University City

Philly is a college town, and University City is proof—it is home to the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the University of the Sciences. In addition to housing some of the city’s finest educational institutions, UCity is a hotbed for the college-aged community. All work and no play—no way! UCity has fantastic dining options, renowned cultural opportunities and of course, shopping.

Photo © Drexel University

Insider Tips

According to the University City District, University City was initially the first suburb of Philadelphia.

In the Pennsylvania Gazette’s “West Philadelphia Story,” it is mentioned that UCity was founded in the 50s in attempts to persuade Penn faculty and their families to move into the neighborhood.

Over the summer, look out for University City District’s Dining Days, when you can score a three-course meal at participating restaurants for $30 or less.

Populated with on-the-go college students and residents, this is a busy area. If you’re walking around, be cautious of traffic and trolley cars.

Numerous parking lots and kiosks are available throughout the area.

University City is accessible by public transportation.

A wide variety of food trucks offer a range of different cuisines, from kabobs to tofu. Some of the most popular are Yue-Kee (near 38th and Walnut St.s), which offers homemade Chinese food; Magic Carpet (34th and Walnut or 36th and Spruce), which caters to vegetarians and vegans; and Bui’s (38th and Spruce Sts.), which offers everything from breakfast sandwiches to cheesesteaks.

On a Budget

Tandoor India Restaurant $
106 S. 40th St.
Bring along your student I.D. for a delicious discounted meal. From rasam to sheekh kebab, stop by for the lunch buffet offered every day.


The Second Mile Center $
214 S. 45th St.
You can find fashionable outfits or furniture for your residence hall at this set of three thrift stores.


Food Trucks $
Along 38th St. at UPenn
There is a wide selection of food trucks along this street, where you can find anything from Chinese food on the cheap to pastries for pennies.


Study Spots

Kelly Writers House (free)
3805 Locust Walk,
UPenn Campus
This 13-room house is a haven for writers and students. Attend an event or come study in one of the cozy nooks or in the quaint garden.


Blanche P. Levey Park (free)
36th and Locust Walk,
UPenn Campus
The lush grass here is the perfect spot to sit and soak in some sun while you study.


Outside Itch

James G. Kaskey
Memorial Garden (free)
S. 38th St. & Locust Walk
Surround yourself with tranquility right in the middle of University City! Play chess, relax and admire nature in this gorgeous “biopond.”


Philly Runner $$$
3621 Walnut St.
Philadelphia Runner is a great resource, offering gear and information on local races and trails.


Arts & Culture

International House of Philadelphia $$
3701 Chestnut St.
The world is just awesome, and this multicultural center proves it. Catch a flick, groove to a live band and even learn a foreign language.


The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts $$
3680 Walnut St.
Jazz, indie artists and musicals—it has it all! Before heading out, check for student discounts; you may be able to snag tickets on the cheap.


World Café Live $$
3025 Walnut St.
Good music, good food—what more could a Philly student ask for? With a consistently rockin’ schedule of performances, this spot delivers.


Rice N Spice International Grocery Store $
4205 Chestnut St.
For genuine Indian fare, you can’t go wrong with this carry-out shop. Or if you’d rather concoct your own meal, buy ingredients right here.



University Pinball $
4006-08 Spruce St.
An arcade geared toward college students? It really does exist! Swing by for a rousing game of skeeball or pool, and win a prize for your effort. Remember your i.d.; the arcade has curfew restrictions starting around 9 p.m.


Avril 50 $$
3406 Sansom St.
Where can you find gourmet coffee, imported chocolate and a wide range of international publications all in one spot? Be prepared to be amazed by Avril!


The Woodlands Cemetery Company (free)
4000 Woodland Ave.
This historic graveyard—one of the oldest in Philly—is a (creepy) blast from the past. Its mansion has been there since the Revolutionary War!

Don’t Miss

Kaffa Crossing $
4423 Chestnut St.


Kabobeesh $$
4201 Chestnut St.


University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology $$
3260 South St.


White Dog Café $$
3420 Sansom St.


Abner’s Cheesesteaks of University City $
3813 Chestnut St.


Gia Pronto $
3736 Spruce St.


Metropolitan Bakery $
4013 Walnut St.


The Rotunda $
4014 Walnut St.


The University City
Arts League $$$

4226 Spruce St.


Penne Restaurant $$
3611 Walnut St.


The Marvelous $$
208 S. 40th St.