The 5 Best Family-Friendly Neighborhoods In Philadelphia

For those outside of the Pennsylvania region, the name Philadelphia might only bring famous cheesesteaks and the Eagles football team to mind. However, the city is so much more than this; among the many things it is known for, it is one of the nation's most diverse places to live as a family. Philadelphia is, according to MyMove, the sixth largest city in the U.S. and the second largest (after New York City) in the mid-Atlantic region.

It's also home to some pretty great stuff. As one of the founding areas of our nation, it's filled to the brim with history (does the Liberty Bell ring a... bell?) and neighborhoods with quirky names like Fishtown — an industrial hub that's since been converted to a hipster's paradise. Philadelphia is also a great place to raise kids. From access to epic historical field trips to some of the best Italian ice in the nation, Philly kids live their best lives. It's also an affordable city to live in compared to some of its colonial counterparts, and its desire to welcome families is apparent through the countless playgrounds, museum access, quality schools, and regular events held throughout its towns.

1. Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill is within a short driving distance of downtown Philadelphia (approximately 12 miles) but is also situated very much in a suburban area, notes PODS Blog. According to Dolly, this neighborhood has the most parks, museums, and theaters per capita compared to the rest of Philly. This means your kids will have access to plenty of culture and education. This area is also nicknamed "The Garden District" thanks to its green beauty.

Chestnut Hill is known for its top-rated schools as well. Both public and private schools are high quality, and the area is also home to the University of Pennsylvania. For parents, there are numerous large employers in the district, including the aforementioned university, Morris Arboretum, and a large hospital. Furthermore, you'll find a multitude of restaurants, bakeries, and boutiques that do first great jobs for teenagers and wonderful spots to visit during a weekend stroll. With a median home price in the $530,000s (via Niche), Chestnut Hill is one of the more upscale options in Philadelphia but still a popular destination for families.

2. Fishtown

The Fishtown of today carries with it a prolific hipster vibe that's hard to ignore, making it appealing to plenty of young families raising children. In the past, Fishtown was an industrial district that served as a hub for Philadelphia's seafood market and other enterprises. Today, its large warehouses have been converted into a variety of indie shops and businesses that lend to it an eclectic vibe that's continuing to draw families as the city grows.

According to Apartment List, the district has a small-town feel due to its population of under 26,000 and is home to not only families but also young professionals and college students. Fishtown kids grow up with an appreciation for alternative art and fine food; they mature with a backdrop of gastropubs, indie music, and huge industrial building art murals. It might be a good choice for a family looking for a working-class environment with all of the perks of living in a large, historical city.

3. Bella Vista

The small district of Bella Vista is home to approximately 10,000 people, is situated in South Philadelphia, and gets its name from its large Italian population. Bella Vista translates into "beautiful view" and is home to not only Philly's Little Italy district but also Little Saigon and Queen Village. Raising your kids in Bella Vista means interaction with lots of cultures and diversity and the opportunity for them to have a beautifully expanded worldview.

According to 9Kilo, Bella Vista is also home to the 9th Street Italian Market. This is locally known as the oldest open-air market not only in Philadelphia but the entire nation. Kids growing up in southern Philly have diverse palates and happy tummies thanks to the wide range of cuisines in their own backyard. For families relocating, there are plenty of employment opportunities in Bella Vista and some top-ranked schools reside here as well, including charter schools and the Science Leadership Academy. In addition, the median home value sits at $474,500, while the average monthly rent is a bit over $2,700.

4. Center City

City kids now have the potential to get more exercise and fresh air than their country-living counterparts, thanks to how often they walk and bike to destinations. Center City is a great example of a home to active kids, as it's located right in the middle of Philadelphia. Many families who live here walk or bike to school and work, and your household will live in a fun, eclectic environment that's always bustling with entertainment, history, and museum events.

If you work in downtown Philly or like to have access to the bustle of city life without having to live directly in it, Visit Philadelphia recommends the posh Society Hill — an upscale residential area of Center City. With an average monthly rent of $1,357 and the median home price sitting at a bit over $300,000, the neighborhood doesn't come cheap, but its living standards are tough to beat. While it is one of the priciest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Center City also has an expansive public school system. This includes Parkway Center City High School, which, according to GreatSchools, rates above the national average in college readiness.

5. Fairmount

If you are thinking of living in Fairmount, get ready to get outside and play! According to Mommy Nearest, this neighborhood is home to the 9,000-square-foot Fairmount Park, which provides families with bike trails, sports fields, and a picturesque waterfront perfect for picnics. Be sure also to check out the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse — a historic four-story, 16,000-square-foot play mansion, per Philadelphia Visitor Center Corporation. It includes a giant wooden slide, spinning jungle gyms, and many other features for kids to safely wreak havoc.

Locals refer to Fairmount as the "Art Museum area" of Philadelphia, and it is also home to those famous Rocky Steps if you happen to be a new-to-town film buff (via Homes). Fairmount plays host to turn-of-the-century home styles, including apartments and townhouses, so there's something for a variety of income levels; the median monthly sum in the district sits at $103,987 per Niche. The area ranks number 5 as the best neighborhood to raise a family in the state, with 17% of the homes being families with children. The public school system is very diverse, carrying a large minority student population, and college readiness is a strong priority of the Philadelphia City School District.