Bella Vista is one of the best known neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Home to the 9th Street Italian Market and bordered by South Street, it’s a popular residential area and home to a bustling commercial district. Residents and visitors love the outdoor markets, beautiful murals, and greenspaces. Bella Vista is sometimes referred to as Philly’s “Little Italy.” This popular Philly neighborhood’s name translates to “beautiful sight,” and it’s known for being the first neighborhood that Italian immigrants settled in. Those who are considering moving to Bella Vista often do for the promise of amazing restaurants, nightlife, and a safe city center.
History of Bella Vista
Before it was officially incorporated into Philadelphia in 1854, Bella Vista was part of Moyamensing Township. In its early days, Moyamensing was largely made up of Irish immigrants and freed slaves. It was an impoverished community until Italian immigrants began to populate the area toward the end of the century.
In the 1960s, the neighborhood saw a decline in its population due to South Street Expressway construction plans. During this downturn, it was renamed Bella Vista (“beautiful sight” in Italian) by planners in an attempt to rebrand the area. The neighborhood repopulated and gentrified once the plans for the expressway were dropped.
Today Bella Vista is known as a quiet residential area combined with a thriving commercial and entertainment district. It’s home to many areas and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic places, and there are over a dozen historical markers along the streets commemorating the history of the neighborhood and its prominent residents.
Bella Vista is a safe neighborhood, and residents are committed to its improvement and preservation. The Bella Vista Neighbors Association is a volunteer-based organization that serves the neighborhood. BVNA is dedicated to keeping the neighborhood safe, clean, and flourishing. Bella Vista is currently experiencing a housing boom, and historic buildings are being repurposed into beautiful rentals and condos. This is a strong sign that the Bella Vista neighborhood will continue to prosper!
Location & Transportation in Bella Vista
Bella Vista is located in South Philadelphia. Bella Vista is bordered by Washington Avenue, 6th Street, 11th Street, and Philly’s famed South Street. Adjacent neighborhoods include Washington Square West to the northwest, Head House Square to the northeast, Queen Village to the east, Little Saigon to the south, and Hawthorne to the west.
Bella Vista is extremely walkable, and is a 20 minute walk from Center City. People moving to Bella Vista and needing public transportation will find plenty of options. The SEPTA Broad Street line stops at Lombard-South and Ellsworth-Federal, both just a few blocks away. In addition, SEPTA bus routes 23, 40, 47, and 64 make nearby stops.
Bella Vista is located within the 19147 zip code.
Who Lives in Bella Vista?
There are about 6,154 residents living in Bella Vista. It’s somewhat diverse, and racial demographics in Bella Vista are 68.3% white, 11.3% Hispanic, 8.9% Black, 8.9% Asian, 1.8% Mixed, and .5% other. Almost 20% of residents in Bella Vista are of Italian descent.
Bella Vista is a well-educated community, with 63% of residents having earned their Bachelors degree or higher. Median household income in Bella Vista is $71,700, and top occupations are management, food service, and sales-related jobs.
About 15% of those living in Bella Vista have children under the age of 18. However, that number may increase; a great perk for Bella Vistas is the proximity to great schools in Philly. Families can choose among Andrew Jackson Elementary School, George W. Nebinger School, and William M. Meredith School, all of which are highly sought after. Furness High School serves the area as well.
Things to Do in Bella Vista, Places to Eat, and Where to Shop
Bella Vista might be a small Philly suburb, but the streets are packed with retail shops, markets, cafés and restaurants. Residents and visitors have plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment establishments to choose from, all within easy walking distance of each other.
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9th Street Italian Market is the most famous destination in Bella Vista. The oldest open-air market in the United States attracts shoppers and people-watchers from miles around. The market also holds events like the 9th Street Stroll and the Italian Market Festival. Shoppers don’t just come to Bella Vista for the market though! There’s great vintage shopping at Good’s Vintage, and amazing antiques at Anastacia’s.
When you think Philly food, you definitely think cheesesteaks, and Bella Vista is home to the most famous cheesesteak spots in the city. Philly natives can’t decide if Pat’s or Geno’s is the best, so you might want to try both! There’s more to Bella Vista than just cheesesteaks though. Check out Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, a family-owned neighborhood favorite that has served Bella Vista since 1900. For more upscale dining, grab a bottle of wine and head to Little Fish, a small but long standing BYOB seafood spot. For a coffee stop, the best can be found at Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House. As far as bars and nightlife, The Dive Bar is about as casual as you can get. Be warned – this hangout allows smoking. Brauhaus Schmitz is a lively German beer hall on South Street with great eats served up by waitresses in traditional dirndls.
Bella Vista is also home to several parks and green spaces. Residents enjoy walking and people-watching in Cianfrani Park and Palumbo Park. Families love bringing their children to Palumbo Recreation Center to play on the playground, basketball courts and baseball field. The Center also offers many recreational programs for children. Bardascino Park is another great place to relax, play bocce, and enjoy live music in the summer.
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Looking for art and music? Bella Vista is home to the famed Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 3,000 square foot exhibition space covered in mixed-media murals. Fleisher Art Memorial is one of the first community art centers in the United States. Residents can take advantage of their low- and no-fee programs. Butcher’s Sew Shop is a unique sewing studio that offers youth and adult sewing classes. Music lovers travel from all around to see their favorite artists at The Theater of the Living Arts (TLA), a world-renowned concert venue.
There are also plenty of community activities to enjoy in Bella Vista. Bella Vista Neighbors Association sponsors neighborhood beautification events, block parties, and online events celebrating the neighborhood’s history.
List of Things to do and see in Bella Vista – Philadelphia
- 9th Street Italian Market, 919 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 278-2903
- Good’s Vintage, 1022 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (267) 750-9878
- Anastacia’s Antiques, 617 Bainbridge Street, (215) 928-9111
- Geno’s Steaks, 1219 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 389-0659
- Pat’s King of Steaks, 1237 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 468-1546
- Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, 760 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 627-6011
- Little Fish, 746 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (267) 455-0172
- Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House, 903 & 905 S. 9th Street, (215) 627-2578
- The Dive Bar, 947 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 465-5505
- Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (267) 909-8814
- Cianfrani Park, 721 S 8th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
- Palumbo Park, 723 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 686-1783
- Palumbo Recreation Center, 725 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 686-1783
- Bardascino Park, 1000 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
- Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 733-0390
- Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 922-3456
- Butcher’s Sew Shop, 800 S 8th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 309-1866
- The Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 922-1011
- Bella Vista Neighbors Association, 700 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 627-0057
Bella Vista Real Estate
Real estate in Bella Vista is somewhat competitive, and even though housing prices have fallen, they are more expensive here than nearby neighborhoods. Median sale price for a home in Bella Vista is $470,000, and homes stay on the market about a month with multiple offers. House hunters in Bella Vista should expect an array of brick townhomes, trinities, newly constructed apartments and reimagined lofts.
Even though Bella Vista is an expensive neighborhood when it comes to renting, about half of the residents rent their homes in Bella Vista. Average rent in Bella Vista is $2,250. Rent prices in Philadelphia are going up: prices have increased more than 8% since last year. With the current/ongoing real estate construction happening in Bella Vistas, renters should expect newly constructed apartments among the options.
Moving to Philadelphia? If so, Bella Vista might be the neighborhood for you! When you’re ready to take the plunge, let our top Bella Vista movers help you relocate. Give us a call for a free quote today!