Years ago, when I moved to Philadelphia from the Midwest I was very apprehensive of the ‘BIG CITY’. Getting to know people, understanding culture norms and of course learning how to navigate from place to place. Upon my very first tour looking for an apartment, I learned that it wasn’t just one big city, but rather a city made up of many and very different neighborhoods.
Each neighborhood felt like it had it’s own culture, landscape, and something that made it unique that even the adjoining neighborhood couldn't lay claim too. It goes beyond the traditional China Town or Italian Market you find in other cities.
Comparing areas like Chestnut Hill to Society Hill. Both with quaint cobblestone streets and original 18th and 19th century residential architecture. However, they are vastly different in vibe and lifestyle. Society Hill still has the bustle of being in a big city, while Chestnut Hill has more of a quaint village feel. Same goes for Manayunk with it ever changing nightlife and Tow Path along the Schykill River for recreation compared to Queen Village which is one of the city’s oldest residential neighborhoods with homes rich in architectural history. I found this interesting article detailing the history of how some of Philadelphia’s neighborhood go their names.
The types of housing also varies in each neighborhood. So when looking at where to purchase a home, I always suggest to my clients who aren’t familiar with Philadelphia, to spend some time visiting the different neighborhoods in the city. Go to open houses to see the various type of architecture in each neighborhood. Spend some time at local coffee shops or parks and see if the vibe fits with you and your family.
I now know my neighborhoods pretty well, but even after all this time, I still don’t quite understand the word ‘jawn’ but this video might help.