Local Atmosphere

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3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The night life is pretty much non-existent. There are only a few places to party: PubNite (a small pub on Swarthmore) on Thursdays, or two Frats on Saturday. You often see the same people at the parties.

2 people found this useful Report
1 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: If you do not have a car, the campus can feel very isolating and claustrophobic. The town of Swarthmore lacks and the Baltimore Pike is a hefty walk.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The town of Swarthmore is quaint and looks fairly interesting, but most students don't go there very often as it isn't very big. It has a few shops and restaurants, but isn't all that much. On the other hand, Philadelphia is only twenty minutes and about twelve dollars (round trip) by train and is full of interesting things to do. There are also a few small towns in the area, such as Media, that may be worth checking out.

That said, there is a local farmers market which can be worthwhile.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Small, Not Much There – Swarthmore (usually called the ville) is very small. There isn't much else except a good pizza place, a terrible Chinese place, and a Dunkin' Donuts. It is safe to walk around in, and the residents are kind. There is also a convenient train station to ride into Philly just at the edge of campus.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sudarshan Gopaladesikan
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Math and Engineering
View all previous student authors

Philly has often been called one of the country’s best college towns. It is home to countless museums, great shopping, award-winning restaurants, and for every red-blooded college student, the always happenin’ bars on South Street. However, Philly is a good 20 minutes from the College, and believe it or not, many Swarthmore students are reluctant to bypass their post-modern elitism reading to spend a night on the town. Philly provides an excellent getaway from what Swarthmore students call the “Swarthmore bubble,” but breaking the bubble is often more difficult than it may seem. Most students don’t have cars, so SEPTA (Philly’s public transportation system) is the most common way Swatties get around. While there is a train station on campus, SEPTA prices can be a bit steep.

The town of Swarthmore is quaint, consisting mainly of college professors and retirees. It provides little for college students, aside from a co-op food store, a pizza place, a few restaurants, and plenty of moderately priced novelty stores that specialize in Austrian llama hair sweaters (if that’s your thing). The Baltimore Pike is a short walk away, and within a 10-mile radius, students have access to a decent mall, several restaurants, the all-important Target, Genuardi’s (a supermarket), and Borders. The College has made some effort to get Swatties off campus, and College-sponsored trips have increased over the past few years. A shuttle runs to Target and Genuardi’s on Tuesday and Sunday evenings, and a movie theater shuttle runs on Friday and Saturday nights. Also, student council recently introduced a Philly shuttle on weekends, but students have to sign up in advance, and most end up taking SEPTA anyway.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Whip out those sixth grade American History books! Philadelphia was the nation's first capital and the place our forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
  2. The City of Brotherly Love is also home to the world's first soda, mustard, soft pretzel, ice cream freezer, and lemon meringue pie. No wonder the city's population is among the nation's fattest.
  3. Hollywood of the East? Movies that have been filmed in Philadelphia include: Rocky, Trading Places, Witness, Philadelphia (who knew?), The In Crowd, and Twelve Monkeys.
  4. The Philadelphia Art Museum is among the nation's oldest and most prestigious museums.
  5. Known for having one of the largest Italian American populations in America, Philadelphia is home to South Philly's Italian Market, where you'll find cannoli like Uncle Vito and Aunt Carmella used to make.
Notable Natives
  • Kevin Bacon - actor
  • John Barrymore - actor, Drew's grandpa
  • Boyz II Men - R&B group
  • Kobe Bryant - basketball star
  • Wilt Chamberlain - basketball hall of famer
  • Avram "Noam" Chomsky - linguist, MIT professor
  • Bill Cosby - comedian
  • Eve - rapper
  • Ben Franklin - founding father
  • Will Smith - actor
  • M. Night Shyamalan - movie director
Points of Interest
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Independence Hall
  • Liberty Bell
  • LOVE Park
  • Mutter Museum
  • Old City
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Reading Terminal
  • Rodin Museum
  • South Street
Shopping Centers
  • Granite Run Mall
  • King of Prussia Mall
  • Springfield Mall
Movie Theaters
AMC Granite Run 8
1067 W. Baltimore Pk.
(610) 891-6440
Movie Theaters
AMC Marple 10
400 S. State Rd.
(610) 328-5348
Movie Theaters
Cinemagic 3 at Penn
3925 Walnut St.
(215) 222-5555
Major Sports Teams
  • Philadelphia 76ers: NBA
  • Philadelphia Eagles: NFL
  • Philadelphia Flyers: NHL
  • Philadelphia Phillies: MLB
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Atlantic City: N.J.: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • New York City: N.Y.: 2 hours
  • Philadelphia: Pa.: 20 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 21 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 17 responses

  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 12% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 47% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 29% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 12% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 19 responses

  • 58% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 37% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 5% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 17 responses

  • 12% Totally.
  • 53% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 35% No way.


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