University City is an area in West Philadelphia named because it contains the University of Pennsylvania (1749), Drexel University (1891), and the University of the Sciences in Pennsylvania (1821), giving the area a daytime population of roughly 30,000 students.
It's not a bad place to go to school, so long as you stay around the college campuses or head east to Center City. Unfortuantely, white flight has left most areas north and west in UCity rather ghetto.

I looked up some census data, and the on-campus, off-campus disparity is startling:

From 30th Street to 40th Street, Market to the Schuykill (the college campuses):

White                             8800
Black                             1777
American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut   90
Asian or Pacific Islander         1866
Total persons of Hispanic origin.  500
The area west of 40th Street (where the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was from):
White                               83
Black                             4063
American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut   18
Asian or Pacific Islander          123
Hispanic Origin                     62
(http://www.library.upenn.edu/census/philnbrhds/nbrwestp.html)

It's kinda sad, actually. On the upside, apartments in these areas are priced for students, so long as you can tolerate a few drug-related shootings each month. Alternately, one can pay a premium for the safety and convienience of on-campus housing.

Attractions in University City besides the colleges include:
  • the University City Science Center, "the nation's first and largest urban research park"
  • 30th Street Station, where one can catch Amtrak trains across the country and SEPTA trains throughout the region
  • Philadephia's main Post Office, mail things all night long, get run over by huge mail trucks
  • Sam's Deli, 36th and Powelton, where one can buy 3 forties for $5
  • The shops at Penn: Walnut and Sansom Streets from 34th to 38th. There's a Gap, Penn's huge bookstore, lots of trendy coffee shops, the White Dog Cafe and La Terasse ( home to some good French food), La Petite Creperie crepes stand (the best $3.25 meal you'll ever eat)
  • The corner of 33rd and Arch on Drexel's campus has the only sand volleyball courts inside the city limits of Philadelphia, plus an astroturf soccer field and some fenced-in basketball courts where Drexel students get their asses whipped by local kids playing 4-on-4.
  • The Univesity City Sheraton hotel, where a Drexel student committed suicide by jumping from the roof (30 stories up?) in the spring of 2001
  • Pod, a very trendy Asian Fusion restuarant
  • Club Wizzards, corner of 38th and Chestnut below Chilli's where one can see Live Nude Lesbians!
  • Abner's Cheesesteaks, which offers free steaks to all ticket holders to a Drexel basketball game IF the team scores 100 points or more. This almost happened a few times, but the team always refused to score the last point, "out of respect for the other team." My ass.
  • Cavanaugh's, a popular fratboy bar.

Boundaries are, on the east, 30th Street and the Schuylkill River; on the west, 50th Street; on the north, Spring Garden Street (to 40th Street), Powelton Avenue (to 44th Street), and Market Street; and on the south, Civic Center Boulevard, University Avenue and Woodland Avenue.


Note: This map is highly inaccurate. It has been distorted, stretched, spindled, folded, and mutilated. I make no distinction between where roads really end and where I've left sections out for simplicity. The roads aren't even all there. It should, however, give you a feel for the layout of the region.

Key:

|\/+-_Y : Roads
~ ~ ~   : Schuykill River
=....=  : College Campuses
******  : Parks
X       : SEPTA Subway stops

Numbered Streets run North-South
Tree Streets run East-West

                          to North Philly
                               ^          US-76
                               |            \      
                                         30th\~ ~
                    40th    36th    32nd      |~ ~
<-to                    38th    34th__Spring  \~ ~
 West   46th    42nd  --+---+---+---| Garden   \~ ~
 Philly     44th     /  |   |   |   |           \~ ~
                  --+   |   |   | --+Powelton    |~ ~
         ****... /  |   |   +---+/  |   AMTRAK   |~ ~
         ****...|   +---+--/|   |   |   AND      |~ ~
         *   ...|  /|   |   |   |   |   SEPTA    | ~ ~
    48th *   ...+-/ |   |   |   |...|      TRACKS|~ ~
50th     *  \__/|   |   |   |   |.*.| ___30th St | ~  24th   -> to            
|   |   |*  /   |   |   UCSC|   |*..|.|.|Station/ ~ ~ |      Center City
+---+---X---+---+---X---+---+---X---+--X+------|------+--- Market
|   |   |   |   |   |   |...|  =Drexel=.|USPS  |~ ~ ~ |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+------|------+--- Chestnut
|   |   |   |   |   |  .|...|***|...|   |      | ~ ~  |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+------|------+--- Walnut 
|   |   |   |   |   |...|.......|...|...|      |~ ~   |
+---+---+---+---+---|...|=UPENN=|...|...|      | ~ ~ -+--- Locust
|   |   |   |   |   |...|.......|...|...|      |~ ~   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+Spruce| ~    |
|   |   |   |   |   |   | ..|...|...|...|     / ~ ~   |
+---+---+---+---+---+-------------------+Pine| ~ ~  
|\   \   \   \ ***** 7\........_|/\.....|    |~ ~          
| \   \   \   \ *** /  \....../    \ . /    /  ~ ~Schuykill
|  \   \   \   \ * /****\..../Civic \ /   _/ ~ ~ ~   River
+   \   \   \   \ /***** \._/Ctr.    \   / ~ ~ ~
|\   \   \   \   /******* Y    Blvd   \ | ~ ~ ~
| \   \   \   \ /..****** |            / ~ ~ ~   
|  \   \   \   /....***** |Univ.      /~\ ~ ~
+   \   \   \ /.=USP=     | Ave       | ~\
|\   \   \   /.......     |          / ~ ~\South Street
  \   \   \ /Woodland  ~ ~ \__~     | ~ ~ 
   \   \   /Ave       ~ ~ ~ ~ \~ ~ / ~ ~  
    \   \ /          ~ ~     ~ |~ ~|~ ~    
     \   /          ~ ~        | ~ | ~        |
      \ /   Grays Ferry Ave    |  /           V
       /-----------------------+--------     to
      /             ~ ~        |/         South Philly
                     ~ ~
                    ~ ~

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