Living in Germantown: A Neighborhood Guide

The city’s second-most-historic neighborhood offers something for just about everyone.

cliveden germantown

Historic Cliveden in Germantown / Photograph by R. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia

“Freedom’s backyard”

Ever since Francis Pastorius took William Penn up on his offer of a place where he and his fellow German Anabaptists could worship in 1683, Germantown has welcomed those seeking to live free. It’s the site of the first protest against slavery in America and one of only two Revolutionary War battles fought within Philly’s current city limits. Today, the bosky neighborhood has an eclectic mix of people and homes. “You can’t walk to the Reading Terminal from my house, but you can get most of what you need for day-to-day life without using a car,” says resident Robert Seeley.

Living history

Many landmarks celebrate the town’s past, including the Vernon House (5800 Germantown Avenue), home to the Black Writers Museum; the Johnson House (6306 Germantown Avenue), a station on the Underground Railroad; and Cliveden (6401 Germantown Avenue), where the Battle of Germantown is marked with a festival each October.

Fine brews

Locals have some of the best coffee, cider and beer around. At the south end, Attic Brewing Company (137 Berkley Street) serves up award-winning beers, live music and events. At the north, Young American Hard Cider & Tasting Room (6350 Germantown Avenue) offers ciders made from Pennsylvania apples. In between is one of the city’s hippest coffee shops: Marc Lamont Hill’s Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books (5445 Germantown Avenue).

It’s all here

“There are not too many neighborhoods in the country where you can live in a major metropolitan area with access to everything a big city offers, yet also have an affordable home with easy parking and a garden,” says agent Sochi Thomas, of the Little Sparrow Homes team at Compass Real Estate.

What You Can Buy in Germantown For …



Photograph by Gary G. Shempp

124 West Walnut Lane. This huge French Second Empire house has an office with a separate entrance that’s great for a WFH professional. 7 BR, 4/1 BA, 5,657 sq. ft. Jan LeSuer, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, 610-952-6805.



Photograph by Gary G. Shempp

166 West School House Lane. This roomy Queen Anne offers modern creature comforts. 5 BR, 2/1 BA, 3,183 sq. ft. Neil Kugelman, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, 215-247-3600 x228.



Photograph by Alcove Photography

5225 Greene Street, unit 10. If you work in the arts, you could make this factory-chic flat in the Greene Street Artists Cooperative your home. 1 BR, 1 BA, 1,004 sq. ft. Geena Fontanazzi, Compass Real Estate, 609-433-7153.


Published as “Living in Germantown” in the May 2023 issue of Philadelphia Magazine.