var uslide_show_id = “f93c7d60-efc0-4152-8d08-d02997ff584a”;var slideshowwidth = “468”;var linktext = “Click here to see more of University City”; Where can you find more than 40,000 undergraduate students crammed between into a couple of city blocks? None other than West Philadelphia’s own University City. Home to six colleges and universities, the area never suffers a lack of students (or fun).
What used to be considered Philadelphia’s first suburb, University City is bordered on the east by 29th Street and the Schuylkill River, 50th Street on the west, on the North by Spring Garden Street, Powelton Avenue and Market Street and on the south by Civic Center Boulevard, University Avenue and Woodland Avenue.
Accessible by the Market-Frankford Line or the Green Line Trolley, there is easy access from all parts of Philadelphia.
University City is home to an abundance of museums, restaurants, shops, bars, parties and performances.
For a unique dining experience, check out Stephen Starr’s Pod at 3636 Sansom St. The Pan-Asian restaurant serves food directly to your plate on conveyer belts. If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, try the Marathon Grill at 200 S. 40tj St.
This Philadelphia chain has locations all over the city, but only the University City location has the MarBar, where University of Pennsylvania students are known to party, especially on Thursdays with its open bar from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
University city also serves a wide-array of ethnic foods from privately owned restaurants like Pattaya Grill at 4006 Chestnut St.
“Pattaya is great,” said junior business major Brian Alvarez. “It’s Thai, not too expensive. Perfect for a college student.”
If a cultural experience is what you’re after, give the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology at 3260 South St. a try. The museum is free on Sundays between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
The International House at 3701 Chestnut St. serves as residence hall for more than 400 international students studying in Philadelphia. To raise funds, it regularly presents cultural programs such as Middle East Week and Immigration and Education seminars.
Shopping is also a huge draw to the neighborhood. Browse the original Urban Outfitters at 110 S. 36th St. and then head to the new American Apparel at 3661 Walnut St. If you dig the outdoors, check out Eastern Mountain Sports at 130 S. 36th St. Shoppers can find slightly more upscale shops like Ann Taylor Loft at 133 S. 36th St. and Douglas Cosmetics at 3603 Walnut St.
As a Temple student you might be asking yourself, “Why would I want to get a place in University City and commute to campus?” As several Temple students have already realized, living in West Philadelphia has its advantages.
“There are real grocery stores, like The Fresh Grocer,” said junior film major Matt Shichtman. “You don’t have to do your shopping at 7-11.”
Safety is also a factor. “I feel like I can walk down the street and not worry because there are public safety people everywhere,” Alvarez said. “They are on every corner at all hours.”
Junior Ryan Moore is in it for the culture. “There really isn’t much culture in North Philly,” said the education major. “In University City, you have a lot of options.”
All three pay around $475 a month for a six-bedroom house that they share with three other people. While the rent is comparable to the Temple neighborhood, the houses are older which means more is spent on utilities.
“My house isn’t insulated very well,” said junior education major Amanda Bankert and roommate of Moore, Alvarez and Shichtman. “A lot of our gas heat escapes so our bill is pretty high during the winter.”
All three students are also quick to voice the drawbacks of living in the neighborhood.
“I drive to campus,” Shichtman said. “The commute is rough in the morning and sometimes parking is an issue.”
Alvarez, who uses SEPTA to get to and from campus, has similar issues. “The commute can be long, especially when the trolleys are not on schedule,” he said.
Moore no longer feels part of the Temple community. “You’re removed from campus most of the time,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to take part.”
Ann Acri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.