as the Schuylkill Expressways, Route 13 and Route 30 make travel in and out of the area incredibly convenient. In addition to metered parking spots, the neighborhood houses four parking garages. Alternatively, you can apply for a residential on-street parking permit through the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Hop on the Lucy Loop shuttle that runs throughout University District, or take advantage of Philadelphia's extensive network of public transportation options, which include buses, trolleys and trains. Located in University City, 30th Street Station services roughly 50,000 travelers daily with its regional SEPTA rail service, New Jersey Transit and AMTRAK trains that can take you all the way to destinations such as Miami or Chicago. Other transportation options include calling a taxi or arranging a ride with local car services such as Zip Car or Philly Car Share.

The neighborhood has an extensive network of more than 25 miles of bike lanes, as well as ample crosswalks and handy pedestrian plazas that make walking a good option. The South Street Bridge, which welcomes pedestrians and bicyclists, makes walking or biking to center city convenient and safe.

Cost

Life in University City generally carries a substantially lower cost of living than Center City. Renting a one-bedroom apartment typically costs $1,100 to $1,400, and you can expect to pay an average of $6 to $7 for a pint of beer at one of the local pubs.

A one-day SEPTA pass, which allows unlimited travel aboard subways, buses, trolleys and regional rail service, costs $12 per person. Gas prices in University City typically hover around 1.1 percent higher than the national average.

Shopping

University City offers a range of shopping opportunities, including chain stores such as Gap, Ann Taylor LOFT, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. One of the neighborhood's gems, Piper Boutique, located on 34th Street, boasts a unique inventory of women's clothing. In addition to its evening apparel, everyday clothing and statement jewelry, Piper employs a staff of friendly associates that make every shopping experience a great one. Another popular shop for fashion lovers, Bonded Boutique offers a range of consignment clothes as well as fun re-purposed shabby chic items, including old cabinets made into jewelry displays.

The Fresh Grocer, located on Walnut Street, serves as the main food market in the neighborhood. The store stays open 24 hours a day and carries a full selection of deli products, baked goods, produce, meats and other items. You can also shop at one of the many farmers markets in the neighborhood, including Clark Park Farmer's Market on 43rd street and Baltimore Avenue. This year-round farmers market carries a mixture of conventional and organic produce in addition to flowers, dairy, meat products and baked goods. Other farmers markets in the neighborhood include the year-round Lancaster Avenue Farmers Market and several seasonal markets, including University Square Farmers Market, the VA Medical Center Farmers Market and the Baltimore Avenue Farmers Market.

Parks

Residents enjoy plenty of green spaces in University City, including the expansive Penn Park, located just off Walnut Street near the river. This 24-acre multi-use park hosts University of Pennsylvania activities and social sports leagues and features open play fields, a picnic grove, and walking, jogging and biking trails.

All neighborhood parks welcome leashed dogs, and Walnut Hill Community Playground, Cedar Park Playground, and the Clark Park Tot Lot and Playground are particularly kid-friendly. Clark Park, located between 43rd and 45th Streets in the heart of the National Register Historic District, also hosts several events, including the Clark Park Flea Market, Spruce Hill May Fair, Shakespeare in the Park, and an annual public art exhibit, Heart and Soul, which features pianos decorated by artists.

Catch an outdoor movie during the eight-week Films at Drexel Park event every summer. The green space between 40th and Walnut Streets fills with the sounds of live music performed by local and regional musicians and performers. The 40th Street Summer Series happens monthly throughout summer, with music and entertainment from fire artists, jugglers, face painters and more.

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University City Apartments for Rent

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3601 Market
3601 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1 / 55
New
$1,746 - 4,416 1-2 Bed Available Now
844-841-5323
Vue32
3201 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1 / 22
New
$1,720 - 5,100 1-3 Bed Available Now
267-293-6132
Chestnut Hall Apartments
3900 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1 / 19
New
$1,116 - 2,631 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
215-987-2236
AKA University City
2929 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1 / 80
New
$1,950 - 5,950 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
844-233-1886
The Left Bank
3131 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1 / 28
2 wks
$1,850 - 3,900 Studio - 3 Bed Available Now
267-233-6692
The Old Quaker Building
3514 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
1 hr
$1,630 - 2,070 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
267-233-6695
The Axis
20 S 36th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
2 wks
$800 - 1,500 Studio Available Now
267-443-1952
1 hr
Hamilton Court
3816-3836 S Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,245 - 4,995 1-5 Bed Available Now
844-316-2970
2 days
120 N 34th St Unit 3B
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,800 3 Bed Available 09/01/17
267-443-6950
2 days
3411 Race St Unit A
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,550 2 Bed Available 09/01/17
215-352-4975
2 days
3415 Race St Unit B
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,800 3 Bed Available 09/01/17
215-309-4922
2 days
3415 Race St Unit H
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$3,000 5 Bed Available 09/01/17
215-600-4994
Korman Residential at 3737 Chestnut
2 days
3406 Race St Unit B
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,800 3 Bed Available 09/01/17
215-352-4222
4018 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$2,300 Condo for Rent Available Now
1 day
3414 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,400 Condo for Rent Available Now
New
314 N 39th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$1,375 Condo for Rent Available Now
New
3934 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$4,125 House for Rent Available Now
1 day
4000 Ludlow St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$900 Condo for Rent Available Now
New
42 N 40th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$995 Condo for Rent Available Now
1 day
107 N 35th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
$950 Condo for Rent Available Now
1 day

Apartments for Rent in University City, Philadelphia, PA

Innovation, cultural exploration and a thirst for learning characterize Philadelphia's University City district, located in West Philadelphia. With its variety of restaurants, thriving arts scene and proximity to public transportation, it holds a spot among the city's most coveted neighborhoods. In addition to two major medical establishments, the neighborhood houses major learning institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. As an added bonus, residents can easily access Center City, located just across the Schuylkill River.

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