Living in Upper Darby: A Neighborhood Guide
Philly’s largest suburb has become its most cosmopolitan, promising “The World in One Place.”
United Nations, PA
Those who think of Upper Darby as white-bread haven’t been here in a while. Over the past 30 years, immigrants from Asia, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere have made this middle-of-the-road suburb a truly diverse global community. These new Upper Darbyites have opened businesses that welcome everyone, starting with the big H Mart (7050 Terminal Square), the pan-Asian food emporium.
It began with the Swedes
Upper Darby has been attracting immigrants from abroad for centuries. The Swedes settled among the Lenape in the mid-1630s, and one remnant of their settlement survives: the Lower Swedish Cabin (13 Creek Road, Drexel Hill). Built between 1638 and 1650, it’s the oldest log cabin still standing in the U.S.
Luxury you can afford
The Swedes must have known something; Drexel Hill became the township’s toniest neighborhood. Its quiet, tree-lined streets abound with colonials, Tudors, and other classic house styles. Along with UD’s ethnic diversity, you’ll find socioeconomic diversity: House prices run as low as $100,000 and as high as $600,000 or more.
All those nationalities rubbing shoulders make UD a real find for the adventurous diner. Longtime stalwarts like Pica’s (Italian; 7803 West Chester Pike) have been joined by newer entries like King and Queens (Liberian; 107 Fairfield Avenue), El Cuscatleco (Mexican/Salvadoran; 29 Garrett Road), Maroosh Halal (Indian; 88 South 69th Street), the Green Herb (Thai; 4617 State Road, Drexel Hill) and Carib Grill (Caribbean; 501 South 69th Street). And for a distillation of UD’s diversity in just one spot, stop by the Hibernian Coffee Shop (3711 Garrett Road, Drexel Hill), a 2018 “Best of Philly” winner owned by a Mexican family that serves a full Irish breakfast in addition to burritos and curry.
What You Get For…
2456 Hillcrest Road, Drexel Hill. This colonial has an in-law suite, a partly finished basement — and a regulation tennis court, thanks to the pro player who once lived here. 6 BR, 3/1 BA, 5417 sq. ft. Long & Foster Real Estate, 610-299-7115.
51 Richfield Road. Spacious, newly renovated stone twin close to the 69th Street Terminal shopping district features a stone fireplace, a modern kitchen and plenty of parking. 6 BR, 1/1 BA, 1,550 sq. ft. Super Realty Group, 215-474-7741.
7052 Radbourne Road. This Depression-era rowhouse in the Stonehurst section has an enclosed sunporch, an open-plan main floor, and an all-new kitchen and rear deck. 3 BR, 1/1 BA, 1,078 sq. ft. Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, 215-247-3600.
Published as “Living in… Upper Darby” in the August 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.