Living in University City, PA | Restaurants, Parks, Homes | Long & Foster

Living in University City, Philadelphia, PA 

Largely based around the campuses of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, the University City section of West Philadelphia houses a large student population, as well as employees of those institutions. The neighborhood's mix of affordable Victorian houses, apartments, and turn-of-the-century row homes on tree-lined streets appeals to almost anyone, including post-grads, professionals, and families. University City offers unique flavors and amenities of its own, with Center City just a short distance over the Schuylkill River, which forms the neighborhood's eastern border.

Bridge in University City, Philadelphia, PA

Things to Do

In addition to numerous bars and pubs, University City features a variety of restaurants, many serving international cuisine, along with several notable music venues. University City residents appreciate neighborhood bars like Smokey Joe's Tavern—a gathering place since 1933—where you can enjoy top-rated sandwiches, watch the game, and listen to a live band. Food choices range from spicy Szechuan, Thai, and African dishes to Italian and traditional American barbecue.

Music fans will want to check out the Rotunda on UPenn's campus, where up-and-coming hip-hop, soul, jazz, and experimental artists are often featured. The venue also hosts film screenings, theater productions, art exhibits, and yoga classes. In addition, University City is home to the World Cafe Live, a popular supper club, which books a variety of acts, and has featured notable artists, such as Howie Day, Natalie Merchant, and Graham Nash, among others.

Art lovers enjoy the Institute of Contemporary Art, which features gallery shows by upcoming creators, as well as works by Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, and Robert Mapplethorpe. The Kelly Writers House, a favorite among literature buffs, hosts readings by nationally known authors.

tennis courts in University City, Philadelphia, PA

Housing in University City

Homes for sale in University City range from single-family Victorian and Tudor-style houses to three-story row homes and condominiums. You'll find charming fixer-uppers, move-in ready family homes, and beautifully restored mini-mansions. Some homes have been divided into apartments, and several luxury apartment buildings are also located in the neighborhood. Buying University City real estate puts you in a neighborhood with personality, along with easy access to Center City and the suburbs.

City view in University City, Philadelphia, PA

Travel and Transportation in University City

Travelers and commuters alike can easily catch a train at 30th Street Station to New York, Baltimore, or Washington, D.C. Both Amtrak and SEPTA trains run through this hub, and Philadelphia's subway trains also stop here and along several points along Market Street. There is also an above-ground trolley system that connects parts of West Philadelphia to 30th Street, and for even more options, buses will take you into Center City. If you would rather bike, the terrain is smooth enough to take a nice ride.

Bridge with city in  the background in University City, Philadelphia, PA


Getting There & Around


What Locals Love

Don't Miss It

  • With a large variety of restaurants and several music venues, University City is a great place for a night out. Make sure to stop by Smokey Joe’s, which has been in business since 1933.
  • Head to the Rotunda on UPenn’s campus to listen to live music, attend a film screening or theater production, check out an art exhibit, or take in a yoga class.
  • For more art, visit the Institute of Contemporary Art to see works by Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, and more.


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