Old City

Old CityLocated between Vine and Walnut Streets and Front and Sixth Streets, Old City is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, Old City is deeply rooted in history. After all, it is the site of the city’s original organized settlement from which modern Philadelphia and its 135 square miles grew. It is also home to many of Philadelphia’s historic sites including Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, and the oldest continually occupied street in America, Elfreth’s Alley.

Yet Old City is far from a staid, traditional neighborhood. In fact, as one of Center City Philadelphia’s trendiest enclaves and most popular destinations for nightlife scenesters, Old City has become as well known for its cultural, shopping and entertainment options as it is for being the focal point of Philadelphia history. With over 50 art galleries, numerous fashionable boutiques and many popular bars and eateries, Old City has much to offer residents and visitors alike. This is never truer than on the first Friday of every month when First Friday festivities kick into high gear and the neighborhood fills with people visiting art gallery open houses and stores and boutiques that keep extended hours. There is truly an appealing vibe in Old City that leaves little wonder why it was chosen as a location for MTV’s reality series “The Real World.”

While the neighborhood is a great place to visit to quench a thirst for either history or a martini, it is also a pleasant place to reside. The housing stock in Old City is reflective of Center City generally, with row homes of both historic and modern character. But unlike some other neighborhoods, Old City has numerous large condominium and apartment buildings offering purchasers and tenants units in new constructed buildings and more historic industrial structures that have been converted to residential use. Included among the units in the converted buildings are lofts, offering both raw space and developed spaces retaining many loft-like features.

Among other recent neighborhood developments has been the refurbishment of Franklin Square. Long the most neglected of the original five squares in William Penn’s design for the city, Franklin Square has been transformed into a child-oriented entertainment destination and is another reason Old City is increasingly attracting young families to its environs. With such an array of modern attractions, it can be said that “New City” is just as apt a name for the neighborhood as Old City.