Jump to any of the following sections to learn more about what to expect living in Philadelphia, PA.
- Philadelphia At-a-glance
- What it’s like to live in Philadelphia
- Economy and job outlook in Philadelphia
- Real estate in Philadelphia
- The top neighborhoods in Philadelphia
- How to get around in Philadelphia
- School and education snapshot in Philadelphia
- Weather and climate in Philadelphia
- Can’t miss things to do in Philadelphia
With its diverse population and rich history, Philadelphia offers an appealing blend of civic pride, vibrant sports culture and culinary delights – most notably, the iconic Philly cheesesteak. Pennsylvania’s largest city is home to over 1.5 million people who proudly (and aptly) wear the moniker of the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Living in the birthplace of America means enjoying the world-class amenities and culture that come with it. Whether you’re coming to Philly for the day to catch a game and re-enact the famous staircase scene from Rocky, or you’re moving to Philadelphia permanently for school or work, you’ll learn quickly why TIME Magazine ranked the city as one of the “World’s Greatest Places.”
A Slice of Life in Philly
Wondering what it’s like living in Philadelphia? Here are some things the locals love about their historic hometown:
Ridiculously Good Food: Imagine living in a city where you are guaranteed delicious food every. Single. Day. Philadelphia is a foodie paradise known for its festivals and diverse food markets like Reading Terminal Market.
An Impressive Selection of Sports: Love sports? You’ll get your fill with Philly’s five professional teams: the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL), Philadelphia Phillies (MBA), Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), and the Philadelphia Union (MLS).
An Eclectic Arts & Cultural Scene: Philadelphia is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, meaning you’ll find no shortage of phenomenal festivals and events. It’s also home to world-class museums like the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Iconic Historic Buildings & Monuments: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Philadelphia City Hall are just a few of the city’s must-see historical attractions.
Although there are plenty of things to brag about in Philadelphia, it’s not all rainbows and puppy dogs. Like any large metropolis, there are some not-so-lovely things about the City of Brotherly Love.
Poverty: Philadelphia ‘s poverty rate is around 23 percent, higher than the national average of 11 percent. Contributing factors include high unemployment rates and a lack of affordable housing.
Elevated Crime Rates: Although Philadelphia has struggled with crime rates higher than the national average, its rates have been steadily decreasing each year.
Aging Infrastructure: For a city that is well over 300 years old, Philly has its share of issues. An aging sewer system, numerous potholes and an outdated public transportation system are just a few of the city’s ongoing struggles.
Diverse Industries Fuel Philadelphia’s Economy
As the economic hub of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia enjoys a competitive job market and thriving economy. With over 45 million people visiting annually, the tourism and hospitality industries are robust and growing. Other key sectors include education, healthcare, finance and manufacturing.
Young professionals moving to Philly can find employment with major employers such as the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or The Giant Company. Philadelphia is home to multiple Fortune 500 companies, adding to the allure of career prospects in the city.
Philadelphia’s Real Estate Market as Diverse as the City Itself
Philadelphia’s real estate market boasts an array of housing options appealing to every taste and budget. Whether you prefer living in a historic row house or an upscale condo, you’ll find your perfect forever home here.
Approximately 48 percent of Philly’s population rent their home, with the average rent at $1,896/month for an average-sized apartment. Homeowners can expect to pay around $260,000 for a home, less than what they’d pay in other major cities.
Popular Neighborhoods in the City of Brotherly Love
Philly boasts over 100 distinct neighborhoods, all with their own unique characteristics and sense of community pride. Here are a few popular choices:
This upscale neighborhood in the heart of Center City is one of Philadelphia’s most desirable communities. Residents here enjoy fine dining options, chic boutiques and trendy cafés. It’s home to stunning 19th and 20th-century townhomes and close to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. The neighborhood’s crown jewel, the picturesque Rittenhouse Square Park, offers an idyllic, lush retreat where locals gather to picnic, enjoy community events, or simply enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
University City is in western Philadelphia and, as its name implies, is home to the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and numerous other educational and research centers. This neighborhood is alive with youthful vibrancy and intellectual energy. Popular with students and faculty, University City is also home to families who enjoy the area’s cultural appeal and safety rating and young professionals who love the varied amenities and easy access to downtown Philly.
Washington Square West
Trendy Washington Square West has it all: safety, beauty, quality amenities, lively bars and proximity to countless attractions. This diverse neighborhood is home to local favorites Jewelers Row and Antique Row, where buyers spend hours browsing unique galleries, shops and boutiques. Washington Square West is an inclusive, tight-knit community and is lovingly called “The Gayborhood” in honor of its thriving LGBTQ+ community. The area’s central location means you’ll enjoy easy access to many of Philly’s greatest attractions.
SEPTA: Your Ticket to Hassle-Free Travel in Philly
Nationwide, Philadelphia is one of the best cities for public transportation. Around 26 percent of its population uses transit, with SEPTA (the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) providing their transportation. This public transportation system includes a subway, elevated train, rail train lines, buses, light rails, trolleys and trolleybus lines.
Philadelphians also utilize rideshare options and the city’s Indego bike-share program. The bikes are available 24/7, year-round at over 140 stations around town. You may want to consider putting your car in storage with the exorbitant cost of parking or reserving a spot in a garage, which can easily amount to $600/month or more.
Philadelphia is Home to Innovative and Inclusive Schools
The School District of Philadelphia is one of the nation’s largest urban public school systems and operates diverse educational institutions. The city is home to public, private, charter and magnet schools, ensuring all families have a choice in their child’s education.
In terms of higher education, students have numerous options, with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University leading the way. UPenn is a prestigious Ivy League school with over 23,000 students enrolled and an impressive 96 percent graduation rate. Students have over 90 majors and 450 student groups to choose from. Drexel University is a global R1-level research university with an enrollment of over 22,000. The school offers more than 200 degree programs in its 15 colleges and schools.
Enjoy Four Full Philly Seasons
Living in Philly’s humid continental climate zone means an annual temperature range of 20-90 degrees, which allows citizens to enjoy four full seasons. Summers here are hot and muggy, with high 80s as the average July high. Philadelphians experience a true winter wonderland, with winters bringing moderately cold temperatures and an average of 23 inches of snow.
Springtime in Philadelphia is popular thanks to Mother Nature’s breathtaking display of cherry blossoms that grace the entire city. People flock from far and wide to witness the stunning spectacle.
10 Philadelphia Gems You Won’t Want To Miss
Whether you’re in Philly for the weekend or forever, add these to your “definitely do” list.
- Eastern State Penitentiary: Is the nation’s first and oldest prison still operating? No. Is it haunted? Probably.
- Reading Terminal Market: If you’re ruled by your tastebuds, this famous indoor market is a must. You’ll think you died and went to foodie heaven.
- Independence National Historical Park: You can’t be in Philadelphia and NOT visit the national treasures that are Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
- The Philadelphia Zoo: Get in touch with your wild side at America’s first zoo. Make sure your camera is charged because you’ll have around 1,300 animals to capture!
- Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: This unique and whimsical art installation created by Isaiah Zagar captivates everyone who experiences it. The colors, designs, materials and intricacy are sure to leave you mesmerized.
- Spruce Street Harbor Park: This charming park on the water boasts floating gardens, relaxing hammocks, delicious food and craft beer. What more could you ask for on a warm Philly evening?
- The University of Pennsylvania: No visit to Philadelphia is complete without exploring the grounds of its crown jewel, UPenn. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the iconic “Love” sculpture while you’re there.
- South Street: This vibrant destination is one of the city’s top spots for trendy shopping and dining.
- Philadelphia’s Rocky Steps & Statue: You may have to wait some time for your turn, but it’ll be worth it once you reach the top of the stairs and pose with Rocky Balboa!
- Lincoln Financial Field: If you’re new in town, it won’t take you long to learn that Philly bleeds green. You’ll want to check out a Philadelphia Eagles game to see what all the fuss is about.