University of Pennsylvania Campus Visits: Share Your Tips & Recommendations

Did you recently visit University of Pennsylvania? Share your experience with the community! Post your review in the comments below.

Some ideas for what to share:

  • When did you visit?
  • Where did you stay? Would you recommend it?
  • Where did you eat? Did you try any local specialties?
  • How did you get there? What’s the best transportation mean to get to-from the campus?
  • What was the campus vibe?
  • What did you think of the dorms?
  • What are some must-see things in or around campus?
  • How were the school facilities?
  • Did you like it more or less than you thought you would? Why?
  • Did anything surprise you?

We’d love to hear any tips or recommendations you can share for people planning their UPenn visit!

We’re alums and visited again with our son over the summer. We stayed at the Study at University City which was new to us, and we really liked it. Our room was really nice and it was proximate to both Penn and Drexel. We’ve stayed at the other hotels on campus and they’re all nice, but we were really impressed with the Study.

We rented a car but it’s really not necessary to do so, there’s a train that goes directly between the airport and Penn’s campus that’s super convenient, and lots of public transportation options around the city. New Deck Tavern was always a favorite of ours. Unfortunately our favorite cheesesteak place is gone (RIP Abner’s) but there is no shortage of places to get a good cheesesteak in Philadelphia LOL. We love Allegro’s Pizza which is still there.

Walk down Locust Walk, it’s a good place to get a feel for the campus vibe. All the dorms and buildings are air-conditioned which is not a guarantee at most Universities (and definitely not at all the other Ivies). Lots of new buildings. It’s a great campus!

Parent of a current student and an incoming freshman. I have been visiting campus for many years now. Penn is a contained urban campus that is lovely in all seasons, but I prefer spring when the weather is mild and the cherry blossoms are blooming. I really enjoy early morning walks through campus, just exploring and enjoying the silence before the hustle and bustle starts.

Walking through campus when classes are in session is a great way to feel the campus energy. If possible, sit in on a class or arrange for a private tour with a current student to explore spaces closed to the public.

I usually stay at The Study at University City. The Study is across the street from Penn’s campus and a short walk to restaurants, the subway, and the market. The hotel offers valet parking (which saves me trying to outwit PPA) but is also an easy walk from the on-campus train stop or 30th Street Station.

Standard rooms are on the small side, but the suites are spacious and include kitchenettes/wet bars. The front desk and restaurant staff are all friendly and professional. The lobby area, which they call the Living Room, is a welcoming place to people watch and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea from the hotel’s coffee bar.

I consider myself a foodie and Philly has a great restaurant scene. Some of my favorites in University City: Walnut Street Café, Renata’s Kitchen, White Dog Café, honeygrow, &Pizza, Dim Sum House.

In Center City: Harper’s Garden, Lucha Cartel, Sonny’s Famous Steaks, Dinic’s, Carmen’s Famous Cheesesteaks. Dinic’s and Carmen’s are both inside The Reading Terminal Market which is a must visit for any first-time Philly visitor.

There is plenty to see in and around campus. Visit the Penn Museum. I am consistently impressed with their exhibits and programming. There is a café and a lovely courtyard. If you’re a college basketball fan, check out the Palestra. It is nicknamed The Cathedral of Basketball because of its storied history.

Take a self-guided campus sculpture tour or mural tour. Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture is permanently installed on Locust Walk and is a popular spot for photographs (pro tip: the light is best in the morning). Penn also has its own arboretum—the Morris Arboretum. The Morris is 15 minutes from campus in Chestnut Hill but it is worth the drive.

Many campus buildings are closed to the public, but Houston Hall is open and is a nice place to rest and refresh. If possible, visit the Quad. The Quad is a stop on the official tour, but otherwise only accessible to residents and their guests. Built in 1895, there is so much history contained within those walls.

I love Penn and look forward to many happy returns!


Agree with everything here. Would add that Philly is a great town for the arts. If there’s more time and you’ve already explored the fantastic Penn Museum, the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have amazing collections!

For restaurants, I would add that Louie Louie (American bistro) and Kpod (contemporary Korean) are also good options and are connected to the Hilton-managed Inn at Penn (another good hotel option). Of course, White Dog (gastropub) is a Penn institution at this point.

Lots of great places to eat in Center City, Old City and Society Hill. Zahav (Israeli), Via Locusta (Italian), Parc (French bistro) and Prunella (gourmet pizza) are favorites.

On the Penn campus, be sure to check out the reading room of the Fisher Fine Arts Library!

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