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Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options-house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, the convenience of location-it all can be quite overwhelming. That’s why we’ve researched the top up and coming neighborhoods in Philly for you, so you don’t have to (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—your friendly Philadelphia movers). We’ve examined what it’s like living in each of these highlighted neighborhoods. And we’ve created in-depth guides with insider scoops on close-by, popular destinations. Soon, you’ll be living like a local.
A Little About Philadelphia and its Neighborhoods
Spotted amidst Philadelphia’s metropolitan skyscrapers, historic parks, renowned art museums, and music venues are many beautiful residential neighborhoods. Many, like Rittenhouse and Washington Square, have been planned according to William Penn’s original design from the late 1600s of neighborhoods built around green spaces. Although Philly is brimming with blocks of 18th and 19th-century row-homes, pockets of the city maintain a surprisingly suburban feel.
So, whether you and your family are hoping for a historic home butted up against tight, bustling streets with only-locally-known restaurants and shops around the corner, a dignified brick home snug against Independence National Park, or a speckled stone cottage on a grassy lawn, you’ll find a home in Philly. Check out our listing below where we explore 5 up and coming neighborhoods in Philly.
EAST MT. AIRY
First on our list of up and coming neighborhoods in Philly is East Mt. Airy. Nestled between Germantown Avenue, Wissahickon Park, and Chestnut Hill, East Mt. Airy sits roughly 20 minutes from Center City. The charming area combines dense leafy parkland, miles of multi-use trails, tree-lined streets, and a historic cobblestoned business corridor. East Mt. Airy’s unique blend of amenities earned it second place in Redfin’s 2019 list of the “10 Hottest Affordable neighborhoods” in the nation.
What’s Happening in East Mt. Airy
East Mt. Airy has attracted many aspiring entrepreneurs and is now bustling with a plethora of retail businesses, restaurants, and prime office locations. Earth Bread + Brewery, one of our favorite local hubs in the neighborhood. Its building displays the gorgeous “Walking the Wissahickon” mural, inspiring passer-byers to explore the area’s many parks and green spaces.
East Mt. Airy residents have snagged one of the most coveted spots in the city. These locals live less than a mile from the trails that run through the Wissahickon Valley Park, its acres of greenery, and more than 57 miles of trails. The park’s beautiful valley trail is paved and perfect for a stroll, jog, or bike ride.
Schools in East Mt. Airy
Popular schools in the area include Walter B. Saul High School, Germantown Friends School, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy among many others.
Homes in East Mt. Airy
Mt. Airy’s varied architecture recounts its historical roots. Structures dating back to the 18th century commingle with Victorian and 20th-century homes. Though East Mt. Airy is a sizable, bustling business district, it also has a variety of reasonably priced rental homes. The area offers single home colonials, cozy townhomes, and classic rowhomes.
Brewerytown began its transition several years ago and was labeled as Philly’s next hot spot by Philly’s local media outlets back in 2017. As Brewerytown continues to transform, residents are seeing new condos, long-awaited supermarkets, restaurants, and bars move in.
While Brewerytown is seeing a lot of new improvements, this neighborhood still shows off Philly’s history. The City Park Brewery, added to the National Register of Historic Places in the ‘80s, anchors the neighborhood’s own historic district that contains 380 structures.
Brewerytown sits close to the popular Fairmount Park and Center City. Because of its location, this neighborhood appeals to both professionals and families. Its growing population can reach everything they might need via Brewerytown’s easy-to-access public transportation options, making it an awesome choice on our list of up and coming neighborhoods in Philly.
What’s Happening in Brewerytown
Brewerytown is aptly named for the 20-plus beer-pouring establishments that once operated in the district at the peak of its hoppy heyday. Today, many of these former breweries have been converted to condos. But there’s still plenty of watering holes in the area.
Girard Ave. is where locals go to quench their thirst. This street is packed with coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. Visit The Monkey and The Elephant for a pour-over and baked good. Check out Crime & Punishment Brewing Co. and Hops Brewerytown for a taste of the local suds.
For great local eats, stop in for an Ethiopian dish at Era, an artisanal pie at Pizza Dads, or some BBQ pork ribs at Butters Soul Food. Want to enjoy dinner at home? For local shopping, visit the specialty grocers Primal Supply Meats Butchery & Market, Bravo Mini Market, and Girard Mini Market.
Schools in Brewerytown
Schools in the area include The City School, Camelot Academy of Philadelphia, William D. Kelley Public School, and Robert Morris School among others.
Homes in Brewerytown
The median listing price for houses in the area has skyrocketed in the last three years. But closing prices are keeping pace. Brewerytown is still growing, and investors are still chasing down houses in Brewerytown. Today, you can easily find new construction townhouses, contemporary condos, and traditional row houses throughout the area.
Next up on our list of up and coming neighborhoods in Philly is Fishtown. Since its major role in Philly’s commercial shad-fishing industry, Fishtown has transformed into a hip and upcoming ‘hood. Settled north of Girard and west of the Delaware River, Fishtown is quickly becoming a hub for the city’s creative class as more young, artistic, and business-minded newcomers move into the area.
Bars, restaurants, galleries, and studios are moving in. But it’s not all new folks who live here. Older tenants work with the newcomers in the community’s neighborhood association to ensure that this area of Philly will continue to thrive.
What’s Happening in Fishtown
Fishtown won’t leave an evening on your calendar empty. There’s plenty to see and do in this laid-back neighborhood. Fishtown is one of the most beautiful and quickly-changing neighborhoods in the city. Thankfully, its newcomers seem to want to protect old Fishtown as much as its original residents.
One of our favorite spots is La Colombe, where you can sip on some of Philly’s best coffee. Other well-loved local hubs include Suraya, which serves classy versions of wood-fired pizza. Weckerly’s loads up their homemade waffle cones with hand-scooped ice cream.
Social is Fishtown’s tiny little neighborhood wine bar. They serve wine by the glass with small plates of cheese, charcuterie, and oysters. Now, they’ve added a retail shop for wine bottles to go, full of bottles from small family-owned sustainable farms.
In 2017, Fishtown found its first local market. Riverwards Produce has become the bustling heart of Fishtown, like the kitchen in a family home. At this local neighborhood grocer, Fishtown residents stop by almost daily and collect ingredients for dinner that night.
Schools in Fishtown
Fishtown is home to Alexandaire School. There are also several nearby schools in the neighboring Kensington and Old Richmond neighborhoods, like Horatio B. Hackett School and St. Laurentius Catholic School.
Homes in Fishtown
Fishtown primarily offers its residents row-houses. Both homeowners and renters can find a sweet spot to call home. While rent is a bit higher on average in Fishtown (no less than $1400/month), homes can be found for as little as $200K, although those are getting snatched up quickly.
West Philly has been on the up and up for young professionals in the city. It’s a great place for “chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool,” or so says the Fresh Prince. West Philly is the city’s education pocket and is home to three major institutions–Dexel, the University of Penn, and the University of Sciences.
University City, located on the Westside, offers dozens of bars, restaurants, bookstores, and shops. With nature-escapes strewn throughout the area, plenty of amazing food, and street art splashed across blank buildings, University City and all of West Philly is the best place for a “cool cat” like The Prince.
What’s Happening in University City
University City is packed with amazing local eateries. But our favorite spot has to be the classic Abner’s Cheesesteaks. During a visit, sink your teeth into the chewiest artisan bread filled with seared and sliced steak, sauteed purple onions, and sweet peppers, blanketed in a generous layer of melted and mild provolone cheese. This is the reason an entire city can be known cross-country for its sandwich.
University City is also home to Palestra. Built in the ’20s, Palestra holds the floor as the oldest major college arena still in use today. A towering cathedral ceiling with bleachers running up the walls allows for nearly 9 thousand fans to watch the court below. Expect an intense and exciting experience as you pick your side of the greatest rivalries in college sports, the Big 5.
Schools in University City
Besides colleges and universities, University City offers several local public and private K-12 schools. Some of the best-rated schools in the area include Samuel Powel Elementary School, The City School at Spruce Hill, and Paul Robeson High School.
Homes in University City
As far as housing goes, University City is dominated by renters. Because this neighborhood is filled up with students, only about 10% of residents own their homes. The neighborhood’s narrow row-homes sell for anywhere between $150K to over $1M. But rent stays pretty affordable here, with plenty of units renting for about $1K per month.
WASHINGTON SQUARE WEST
This thriving enclave emits its own unique personality. It recently experienced a business boom, and today, the 13th Street corridor is stocked with popular restaurants and shops. The Square itself is one of Philly’s five original public squares, and it’s the central gem of the neighborhood. Here, picnickers, families, and residents gather to enjoy the open space.
What’s Happening in Washington Square West
Washington Square West hits the tippy top on its walk score. Locals are just an easy stroll away from high-end retail stores and restaurants in Midtown Village. Queen Street makes for a popular evening outing. The grocers and shops that line South Street and Independence National Historic Park keep locals out of their cars and on their feet.
All of Washington Square West’s options can get a little overwhelming, so here are some amazing places to start. Visit Oloroso and sample small plates from their classic Spanish menu. Or enjoy dinner in a leafy wonderland at Talula’s Garden where you can sample their seared sea scallops on a patio surrounded by vines and twinkly lights. The Tria Cafe Wash West is another classic you can’t miss. This old city-staple has been serving wine, cheese, and beer for decades.
Schools in Washington Square West
Washington Square West is home to a number of highly-rated schools like Julia R. Masterman Secondary School, Central High School, and Science Leadership Academy.
Homes in Washington Square West
In this central-city neighborhood, you’ll find plenty of condos, apartments, and row houses available for housing. Many of the homes in the area feature Philly’s classic brick exteriors and remodeled interiors. Housing prices vary drastically here, and although this area is growing in popularity, you can still snag a pretty home for around $200K.
There you have it: 5 of the up and coming neighborhoods in Philly!
We hope this guide to the top up and coming neighborhoods in Philly helpful! If you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop. As we said, we coordinate local and long-distance moving services in Philadelphia, and we would love to help.
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