Moving to Philadelphia? Congratulations! You’re about to get acquainted with one of the country’s most historic and culturally diverse cities. With over 1.5 million folks calling this great city home, Philly may be the second-largest city on the East coast,n folks calling this great city home, Philly may be the East Coast’s second-largest city on the East Coast with over 1.5 million residents, but its many eclectic and unique neighborhoods give it a small-town feel.
So before you load up your belongings and head for the land of cheesesteaks and water ice, why not learn a few Philadelphia facts and get to know your soon-to-be home?
9 Things to Know About Philadelphia Before Moving There
1. There’s lots to do in Philadelphia.
The last thing anybody would call Philly is boring. There are lots of things to see and do, which is why it attracts millions of tourists each year. But luckily, since you’re moving there, you’ll get to explore it at your leisure.
Philadelphia is known for its many museums, including dozens of outdoor sculptures and murals. Philly has the largest amount of public artwork in the world! It’s one of the few incredible places that fully embraces street art, and you’ll find plenty of it no matter which neighborhood you claim as your own.
Then there are the countless world-class entertainment options, parks, plays, restaurants, and bars! When you move to Philadelphia, America’s oldest still-operating theater is right on Walnut Street, and you’ll never be short of pop-up events, beer gardens, and more.
2. Philly has free stuff.
You may not feel like spending much after your big move, especially if you’re still getting organized. But if you feel like getting out and about for a breather, it’s good to know that Philly has lots of free activities you can enjoy.
Check out the following five free activities for starters:
- Independence Visitor Center at 599 Market Street.
- The Liberty Bell Center on 6th and Market Streets.
- Independence Hall and Congress Hall at 520 Chestnut Street
- The Rocky Statue and Steps at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
- The Love Sculpture at 1500 Arch Street.
3. It has heaps of American history.
As you may have noticed from the list above, Philadelphia is packed with historical landmarks. After all, it was the birthplace of American freedom and where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed. Many of the Founding Fathers called Philly home, too, and the Old City district is a must-see.
For a one-stop-shop to brush up on your Philadelphia history, the National Constitution Center should be your first port of call. As soon as you’re done, browse through a few of the used book stores in Old City and check out Shane Confectionery, America’s Oldest Candy Store!
4. Housing prices are low in Philadelphia.
Did you know it’s cheaper to buy than to rent in Philadelphia? If you’ve been on the fence about this one, then you’ll be pleased to know house prices on average are among the lowest in the northeastern United States. It also has a low property tax of 0.98%, even lower than across the state in Pittsburgh, where it’s 1.55%.
So, if you’re moving to Philadelphia to rent, you’re in the right place if you want to get your money’s worth as a home buyer in the future. With so many of Philly’s neighborhoods on the rise, the city is far more welcoming to first-time homebuyers and real estate investors than most other American cities.
5. Chestnut Hill is great for families.
If you’re moving to Philadelphia with your family, then consider affluent yet homey Chestnut Hill as a relocation destination. This neighborhood has a lot of family-friendly attractions, including the Morris Arboretum, Children’s Music Express, and dozens of adorable parks, shops, and playgrounds up and down Germantown Avenue. It’s also not far from Fairmount Park, Philly’s largest municipal park, which is home to plenty of walking and biking trails as well as the Philadelphia Zoo!
If you’re looking for great schools for your kids, Chestnut Hill is also home to several good public, as well as private, schools and has a free library. It even boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the city.
6. Manayunk is great for young professionals.
If you’re moving to Philadelphia to connect with the younger professional crowd, then Manayunk, just 15 minutes from the city center, is a great neighborhood for you. With lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs, along with incredible local festivals like the StrEAT Food Truck Festival every spring, there’s always something going on. It’s known for being a dog-friendly district, too, so a perfect place to live if you have a canine friend. Your pooch will love a walk along the hill to Pretzel Park.
There’s a wide variety of housing types in this neighborhood, too, from turn-of-the-century row homes to contemporary townhouses to chic lofts and even a few converted churches.
7. There are plenty of other great neighborhoods in Philly to move to.
Apart from Chestnut Hill and Manayunk, there are lots of other neighborhoods to check out if you’re moving to Philadelphia. Each has something to offer. For instance, there’s…
- Rittenhouse Square and Old City for Philadelphia history buffs.
- University City for students and hospital staff.
- Fishtown for hipsters.
- Callowhill for live music lovers.
- Fairmount for fine art connoisseurs.
…and so many more. There are dozens more neighborhood niches in Philly to discover.
8. It is situated above sea level.
If you’re concerned about global warming, here’s one of the Philadelphia facts you may want to know: is it above sea level?
Rest assured that most of the city is. The lowest point in Philly is 10 feet above sea level near the Delaware River, while the highest point is 445 feet above sea level in Chestnut Hill–another good reason to move to this neighborhood!
9. Philadelphia has a lot of nicknames.
The two most common nicknames Philadelphia has are ‘The City of Brotherly Love’ and ‘Philly,’ but there are lots of others that you may not have heard of.
Other nicknames for Philadelphia:
- The City of Neighborhoods
- The City of Brotherly Shove
- The Workshop of the World
- The Quaker City
- The Cradle of Liberty
- The Athens of America, and finally
- Our favorite: The City That Loves You Back!
Moving to a new city can be nerve-wracking, but you’ll find Philly offers all the benefits of a big city without the intensity. If you’re still not sure, take a trip there first and check it out in person! Grab yourself a water ice (it’s pronounced “wooder”) and stroll around. Take in the city, see some sights, and keep a close watch out for the bicyclists! Philadelphia is sure to enchant you, and you’ll be even more excited to call it home.
Need storage space to help you move to Philly? Life Storage offers free moving truck rentals to all new customers!
Update: This post was originally published on June 6, 2018, and was revised on July 5, 2020, with new information from Philadelphia expert, Mary O’Brien.