University City is actually a part of the area generally referred to as West Philadelphia. This eastern area of West Philadelphia was historically known as Hamilton Village. It was this area that constituted the first "suburb" of the original City of Philadelphia. It was not until the mid-1950's that this area was first called University City, a name which is universally recognized today.
As well stated on the University City District Web site, University City "remains home to distinctive, livable urban neighborhoods of wide porches, tree-lined streets, restaurants and cafes, and shops. World-renowned centers of education, medicine, and technology and residents of diverse backgrounds lend University City its intellectual and international flavor. Our galleries, museums, and theaters feature exhibitions and performances from across the nation and around the world."
University City is located just west of Center City Philadelphia. University City's boundaries are, on the east, 29th Street and the Schuylkill River; on the west, 50th Street; on the north, Spring Garden Street (to 40th Street), Powelton Avenue (to 44th Street), and Market Street; and on the south, Civic Center Boulevard, University Avenue and Woodland Avenue. View map in .pdf format
University City's zip codes are 19104, 19139, 19143
University City is the most easily accessed area of the City of Philadelphia. It is served by all SEPTA Regional Train Lines via 30th Street Station.
The Market-Frankford El has stops at 30th Street, 34th, 40th, 46th, and 52nd Street. SEPTA runs many bus routes through University City: East-West: 21, 31, 38, 42; North-South: 30, 40, 64.
A number of SEPTA subway-surface (trolley) routes stop in University City: 10, 11, 13, 34 & 36. SEPTA also operated LUCY:
The Loop Thru University City using two routes: the Green Loop and the Gold Loop.
Parking is readily available in parking garages at the hospitals and hotels as well as several public garages and lots which are located near University City's main attractions. Parking meters are also plentiful.
According to 2000 U.S. Census data, University City's population of 46,490 is 42% White, 39% Black or African American, 14% Asian or Pacific Islander and 5% other or mixed race.
Approximately 18% of University City's 17,004 households are homeowners. The majority of residents reside in renter occupied housing units. Over 40,000 students reside in University City for all or part of the year.
The median household income is $29,116.
In addition to being served by both the School District of Philadelphia (public) and Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Roman Catholic parochial - St. Francis de Sales School (1-8) and West Catholic High School (9-12)) there are several private primary and secondary schools in University City including Christ Memorial Day School (K-6), HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy (ages 2-21), and Spruce Hill Christian School (K-8).
As its name would indicate, University City is home to numerous colleges and universities:
- Drexel University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
- Lincoln University Urban Center
- The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
Things to Do:
University City is a popular destination for excellent dining, good shopping and plenty of cultural attractions including galleries, museums, and theaters. It offers most of what you might find in any "college town."
University City is home to over 150 places to eat encompassing every imaginable price range as well as a vast array of cuisines.
The most well known and top rated restaurants in University City include:
As both a residential and college/university community University City has a large number of retail shopping establishments providing ample shopping opportunities for books, magazines, music & cards; clothing and shoes, flowers, as well as general shopping and services.
Attractions:University City has a wealth of places to go and things to do covering a wide range of interests including: cinema, landmarks, murals, museums & galleries, performing arts & live music as well as sports & recreation.
Some of the more popular attractions include:
- Annenberg Center
Home to the Harold Prince Theatre, Irvine Auditorium and the Zellerbach Theatre, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a leading non-profit multi-disciplinary performance venue in Philadelphia offering a varied program of more than 170 performances each year through its professional performing arts arm Penn Presents.
- Franklin Field
Opened in 1895, this former home of the Philadelphia Eagles now hosts home games of the University of Pennsylvania football team as well as the world famous Penn Relays, the nation's premier high school and college track and field competition.
- Institute of Contemporary Art
Founded in 1963, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is a leader in the presentation of contemporary art through exhibitions, commissions, educational programs, and publications.
The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) founded by Joan Myers Brown in 1970, is a modern contemporary dance company that tours nationally and internationally. It maintains its studios in University City and offers many performances throughout University City.
- UPenn Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
The 115-year-old University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, has one of the top collections of antiquities in the country. It offers ongoing exhibitions, and educational programming promoting the understanding of the world's cultural heritage. Their ongoing exhibitions include collections from Alaska, China, Egypt, Greece, the Native American Southwest, Polynesia and Rome.
- World Cafe Live
World Cafe Live is a music venue and restaurant that includes: Upstairs Live: A 100-seat bar and restaurant with an intimate live music stage and rarely a cover charge and Downstairs Live: A 300-seat music venue with full kitchen and bar.
A site and blog dedicated to coverage of "the diversity of shops, restaurants, cultural and music venues, outdoor faves, and nightlife hotspots that University City has to offer." The blog portion of the site allows people to post un-moderated comments about their experiences in University City.
University City District
The University City District has the best Web site dedicated to everything to do with University City including accommodations, attractions, dining, shopping and transportation as well as current news and happenings within the district.