penn0Ler wrote:2) I would advise against taking the train in from the suburbs. It just eats up a huge chunk of time. What I would recommend is look around the area between Spruce and Baltimore, between 44th and 47th. You can get a good chunk of space at a relatively reasonable price (although not as cheap as the burbs). There are a good number of families with kids living in this area, and certain parts definitely have a "neighborhood" feel. Also, the Penn bus goes out there on weekday evenings. You can walk, bike, or take the Trolley to school. Even if you're not "good at public transportation", you can easily figure out the schedule and drop tokens in the machine.
This is where I live, and I love it. You can live a little bit further north and south in the lower/mid 40s. It's cheaper, has more of a neighborhood feeling, no undergrads this far out (and still safe), and an easy commute to Center City for your social life. If you can afford more and still want a less city feeling than Rittenhouse Square, I'd suggest the Fitler Square and Grad Hospital areas just south of Rittenhouse.
HeavenWood wrote:Unless you have a family and need access to good public schools, living in the suburbs is a terrible, terrible idea.
Why? Some places are reasonable and nice.
Yeah Walnut is fine up to at least 45th. Sure, you start seeing from sketchy characters around the Supreme Shop'n'Bag (best priced grocery store in University City) at 43rd, but no one among the people I know that live out that way have had any problems whatsoever (unless by problem you mean someone asking for change). Chestnut starts to feel a bit scarier in the mid-40s, and I would highly recommend avoiding Market past 42nd after dark. Some people have this idea that anything west of 40th is something out of the Wire, but that's just ridiculous. West Philly is totally block-to-block, and once you are south of Walnut in the 40s, it doesn't feel any more dangerous than the area around Penn. In fact, if you look at a historic homicide map, there have been more incidents on the Penn campus itself over the last 20 years than in many parts of West Philly.
To each his own, but I'm a major West Philly evangelist. It just blows my mind how much some folks pay for rent (a la Domus, Left Bank, even Chestnut Hall). If you're single and have a roommate, you don't need to spend more than $600/month on housing. $900-1000 for a nice place without a roommate (i.e. you and a SO). I'm not even taking out loans for living expenses (worked before LS), so the thought of actually taking out extra loans to live it up during law school is very alien to me. If your parents are paying, or you have extra cash to blow, Domus, the ritzier parts of CC, etc make a lot more sense. And I'll concede, there is a lot more going on in CC, although Septa routes 21, 42, the Subway and the Penn Buses/Shuttles make getting there from West Philly insanely easy.