Moving to Philadelphia
Are you considering a hop, skip, and a jump to the City of Brotherly Love? Moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania promises an enchanting melange of history, culture, and urban flavor. As the birthplace of America, Philly offers more than just Liberty Bells and Cheesesteaks. In this comprehensive Philadelphia relocation guide, we'll take you through windswept cobblestone lanes, past towering skyscrapers, into eager marketplaces, and under charming row houses. Yes, moving can be as thrilling as a wild ride. So, buckle up as we dive into the high-spirited heartbeat of this engaging eastern city!
What to Know Before Moving to Philadelphia
1. Philadelphia quickly charms you with its majestic mix of history and modernity.
Philadelphia, often nicknamed "Philly", is home to an elegant blend of historic charm and contemporary allure. Wander the city's cobblestone streets and you'll come face to face with aged yet well-preserved architecture that chronicles the nation's creation. From touring the iconic Liberty Bell to strolling around Independence Hall -- where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed -- history buffs are always in for a treat. But it's not all history! Modern skyscrapers juxtaposed with these historical landmarks create a captivating skyline that presents the city's impressive progression.
2. Philly's dining scene is as diverse as it is delectable.
In Philly, food isn't just sustenance, but an experience -- a lip-smacking adventure. This city takes food seriously and offers everything from sizzling street foods and cozy cafes, to globally-renowned restaurants. And, yes, the Philly cheesesteak debate is real! Are you team Pat's or Geno's? Or do you dare to venture into other lesser-known but equally tasty options? Wherever your loyalties may lie, this city's culinary variety won't disappoint you.
3. The 'City of Brotherly Love' is more like a city of neighborhoods.
Philadelphia is made up of several different neighborhoods, each with its own unique vibe and character. Whether you're pro urban-style living in downtown Center City, like the sophisticated charm of Rittenhouse Square, or favor the artistic allure of Fishtown, there's a neighborhood that aligns with your preferences and style. So take your time, explore, and let Philly charm you one neighborhood at a time!
4. Appreciate art in the most unexpected places.
Talk about open air galleries! Philadelphia is widely known for its Mural Arts Program which has produced over 3,000 murals throughout the city, transforming blank walls into vibrant canvases. Known as the "City of Murals", Philly offers everyone the chance to stumble upon stunning pieces of art in the most unexpected corners. Remember to look around as you explore this city!
5. There is a strange obsession with a fictional character.
For a city steeped in history, it's strange yet fascinating to see Philadelphia's love for a fictional character. Rocky Balboa, or just 'Rocky', is as synonymous with Philly as the Liberty Bell. The statue of this beloved character from the renowned 'Rocky' boxing movie series is a common sightseeing spot, and you can't call yourself a true Philly local until you've imitated Rocky's triumphant run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art!
6. Philly homes a prison that once housed Al Capone.
Yes, you read that right! The Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison turned museum, once housed the notorious gangster Al Capone. It now stands as a hauntingly intriguing testament to Philadelphia's past. Guided tours are available, inviting you to step back in time and explore the haunting halls of what was once the most expensive and famous prison in the world.
Philadelphia offers a unique blend of rich history, cosmopolitan comfort, and diverse culture. Its neighborhood charm, impressive art scene, delectable dining experiences, and intriguing sites all play into the city's appeal. So, whether you're planning to move permanently or simply visit for a while, Philly's got a lot to offer. Pack your bags and prepare yourself for a remarkable journey into this fantastic city of endless wonders. And yes, don't forget to try the cheesesteak, trust us on this one!
Pros and Cons of Living in Philadelphia
Pros of Living in Philadelphia
Rich in History and Culture
Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the United States and has a rich historical and cultural heritage. From Independence Hall where the US Constitution was signed to Museum of Art, which was immortalized in the movie 'Rocky', there is always something exciting and educational to explore.
Vibrant Food Scene
Philadelphia is not just famous for its cheesesteaks and pretzels but also notable for a vibrant foodie scene with an impressive variety of cuisines and dining experiences. The buzz of local farmers' markets, Michelin star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall ethnic foods make Philadelphia a gastronomic delight.
Beautiful Green Spaces
Despite being a busy metropolis, Philadelphia is known for its beautiful parks and green spaces. Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban park systems in the country, gives the city dwellers a chance to enjoy nature trails, historic sites and outdoor activities within the city limits.
Excellent Education Institutions
Philadelphia is home to some of the finest educational institutions in the country, including the acclaimed University of Pennsylvania. With a robust public school system, as well as a range of private and charter options, families with children have various educational opportunities.
Affordable Compared to Other Major Cities
In comparison to other major cities on the East Coast like New York or Boston, Philadelphia offers a more affordable cost of living which includes housing, entertainment and dining. This makes it an attractive option for individuals and families looking to live in a vibrant city without spending extravagantly.
Cons of Living in Philadelphia
Traffic and Parking Issues
Traffic congestion can be an issue in Philadelphia, especially during the peak hours. Parking can also be particularly challenging, particularly in the older, more established neighborhoods where spaces are limited.
Philadelphia is known for its intense summers and snowy winters which requires residents to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. It's not uncommon to have extremely hot days followed by thunderstorms in the summer or snow storms in the winter.
City Wage Tax
Philadelphia has a city wage tax that applies to salaries, wages, commissions and other compensation. This is on top of the federal and state taxes, which can make living in Philadelphia more expensive compared to other cities that don't have this additional tax.
Some Areas Experience High Crime Rates
Like many other large cities, Philadelphia faces crime issues in certain neighborhoods. Although significant efforts have been made to improve public safety, crime remains a concern in specific areas.
Public Transportation Could Be Better
While Philadelphia has public transportation, it can sometimes be unreliable and not as extensive compared to other major cities. Those commuting to certain parts of the city might find it challenging and may need to rely on a car or other modes of transport.
Is Philadelphia a Good Place to Live?
Philadelphia, PA is a great place to live because of its rich history, diverse culinary scene, and vibrant arts and culture. It's home to iconic landmarks like the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as a variety of delicious food options from cheesesteaks to diverse international cuisine, ensuring there is something for everyone. Moreover, its neighborhood parks, recreational activities, and year-round events make it an attractive place for families and young professionals alike.
What Is Philadelphia Famous For?
The Liberty Bell
This iconic symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, was once housed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House. Today, you can visit the Liberty Bell Center in the Independence National Historical Park to see the cracked bell and learn about its significant role in the American Revolutionary War.
Food lovers around the world recognize Philadelphia for its mouth-watering cheesesteak. This famous sandwich is made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese served in a long hoagie roll. Stop by local favorite spots like Pat's and Geno's to taste the rivalry of the best Philly cheesesteak.
Rocky Steps and Statue
A visit to Philadelphia would be incomplete without reenacting Rocky Balboa's iconic run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, also known as the "Rocky Steps". While there, make sure to snap a photo with the Rocky Statue, a bronze monument erected in honor of the beloved fictional boxing hero.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Not just known for its steps, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the United States. With a collection of more than 240,000 objects spanning over 5,000 years, it offers something for every art enthusiast to enjoy. Check out their online collection to preview some of the pieces before your visit.
Overview of Tax Rates
In Philadelphia, residents face a property tax rate of 1.3998%. This is above the national average and compared to the rest of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia's property tax rates are also higher.
As of 2023, the sales tax rate in Philadelphia is 8%, higher than the statewide Pennsylvania rate of 6%. Compared to the average sales tax rate in the US, Philadelphia's rate is on the higher side.
The city of Philadelphia imposes a flat income tax rate of 3.8712% on residents as of 2023. This is in addition to the state's income tax. The combined tax rate is higher than many other places in the US.
Philadelphia's housing market is significantly more affordable compared to many U.S cities. The median home value is around $200,000, a stark contrast to the national median exceeding $300,000. However, inbound migration and job growth raise the city's demand, leading to progressively increasing prices, albeit at a slow pace. For renters, the average monthly rent is approximately $1,500, slightly below the national average. This market's occasional fluctuation, coupled with a strong rental presence, makes it an enticing opportunity for investors. Overall, Philadelphia offers a balanced market for both homebuyers and rental investors.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is relatively lower than in many other major cities in the U.S. However, it is higher than the national average. Expenses like housing, groceries, and healthcare tend to be somewhat elevated in Philadelphia, albeit still more affordable than cities like New York or San Francisco. Yet, good employment opportunities, cultural richness, and quality education systems balance these costs, enhancing the overall attractiveness of the city.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Philadelphia, located in Pennsylvania's southeastern region, enjoys a moderate, four-season climate characterized by hot and muggy summers, mild to slightly chilly autumns and springs, and cold winters with moderate snowfall. Average temperatures range from about 32degF in the coldest month, January, to around 86degF in the peak of summer in July. The city experiences about 207 sunny days per year and around 47 inches of rainfall, which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Philadelphia is vulnerable to a range of natural disasters, most notably floods, severe storms, tropical cyclones, and occasionally, snowstorms. Earthquakes and wildfires are less common. While the city is prepared for such events, the rare occurrence of major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012 can leave lasting impacts.
Economy & Job Market
* Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, has a rich industrial history and an ever-evolving economy that is as lively as a Philly cheesesteak! Historically, it was known for its bustling manufacturing and textile industries. However, the economy took a detour (but a beautiful one!) and now thrives on several diverse sectors. The Healthcare and Social Assistance sector leads the charge, providing an important pulse to Philly's economy. There's also a strong beat from Educational Services, aided by prominent universities like the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. The Retail Trade sector also contributes significantly to the mix, standing shoulder to shoulder with Manufacturing and the high-tech Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sector.
If you're planning on moving to Philly, be prepared to be charmed by the city and its job market! The city has a relatively high employment rate, earning it a feather in its cap. It's always helpful to know that the job market is fairly diversified, meaning there are opportunities across various sectors, so there's something for everyone! The healthcare sector houses a large number of jobs, thanks to the city's numerous esteemed hospitals. Education and Retail Trade are other prime areas to look into. And if it's the rat race you're after, Center City is where a high concentration of jobs are located! And don't worry, there's always a Philly Soft Pretzel or a cheesesteak around the corner to keep you fueled during your job hunt.
Traffic and Transportation
Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, certainly knows a thing or about going places! With an average commute time of 32.6 minutes, you might wager Philly locals spend a good chunk of their day traveling. Fear not, because there's loads of options for getting from A to B - whether it's in, out, or around the city! The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) runs an extensive network of buses, trains, and trolleys making almost every nook and cranny of the city accessible. If you prefer to soar through the sky, Philadelphia International Airport offers hundreds of flights a day. Get set, Philly, because whether you're rushing to work, heading for a cheesesteak showdown, or catching a flight for a vacation, there's always a way to reach your destination in this bustling city. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Best Neighborhoods in Philadelphia
1. Rittenhouse Square
If ritzy high-rises, world-class shopping, and a robust culinary scene sound appealing, Rittenhouse Square might just tickle your fancy! One of Philly's most prestigious neighborhoods, Rittenhouse Square is known for its luxury apartments and historic mansions. The neighborhood is named after its centerpiece, Rittenhouse Square Park, a bustling green oasis ideal for a midday stroll or an afternoon picnic. Known as a hotspot for art lovers, the neighborhood is home to a variety of art galleries and theaters.
Once a working-class bastion, Fishtown has morphed into a hip and happening neighborhood beloved by artists and creatives. Its indie boutiques, music venues, trendy brewpubs and eateries, make it a vibrant neighborhood brimming with youthful energy. The area's creative vibe is most evident in its collection of colorful street murals and the iconic Frankford Ave Arts Corridor. If you're into microbreweries and music, Fishtown will feel like home.
3. Old City
Craving a mix of history and modern vibes? Welcome to Old City! As the birthplace of American independence, this neighborhood is chock-full with icons like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Amidst these historic landmarks, you'll find a vibrant atmosphere replete with chic boutiques, art galleries, theaters and a plethora of food and drink options. First Fridays, a monthly celebration of arts and culture, keeps the neighborhood buzzing after hours.
4. Queen Village
Imagine charming brick houses lining quaint tree-lined streets, welcome to Queen Village! Situated just south of Center City, Queen Village is a haven for families and singles alike. It offers an array of local boutiques, eateries, and cafes while maintaining a quiet, homely charm. Life here centers around Fabric Row, a historic shopping district lined with fabric shops, vintage boutiques, and chic home decor stores.
If outdoor activities and a charming small-town feel are your thing, then Manayunk might be your perfect match. Nestled along the gorgeous Schuylkill River, this neighborhood is a hit among young professionals and families. Known for its fitness-friendly vibe, Manayunk is home to popular biking and jogging trails like the Manayunk Towpath. Couple this with its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and a strong sense of community, and you've got a neighborhood that's hard to resist.
In conclusion, Philadelphia is distinct with its mixture of historic charm and vibrant modernity, and these five neighborhoods encapsulate the city's diversity just perfectly. Whether you're an artsy millennial eyeing Fishtown or a history buff considering Old City, remember this is your story. Just choose the neighborhood that feels like a chapter you can't wait to write!
Things to Do
From its storied historical past to its fantastic food scene, Philadelphia offers a wealth of attractions that will thrill even the most jaded of city slickers. Whether you're an art aficionado, a history buff, a foodie or a voyager, there's something for everyone in the City of Brotherly Love. Here is a list of top 7 things to do in Philly that you should include in your must-experience list.
1. Walk Through History at Independence National Historical Park
Visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site should be at the top of any newcomer's to-do list. Step back in time and trace the footsteps of America's forefathers in the historic district, home to the iconic Liberty Bell and Independence Hall where the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution were both signed.
2. Be Awed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Famous for the Rocky Steps that Sylvester Stallone sprinted up in the hit movie, "Rocky," this museum is home to thousands of works from all over the world. Don't miss the impressive collection of Renaissance, American, Impressionist and Modern artwork. And let's not forget the captivating armor collection as well.
3. Explore Italian Market
If your taste buds are craving some adventure, head to Philadelphia's Italian Market. This South Philly institution is packed with farm fresh produce, fishmongers, butchers, bakers, cheese shops and, of course, a brilliant selection of Italian eateries. Tip: Go with an empty stomach; leave with a full heart(stomach).
4. Check Out Elfreth's Alley
For a trip down the memory lane, visit the nation's oldest residential street -- Elfreth's Alley. Located in Old City, it maintains 18th-century charm with its cobblestone streets and narrow brick row houses. It's a lesser-known gem, tightly cherished by Philadelphians.
5. Paddle at Bartram's Garden
Unplug from urban life at Bartram's Garden. Not only can you relax amidst its beautiful flora and fauna, but also rent a kayak or rowboat for a serene ride on the Schuylkill River, with breathtaking views of the Philadelphia skyline. This isn't your typical city activity, but it's worth it!
6. Discover the Magic Gardens
Part-art museum, part-garden oasis, the Magic Gardens are a truly unique Philadelphia treasure. This outdoor mosaic installation is created with bits of mirror, tile, bottle, bike wheel and more. It's hidden off South Street, a haven of colorful whimsy amidst the urban hustle.
7. Run the Rocky Steps
No visit to Philadelphia is complete without reenacting Rocky Balboa's triumphant run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, followed by a victorious pose at the top. You don't have to be a movie buff to enjoy this iconic moment - feeling the energy and triumph is enough to make anyone's day.
From the city's rich history, vibrant arts scene, foodie delights, picturesque landscapes and lesser-known corners that are waiting to be discovered, Philadelphia has you covered. Whether you're here for a visit or planning to stay, remember to pack your sense of adventure and get ready to fall in love with Philly. Welcome to the city that's steeped in history, yet dynamic, and ever-evolving!
Find Movers for Your Philadelphia Relocation
As you contemplate the exciting prospect of moving to vibrant Philadelphia, you might start to feel overwhelmed by the logistics. Fortunately, Great Guys Moving streamlines your search for the perfect moving company. By harnessing their carefully cultivated network of reputable, affordable movers, they make the process as easy as asking for a quote. Once you share your basic move details, Great Guys will help you connect with fully licensed, insured moving companies ripe for the picking. Don't leave it to chance, get a head start on your Philadelphia adventure today by requesting your free moving quote.
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