Thinking of moving to Philadelphia? This historic Pennsylvania city offers a great place to live to a variety of residents, including young professionals, families, and retirees. Still, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. Here are 13 pros and cons of living in Philadelphia, PA!

Pros of Living in Philadelphia

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There are several pros to living in Philadelphia, ranging from the city’s affordability to its many parks, museums, and other exciting attractions. Consider these benefits of moving to Philly.

Pro: Affordable Living in the Northeast

If you want to live in a prime Northeast city without as expensive of a price tag, look no further than Philly! Unlike other large metros with a high cost of living like New York and Boston, Philadelphia remains on par with the U.S. average. Despite being the largest city in Pennsylvania, you can find housing in Philadelphia 14% below the national average. And, with median prices around $171,600 for homes and $1,084 for monthly rent, those moving to Philly can find plenty of affordable areas to settle down in.

Pro: High-Quality Philadelphia Schools

With a variety of universities to choose from in Philadelphia, residents have easy access to higher education opportunities. Explore degrees in business, nursing, and biomedical science at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the best colleges in the world. Check out undergraduate programs in chemical engineering, computer science, and psychology at Drexel University, which prioritizes experiential education. Obtain your graduate degree in liberal arts, public health, or education at Temple University. Earn your master’s degree in bioengineering, cybersecurity, or economic crime forensics at longstanding Catholic institution, La Salle University. Dive into rigorous art programs in illustration, film, and theatre at the University of the Arts. Or refine your knowledge in areas of interest such as design, architecture, and fashion and textiles at Thomas Jefferson University.

Pro: Effective Philadelphia Public Transportation

If you don’t own a vehicle or prefer to utilize public transit, Philly makes it easy to get around the city. The SEPTA system has an extensive network of buses, light rails, and more which offers easy commutes throughout Downtown Philadelphia and surrounding areas—including nearby cities like NYC and D.C. In addition, frequent commuters can travel to and from Philadelphia neighborhoods such as Center City, Fishtown, and University City via the Market-Frankford Line (MFL) subway system and Broad Street Line (BSL). Not to mention, Philadelphia is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, with Ride Indego bike-share stations scattered throughout the city, dedicated bike lanes, and hundreds of miles of trails to take advantage of.

Pro: Philly Has a Rich History

Known as the birthplace of America and home to Independence Hall—where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed—Philadelphia is a hotspot for history buffs, and there are plenty of historical sites to explore. Walk down the 300-year-old cobblestone streets or take an audio tour at Elfreth’s Alley. Gain insight into the life of Betsy Ross and the making of America’s first flag at The Betsy Ross House. Experience the stories of people of African descent through art, history, and culture with rotating exhibits such as Beloved | Habibi and Rendering Justice at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. And don’t forget to explore the many landmarks at nearby Independence National Historic Park! Learn about the U.S. Constitution or view rare artifacts in exhibits like Freedom Rising, Signer’s Hall, and The Story of We the People at the National Constitution Center. Travel back in time to learn about the American Revolution, attend first-person theatrical performances, and view thousands of historical artifacts at The Museum of the American Revolution. Or take a self-guided tour, delve into the history and use of the Liberty Bell, or snap a picture of the bell itself at Liberty Bell Center.

Pro: Filled With Arts & Culture

Philadelphia offers residents a perfect blend of arts and culture with several museums and venues to visit. Watch live musical performances, view artwork, or take classes from experts in the art world at Barnes Foundation. With over 200 galleries containing world-class art, view the collections of European, East Asian, and American art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Attend music festivals or grab tickets to your favorite artists such as Young the Giant, Charlie Puth, and Arctic Monkeys at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Walk through the outdoor gardens and view over 150 objects and sculptures crafted by famous artist Augustine Rodin at the Rodin Museum. Contemplate innovative art exhibitions such as Moveables and Tomashi Jackson: Across the Universe at UPenn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, internationally recognized as a prominent venue for Contemporary art and culture. Or see comedy shows, catch the latest broadway musical, and watch The Philadelphia Orchestra perform at Kimmel Cultural Campus.

Pro: Plenty of Philadelphia Parks

Stay active while exploring the many outdoor recreation spots throughout Philadelphia! Visit the Historic Strawberry Mansion, go for a stroll through the Japanese gardens, or go horseback riding at Fairmount Parkthe largest landscaped urban park in the world. Go kayaking, take a riverboat tour, or catch some catfish along the Schuylkill Banks. Enjoy birdwatching, biking, and horseback riding on dozens of miles of trails in the serene wilderness at Wissahickon Valley Park. Set up a relaxing outdoor picnic with the family, take a ride on the carousel, and play a few rounds of mini golf at Franklin Square. Enjoy interactive water fountains, live music performances, outdoor movie screenings, and ice skating just outside Philadelphia City Hall at Dilworth Park. And during the summer months, relax under the colorful neon trees, walk the boardwalk, and play lawn games at Spruce Street Harbor Park.

Pro: Lots of Family-Friendly Things to Do in Philadelphia

When you move to Philadelphia, you’ll find no shortage of kid-friendly activities and attractions. Take part in the Nature Blazer scavenger hunt, hand-feed a variety of colorful birds, or get up close with lemurs at America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo. Go on a guided Morning Magic Tour, explore the indoor galleries, or walk through the outdoor sculpture labyrinth—which features the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar—at Philadelphia Magic Gardens. Ice skate or relax by the fire pits during Winterfest and roller skate or play boardwalk games during Summerfest on the Delaware River Waterfront at Independence Blue Cross RiverRink. Attend the Italian Market Festival, browse the unique shops, and try some delicious food from the vendors at South 9th Street Italian Market. Let your children explore fun and interactive exhibits like Fairytale Garden, Rocket Room, and Centennial Innovations at Please Touch Museum. Or watch a show in the Fels Planetarium, attend live demonstrations, and explore immersive science exhibits like Wondrous Space at The Franklin Institute.

Pro: Talented Philly Sports Teams

Feel the energy from the crowds as sports lovers root for their favorite teams in The City of Brotherly Love! Bring the family to see the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) score a touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field. Grab some snacks from the concessions stand and enjoy a Philadelphia Phillies (MLB) ballgame at Citizens Bank Park. Watch the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) hit the ice or cheer on the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) as they dribble down the court at Wells Fargo Center. Or root for Philadelphia Union (MLS) players to score some goals at Subaru Park.

Pro: Amazing Restaurants in Philadelphia

While Philadelphia is famous for its cheesesteaks, that’s certainly not the only delicious food you’ll find in the city. Start your morning with fresh baked goods and pastries like Chocolate Cannoli, Regina Biscotti, or Almond Horn at longstanding local favorite, Termini Bros Bakery. Enjoy a mix of Jewish and Tex-Mex homestyle cooking with the Enfrijoladas, Breakfast Bomb, and Honey Cristo at Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat. Looking for a great Mediterranean restaurant in Philadelphia? Try the Cyprus Potato Chips, Salmon Kebab, or Chicken Shish at Kanella. Order Israeli dishes like the Pomegranate Lamb Shoulder, Smoked Sweet Potato, and Bulgarian Kebab at Zahav. If you’re in the mood for carry-out, chow down the Buffalo Chicken Grandma Pie, Upside Down Pizza, or The Pietro Pizza from Angelo’s Pizzeria. Or stick with the classics and find some of the best cheesesteaks in Philly—including the Bacon Cheesesteak, Loaded Cheesesteak, or Pizza Steak—from local favorite, Sonny’s Famous Steaks.

Cons of Living in Philadelphia

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While there are many positives about life in Philly, there are some important things to consider before relocating. Learn more about the cons of moving to Philadelphia.

Con: Heavy Traffic & Limited Parking

If you’re thinking of living in Philadelphia, be prepared for longer commutes. With a population over 1.5 million, Philly is one of the most congested cities in the U.S., which sometimes leads to hours of traffic delays. Finding parking spaces can be a challenge, as well. The Philadelphia Parking Authority monitors thousands of parking spaces around the city, and due to confusing signage and specific rules, regulations, and hours, it may be tricky to figure out where you can and can’t park. However, Philadelphia is recognized as the most walkable city in the nation, and has an efficient public transportation system, so it’s easy to get around without owning a vehicle.

Con: Limited Alcohol Purchase Options

Pennsylvania has some of the most restrictive liquor license laws in the nation, meaning it’s not always a convenient one-stop shop for those looking to purchase beer, wine, or liquor. Since the end of Prohibition in 1933, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has mandated where certain alcoholic beverages can be sold. Hard liquor can only be purchased at state-owned Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and select distilleries. Beer and wine can be purchased at a variety of places, but there are still quantity limits in place according to the type of license they have. Despite these restrictions, residents can still enjoy the thriving Philly nightlife scene at many of the areas local cocktail bars, breweries, nightclubs, and more!

Con: High Philadelphia Crime Rate

Like many of the largest cities in the U.S., safety is more of a concern in Philadelphia than other areas. Residents express that public safety is the largest issue facing the city, and Philly’s crime rate is 131% higher than the U.S. average. However, Philadelphia is actually safer than nearby cities like Baltimore and there are plenty of initiatives in place to help keep citizens safe. In fact, the Philadelphia Police Foundation recently spent half a million dollars to reduce crime and increase safety by providing better staffing, equipment, and support for the department and community.

Con: More Taxes in Philadelphia

Living or working in Philly may affect your regular budget. Philadelphia has some of the highest tax rates in the nation, with wage taxes being a large contributor. On top of regular federal and state income taxes, employers withhold additional wage taxes at a rate of 3.75% for Philadelphia residents, while non-residents who work in the city pay 3.44% of their earnings. For many, however, the city’s excellent job market is worth it. Not only is a 24% growth rate projected over the next decade, but Philadelphians can find great jobs in diverse industries like life sciences, education, financial services, technology, advanced manufacturing, and more. Plus, several remarkable Fortune 500 employers are headquartered in the city!


If you’re considering moving to Philadelphia, Life Storage offers storage units in the area to make your move easier. Find self storage units in Philadelphia today!

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