Best Neighborhoods in Philadelphia: Families, Safety and Fun

Best Neighborhoods in Philadelphia: Families, Safety and Fun
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The best neighborhoods in Philadelphia have a lot to offer. These are the best neighborhoods to check out before your next move.

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The best neighborhoods in Philadelphia have everything—rich histories, tight-knit communities and vibrant cultures. More than 3,500 murals showcase the character of its vibrant neighborhoods. Its urban park system spans more than 10,000 acres. There are world-class museums, restaurants and sports teams. If you’re considering moving to this great city, dozens of neighborhoods will show you a great time.

Best neighborhoods in Philadelphia for families

Philly has something for all ages. The many arts and cultural centers host classes for kids and adults. Neighborhood parks have well-kept playgrounds and family events. You’ll find lots for the family to do in these three neighborhoods. Image of Fitler Square neighborhood in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

1. Bella Vista

Bella Vista has everything for families—culture, great food and plenty of places to play. Known as Philadelphia’s “little Italy,” it’s full of kid-friendly restaurant options and wide-open parks with playgrounds, basketball courts and more.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a community art center, hosts Family Jam programs every second Sunday. Head to NEST Center City, a membership-based child enrichment center and playspace with an on-site preschool for the youngest children.

Bella Vista’s excellent schools include Julia R. Masterman Secondary School,’s Best Public High School in Pennsylvania that serves grades five through 12.

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2. Fitler Square has called Fitler Square the best neighborhood to live and raise a family in Philadelphia. Eighteen percent of its residents are families with children, who are drawn to the neighborhood for its safety and low crime rates.

Fitler Square is a great place for quality family time. Shop for fresh food at the Saturday farmer’s market, one of the few open year-round. Then, head over to Fitler Square Park for outdoor play or a free concert in the summer.

The Julia R. Masterman Secondary School serves this neighborhood, as does Central High School—Niche’s No. 13 Best Public High School in Pennsylvania.

3. Roxborough

An idyllic family neighborhood, Roxborough is safe and fun for all ages. Kids can run and play at the beautiful Gorgas Park, which features a well-maintained playground and five acres of green space. Afterward, go for ice cream at the C&C Creamery or enjoy a classic Philly cheesesteak at Dalessandro’s.

The local library has weekly storytime for little ones, and the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center will unlock the whole family’s creativity.

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It’s a great place for teens, too. In Roxborough High School’s Academies program, students can pursue interests like biotechnology, graphic design and entrepreneurship.

Safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

These Philadelphia neighborhoods have low property and violent crime rates, likely reducing your risk of an incident. Image of Chestnut Hill neighborhood in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Carol M. Highsmith via Wikimedia (Public Domain)

1. Bustleton

Bustleton’s property and violent crime rates are far below the city’s average. It has the lowest violent crime rate citywide, with robbery and assault incidents below a quarter of the national average.

Compared to the rest of Philadelphia, Bustleton’s property crime is a third of the citywide average. It’s also half of the national average.

Burglary rates are just 173.3 out of every 100,000 residents, which means your chance of being a burglary victim is less than 1%. Car thefts are extremely low as well, with your chance of getting your car stolen at one in 11,111.

To put things in perspective, your chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is one in 15,300.

2. Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill has some of the lowest crime rates in the city—61% lower than the city average. Its property crime rate is 33% lower than the citywide average, and its violent crime rate is almost 70% lower. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, it has the third-lowest violent crime rate in the city.

Robbery is Chestnut Hill’s most common violent crime, but even that is about a third of the national average. In the past year, zero reports of assault or more serious violence occurred. Property crime is more common, but your risk is still half what it would be in an average Philly neighborhood.

3. West Mount Airy

West Mount Airy boasts the second-lowest violent crime rate in Philadelphia, according to the Inquirer. Your chances of being a victim of assault or robbery are just one in 2,800.

Burglary and theft are even less common than in Chestnut Hill or Bustleton. Car theft rates are slightly higher, at 50 out of every 100,000 people, but that’s still one per 2,000 residents.

Most affordable neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Philadelphia can be an expensive city. The average rent in Philadelphia is $1,877 per month and the median home price is $275,000, much lower than the national median home price of $450,000. The cost of living is higher than the national average by about 2%. But you can save money by living in these three neighborhoods. Image of Olney neighborhood in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Smallbones via Wikimedia (Public Domain)

1. Frankford

Frankford has the city’s lowest average rent—just $912 per month, according to RentCafe. The median home value is less than half the national average, and the cost of living is among the lowest citywide.

Frankford is a diverse neighborhood with an active community. Overington Park has plenty of green space and special events like movie nights and yoga classes. The neighborhood is also full of culinary gems, including Dezzy’s Jamaican and D’Innocenzo’s Italian restaurant.

2. Logan-Fern Rock

The Logan-Fern Rock area has an average rent of just $1,088, close to the city’s lowest. It’s also affordable for homebuyers, with median selling prices of $163,000 in Logan and $185,000 in Fern Rock. That’s about $100,000 less than the citywide median price.

The area is walkable and offers easy access to groceries and other necessities. It’s a short trip to the city center, but there’s also plenty to do locally, including restaurants and nightclubs.

3. Olney

With a median home price of $175,000 and an average rent of $1,200, Olney is affordable for buyers and tenants. Housing costs are far below the city average, but the cost of living overall is comparable to elsewhere in Philadelphia.

The neighborhood features a 13.6-acre recreation center with a playground, athletic fields and activities for all ages.

Coolest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Philadelphia always has something cool going on. If you want to live somewhere with plenty to do, day and night, these are the best neighborhoods to live in Philadelphia. Image of University City in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

1. Northern Liberties

Northern Liberties is that rare city neighborhood that appeals equally to residents and visitors. A hip and creative community has transformed this former industrial center into a hotbed of food, fun and culture.

Its central gathering spot is The Piazza, an 80,000-square-foot mixed-use plaza with restaurants, bars and local shops. There’s even an 800-square-foot stage that hosts festivals, performances and other events year-round. After dark, you have your choice of bars and clubs, from sports bars to the speakeasy-style Emmanuelle.

2. University City

Philly’s college-town heritage is alive and well in University City, home to Drexel University. Here you’ll find everything from art galleries and dance studios to cultural centers and festivals. There’s something for every taste, from community yoga and fitness events to live music.

There’s something for every food taste, too. Check out the food trucks in Drexel Square, or visit one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants. And with farmers’ markets open year-round, it’s easy to find local delicacies and ingredients for your home cooking.

3. Washington Square West

With its namesake park and vibrant community, Washington Square West has everything you’d want in a city neighborhood. It’s accessible by public transit and features countless shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Taste food from around the world, including Vetri Cucina, which Thrillist ranked as one of the best Italian restaurants in the country.

Washington Square West is home to the “Gayborhood,” Philly’s center for LGBTQ+ community and culture. It’s one of the most vibrant late-night scenes in the city, thanks to destinations like Woody’s nightclub and TABU Philly. From bar trivia to drag shows, there’s always something going on.

Best neighborhoods in Philadelphia for businesses

In 2021, Philly ranked 28th out of more than 275 on Startup Genome’s list of the world’s top cities for entrepreneurship, jumping 15 spots from 2020. The city has a strong local shopping culture and top-notch community support, especially in these neighborhoods. Image of Old City neighborhood in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

1. East Passyunk

This neighborhood centers around East Passyunk Avenue, home to more than 160 small businesses of all types. Entrepreneurship is at the core of East Passyunk’s identity, so you’ll have plenty of community support and foot traffic.

2. Old City

Old City is serious about supporting its small businesses. It welcomed 23 new businesses in the first eight months of 2022, thanks largely to a major push for entrepreneurship.

The Old City district website publishes a wealth of resources for potential business owners, from a list of available properties to economic reports. These resources are free to access, and local elected officials offer their contact information to anyone with questions.

Events like Old City Fest and First Friday encourage foot traffic and celebrate the local economy, and a complete online directory makes it easy for visitors to find you. If you’re looking for support, you’ll find it here.

3. Manayunk

This up-and-coming neighborhood is ideal for local and new businesses. There are more than 300 small businesses in the area, from boutiques to bars and cafes. The Manayunk Development Corporation helps to support those businesses.

As in Old City, local events help to draw foot traffic. The Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival, held in spring, offers a taste of the neighborhood’s culinary delights, like Mediterranean delights and bistro gourmet. Plus, each November, the neighborhood celebrates Small Business Saturday.

Bottom line

Variety is one of the best parts of living in Philadelphia. Families with small children can find the perfect neighborhood. So can college students, young professionals and entrepreneurs. Use these neighborhoods as a starting point to discover where you belong in this beautiful, culturally rich city.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest area in Philadelphia?

Many Philadelphia neighborhoods have low crime rates. Bustleton, Chestnut Hill and West Mount Airy rank among the safest. Check the stats and visit the neighborhoods, then make your selection.

Which is the best area to live in Philadelphia?

There are beautiful and exciting neighborhoods all over the city. Consider your needs and priorities—safety, kid-friendly activities, nightlife and so on—then find a match. Bella Vista and Chestnut Hill are great, quiet family neighborhoods. University City and Northern Liberties are hip and happening. It’s all about what matters to you.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.