Housing at UPenn Wharton

Got into an MBA at Wharton? Congratulations, now it’s time to find where to live. We wrote this unofficial guide to summarize the popular housing options at UPenn Wharton, their pros, cons, and proximity to popular spots. Big thank you to Raul Estrada (Wharton Class ’17) for the help with this guide.

Main areas to live in

“The Bubble”

Most students at Wharton choose to live in Philadelphia’s Center City. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to rent an apartment at “the bubble” – between Spruce Street in the south and Market Street in the north and between 15th Street in the East and 24th Street in the west. This area is full of restaurants and bars, where most of the meet ups between students after school happen.

University City

The area where Wharton and the other schools of UPenn are based, is a less popular option as it is less accessible to most of what happens outside the university (study teams, parties, etc.) and can have a feeling of being a bit less safe.

To get all the information – we recommend browsing through the various sites and forums of Wharton to get an opinion on the buildings in the area. A good source is Wharton Houseing Guide, which can be downloaded from this link and will be available soon. (Good for those looking for an apartment with partners). Most buildings have websites where you can see the Floor Plan, photos and more. If you already know the name of the building, it’s best to look for reviews at Internet. You may also want to consult with us of course.

The price range of apartments is on average $1300 – 1700 for a studio, $1700-2,200 for a 1 Bedroom and ~$2500+ for a 2 Bedroom.

Main Decisions you need to make

Apartment buildings or brownstones

Do you want to live in an apartment building (an organized management, all the apartments are being treated and checked, a guard at the entrance, etc.) or brownstones. For brownstones with a little patience and legwork you can find bargains- just have to turn around and contact local realtors. A very convenient option is to take an apartment and the contents of second year students who leave Pili. This saves valuable time and high costs of set-up.
Expert tip: make sure to join the Wharton Market group on Facebook when you are admitted to find deals on used furniture from previous students.

City center or University City

Do you want to live close to the university (easy to reach, it is also possible on foot, but not the most pleasant to walk around at night) or in the city center close to everything, about 25 minutes by taxi or bus in the morning). There are other options such as suburbs and south of the city. However, there are not many students who live there.
Expert tip: there are TONS of options to get to the University from center city and also that less than 5% of the students probably live in University City and the decision is most of the times more financial than anything else.

Recommended places

Locust 1500

Distance From university: 1.3 Miles and ~25 minutes walk.
Types of Apartments: Many different kinds – studios, 1 bedrooms, and 2 bedrooms
Rent range: $1800- 3200+.
Facilities: Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sports and yoga classes with free guide, free gym,  ping pong room, etc.
Advantages:  Relatively large apartment, everything is very organize, there is a management that takes care of the maintenance of the building, and close proximity to city center. Also, there is an apartment here that is not rented and can be booked in advance for family or friends.
Comments: A building with lots of students from Wharton. The building is located in the center of the city (though a bit far from the rest of the students). The site has a detailed description of most of the apartments in the building as well as the location of each apartment on the floor

2116 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 – most recommended

Distance From university: 1.1 Miles and ~20 minutes walk.
Types of Apartments: Many different kinds – studios, 1 bedrooms, and 2 bedrooms
Rent range: 1700+ for studio, 2100+ for one bedroom.
Facilities: the usuals of new managed building
Advantages: A magnificent new building that has only recently been completed, relatively close to the university and still in the city center and close to desirable pubs.
Sublet: Allowed.
Comment: Probably on the pricier side in the list, yet one of the nicest building.

The Riverwest 2101 Chestnut Street

Distance From university: 1.1 Miles and ~20 minutes walk.
Types of Apartments: Many different kinds – studios, 1 bedrooms and 2 bedrooms.
Rent range: $1100+ for studios and $1500+ for one bedrooms.
Facilities: All-inclusive utilities – gas electricity lighting heating and air conditioning and cooling. Need to pay only for the Internet.
Sublet: Allowed.
Advantages: Close to the university, relatively still in the city center and close to desirable pubs. Also, You can get a pretty nice apartment at a great location for a much lower price than the other buildings.
Disadvantages: An older building.
Comments:  There is variability between the different apartments, so make sure to check!

2300 Walnut – The Riverloft

Distance from university: 15 minute walk or 7 minute bike ride.
Types of Apartments: Studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom – all larger than the typical. For instance, a 1 bedroom can be over 1000 square feet.
Rent range: $1600-$3200.
Facilities: All major appliances are provided – refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher Wooden floors, air conditioning, heating.  Also includes 24 hr doorman, in-house gym, business center with a photocopy machine, a fax machine and computer access, conference room, garage for 7$ per day, and free coffee, tea and pretzels.
Sublet: Not allowed under the lease terms but students do it all the time.
Advantages: New, stylish lofts; closest to school yet still in center city. Major Wharton building.
Disadvantages: Expensive

1930 Chestnut

Distance: 20-25 minute walk from university
Types of apartments: a large variety of apartments including but not limited to studio, 1 bedroom flat, 2 bedroom, two story penthouse and one bedroom loft 
Price range
: $950 – $2500
Facilities: 24/7 security, wall to wall carpeting, in-unit washer/dryer and fully equipped kitchen.
Advantages: Pet friendly, 50% students, apartments are well maintained, good views, great location and variety of different apartments.
Disadvantages: one bedroom apartments are not as big as in other buildings; water pipes might be noisy; no gym/pool; bottom floor apartments can become cold in winter
Sublet: Not allowed
Comments: check well the apartment before signing because there is a great variation in apartments structure and size.

The Drake, 1512 Spruce St.

Distance from school: 20-25 minutes
Types of apartments: studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, etc.
Approximate rent range: 1000$-2000 (Depends on size and position in the building – floor and direction it is facing)
Facilities: 24-7 doorman, Wall-to-wall carpets and both heating and air-conditioning. fully equipped kitchen, heating and gas are included. Yet, water, electricity, cables, telephone and internet are not included. There is a small gym and laundry room in the building and a common room called the Sir Francis Drake Room with free internet and some books. Occasionally, the building throws some parties in this room.
Sublet: Not allowed
Advantages: Prime location. A lot of light, unless the apartment is on a floor lower than the 8th floor and faces west, then the light is blocked by the building next door.
Disadvantages: No pool, relatively small gym and smaller apartments. Also, not all apartments are the same so it is highly recommended to see the apartment for yourself  before you decide.

More buildings that are highly popular with Wharton and UPenn students

The Icon – great new building. In the middle of center city. Apartments are a bit small.

The Carlyle – old, but fairly well maintained. Great value.

Wannamaker – Great location. Many Wharton Students live there. Apartment are a bit small.

The Avenir – completely redone on the inside and opened in summer of 2015. Steps away from the subway / trolly station and right in front of the City Hall. But it is on the edge of the “bubble” of Center City so some people where uncomfortable for this.

The Dorchester – Great location right on the square. Most apartments are small.

Parc Rittenhouse – One of the best buildings. Expensive.

The Claridge – Great location and value for money.

Other resources you can use for information about housing:

Apartment ratings, thestjamesPhilli, Locustonepark and forestcity

Hope you find this guide helpful and please tell us if you have any questions or any updated information


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