What You Should Know Before Moving to Philadelphia

skyline of philadelphia

Get insider information on the heartbeats of the City of Brotherly Love

Rittenhouse Square realtor Maxwell Realty has been assisting homeowners in Philadelphia for more than 50 years; we know a thing or two about what keeps bringing people to our fabulous city, and how to make your new residence work for you.

Philadelphia is a thriving city that has a rich history from our founding fathers, tons to offer in arts and culture, architecture, dining (AMAZING restaurants), recreation, lots of green spaces and parks throughout, universities, education, and a growing employment market. This has made Philadelphia a magnet for Washington, DC and NYC residents, who are seeking a big-city feel and a more moderate cost of living.

And Philadelphia, known as “Philly,” has moxie and spirit! We love our sports teams, the Eagles, the Phillies, 76ers, and we plan to win another Super Bowl, sooner than later, too.

People Are Relocating to Philadelphia and Calling It Home in 2022

Philadelphia is the second largest city on the East Coast, and its population count ranks fifth in the U.S. The last ten years have had an influx of new residents and an incredible surplus of development in our neighborhoods. The stats are here: people are invested in buying a home in Philadelphia. Ask any local if they notice if people are moving to Philly (the lingo we use) and they will make mention of all of the new construction sites and new buildings they pass every day.

As of 2022, there are 1,619,355 residents in Philly, and the population is growing yearly at a rate of .48% (by 7,7779 people).

In 2020, about 7,500 New Yorkers relocated to Philadelphia, according to the location service company Unacast.

Philadelphia offers the most affordable property in a thriving city with the most affordable options:

  • Washington, DC average home cost: $703, 567
  • NYC average home cost: $779,000
  • Philly average home cost: $279,832

Are there enough employment opportunities that make Philadelphia worth moving to?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that as of August 2022, Philadelphia’s job growth rate was 4.3 percent, surpassing the 3.8 percent national gain. Philadelphia has significant growth in the tech, biotech, and healthcare industries. If this is your expertise, Philadelphia has a lot to offer.

Education and health service thrive in Philadelphia as well: University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine, Thomas Jefferson Hospitals, and Virtua Health are a few of our major health employers.

In 2021, 13 Philadelphia area companies made Fortune 500 company list:

  • AmerisourceBergen (placed no. 8 of 500!)
  • Comcast Corp (placed no. 26 of 500)
  • DuPont (no. 144)
  • Lincoln National Corp (no. 172)
  • Corteva (no. 214)
  • Aramark (no. 235)
  • Crown Holdings (no. 269)
  • Universal Health Services (no. 270)
  • Campbell Soup Company (no. 335)
  • Toll Brothers (no. 411)
  • UGI Corp (no. 436)
  • Avantor (no. 438)
  • Burlington Stores (no. 471)

Two Philadelphia-are companies made Fortune 500’s 2022 top places to work: Comcast Corp (no. 16 of 500) and SAP America, Inc. (no. 54 of 500).

The Good Jobs Challenge Grant was awarded to Philadelphian 2022, pumping $22.8 million into PhilaWorks, the city’s Workforce Development Board: PhilaWorks connects employers to workforce talent and uses a model that includes training to produce necessary talent. This will reinforce our job market and your decision to make Philadelphia home!

Philadelphia’s tech jobs created the largest pay increase in 2022 and quicker growth than Silicone Valley! If you are tech-savvy and qualified, Philadelphia has the opportunities. In 2022, the average tech salary in Philadelphia increased from $127,000 (2001) to $142,000. In 2021, Philadelphia gained 2,710 tech jobs.  In addition to pay increases, tech workers have more leverage and are getting practical benefits, employer-matching 401ks, and healthcare.

Philly has 115,450 tech jobs that represent 4.3% of the total local workforce. 60,000 software developers and programmers are represented in this total. This is a 7 percent increase from 2016. Tech degrees are being earned in Philadelphia, too! In 2022, 6,050 people earned degrees in tech and computer engineering.

How Safe is Philadelphia?

Philadelphia does have a high rate of crime and research has shown that it is attributed to drug use in certain neighborhoods. In Philadelphia, there is a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime. The ten neighborhoods to avoid are:

  • Toga-Nicetown
  • Huntington Park
  • Strawberry Mansion
  • Fairhill
  • Allegheny West
  • Harrowgate
  • Haddington-Carroll Park
  • Elmwood
  • Frankford
  • North Central

None of these neighborhoods are where people typically move to. These are more poverty-stricken and contained; however, it is worthwhile to always be cautious.

Where are the best places to move to in Philadelphia?

What is There to Do for Entertainment in Philadelphia?

We may rebuttal that with what is there not to do? We Philadelphians will not leave you missing much as our arts, culture and music scenes are near and dear to our hearts. Philadelphia has the largest public art collection in the U.S. and is the “Mural Capital of the World.” The original American Bandstand began

right here, in Philadelphia, and The Academy of Music is the oldest existing opera house in the United States, home of the Pennsylvania Ballet. There is always art to see and experience in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is internationally renowned for its collection of over 4,000 works of community-based public art. With that being said, approximately 50-100 new works are commissioned yearly.

Mural Arts Philadelphia was founded in 1984 to root out graffiti and transform public spaces with art. Visit www.muralarts.org to explore their initiatives, and available tours, or text the word “MURAL” to 215.608.1866 to receive a link to their self-guided tours.

Every year over 15,000 residents and visitors participate in the mural arts tours.

Museums of all sorts from oddities to historical to art, you have so many choices. There are approximately 99 museums of all different genres. It may take a bit, but it is certainly worth making your rounds.

Art Museums

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art: Originated in 1876 for Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition and completed in 1928. Holds over 240,000 pieces from all over the world. Contains the most important collection of Thomas Eakins’ paintings in the world.
  • Rodin Museum
  • The Barnes Foundation: Hosts the world’s greatest collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern art.
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art or “PAFA”: Founded in 1805, the first art school and museum in the country. Exceptionally beautiful Fitness-Hewitt architecture (created in 1875) contains this wonderful collection of American art. Undergraduate and graduate courses are offered.
  • The Institute of Contemporary Art or “ICA”: Part of University of Pennsylvania and stands out as “a non-collecting museum.” Host of Andy Warhol’s first ever solo museum show, and continues its commitment to “bring under-recognized artists to the attention of a broader world.”
  • Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: Mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar’s three-city lot masterpiece.
  • Penn Museum: Host to 400,000 archeological finds and ethnographic objects from all over the world. Showcases an impressive mummy collection of artifacts.
  • The Perelman Building: A Philadelphia Art Museum’s Annex originating in 2007, offers over 150,000 prints, drawings, and photographs; 30,000 costume and textiles, and over 1,000 modern and contemporary artifacts.
  • The Center for Art in Wood: Has four parts to i: the Gerry Lenfest Gallery, The Fleur & Charles Lester Research Library, the collection, and the Len Sherlock Museum Store. It hosts a collection of approximately 1,200 pieces.

Historical Museums

  • Museum of the American Revolution: Known to offer an honest and raw, alternate narrative experience.
  • The African American Museum: Depicts the Philadelphia African American experience from colonial times to date
  • The Rosenbach: Charming Rittenhouse square house museum with a rare book library collection of British and American literature, holding 400,000 items. Many wonderful lectures, online learning and events are hosted here; occasionally, events are hosted in the lovely manicured garden out back
  • Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum: Family-friendly, with ride-on cars for children and a private automobile collection of antique cars
  • The Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site: The only Philadelphia residence of Poe’s that still exists – Poe rented this site in 1843 – tours are available. “The Black Cat” and “The Raven” are thought to have been written here. Another Halloween favorite to tour in October.

Science Museums

  • The Franklin Institute: An interactive science museum with the world’s largest collection of artifacts from the Wrights brothers’ workshop and an observatory to view the stars.
  • The Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical heritage Institute): “Collects and shares stories of the innovators and scientific discoveries that shape our lives.”
  • The Mutter Museum: Originating in an alternate location (13th and Locust) in 1863, Dr. Mutter created this museum to improve and change medical education. About 130,000 visitors per year come to view preserved specimens, models and medical instruments.

Another Historical Must…

Eastern State Penitentiary: Most expensive prison ever constructed and site where Al Capone served time. Art installations are also hosted here and a popular “haunted house” during the Halloween season.

Philadephia Entertainment Venues

The Philadelphia music scene is known for its rock, rap, jazz and pop artists. The talent that has come from Philadelphia is vast: from operatic Mario Lanza, to Billie Holiday, Hall & Oates, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon, Vic Damone, Chubby Checker, Jim Croce, Patti Labelle, The Dead Milkmen, Boys II Men, The O’Jays, Todd Rundgren, Pink, The Roots, Meek Mill, Jill Scott..we have to stop somewhere. The underground music scene is great, too; there is a lot to be heard here.

Chris’ Jazz Café: The longest operating live jazz club in Philadelphia. Lunch and dinner menu, small intimate tables. Great atmosphere.

The Met: A gorgeous, restored 110 year-old former opera house. Opened in 2018 with Bob Dylan, it is a superior pleasure to watch a show here. Great views, great setup.

Theatre of Living Arts or “TLA”: A South Street staple and a more intimate space. Check listings – well-known acts pass through.

World Café Live: University of Penn’s indie radio station inspired this amazing space that hosts two venues and a restaurant. Intimate in its design, and really wonderful variety of artists.

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts: On the Avenue of the Arts, hosts live musical theater, dance, jazz, and a variety of performance art.

Philadelphia theatre is plentiful, whether on the Avenue of the Arts or in a small independent venue. The Philly Fringe Festival celebrates the spirit of theatre in Philadelphia, and his hosted every September with a growing number of pop-up, innovative theatre — it’s not to be missed!

  • Walnut Street Theatre
  • Arden Theatre
  • Merriam Theatre
  • Play & Players Theatre
  • The Wilma Theatre
  • Suzanne Roberts Theatre

Where Can I Go For Recreation in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia is considered to be one of the top 5 greenest cities: it has a Greenworks Philadelphia Initiative and it has an energy benchmark and solar rebate program.

Philadelphia has plenty of places to walk, run, and ride your bike. Roads are being repurposed every day with bike lanes and thoughtful entrances and exits to make commuting an experience that can be shared in whatever wheel form you desire, or should you be running or walking on foot. Philadelphia residents also relish people-watching in parks, picnicking, walking their dogs, or just taking a load off.

Great for running, walking, biking…

  • Schuylkill River Banks and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • Penns’ Landing
  • Fairmount Park
  • Forbidden Drive
  • The Navy Yard
  • FDR Park
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge pedestrian lane

Parks meant for socializing, relaxing, or playing contained games…

  • Franklin Square Park
  • Rittenhouse Square Park
  • Logan Square Park
  • Washington Square Park
  • Fitler Square Park
  • Jefferson Square Park
  • Penn Treaty Park
  • Dilworth Park

Where Are the Best Places to Eat in Philadelphia?

This is just an unfair question — it would take forever to list all of the wonderful places. We are a bit spoiled and probably every other person you meet in Philadelphia is a foodie.

  • Breakfast favorites: The Fitzwater Café, Café La Maude, and Sabrina’s
  • Lunch: El Vez, Parc, and Tria.
  • Dinner: The Saloon, Dante and Luigi’s, L’Angolo’s, Panorama, Suraya, and Irwin’s.

And where are the best places to get a drink in Philadelphia? Well, it depends on who you’re with!

  • With friends: Frankford Hall, The Standard Tap, Barcelona, Franky Bradley’s.
  • Date: 1 Tippling Place, Writer’s Block Rehab, The Ranstead Room, and Hop Sing Laundromat.
  • Business: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, Treble & Bass Bar, Good Dog Bar.

Where Do I Go Shopping in Philadelphia?

  • Olde City for boutiques, furniture, or lighting
  • Rittenhouse Square for clothing, shoes and accouterments
  • Reading Terminal for local and fresh produce and food from a variety of vendors.
  • 9th Street Italian Market for fresh fish or meats from the butcher.

What are some insider tips about living in Philadelphia?

Philadelphians love their city and are very loyal to their sports teams (although we can turn our backs and do some insensitive name-calling when losing, we are ever-faithful in the end). We love to share information and offer advice about where you should and should not frequent business —ask away! You may get a long story, but you will be steered the right way. We are friendly and wear our hearts on our sleeves, and we love having new neighbors.

Covid brought a real stand-still, but the built-in tenacity of the Philadelphia community continues to shine through: we made a record for the amount of construction activity that went before the civic design review (CDR) in 2022. The National Historic Preservation Department doubled its staff to ensure that older buildings would not be sacrificed to some of the newly proposed plans — that is how much of a demand there was for construction.

Philadelphia real estate is a great investment. Maxwell Realty celebrates the Philadelphia community and all of its efforts to enhance the arts, eco-friendly environments, the job market, and the cultural arena. There is so much experiencing and living to do in Philadelphia! Reach out to Rittenhouse Square Realtor Maxwell Realty with any questions —we would be thrilled to help in any way, and to call you neighbor!