East Falls is a quiet little gem on the Schuylkill River. It’s the beginning of a much more residential, almost suburban, section of Philadelphia, which spreads out into neighboring Manayunk, Germantown and Chestnut Hill. This is the place to head to when you want a bit more space, maybe even a backyard, but you’re not ready to give up the urban feel of Philly. From here, you’re roughly 10 minutes to Center City on the train or a couple of miles down the Schuylkill River bike trail.
Where is East Falls?
Located in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, East Falls is bordered by the Schuylkill River on one side, Manayunk and Germantown to the North and Fairmount Park and Allegheny-West to the South. It’s directly between Wissahickon and Fairmount Parks, with a thin strip of parkland along the waterfront connecting the two and making them easy to explore by bike or on foot.
Like everything else in Philly, East Falls is loaded with history. Some of the first houses in the city were built near here in the 1600s. Schuylkill Falls Housing Projects, by famed architect Oscar Stonorov, was built in the 1950s and became a hot spot for public housing research and reform. In the 19th century, a thriving textile mill brought wealth and work to the region.
In the years since it has evolved and adapted with the rest of the city, yet it still retains much of that historical charm. Old stone and Victorian houses with grand entryways, sweeping views and rolling landscaping are common in East Falls.
What to do
Young couples and families flock to East Falls for a more affordable lifestyle that’s still within reach of bustling downtown Philadelphia. With easy access to the two largest parks in Philadelphia (along with their seemingly endless options for hiking, biking and running trails), a booming food and drink scene, and a sweet, neighborhood vibe, East Falls is becoming a destination in its own right.
Bike the Schuylkill River Trail down to one of the museums on the parkway for the day, or take the trail North up into Wissahickon and explore the miles of hiking there. Wissahickon is also home to historical buildings, some of which are the oldest in Philadelphia.
Where to eat & drink
One of the best spots to hit on a beautiful summer day is Wissahickon Brewing Company. They have indoor space too, but the whole place really comes alive when the weather allows for them to throw open the doors and connect to their patio. They have great beer and a rotating food truck option as well as classes and pop-up events.
For a warm beverage and a dose of green, head over to Vault and Vine, a combination of coffee and plant shop that feels as cozy as it sounds. A greenhouse room stays steamy and bright even on gloomy, winter days, and there’s a small area with a few tables and chairs where you can work off their free WiFi.
Nights out here might not have the clubs and ragers of other areas of Philly, but it’s still a lot of fun. Bars host local quizzo nights (in case you’re not from here, quizzo is Philly speak for trivia) and summer pop-ups in the parks provide easy space to grab a beer with your friends, baby and pup.
Moving to East Falls
Real Estate Snapshot
One of East Falls’s biggest draws is its affordability. Renting in East Falls is about 22% lower than the city average, and over 50% lower than pricier neighborhoods like Center City.
The neighborhood doesn’t seem to come with a lot of pitfalls, either. With easy access to downtown and with the added benefit of a suburban lifestyle, East Falls combines the best of both worlds. People genuinely love living here.
While you can walk to Center City from East Falls in theory, at around 6 miles it’s a bit far for most people. It is, however, really easy to bike if you take the Schuylkill River bike trail or a quick 15-minute drive if you have a car. Probably the easiest way to travel between the two areas, though, is to take the Manayunk train line from the East Falls Station 4 stops down to Jefferson Station in Center City. East Falls is also within walking distance to Wissahickon and Fairmount Parks.
Schools & Employment
Both Philadelphia University and Drexel School of Medicine have campuses in East Falls, two major employers in the neighborhood as well. When it comes to younger education, William Penn Charter is the private option and Thomas Mifflin School is the public one.
Like other Philly neighborhoods, there are hospitality, education and service jobs here, but many people make the easy commute into Center City or other parts of Philly to go to work. Since East Falls is also close to 1-76 and I-95, you can easily commute to just about anywhere from here.
Set on making the move? Start this adventure by browsing through the numerous apartments in East Falls and make your decision.