With some of the best restaurants, shops and hotels in Philadelphia, Center City combines the bustling activity of a city downtown with historical tourist attractions including City Hall, the largest municipal building in America featuring a 37 foot tall statue of William Penn.
South Philadelphia (South Philly)
As one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Philadelphia, South Philly is known for its Italian and Irish communities and more recently Asian and Mexican communities. Featured in the movie Rocky, South Philly boasts a vibrant night life as well as being home to many of Philadelphia’s major sports teams.
Home to the Philadelphia National Airport, Southwest Philadelphia welcomes visitors from all over. An inviting tourist spot is Bartram’s Gardens, a historic 46 acre garden and 8 acre arboretum founded by botanist, John Bartram in 1728. The garden and arboretum grounds are open to the public for wandering and enjoying, or tours may be scheduled for a closer, in-depth look around.
Originally farmland in the 18th century, West Philadelphia is now a city in its own rite with thriving migrant communities, artists, a network of trollies, a variety of restaurants offering international cuisines and Victorian mansions. It also has the largest park in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park, with over 2000 acres of hiking trails, rivers, lakes, creeks, fields and forests.
Upper North Philadelphia
Greatly diversified, and with a shopping district that offers Korean restaurants, Jamaican bakeries, Mexican restaurants and bakeries, and Columbian cafes, the Upper North Philadelphia neighborhood is quietly being revitalized with a strong sense of community.
An area consisting of neighborhoods such as Bridesburg, Fishtown, Harrowgate, Juniata Park, New Kensington, North West Kensington, Port Richmond and Old Richmond, this area of Philadelphia was orginially heavily industrialized. However, over the years, most industry has left that area.
A small town feel within city limits, Roxborough-Manayunk has many family-friendly businesses and lots of parks with events throughout the year, including Pocket Park. Transforming an old, unused parking lot on Ridge Avenue into a 5500 square foot usable space with plantings, rain gardens and permeable pavers, Pocket Park was envisioned as an outdoor space offering events for kids and adults, farmers market, food trucks, and live music. The rain garden featured in the center of the park allows rainwater to return to the ground and reduce the amount of runoff into the Schuylkill River.
Chestnut Hill is a National Register Historic District, and a great place to visit with its plethora of open, green spaces and upscale neighborhoods of historic mansions and Victorian houses. Germantown Avenue is the main street that spans almost 10 blocks and offers restaurants and cafes, boutiques, art galleries and antique shops all in a quaint setting of cobblestone streets and historic facades.
A vibrant, resilient spirit describes the section of Olney-Oak Lane which maintains its close-knit community in a neighborhood that is becoming increasingly diverse.
Near Northeast and Far Northeast
The size of Northeast, Philadelphia is so large that it is divided into Near Northeast and Far Northeast with Pennypack Creek as the dividing line. Near and far denotes each area’s proximity to Center City. Originally farm land, the creeks and location within Philadelphia made the Northeast section suitable for industrial growth. It became home to the first shovel factory in America, Rowland Shovel Works. Now the area offers charming green spaces, strong community and diversity, a combination of urban/suburban homes and is less costly than living in Center City while still being close enough to enjoy all the benefits of city life.
Known as one of the best areas to live in Philadelphia, Riverfront has an urban feel and boasts great restaurants, bars, coffee shops and parks.
Center City East
For history buffs, Center City East offers historical sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, museums presenting African-American and Jewish histories, and Elfreth’s Alley which is a National Historic Landmark and has 32 houses built between 1703 and 1836 along with a museum.
Center City West
This downtown area is west of the ornate City Hall, and encompasses upscale shopping, the financial district, and the museum district as well as several parks, arts and entertainment.
Fairmount and Spring Garden
This section of Philadelphia is known as the “Art Museum Area,” encompassing The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Barnes Foundation and Franklin Institute. The name Fairmount was taken from the hill upon which the Philadelphia Museum resides, and the museum’s steps became famous after they were featured in the 1976 film Rocky.
Spring Garden was Philadelphia’s orginal upscale neighborhood for wealthy industrialists. It is a historical site featuring many Victorian-era homes. It is a popular spot for architectural enthusiasts to wander.
This is an urban-suburban mix neighborhood with many renters, bars, coffee shops, restaurants and parks.
Family-oriented suburban neighborhood with tree-lined streets, bike trails, and parks, Roxborough is a pleasant area to live and includes many young professionals as well as students. Roxbborough has a calmer, more laid back feel than the rest of the city, and many residents enjoy that aspect of it.
Marconi Plaza – Packer Park
An urban park area in southern Philadelphia, its name denotes the Italian-American cultural identity of the area. It is a mostly residential neighborhood offering parks and ponds including the well-known FDR Park that runs along the Delaware River.
Manayunk is a trendy neighborhood with a main street featuring lots of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and home to the Mayanuk Arts Festival each year showcasing over 300 artists and crafters from all over the U.S.
With a name like Fishtown, you wouldn’t expect this neighborhood to be one of the coolest and trendiest in Philadelphia, but it is. With a variety of bars, galleries, restaurants, studios and music venues, Fishtown is an evergrowing, exciting place to reside and to visit.