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Best Neighborhoods to Live in Philadelphia

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The City of Brotherly Love has experienced a huge amount of growth in the last few years, with up and coming neighborhoods freshly populated with hip bars, coffee shops, and much more. If you’re looking to move to Philadelphia or looking for a new neighborhood to call home, these five locales are top-rated for walkability and easy commutes, restaurants, nightlife, safety, and access to various businesses, activities, and more.

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Bella Vista

South Philadelphia neighborhood Bella Vista is a favorite among residents and visitors to the area. Home to Philly’s Italian Market, Bella Vista has no shortage of restaurants and eateries. This South Philly neighborhood encompasses three parks (Bardascino Park, Cianfrani Park, and Hawthorne Park) and a stretch of the popular tourist and shopping destination, South Street.

Bella Vista is a safe urban neighborhood known for great restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife. The cost of living in Bella Vista is affordable compared to more affluent Center City areas. Both affordability and charm make this neighborhood a popular choice among young professionals, with an easy commute to Center City by bus or Broad Street Line. A low crime rate also makes this diverse neighborhood a great choice for families.

Washington Square West

Washington Square West is located in Center City, but with open spaces like Washington Square Park the urban is balanced with spacious green areas. The neighborhood surrounding the park is known for beautiful old brownstone buildings, hip restaurants, boutiques, and small businesses. Washington Square West also has a thriving nightlife scene, with abundant trendy bars and some of Philly’s most popular clubs.

Washington Square West has historically served as a home to Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community, but this neighborhood is diverse and welcoming to all. Its location in Center City offers a short commute to the rest of the city, with access to various bus routes, the Broad Street Line, and the Market-Frankford Line. Still, many residential blocks keep Washington Square West from feeling too urban, making this one of the favorite neighborhoods to live in in Center City Philadelphia.

Old City

Old City is Philadelphia’s most historic neighborhood, containing historical landmarks including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House. Situated on the Delaware River and neighboring Center City East, Old City’s charm lies in its history, cobblestone streets, and tiny brick alleyways. If you’re not a history buff, Old City is also full of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and more, many of which are located on 2nd Street.

Old City is a short walk from Center City, with ample public transit options as well, including multiple bus routes and the Market-Frankford Line. This neighborhood is also home to Penn’s Landing, a popular destination for seasonal festivities, concerts, and a waterfront park. Old City is one of Philadelphia’s most family-friendly neighborhoods, with a great combination of urban living and old-world charm.

Manayunk

Manayunk rests on the Western edge of Philadelphia, west of Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River. This hilly neighborhood is named after a Lenape Native American word meaning “where we go to drink” which was a reference to the river in olden times. The name is fitting, however, as Manayunk is known for its many bars and restaurants that make up a bustling happy hour and nightlife scene.

Popular for its small-town feel in a big city, Manayunk is home to many small businesses, specialty shops, boutiques, and galleries. You’ll have to drive 20 minutes or take a Regional Rail line to get into the city proper, but there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Manayunk itself. While there is not a college directly located in Manayunk, many college students, post-grads, and young professionals flock to this neighborhood.

Fishtown

Fishtown is Philly’s cool, hipster neighborhood. Formerly an industrial fishing hub, many old warehouses and industrial spaces have been converted into trendy bars and lofts. Gentrification has led to an influx of young people living in new condos and renovated row homes. Fishtown is known for its art and music scene, and the vibrant neighborhood attracts some of Philly’s best artists.

Fishtown hugs the Delaware River, but various bus routes and access to the Market-Frankford Line makes commuting to the rest of the city an easy feat. This up and coming neighborhood is full of activities, from trendy bars (often featuring live music) to dog parks to concert venues, casinos, and more.

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