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Moving to Philadelphia – Things to Know About Philly

Tens of thousands of people leave Philly every year, but even more of them make it their home. Moving to Philadelphia has its perks and drawbacks, but that shouldn’t discourage you from going through with your long-distance relocation plans. All you have to do is make sure you have all the right information to make an educated decision. To help you do that, we’ve put together some things you should know about the City of Brotherly Love.

a nighttime view of Philadelphia
Relocating to Philadelphia is a decision you won't regret

What to Know Before Moving to Philly?

Welcome to the city of contradictions. The home of some of the best – and worst – places to live in the country. A modern melting pot with a long and eventful history. A breathtaking metropolis with a bad reputation. It is hard to love and impossible to hate.

Since this is a community with such an ambiguous nature, it is crucial that you get to know it well before you start calling it home. Knowing what to expect will help you deal with moving stress better and prepare for the long-distance move properly. No matter if you are moving during the holiday season, in summer or autumn, there are some things you should learn about like the cost of living, educational and employment opportunities, crime rates, the general geography of the region, as well as what you can do in your free time.

Delaware River and Philadelphia
This metropolis is full of contradictions, but we're sure you'll grow to love it.

A Quick Guide to the Cost of Living in 2020

Before you start creating a moving budget for your upcoming interstate relocation, you should learn more about the cost of living in Philadelphia and consider whether to sell or donate unwanted items if you’re on a budget. That way, you can avoid one of the most common moving mistakes – running out of money.

Overall, life here is not unaffordable – it is pretty close to the national average. Some expenses, such as transportation and utilities, tend to be more costly, but others – especially housing – make up for it. For reference, if you are coming from Washington D.C, you’ll be able to save up around 25% monthly if you maintain the same standard of living and the same salary, according to Numbeo.

Property Prices and Rent in Philly

Housing is one of the main reasons why people are relocating to Philadelphia. The average house here will cost you only two-thirds what it would in the average American town. The median home cost is just slightly over $150,000. If you would rather rent, a studio apartment will cost you $800 a month. However, some estimates say that these numbers are about to start rising, so you better find reliable cross-country movers, book your moving services, and relocate soon.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Philadelphia?

Now let’s crunch some real numbers. Living in Philly is inexpensive, but how much exactly does it cost? Here are some basic expenses you can count on:

  • A monthly pass for public transit: $96
  • Basic monthly utilities for a 900sqft home: $160
  • A gallon of gas: $2.70
  • A three-course meal at an average restaurant: $26
  • Monthly membership for a fitness club: $35

Once all expenses add up, the average four-person family needs between $5,000 and $6,000 a month. If you aren’t moving with kids, but rather on your own, expect to spend around $2,500 every month.

A man's hands holding a piggy bank
Despite being a large metropolis, this place is pretty affordable.

The Job Market – From Local Businesses to International Companies

Unless you’re relocating for work, you will have to get a job before you move. Luckily, aside from a recent brief drop due to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the job market in Philly has been on the rise. This is especially true for marketing and consumer services, as well as small and medium companies.

According to Glassdoor, locals’ wages have been improving, too. Here’s a quick overview of earnings per profession:

  • University professors – $100,000
  • Civil engineers – $77,000
  • Accountant – $62,000
  • Registered nurse – $77,000
  • Attorney – $115,000
A business meeting in a conference room
Finding a job here won't be mission impossible

Furthering Your Education

Aside from vast job opportunities, this is a great place for students, too. There is a long list of colleges and universities in the area, attracting young people from all over the world. Some of the most prominent ones are the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, and Drexel University. If one of them is your reason to move, make sure you check out our college packing list.

When it comes to lower levels of education, public primary and secondary schools are run by the local school district. Although graduation scores aren’t too high, they have been on an inconsistent upward trend.

University of Pennsylvania Tour

Are you planning on attending the University of Pennsylvania? Then check out the video below to see what to expect.

Is Safety an Issue?

It’s no secret that the City of Brotherly Love is notorious for its crime rates. It has been ranking way above the national average for years. While that might be true, not all of Philly is riddled with crime. Much like in any other metropolis, some areas are safe, and some should be avoided.

One of the most important moving to Philadelphia tips we can give you is to stay away from Tioga-Nicetown (ironic, we know), Alleghany West, North Central, and Strawberry Mansion. As long as you stick to communities with lower crime rates and practice common sense and caution, you will be just fine. Of course, you can always make use of one of the many tools designed to help you estimate how safe your neighborhood is.

A police officer's back
The metropolis is notorious for high crime rates, but not all of it is bad.

Decide Where to Live Before Moving to Philadelphia

Although safety is, arguably, the most important one, there are other factors people take into consideration when choosing the right neighborhood. For example, if you’re moving with dogs, you’ll likely want to be close to dog parks and off-leash areas. If you plan on getting auto transport services to ship your car to your new home, you probably want to live somewhere where parking isn’t impossible to find.

Everyone’s situation and preferences are different, which means that a list of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia differs from one person to another. However, to make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites.

Which Neighborhoods Should You Consider

Ready to dive into our choice of the best places to live in Philadelphia? Take a look at this quick guide:

  • Fishtown – A former fishing hub and now a modern neighborhood which attracts many visitors and newcomers. Its old spirit is still preserved, which gives this neighborhood a special charm. There are many bars and restaurants, as well as art galleries and music venues that keep the area vibrant. You can easily get to any other part of the town from here.
  • Bella Vista – Known as Little Italy, Bella Vista is a wonderful and charming residential area located in South Philly, where you will really feel like you’re in Italy. It is best known for the 9th Street Italian Market, as well as a number of upscale Italian restaurants and shops. This is a walkable and bike-friendly community.
  • Chestnut Hill – This is a great community suitable for families because of general safety. Even though it’s peaceful, this residential area still has a vast number of attractions, including museums, theaters, and public parks. It’s close to the center, yet far away enough to be protected from the hustle and bustle – it is located about 25 minutes away from the center. This affluent neighborhood is perfect if you want to have easy access to lots of green spaces.
  • Fairmount – Here’s another good residential area, both pedestrian and bike-friendly. You can drive your car there, too, but if so, keep in mind that public parking might sometimes be a problem. The neighborhood is connected to the center via several bus routes, including 48, 33, 32, and 7. It’s often called the Art Museum Area, as it’s close to the Museum of Art. In addition to art, its residents also enjoy the proximity to the abundance of calming green spaces and parks.
The Washington Monument in Fairmount
Fairmount is one of the best places to live in this metropolis

Getting Around the City’s Grid System

Getting around in this city is pretty simple. Whether you want to drive, bike, walk, or use public transportation, you will always have plenty of options to choose from. The downtown has an easily memorable grid system, with streets running North-South and East-West. Be careful, though, the direction changes in other parts of the metropolis.

If you’re a driver, the only problem you’ll ever have here is the rush hour. The streets can get pretty congested, so always head to your destination earlier than you normally would. Another thing to keep in mind is that most streets in Philly are one way, with several exceptions:

  • The Parkway
  • Vine Street
  • Broad Street
  • The lower part of Market Street

If you’d rather use public transit, you can choose among regional rail trains, rapid transit, regular trolleys, electric trolleys, and buses. Together, they cover almost all parts of the metro area. SEPTA, the local transit authority, offers various kinds of tickets for different prices.

If you’re a cyclist, whether you do it to save the planet, stay fit and healthy, or simply enjoy the scenery, you’re in luck. This metropolis is practically heaven on earth for cyclists. There are over thirty trails in the city proper, and let us not even get started on recreational rides in the surrounding nature.

Philadelphia's grid system
The street grid system is easy to navigate

Things to Do in the City of Brotherly Love

This moving to Philadelphia guide simply wouldn’t be complete without some leisure time activities. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Philadelphia that we’re sure you will enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, a sports enthusiast, or an outdoor person, there is something for everyone here:

  • Although it is always crowded with tourists, the Independence Hall is always worth visiting. It is a place where history was written – several times – and where you can see the famous Liberty Bell.
  • The Museum of Art is another one of those places that both tourists and locals flock to. There is always something new to see and learn, and the exhibits are often interesting for all ages. Of course, the iconic Rocky steps and statue contribute to the institution’s popularity.
  • The Delaware River Waterfront stretches to six different neighborhoods and crosses several beautiful parks. It is a great spot for a morning jog, an evening walk, or daytime activities. One of its biggest selling points is the magnificent view of the Ben Franklin Bridge.
  • Silk City Diner is one of those venues that go through a transition every evening. What seems to be a cozy little eatery during the day becomes one of the most visited clubs during the night. During the summer, patrons can also enjoy a garden that looks straight out of a storybook.

Great Restaurants Are Among the Reasons People Are Moving Here

After a long day of walking, sightseeing, dancing, or enjoying other attractions, you’ll surely get hungry. We’re sure at least one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia will be right up your alley. Whether you’re looking for Mexican, Chinese, Mediterranean, Thai, or another type of cuisine, you’ll find it all here. However, you really won’t be able to call yourself a Philadelphian until you’ve tried one of the world-famous Philly cheesesteaks. Sonny’s Famous Steaks on Market Street and Geno’s on South 9th are said to have arguably the best cheesesteaks in the city (or, if you ask Philadelphians, in the world).

Geno's restaurant at night
Geno's is one of the best places to get a cheesesteak

Are You Ready to Move Cross-Country?

Now that you’ve learned more about the City of Brotherly Love, it is time to find a long-distance moving company and start preparing for your move by learning some moving day tips. Keep in mind, even though you know this place a little better now, you’ll probably still feel some anxiety about moving out. This is completely normal, and it will likely fade away after a while. In the meantime, you can explore your new surroundings, find your favorite cafe, make friends in the new state, get to know your neighbors, and enjoy the new beginning.