Does anyone have any tips on how and where to begin looking for housing? I know there are lots of different neighborhoods in the area, and any input on them would be very appreciated. Thanks!!
As someone who has lived in Philadelphia for 8 years and attended Temple undergrad, here's my suggestion:
Firstly, the parameters given by the previous poster is pretty accurate, depending on what kind of life you plan to live.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with living right by Temple, the only thing that you need to realize is that Temple is more or less all that the neighborhood has to offer in terms of recreation, meaning that you'll have to leave the area quite frequently to get away from living life like an undergrad. That in itself would not be much of a problem due to the wealth of public transport available. That being said, most law school students choose to live in more exciting, happening and trendy neighborhoods.
Philadelphia is very much a city of neighborhoods, and you'll have a drastically different experience depending on where you live. If you're up for it, you could live in 3 different neighborhoods over 3 years and it would be much like living in 3 different cities. While Philadelphia is very commutable, the neighborhoods have very different characters.
With that being said, the go to neighborhoods are as follows (google them for further info):
Art Museum/Fairmount: Likely the number 1 spot for Temple Law students. Mostly made up of college student and young professionals, it is ideally situated between Temple, Center City, the Art Museum, Fairmount Park, etc. This is where I have lived for a few years and would be the first place I'd look if I was looking for a place. The neighborhoods are aesthetically pleasing and there are plenty of bars/restaurants, etc. to keep you busy.
Northern Liberties: Another area close enough to Temple but far enough away from the "hood." It is a very trendy area right now, with all sorts of European style modern housing going up. The big thing in this neighborhood is what is called "Piazza at Shmidt's" and the area surrounding it. It is a little slice of Rome in Philadelphia. Google it for further information.
The above are the two main neighborhoods for students situated North of Market Street, making Temple quicker to get to.
The below either straddle Market St. or are south of Market, making them relatively further from Temple.
Center City: This is where all the big buildings, law firms, etc. are located. You'll never run out of recreation if you live in Center City. Prices vary greatly as you move through the little sub-neighborhoods; Rittenhouse Square and the Gayborhood being the most pristine and expensive. Easy commute to Temple by subway, bike, scooter, cab, etc. If you have a car, downtown probably won't work for you unless you can afford to pay for a parking spot. Parking can be difficult anywhere in the City, but especially in Center City, and if you know anything about the Philadelphia Parking Authority, you'll know that they can make your life a nightmare.
Old City: Along with Center City, the hub of Philadelphia nightlife. Also the home of most of Philadelphia's amazing history. Again, parking is a nightmare, but otherwise you wouldn't go wrong living in Old City.
Society Hill: Nestled between Old City and South Street, this is a very pristine and beautiful nighborhood right in the thick of things. It's difficult to find apartments in this area due to both the property value of the houses in the area and the large amount of wealthy, single family residences. However, if you can find a nice place at the right price, go for it.
Queen Village: Located between Washington Ave. and South St. within 6 or so blocks of the Delaware River, this is another beautiful neighborhood with tons of Bars and Restaurants. The only caveat is that your commute to Temple would be a little more difficult than any of the other neighborhoods I have mentioned due to the location of the subways.
Bella Vista: Between Washington and South, 7th St. to Broad. A little less pristine version of Queen Village, although a very nice area nonetheless. Again, there is a wealth of great restaurants and bars in this area.
Italian Market: The area surrounding the Italian Market. Google it. A little far south but there's plenty of Temple students who live there.
So to sum it up, the above neighborhoods are all places where you can find great food and drink, entertain family and friends, etc., while still being in close enough proximity of Temple.
As for where to look for these places, I have never gone any further than craigslist. If you find a location you're unsure about, feel free to either reply to me in this thread or e-mail me and I'll tell you what I think.
Hope this helps.