Considering a move to Philadelphia? Being the official birthplace of America, this historical and cultural East Coast city has a lot to offer. Take a look at these 15 facts about Philadelphia before you pack your belongings for the city of Brotherly Love.
You are about to know more about the most historic and culturally diverse cities in the United States.
With more than 1.5 million residents, Philadelphia is the 2nd largest city on the East Coast. People living in this great city appreciate the amount of eclectic and beautiful neighborhoods that provide it a small-town vibe.
So, before you fill your moving truck and journey to Philly, a city of cheesesteaks and water ice, let’s begin with this guide with the fun little details, together with some practical tips, so you can begin to enjoy your new environments as fast as possible.
1. The Cost of Living in Philadelphia is the Lowest in the Northeast Cities
A trend commenced many years ago when New Yorkers started to settle in Philly and commuting to work in NYC. Some pundits started to refer to Philadelphia as New York’s sixth borough. The moniker got Philadelphia’s natives angry, but it also showed how beautiful Philly is as regards the cost of living.
When you compare Philly with New York, Philly is the best. New York takes a lot from its residents’ wallets because the cost of living is over 120% more than the country’s average.
A family with an overall income of $50,000 in Philadelphia would need almost twice that amount ($97,000) to live well in New York. Washington DC is a bit cheaper, but Philly still boasts a 6% lower cost of living with real estate costs that are 48% lower.
2. Philly has a Lot of Neighborhoods
Philadelphia is a city of unique but connected neighborhoods, more than 100 in total. From the Northeast to South Philadelphia, different and attractive neighborhoods are packed with detached homes, high-rise apartments, stop-front rowhouses, and condos. If you are yet to choose where to live, see our list that shows the common demographics of every neighborhood.
Neighborhoods for Student
Neighborhoods for professional
Neighborhoods for Married
Neighborhoods for retirement
3. Getting around Philly is easier than in NY or DC
Getting around Philly is easy and super convenient, at least when compared to other cities in the northeast. The median 1-way commute time in Philadelphia is 31.5 minutes, with 21.3 percent making use of public transit, as reported by U.S. Census data.
Below is the structure of the major transportation routes in the city:
- Interstate 95 stretched the eastern city edge
- I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway) divides West Philadelphia from other parts of the city
- Broad Street (PA 611), the country’s longest direct boulevard, makes up the north/south backbone
- I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) and US Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard/Expressway) stretch east/west across the city.
- I-476 is the north of Philly and the Blue Route to the west.
- The six biggest bridges link Philly to South Jersey.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) runs the public transit system of the region. Their fleet has many modes:
- Broad street line subway north and south
- Market-Frankford elevated train majorly east and west
- 13 regional rain train lines
- 131 bus and 8 light rail, trolleybus and trolley lines
Trains and subways connect through three Center City hubs: Jefferson, Suburban, and 30th Street Stations. Amtrak covers 11 routes out of 30th street. In addition, the Indego bike share program is available in Philadelphia, but rental scooter companies are still illegal in the city.
4. Philadelphia has Free Stuff
You may not want to spend much after completing your big move, especially if you are still trying to be organized. However, if you feel like hitting the street for fresh air, it is important to know that there are many free activities to enjoy in Philadelphia. The city is great with outdoor sports with parks, sporting courts, playgrounds, and trails, which include basketball, baseball, tennis, and hockey.
The Parks and Recs Department oversees these free offerings and has information about athletics in your area. Yoga lovers enjoy free or cheap classes across the city, which include the beautiful Race Pier.
Below are some free, perennial favorites in Philadelphia:
- Independence Visitor Center located at 599 Market Street
- The Liberty Bell Center located on 6th and Market Streets
- Independence Hall and Congress Hall located at 520 Chestnut Street
- The Rocky Statue and Steps located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
- The Love Sculpture situated at 1500 Arch Street
5. History is Everywhere in Philadelphia
William Penn founded Philadelphia in 1682 on land, and was granted by King Charles II. The city later played a major role in the Revolutionary War and was the location of the first and second Continental Congress. However, the historical importance of Philadelphia doesn’t end with the early days of the country. Immigration from Europe, industrialization, the Great Migration as well as the birth of hip hop all helped form Philly and make it a great city for history-lovers.
6. Philadelphia Speak is Easy using this Primer
Philly has its language just like most major cities, something any new resident needs to learn eventually.
Below is a guide to common words speaking in Philadelphia:
Down the shore
Delco and Montco
Can simply mean anything; jawn is jawn
Addressing people in the group
Champion team in Super Bowl football (also “the Birds”)
Never say “sub”
Candy toppings on ice cream
Ordering onions on a cheesesteak
The Jersey beaches
The night that leads to Halloween to pulling pranks
Request for and get a Yuengling beer
Red pasta sauce
“Did you eat?”
The Market-Frankford elevated train
Never call it “downtown”
Where you purchase liquor and wine
Delaware and Montgomery Counties
7. Philly Homes are Highly Affordable than in Boston, NY, or D.C.
When you are considering big East Coast cities, you are likely thinking of costly housing. Philadelphia, though, doesn’t possess the same costly real estate prices you’d find in New York or Boston. That implies that the total cost of living in Philadelphia is lower, as well.
The average household value in Philadelphia is below $130,000. Prices are increasing and the housing market is hot, so if you are considering a move to Philadelphia you might want to be fast so you can benefit from the low household prices.
8. You can Eat much more than Cheesesteak
There is a long and historic relationship between Philadelphia and food, a unique cuisine, an international-grade restaurant scene, and many signature dishes.
Philadelphia has a booming food scene but also features its quirky local dishes. Among the local icons are the oversized Philly Cheesesteaks, Butterscotch Krimpets, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, and water ice.
Locals enjoy their Philly Taco from Jim’s Steaks. The cheesesteak is covered in a Lorenzo & Sons pizza slice. Philadelphia also offers exotic eats and international cuisine. White Yak’s Tibetan menu features soups, curries, and dishes, such as chili chicken plus hand-pulled noodles.
Laser Wolf fills proteins with Israeli flavors, a labneh dessert, hummus, and seasonal vegetables. For drinks, good food, and jazz, visit South, whose dishes feature upscale po’boys and macaroni and cheese.
9. The Museum Scene in Philly is World-Class
Philadelphia is a perfect city for the artsy. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is big (and free every first Sunday of the month as well as on Wednesday nights). There is also the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, and a lot more. To enjoy a quirky Philadelphia outing, visit the Mutter Museum, a medical museum that prides itself on varieties of medical oddities.
10. You will pay City Income Tax in Philadelphia
If you reside in Philadelphia, you will go through a special city income tax of 3.9%. Non-residents who work in Philadelphia will have their wages taxed at 3.47%. The city wage tax of Philadelphia is controversial and has been continuously chipped away for several years but it doesn’t seem to me discard any time soon.
11. You have Many Things to do in Philadelphia
Not everything in the city is available any day you wish to get it. Some of the best events and activities only happen once a year. From festivals to parades to exhibits, below are some beautiful things you will only get to enjoy every 12 months in Philadelphia:
Festivals and holidays:
- Comcast Holiday Spectacular show
- July 4th Welcome America Festival
- “Terror Behind the Walls” during Halloween at Eastern State Penitentiary
- Philadelphia Black pride
Food and drink:
- Philadelphia Craft Beer festival
- StrEAT Food Festival, Pizzadelphia, and Burger Brawl
- Wawa Hoagiefest
- Made in America Festival by Jay-Z (Labor Day Weekend)
- WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival
- The Roots Picnic
- Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day
- America’s oldest: Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Dad Vail Regatta (May)
- Army-Navy football game
- Broad Street Run. Largest 10 milers in America
- Penn Relays, oldest athletic event in America
- Philly Naked Bike Ride
12. Sports are Life here
Unlike cities like Los Angeles and New York, Philadelphia has just one team in each of the major sports, so everyone is rooting for the same time, until when the season of college basketball comes where the city became divided into several ways. Philadelphia residents put on team colors and everyone is involved from all around the globe, and the mood of the city is evident based on the result of yesterday’s game.
So, if you want to walk into almost every conversation in Philadelphia, make sure you know the playoff chances of your favorite Phillie.
Below is a look into your sports options every season.
- NCAA’s Temple University and NFL’s Eagles, the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field)
- MLS’ Union, Subaru Park
- NLL’s Wings, NBA’s 76ers, and NHL’s Flyers, Wells Fargo Center
- MLB’s Phillies, Citizen’s Bank Park
- MLL’s Barrage, United Sports
- WTT’s Freedoms, Hagan Arena
Philadelphia Big 5 NCAA Basketball: Penn, Villanova, La Salle, St. Joseph’s, and Temple
13. The Art Scene is the Best
When you live in Philadelphia, you will surely turn into an art lover as there are lots of museums and international-grade art galleries. The first art museum in the United States is the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is not the same as the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where the stair climb of Rocky is made).
Aside from New York, the theatrical scene in Philadelphia competes with that of any other big city. You could get on the train and arrive on Broadway in just an hour and a half, but you don’t have to. Enjoy a musical at Kimmel or a show at The Walnut Street Theater, the oldest nonstop operating theater in the English-speaking world.
Philadelphia is one of the greatest music to enjoy; both Billie Holiday as well as hip hop was birthed here. Big acts perform at Franklin Music Hall (known before as the Electric Factory), The Mann Center, often has mid-level performers, such as Block party and Michael Franti, as well as the Theater of Living Arts (TLA) and Union Transfer which both host different nationally-touring as well as growing acts.
14. You are not Far from Other Beautiful Locations
There is a lot to Pennsylvania than Philadelphia. For other taste of city life, you can visit Pittsburgh, but there is a lot the countryside has to offer as well. You can go to Gettysburgh Battlefield for certain Civil War history or visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at Fallingwater. Immediately you begin to do some research you will discover that Pennsylvania is filled with cheap travel destinations.
15. Philadelphia is a Big College Town
The University of Pennsylvania is a huge landmark in Philadelphia, but it is not the only higher institution in the city. Drexel, Temple, Curtis, and more all add to the high population of students in Philadelphia, and help provide the city a college-town vibe.
Whether you are relocating a short distance or from afar location in the country, we hope you have found what you want to settle fast so you can begin to enjoy everything that living in Philly has to offer.
If you are feeling stressed about your next move, don’t worry. It is one of the many parts of the process. Hopefully, the tips we’ve provided will help get rid of some of your fear and enable you to choose if Philadelphia is the ideal place for you.
Looking for ways to transport your belongings to Philadelphia? You are at the right place.