If you are thinking of studying at the University of Penn (UPenn) or have been accepted, you are probably wondering where you should live. In this guide, we’ll look at where UPenn students typically live when they are allowed to live off-campus in Philadelphia.
Where Do UPenn Students Live in Philadelphia Off-Campus?
If students live off-campus (check with University for on-campus requirement), students have a plethora of choices including a variety of Philadelphia Neighborhoods. We broke out into two categories – more expensive neighborhoods and less expensive neighborhoods. These are of course based on averages and there is a large range of pricing within a neighborhood depending on quality of the apartment.
More Expensive Neighborhoods
- University City – closest in proximity to UPenn; a lot of new construction high rises and walk-ups. New construction is on the expensive side. People define this area loosely but the area is expanding further West.
- Fitler Square – on the other side of the river (closer to Center City core) is a quiet residential area called Fitler Square. Think tree-lined streets and mostly single-family row homes (some of the homes are available for rent). A few apartment buildings are located along the river with access to a new walking and running trail. Some restaurants and shops scattered throughout but generally can walk to Rittenhouse for more restaurants and retail. Directly South of here, there is Graduate Hospital neighborhood (near by) to Fitler (not many rentals here but there are a few buildings).
- Center City – Higher rents though it can be cheaper than University City and Fitler Square (depending on where in center city). A lot of variety in housing types. Depending on where in Center City, likely further away. Closer to Rittenhouse, which is the heart of the center city shopping district. If you go further East into Center City into neighborhoods like Society Hill, Wash Square West or Old City or South Philly, you will be much further away from UPenn’s Campus generally speaking.
Less Expensive Neighborhoods
- Manayunk – Has its downtown historical walkable Main Street with lot of stores. More affordable than all neighborhoods mentioned above. Pet Friendly. Near Wissahickon Park which can be a major plus. Can take the train into University City. Homes for Rent and some apartments too.
- Roxborough – Like Manayunk, more affordable. Several new construction apartment buildings of about 20+ units. Not as walkable Main Street, but there are shopping centers and restaurants / retail throughout this neighborhood. Has more of a suburban feel.
- Chestnut Hill – Has its own Main Street. More expensive generally. A little further from City than all the other options, though there is a train that connects to center city and other points.
- East Falls – Close to Center City. A few restaurants, but not as much of a central corridor or Main Street. Near Schuylkill Trail though for easy access to running. Close to Main Streets of Manayunk and Chestnut Hill.
There are of course other Philadelphia neighborhoods to choose from.
To learn more about all these neighborhoods and to discover other neighborhoods in Philadelphia along with a pricing chart that shows the most expensive and least expensive neighborhoods, as well as a visual map, read our Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide.
What to Consider When Picking Neighborhood?
When picking a neighborhood or apartment complex, consider among other things, these factors:
- Distance to campus – some areas have more than others.
- Will you have a car – If yes, consider where you will park. If not, are you near the train? Consider the cost of parking.
- Mode of Transportation – is it near train stops or bus stops to get to campus? Can you walk to trains?
- Rental Cost – Check Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide and look at the table for an easy Cost Comparison at a Glance
- Location – proximity to restaurants, grocery stores, retail
- Type of Housing – high rise, single-family, mid-rise, garden-style apartment.
- Type of Entrance – Common Hallway or Private Entrance
- In-Unit Amenities – Washer/Dryer, Sound Control, Balcony, Central Air, etc.
- Apartment Complex Amenities – Swimming Pool, Parking, Lighting, Clubhouse
- Landlord Reputation
- Area Crime Rates – no area is ever crime-free, but historical crime can be measured and should be researched. Check out this from Philadelphia Inquirer looking back 30 days it shows historical crime rates*.
The good news is there are lots of options for UPenn students and UPenn graduate students living off-campus. Hopefully, this guide provides a great start.
Want to discover 22+ Philadelphia Neighborhoods? Check out our Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide.
* You can look into specifics here that the Inquirer Publishes results from the last 30 days. Do your own research too.