Renting in Northeast Philly versus Old City Philadelphia

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Northeast Philly vs. Old City

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If you’re thinking about whether to live in Northeast Philadelphia or Washington Square / Old City Philadelphia (19106 zip code), there’s a lot to consider. In this post, we will compare and contrast rental costs, ease and affordability of parking, open spaces and greenery, organized children’s sports, and more.

Rent Affordability

The average cost of a 1 Bedroom in Northeast Philly is $915 whereas in Washington Square/Old City (19106) the average cost of a 1 Bedroom is $2,098 (source).

It is therefore 129% cheaper to rent an apartment in Northeast Philadelphia than it is in Washington Square / Old City Philadelphia.

Open Space and Parks

In 2010 the GreenPlan Philadelphia initiative included in its report tree canopy coverage across various Philadelphia neighborhoods as follows:

  • Center City: 2.3%
  • Far Northeast Philadelphia: 26.8% (Includes Northeast Philly neighborhoods of Bustleton, Somerton, Fox Chase, and more)

Northeast Philadelphia has one of the highest tree canopy coverages in the entire city. For an added bonus, if you live in Northeast Philadelphia you are very close to Pennypack Park (1600 acre park) whereas from Washington Square/Old City you need to drive across all of Center City to get to the nearest major parks (Fairmount Park and/or Wissahickon Park). From Washington Square/Old City, you are near Washington Square Park which is nice, but not as large as the 3 major parks.


Report Identity Theft to Police | Woman Speaking to Officer |

There is no neighborhood in any city or suburb that is crime-free, however, crime can be measured, and there is a direct relationship between crime and personal and property safety. The Philadelphia Inquirer tracks crime rates throughout the city over the last 30 days. As of the date of this article, many NE Philadelphia Neighborhoods had significantly lower property crime rates and violent crime rates compared to Center City Philadelphia. It should be noted however, that data is not available for Washington Square/Old City along but rather for the core of Center City in general.

Property Crime Rates (Looking Back 30 Days from the Date of This Article Written)  comparing NE Philadelphia communities of Bustleton, Somerton, and Fox Chase to Center City in general*:

  • Bustleton had approximately 26% of the Property Crime Rate of Center City
  • Somerton had approximately 30% of the Property Crime Rate of Center City
  • Fox Chase/Burlhome had approximately 37% of the Property Crime Rate of Center City

Violent Crime Rates (Looking Back 30 Days from the Date of This Article Written) comparing NE Philadelphia communities of Bustleton, Somerton and Fox Chase to Center City in general*:

  • Bustleton had approximately 1% of the Violent Crime Rate of Center City
  • Somerton had approximately 14% of the Violent Crime Rate of Center City
  • Fox Chase had approximately 8.5% of the Violent Crime Rate of Center City

 Ability to Drive Up To Shopping Centers

  • Washington Square/Old City – 0 shopping centers

For neighborhoods in Northeast Philly:

  • Bustleton – 15 shopping centers
  • Somerton – 21 shopping centers
  • Fox Chase – 5 shopping centers

That’s 41 shopping centers in just these 3 Northeast Philly Neighborhoods compared to 0 shopping centers in all of Washington Square/Old City.

Organized Children Sports

If you live in Washington Square/Old City, there are very few options for organized children’s sports (if any). Northeast Philly, on the other hand, is known for its diverse array of children’s sports and activities.

  • Hockey- Flyers Skate Zone
  • Soccer- Somerton Youth Organization, Lighthouse SC, Philadelphia Soccer Club, Fox Chase Soccer Club
  • Basketball- Somerton Youth Organization, Parkwood Youth Organization, Lansing Knights Youth Organization, Northeast Racquet Club
  • Baseball/Softball- Somerton Youth Organization, Parkwood Youth Organization, Lansing Knights Foundation
  • Football- Somerton Youth, Parkwood Youth, Fox-Rok Athletic, Liberty Bell Youth
  • Cheerleading- Somerton Youth Organization, Fox-Rok Athletic Association, Liberty Bell Youth Organization.
  • Tennis- Northeast YMCA, Northeast Racquet Club
  • Volleyball- Northeast YMCA
  • and much more

Food Diversity

Ultimate Guide: NE Philadelphia Restaurants | Food Collage |

Although Washington Square/Old City has some great restaurants, it’s tough to beat the authentic diversity of Northeast Philly restaurants.

The diversity of the food scene may be best summarized by this description from the famous food critic Craig LaBan.

For two months, I feasted on Uzbek kebabs and Brazilian churrasco, Transylvanian stuffed cabbage, stellar Vietnamese banh mi, and flaming Portuguese sausage. I tasted the authentic offerings of Russian markets, a growing Chinese corridor with some of the city’s best seafood and dim sum, and a South Indian community that produces the hard-to-find dishes of Kerala – not to mention an Indian cheesesteak wrapped inside a dosa crepe. With side trips to some of the area’s more traditional spots, from classic cheesesteak and hoagie delis to Italian gems, kielbasa corners, craft beer pioneers, and, yes, some still-great diners, rarely has a Philly eating adventure been so fun. There may be no Philly food destination more dynamic than Northeast Philly. Craig Laban Philadelphia Inquirer

There are simply too many restaurants, and specialty food stores to name, but NE Philadelphia is very culturally diverse, and home to nearly every cuisine you can imagine. Among the many specialty/international grocery stores that offer selections from around the world are Netcost Market, House of Kosher, Petrovsky Market, Vatan Market, Kashmir Garden Super, Kuttanadu Super Market, and more.

(1) Rent Data Analyzed For Bustleton (19115), Somerton (19116), and Fox Chase (19111)

 *Neighborhoods defined by data on the chart are only for a point and time and look back 30 days only from the date this article was written. We make no guarantees to the accuracy of the data, and moreover, neighborhood boundaries from this crime data may not match up exactly with your interpretation of neighborhoods. You need to always do your own research and make your own decisions.


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