Moving to Pennsylvania
So, you're considering a move to the enchanting state of Pennsylvania? We can't blame you! The Keystone State has a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that is hard to resist. Our comprehensive Pennsylvania relocation guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make this exciting transition smooth and worry-free. From exploring charming small towns to understanding the thriving urban hubs, you are about to embark on an exhilarating journey. Get ready to be smitten by Pennsylvania's magic!
What to Know Before Moving to Pennsylvania
1. The Birthplace of the Nation
Did you know Pennsylvania is known as the "Keystone State"? That's because it played a crucial role as the geographical center of the original 13 colonies and was the meeting place for the Founding Fathers to sign the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. If you're a history buff, you'll love exploring the numerous historic sites in Pennsylvania, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Gettysburg National Military Park.
2. Cheese, Pretzels, and the Philly Cheesesteak
When it comes to food, Pennsylvania has some iconic dishes and snacks. The Philly Cheesesteak, a delicious sandwich made from thinly sliced steak and melted cheese on a sub roll, originated in Philadelphia and is a must-try for any new resident. Pennsylvania is also the birthplace of the pretzel (and the home of several major pretzel companies), so you can expect to find some of the best pretzels in the country here. Don't forget to check out the many dairy farms and indulge in some delectable Pennsylvania cheeses too!
3. Pennsylvania Dutch Country
It's time to dust off your horse and buggy (not really – but imagine)! Pennsylvania is home to a large Amish population, particularly in the area known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Nestled in the heart of the state, this region is not only teeming with unique cultural experiences but also offers picturesque landscapes, making it a must-see destination. Visiting the Amish Country, you'll get a glimpse into a different way of life, with plenty of opportunities to purchase handmade Amish goods, dine on traditional cuisine, and learn about the area's fascinating history.
4. Two Major Cities: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
Whether you're a city slicker or prefer a quieter lifestyle, Pennsylvania has you covered. The state is home to two major cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, each offering its distinct character and attractions. Philadelphia, the larger of the two cities, is filled with historical landmarks and a thriving arts scene, while Pittsburgh boasts beautiful scenery, a robust sports culture, and a rising tech industry. Whichever city you choose, you're bound to find a lively urban environment fit for your tastes.
5. Rows of Purple Streetlights?!
Here's something unique to Pennsylvania that not many people know about – purple streetlights! In some areas, you may stumble upon a row of streetlights emitting a soft purple glow. These purple streetlights actually have a purpose – they're part of a "white way" lighting system designed to reduce light pollution and prevent the disruption of migratory bird patterns. It all started in the early 2000s when Scranton, Pennsylvania, installed experimental purple streetlights. Although they never became widespread, they still have a presence in some areas and are a quirky feature that will definitely make your Instagram aesthetic!
6. An Underground Marvel: The Lost River Caverns
If you've ever wanted to explore a subterranean wonderland, Pennsylvania has got you covered! The Lost River Caverns, located in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, offers an awe-inspiring adventure below the surface. Guided tours take visitors through five beautiful limestone chambers filled with stunning crystal formations, flowing streams, and an illuminated underwater lake. An absolute hidden gem, the Lost River Caverns are a testament to the immense beauty of the natural world and are sure to be an unforgettable experience for all who dare to venture below.
In conclusion, Pennsylvania offers a little bit of everything – from rich history, delicious food, unique cultural experiences, bustling cities, to natural wonders. With its endless variety and charm, the Keystone State is an ideal place to plant your roots and call home. So pack your bags and embark on your new adventure – you won't regret it!
Pros and Cons of Living in Pennsylvania
Pros of Living in Pennsylvania
Rich history and culture
Pennsylvania is known for its significant role in American history. The state is home to many historic sites such as Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. This offers residents a chance to explore and stay connected to our country's roots.
Outdoor activities and beautiful natural landscapes
The state boasts numerous state and national parks, forests, rivers, and lakes, making it perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking in the Pocono Mountains or through the Appalachian Trail to hitting the slopes for skiing and snowboarding, Pennsylvania's varied landscape offers year-round opportunities for adventure.
Lower cost of living compared to neighboring states
While living in Pennsylvania is not necessarily cheap, it does offer a lower cost of living compared to its neighboring states, such as New York and New Jersey. This means housing, groceries, transportation, and other essentials tend to be more affordable for those looking for a well-balanced lifestyle on a budget.
Diverse urban and rural living options
Whether you prefer bustling city life or tranquil countryside living, Pennsylvania has something for everyone. The state is home to major cities, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as small historical towns and rural farming communities, providing diverse lifestyle choices for residents.
Strong higher education institutions
Pennsylvania is home to numerous highly-ranked colleges and universities, including the Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania. For residents and their children, living in Pennsylvania means access to a wide array of educational opportunities, from quality public institutions to top-tier private colleges.
Cons of Living in Pennsylvania
High property taxes
One of the major drawbacks of living in Pennsylvania is its relatively high property taxes. Depending on the county and municipality, property tax rates can be significantly higher than the national average, making it potentially more financially burdensome for homeowners in the state.
Weather extremes and natural disasters
Weather in Pennsylvania can range from hot and humid summers to cold and snowy winters, which can be discomforting for some residents. Additionally, the state occasionally experiences flooding, blizzards, and even tornadoes, which can pose potential safety risks and property damage.
Infrastructure and transportation issues
Pennsylvania's roads and bridges are known for being in poor condition, resulting in a higher-than-average vehicle maintenance cost for residents. Additionally, public transportation options are limited outside of major urban areas, making it challenging for those without cars to commute efficiently.
Income and sales taxes
While Pennsylvania has a relatively low and flat income tax rate, it can still be burdensome for individuals with higher earnings. Moreover, the sales tax in the state, which is levied on most goods and services, can add up and impact the overall cost of living.
Potential job market limitations
Although Pennsylvania does offer a diverse range of industries, some residents may find it challenging to secure a job in their desired field, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas. The job market in certain industries may be more concentrated in specific regions or metropolitan areas, requiring a longer-distance move or difficult commute for those seeking specific careers.
Is Pennsylvania a Good State to Live In?
Pennsylvania is a great place to live because of its affordable cost of living, rich history, and beautiful natural scenery. Residents enjoy the diverse outdoor activities, high-quality colleges, and a perfect blend of urban and rural settings for a balanced lifestyle.
What Is Pennsylvania Famous For?
The Liberty Bell, located in Philadelphia, is a symbol of American independence. With its iconic crack and inscription of "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof Lev. XXV. v. v10," this historical artifact has become an enduring symbol of freedom and a popular tourist destination.
Every Groundhog Day on February 2, the world turns to the small town of Punxsutawney to discover if its famous groundhog, Phil, has seen his shadow or not. This beloved tradition started in 1887 and has turned into a lively celebration complete with music, entertainment, and thousands of spectators, all waiting for Phil's prediction on the length of winter.
Known as "The Sweetest Place on Earth," Hershey, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of Hershey's Chocolate. Founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894, the company has grown into a chocolate lover's paradise with a theme park, resorts, and a huge interactive museum, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Philadelphia's Independence Hall is the birthplace of the United States, with both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution being debated and signed within its walls. This historic building, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, draws history enthusiasts and tourists alike, eager to connect with America's founding moments.
Overview of Tax Rates
In Pennsylvania, the average property tax rate is 1.50% of a property's assessed value. This rate is higher than the national average, ranking Pennsylvania as the 13th highest state for property taxes.
Pennsylvania has a statewide sales tax rate of 6%, with some counties and municipalities adding local sales taxes, making the total tax rate as high as 8%. This rate is relatively average compared to other states, ranking Pennsylvania as the 23rd highest state for sales taxes.
Residents of Pennsylvania are subject to a flat state income tax rate of 3.07%, regardless of income level. This is relatively low compared to other states, ranking Pennsylvania as the 35th highest state for income taxes.
In Pennsylvania, the housing market offers a diverse and affordable range of options compared to many other states. With a median home value of $231,546, it is significantly lower than the national average of $295,300. The rental market is relatively balanced, with a median rent price of $1,200, making it a favorable environment for both buying and renting. In terms of property taxes, Pennsylvania's rates stand at 1.44%, which is above the U.S. average, but on par with neighboring states. Overall, Pennsylvania presents a more budget-friendly housing market for buyers and renters.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Pennsylvania is relatively affordable compared to other states in the US, particularly those located along the east coast like New York and New Jersey. Housing expenses, utility services, and taxes are generally lower than the national average. However, certain metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh may have slightly higher costs, depending on the neighborhoods. Pennsylvania also offers diverse job opportunities and boasts a low unemployment rate, making it an attractive option for residing.
Weather & Natural Disasters
The climate of Pennsylvania is classified as humid continental, characterized by cold winters, warm summers, and significant precipitation throughout the year. Due to its diverse topography, which includes the Appalachian Mountains, temperatures and weather patterns can vary across the state. Winter temperatures can range from an average of 22°F (-6°C) in the northwest to around 32°F (0°C) in the southeast. Summer temperatures hover around 74°F (23°C) in the northwest and 78°F (25°C) in the southeast.
Precipitation is relatively uniform across the state, with annual averages ranging from 39 to 47 inches (1000 to 1200 mm). Pennsylvania experiences four distinct seasons, with spring and autumn being particularly pleasant and colorful.
Natural disasters in Pennsylvania include floods, winter storms, tornadoes, and occasional hurricanes. The state is prone to flooding due to its numerous rivers and streams, while tornadoes are more common in central and western regions. Historically, large-scale hurricanes rarely impact the state directly, but remnants of tropical storms can cause substantial rainfall and flooding.
Economy & Job Market
Healthcare and social assistance
Professional, scientific, and technical services
Historically, Pennsylvania's economy was driven by mining, manufacturing, and agriculture. In the 20th century, the state became a hub for steel production, which powered its industrial growth. Today, however, Pennsylvania's economy is more diverse, featuring a mix of industries, from healthcare, social assistance, and education services to manufacturing, retail trade, and a growing professional, scientific, and technical services sector. In recent years, the energy industry, particularly natural gas, has also become an increasingly vital part of Pennsylvania's economic landscape.
If you're considering a move to the Keystone State, there's some good news on the job front. As of May 2021, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is 6.9%, slightly higher than the national average but significantly improved from the pandemic peak in April 2020. Opportunities abound in cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg – in particular, roles in healthcare, education, and technology. So whether you're a nurse, a teacher, or a software developer, you'll have plenty of options to explore. Additionally, Pennsylvania offers a relatively low cost of living compared to neighboring states like New York and New Jersey, making it an attractive choice for those seeking both job opportunities and affordability.
Traffic and Transportation
Hey, Pennsylvania explorers! Gear up for an amazing joyride through the Keystone State. Our traffic and transportation system has everything from easy breezy commutes to thrilling air travel experiences. Like all big cities, ours have some impressive average commute times. Philadelphia takes the lead with a cool 32.6 minutes, while Pittsburghers enjoy a breezy 23.4 minutes ride to work.
But wait, there's more! Public transportation in our big cities is an absolute delight! Hop on the SEPTA in Philadelphia and let our buses, trains, and trolleys be your very own magic carpet. Or head down to Pittsburgh to take a charming ride on the Port Authority of Allegheny County's buses and light rail. We've got you covered!
If flying is more your style, buckle up and get ready to soar. Pennsylvania's international airports, like the Philadelphia International and the Pittsburgh International, are happy to welcome you aboard. So, break out those luggage wheels, Pennsylvanians, and let's hit the road—or the skies!
Things to Do
So, you're moving to Pennsylvania - the Keystone State, the land of chocolate, history, and so much more! Get ready for an adventure as this beautiful state will never cease to amaze you with its diverse landscapes, cultures, and hidden gems. For those who want to explore their new home or tourists simply planning a visit, we've narrowed down a list of 7 top things to do in Pennsylvania - some popular and a couple of off-the-beaten-path experiences you won't want to miss!
1. Indulge All Your Senses in the Sweetest Place on Earth, Hershey
There's no resisting the decadent chocolates that put this lovely town on the map. Hershey's Chocolate World is a must-visit, where you can make your own chocolate, enjoy a sampling tour, and, of course, stock up on all the sweets you can carry. The town also features Hersheypark, a fantastic amusement park with thrilling rides and attractions suitable for all ages, and the Hershey Gardens, which showcases beautiful botanical wonders. A trip to Hershey is a truly unforgettable experience filled with sweetness.
2. Delve into the Past at the Gettysburg National Military Park
The historically inclined won't want to miss Gettysburg, a pivotal battle site from the Civil War. The battlefield has been carefully preserved, offering self-guided or guided tours, a museum, and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, where President Lincoln delivered his legendary Gettysburg Address. The town also showcases charming 19th century architecture and quaint shops where you can find Pennsylvania Dutch crafts and other souvenirs.
3. Catch a Fly Ball at PITTSBURGH'S PNC PARK
PNC Park, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a striking stadium that offers up-close views of Major League Baseball at its finest. The Pirates have been part of Pittsburgh since 1887, and attending one of their games is a quintessential Pennsylvania experience. While you're at it, take a stroll along the neighboring Roberto Clemente Bridge, which offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Allegheny River.
4. Get Lost in the Beautiful Pine Creek Gorge
Often called the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania," Pine Creek Gorge features breathtaking panoramic views and incredible recreational opportunities. Hiking, biking, and kayaking are just a few of the activities visitors can partake in. For an amazing sight, visit Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Point State Park, both of which offer fantastic overlooks of the gorge.
5. Behold the Gravity Hill Phenomenon
One of Pennsylvania's best-kept secrets, the Gravity Hill in Bedford County, is a truly unique experience. At this mysterious spot, cars seem to roll uphill on their own, and water appears to flow against gravity. While there is a scientific explanation behind this strange phenomenon, it doesn't make it any less fun. Try it for yourself and ponder the mysteries of the universe!
6. Experience Amish Country in Lancaster County
For a taste of yesteryear, head to Lancaster County to catch a glimpse of the way things used to be. In the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you'll find Amish communities with their simple and traditional ways of life, as well as charming shops and markets filled with handmade crafts and treats. Enjoy delicious meals like shoofly pie and chicken pot pie at one of the many local Amish restaurants, or take a guided buggy ride through the countryside.
7. Explore the Whimsical Longwood Gardens
Over 1,000 acres of botanical bliss awaits you at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, often regarded as one of the world's best gardens. Filled with meadows, woodlands, and exquisite European-style fountains, Longwood Gardens is a serene oasis perfect for an afternoon stroll. Be sure to enjoy one of their special seasonal events, like the Winter Wonderland Light Show or the Festival of Fountains, for an enchanting experience.
With all that Pennsylvania has to offer, you'll never run out of exciting things to do. Whether it's the sweet taste of chocolatey Hershey or exploring the mysteries of Gravity Hill, there's something for everyone in this diverse and beautiful state. So grab your sense of adventure, and let your new life in Pennsylvania truly take flight!
Find Movers for Your Pennsylvania Relocation
As you embark on your exciting journey to Pennsylvania, let Great Guys Moving help ease the relocation process by connecting you with the most reputable movers in the industry. Known for their quality service and affordable pricing, the licensed and insured moving companies within our network are eager to assist you in your move to the Keystone State. To quickly and easily obtain quotes from top-rated movers tailored to your specific needs, simply take advantage of our free moving quote service, ensuring a seamless transition as you begin this new chapter in Pennsylvania.
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