16 Pros and Cons of Living in Philadelphia, PA

Updated On November 9, 2023

If Philadelphia makes the list of top cities you are considering moving to, you’ll be happy to know that you’re in good hands.

Philadelphia may make you think of Philly cheese steaks and perhaps the American Revolution.

But the city has more to offer than those two things.

Philadelphia is a city full of rich history that openly welcomes newcomers.

However, this may not be the best city for everyone.

So, before you take the leap, this guide will prepare you and help you determine whether Philadelphia is a good choice.

Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA

Pros of Living in Philadelphia, PA

1. Affordable Living

The cost of living in Philadelphia is very affordable.

This may be surprising to some, considering it is the sixth-largest city in the country.

The average home value in Philadelphia is much lower than the national average.

And if you’re looking to rent instead of own, you will find that rent in the city is much lower compared to Washington D.C., and cities in New York.

Furthermore, the cost of groceries is 4% lower than the national average, while healthcare costs here are 6% below the national average.

2. Rich History

Philadelphia is a city that is full of history, starting with the famous Philly cheese steak.

Both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed in the city of Philadelphia.

Furthermore, Philadelphia is home to the Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell.

You will see history everywhere you turn in Philadelphia, including the museums here.

This is truly what makes Philadelphia a town worthy of living in.

3. Reliable Public Transit System

One of the biggest advantages of living in Philadelphia is the excellent public transportation system.

In total, there are a little over 70 bus routes, a rail system, and a subway.

Approximately 25% of people living here rely heavily on public transportation.

The average commute time is about 45 minutes.

If you don’t want to rely on a vehicle, you may be in luck if you’re considering moving to Philadelphia.

4. Plenty of Museums & Art Galleries

If you have a love for art and history, you will enjoy living in Philadelphia.

Some of the most notable museums include the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Franklin Library.

The city is also home to several art museums featuring stunning art galleries and much more.

There’ll never be a dull moment if you’re considering moving to Philadelphia.

5. High Bike & Walk Score

The walk score in Philadelphia is 100 out of 100, which means you don’t have to rely on a car to get from one place to another.

Biking is also a preferred option among residents here in the city.

The neighborhoods are small but full of public transportation and sidewalks.

Even though the streets in the city are narrow, Philadelphia is ranked sixth among the nation’s most walkable cities.

6. Lots of Diversity

There are approximately 25 neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Every one of them has its own unique culture and a different vibe to go with it.

There are a variety of restaurants, historical landmarks, and boutiques to check out.

But on the other side of town, there’s lively street art and different shops located in Northern Liberties and Fishtown.

We also can’t forget to mention the Italian Market in Bella Vista, which has a small Italian town vibe to it, making this a city with plenty of diversity.

7. Plenty of Activities for Children

If you have children, you are going to love all that Philadelphia has to offer them.

It’s a town overflowing with kid-friendly activities, including parks, museums, and much more.

Check out the Please Touch Museum, where children can check out the various exhibits and educational activities.

The Philadelphia Zoo is always a great adventure for kids of all ages.

Also, the parks in town host various music performances and puppet shows.

You’ll never have to worry about running out of things to do around town to keep your children entertained.

8. Great for Education

Whether you’re looking for a high-quality education for yourself or your kids, you’ll find it in Philadelphia.

The colleges in town have one of the largest populations of students in the entire country.

Some notable universities in town include Drexel and Temple Universities.

Also, the University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia.

Following graduation, many students choose to make Philadelphia their permanent home, giving this town a more vigorous feel.

Cons of Living in Philadelphia, PA

1. Issues with Crime

Just like other large cities around the country, Philadelphia has issues with crime.

The city faces many crime-related challenges, particularly violent crimes.

Overall, the rates are higher than the national average.

In fact, the violent crime rate in Philadelphia is almost double that of the country’s average.

It’s obvious that there are certain areas in the city that experience more crime than others.

Theft and burglary crimes have been consistently high, while the city is still struggling to get gun violence under control.6

2. High Wage Taxes

If wage taxes are important to you, you may want to think twice about moving to Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, wage taxes are extremely high.

If you work or live in Philadelphia, you will be responsible for paying wage taxes.

If you’re a resident of Philadelphia, your rate will be around 3.8%.

For non-residents, the rate is 3.5%.

While this may not sound like too much to you, over time these numbers will add up.

3. Terrible Traffic

Traffic can be a real pain in Philadelphia.

No matter the time of day, you may end up dealing with a considerable amount of traffic within the city.

Philadelphia ranks ninth as the most congested city in the country.

If you commute to and from work on a daily basis in the city, each year you will have spent a total of 112 hours in traffic.

Rush-hour traffic is particularly horrible.

Most of the interstates deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic during these times, especially on Interstate 95.

4. Issues with Overcrowding

Philadelphia definitely has a lot to offer to those who live here.

But there are many challenges the city faces, including overcrowding.

As mentioned above, traffic is particularly at a standstill, especially during rush hour.

And to make matters worse, public transportation can be brutal during these hours.

Many trains and buses are packed, with hardly any room to breathe.

Walking downtown Philadelphia can quickly become overwhelming as you deal with crowds of people on the sidewalks.

5. Odd Liquor Licensing Laws

If you’ve ever purchased a bottle of liquor or wine in the city of Philadelphia, you’ll know just how odd the liquor licensing laws can be.

In the state of Pennsylvania, the majority of liquor can only be purchased at stores that the state runs.

So, don’t count on finding your favorite bottle of wine outside these select stores.

Are you looking to buy a six-pack of beer?

You’ll need to travel to an actual beer distributor to purchase it.

6. Issues with Parking

Driving in Philly can already create a headache.

But besides driving, parking can create many unnecessary challenges in Philly.

Finding a parking spot in the city can really feel as if you’ve won the lottery.

Street parking is hard to find by itself, especially in areas including University City and Center City.

There are many parking laws that can be confusing to understand.

Central parking spots are in high demand in Philadelphia because there are so many people looking for the exact same thing.

Parking garages are an option, but they can be extremely pricey.

7. Harsh Winters

Winter in Philadelphia can be extremely difficult to get adjusted to, especially if you aren’t used to having snow during the winter.

Winters in Philly can be dreadful, especially since you’ll be dealing with both frigid temperatures and frequent snowstorms.

Temperatures struggle to make it into the lower 20s during the winter.

Every year, Philly tends to get at least one or two major snowstorms that can cause a real nightmare.

8. Limited Job Market

Even though the city of Philadelphia is home to some fine hospitals and universities, it can still be challenging to find a great job here.

This is mainly due to the amount of competition for higher-paying jobs.

Finding the perfect job can be difficult despite having many education, healthcare, and finance employers in town.

So, before you move too quickly, make sure you have all of your ducks in order.

Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA

Pros and Cons of Living in Philadelphia, PA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Philadelphia, PACons of Living in Philadelphia, PA
1. Affordable Living1. Issues with Crime
2. Rich History2. High Wage Taxes
3. Reliable Public Transit System3. Terrible Traffic
4. Plenty of Museums & Art Galleries4. Issues with Overcrowding
5. High Bike & Walk Score5. Odd Liquor Licensing Laws
6. Lots of Diversity6. Issues with Parking
7. Plenty of Activities for Children7. Harsh Winters
8. Great for Education8. Limited Job Market

Philadelphia Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Philadelphia Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Philadelphia a great place to live?

Philadelphia is considered an excellent location to live if you are a person who enjoys living in a town full of history and diversity.

Philadelphia is full of spirit and life, with various cultural attractions

However, you must also take other things into account, such as traffic, congestion, and a limited job market.

What are some fun things to do in Philadelphia?

It’s obvious that Philadelphia is full of great food, including plenty of options for fine dining and food trucks.

Also, if you’re a sports fanatic, you’ll be able to check out games at the local arenas and stadiums where the 76ers, Phillies, and Eagles play.

There are plenty of options for those looking to spend more time being active, including Fairmount Park.

What are some of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia?

Consider the following neighborhoods if you’re thinking about moving to Philadelphia:

  • Fishtown
  • Society Hill
  • Old City
  • Fairmount
  • Filter Square
  • Passyunk Square
  • Northern Liberties

What are some of the highest-paying jobs in Philadelphia?

Some jobs with the highest salaries in Philadelphia are:

  • Financial managers
  • Healthcare
  • Marketing managers
  • Sales management
  • Psychiatrists
  • Dentists
  • Engineering and architecture

What type of weather does Philadelphia have?

If you’re thinking about moving to Philadelphia, you must get adjusted to the drastic changes in weather.

The winters in Philadelphia can be brutally cold, with a large amount of snowfall.

But the remaining seasons tend to be pleasant and perfect for spending time outdoors.

On average, temperatures during the winter hang around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, while 76 degrees Fahrenheit is the average temperature in the summer.

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