Penn Surgery

Living in Philadelphia

Philly skyline with Franklin Field

Philadelphia has more than 1.5 million residents, making it the sixth-largest city in the United States. It offers diverse experiences and opportunities, yet is small enough to feel like home. It has the highest standard of living per dollar of any major city in the Northeast corridor. Its international airport is a short train ride from Penn’s campus.

Philadelphia enjoys a thriving, eclectic restaurant culture that includes world cuisines from Belgium to Vietnam, small BYOBs, great pub food and Philly’s famous cheesesteaks.

Nearby Fairmount Park, the largest urban park in the world, maintains walking, running, and cycling trails. Penn’s campus has a state-of-the-art health and fitness center.

Philadelphia offers a wide array of choices for sports spectators, with professional football (Eagles), baseball (Phillies), basketball (76ers), and hockey (Flyers) teams, as well as pro lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, and even the US Pro Cycling championship.

Ben Franklin statue sitting on a bench - Penn CampusFor the musical arts, the world famous Philadelphia Orchestra, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, Philadanco, and many others are resident companies at the Kimmel Center on the Avenue of the Arts. The Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet perform at the historic Academy of Music, built in 1857, and modeled on La Scala in Milan. The Pennsylvania Opera Theater as well as a great many other theatres of dance, music and drama are among the other advantages of life in the Philadelphia area.

Other attractions in Philadelphia include the United States Mint, the world’s largest mint, and the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, founded in 1874 which is the oldest zoo in the United States. On display are more than 1,600 birds, mammals, reptiles as well as a petting zoo. Other general attractions include Chinatown, Penn’s Landing, the Italian Market and the Reading Terminal Market.

Housing Information

A wide range of affordable housing options are available throughout the city and suburbs, each with easy access to the hospital through public transportation.

University City and West Philadelphia:

Thousands of Penn students, residents, faculty and staff live in neighborhoods throughout University City, an area that offers rich ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. Convenient to both the hospital and Center City, the neighborhood has great restaurants, large apartments, and striking Victorian architecture.

Rittenhouse Square and Center City:

Many residents live near Rittenhouse Square, an elegant neighborhood over the bridge in Philadelphia's Center City. A variety of apartment buildings and brownstones are available for rent within a 25-minute walk, or 10 to 15 minutes by public transportation or bike.

Other popular Philadelphia neighborhoods—including Old City, Queen Village, Northern Liberties, Bella Vista, Society Hill, and Fairmount—offer an eclectic mix of affordable and livable housing options, from historic townhouses to converted lofts.

Suburban Living:

Some residents decide to live in the suburbs, particularly those with families, those with partners who work outside of Philadelphia, and those who plan to remain in Philadelphia after graduation.

The towns in the near western suburbs along the Main Line, such as Bala Cynwyd, Narberth, and Wynnewood, are close to campus (a 15-minute direct commuter train ride) and are known for excellent public schools. Other students choose suburbs to the north of Philadelphia or in New Jersey, also a train ride away.

Within the Philadelphia city limits, the residential neighborhoods of Germantown, Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Roxborough, Overbrook, and Wynnefield offer tree-lined streets, architectural charm, and family-friendly single and twin homes. Apartments and houses for rent are easy to find in all of these areas. Some helpful links for housing resources include Craigslist and