If you’re thinking of moving to a new city, Philadelphia is a great option. Not only is it the birthplace of this country, but it also has all the perks of a big city while still being affordable and offering plenty of space to walk around. So, if you’re interested in finding out more about this city before you move here, below is a quick guide with all of the basic information for a newcomer.
Location, Geography, Climate
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, located on the East Coast of the U.S. It’s also well-connected to major interest points in the country. In fact, Philadelphia is only a few hours’ drive from both Washington, D.C. and New York City. The Delaware and Schuylkill rivers pass through the city, which also encompasses lakes and creeks.
The weather here varies quite a bit. For instance, some winters have major snowstorms while others pass with only occasional light snowfalls. Conversely, although summers are usually mild, high humidity and heat waves can make some summer days very hot.
Cost of Living
The overall cost of living in Philly is not much above the national average. More specifically, the cost of groceries and restaurant meals here is less expensive than other big cities like New York or Los Angeles. And, while the average rent for a Philadelphia apartment is $1,652, there are neighborhoods with much lower averages.
Although the average size of a rental apartment here is 805 square feet, the average cost of utilities for a 915-square-foot apartment is $146, according to data from 2019. This includes water, gas, electricity and garbage bills. Internet services go for about $40 a month.
Philadelphia is one of the most walkable big cities in the country with a lot of neighborhoods that are very pedestrian friendly. However, if you don’t already own a car, it’s best not to invest in one now because little parking is available in the city and commutes are usually long. On the other hand, public transportation is affordable — a single fare is at about $2.25 and various discounts are available. Plus, if you choose to rent somewhere near your interests, then walking or biking everywhere is also very much an option.
There are many diverse neighborhoods in Philadelphia and, depending on what you’re interested in, some might fit you better than others. For instance, as a student, a neighborhood like University City is a great option. Alternatively, if you’re a young professional, Manayunk might be best for you because the median age here is 27 years old. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a busy neighborhood, West Philadelphia is the most populous, whereas Northern Liberties has the highest share of renters compared to homeowners. Of course, you’ll want to set a budget before deciding where you want to live as prices can vary significantly depending on location. So, research the market and see which area is the best fit for you, as well as within your financial range.
Things to Do
Philly has so many interesting things to offer — a rich history, large cultural scene, unique restaurants, and open spaces to relax and reconnect with nature. And, because this is where the Founding Fathers set the basis of the nation, you’re sure to stumble onto parts of the nation’s heritage wherever you go. You can also relax by the river, go to the zoo, catch a Broadway show or simply chill in a park. While you’re at it, check out the abundance of art galleries and opportunities to discover new artists and support local ones. Then, even if you’re new here, you’ll surely fit in and feel like a local in no time.