Moving to Philadelphia: What You Need to Know

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Are you thinking about moving to the east coast? 

Or maybe you already live in the east coast but looking to start a new life chapter in maybe the state of Pennsylvania?

Well, Philadelphia being the 6th most populous city in the US and the most populous in Pennsylvania certainly has a lot to offer and is an amazing place to live.

Whether you are a student, young professional, or a whole family thinking about moving to Philadelphia, we encourage you to do so and in this blog we will show you why.

Philadelphia is a great place for families, with many fun and unique neighborhoods to choose from.

With affordable housing, job opportunities in the healthcare and education industries, incredible arts and culture, and highly-rated universities, The city of Philadelphia has become a top destination for people who want to live on the East Coast.

Let’s see what Philadelphia has to offer and why moving to Philadelphia might be just the right option for you!

Philadelphia buildings with pink sky

About Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States. With a population of 1,603,797 it is the sixth-most-populous city in the United States.

It is also the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, and the second-most populous city on the East Coast of the United States, behind New York City.

Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most-populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the seventh largest metropolitan area in the nation, with more than 6 million residents

Philadelphia is the economic and cultural center of the greater Delaware Valley along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill rivers within the Northeast megalopolis.

Train on a bridge

Philadelphia History

  • Philadelphia is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States and played a central role in the country’s founding.
    William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony.
  • Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, and the Constitution at the Philadelphia Conventionof 1787.
  • Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, and the Siege of Fort Mifflin.
  • Philadelphia remained the nation’s largest city until 1790, when it was surpassed by New York City.
  • It served as the nation’s first capitaland as the nation’s capital during the American Revolution.
  • After the Revolution, from 1790 to 1800, it again served as the U.S. capital while Washington, D.C. was under construction.
  • In the 19th and 20th centuries, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and a railroad hub. Its industrial jobs attracted European immigrants, most of whom initially came from Ireland and Germany – the two largest reported ancestry groups in the city.

  • Later immigrant groups in the 20th century came from Italy (Italian being the third-largest European ethnic ancestry currently reported in Philadelphia) and other Southern European and Eastern European countries.
  • In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War.
  • Puerto Ricans began moving to the city in large numbers in the period between World War I and II, and in even greater numbers in the post-war period. The city’s population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950.
  • Philadelphia struggled through a long period of adjustment to the new economic changes. The city in fact approached bankruptcy in the late 1980s.
  • Revitalization and gentrification of neighborhoods began in the late 1970s and continues into the 21st century, with much of the development in the Center City and University City areas of the city.
  • Historic areas such as Independence National Historical Park located in Old City and Society Hill were renovated during the reformist mayoral era of the 1950s through the 1980s. They are now among the most desirable living areas of Center City.
Photography of buildings in Philly

Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Philadelphia’s central city was created in the 17th century following the plan by William Penn’s surveyor Thomas Holme.

Center City is structured with long straight streets running east-west and north-south forming a grid pattern. The original city plan was designed to allow for easy travel and to keep residences separated by open space that would help prevent the spread of fire.

The Delaware River and Schuylkill Rivers served as early boundaries between which the city’s early street plan was kept within.

In addition, Penn planned the creation of five public parks in the city which were renamed in 1824: Center Square, North East Public Square, Northwest Square, Southwest Square , and Southeast Square.

Center City has grown into the second-most populated downtown area in the United States, after Midtown Manhattan in New York City, with an estimated 183,240 residents.

Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are divided into large sections:

  • North
  • Northeast
  • Northwest
  • West, 
  • South
  • Southwest Philadelphia

all of which surround Center City,  which corresponds closely with the city’s limits before consolidation in 1854.

Architecture

  • Philadelphia’s architectural history dates back to Colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The earliest structures were of log construction, but brick structures were common by 1700.
  • During the 18th century, the cityscape was dominated by Georgian architecture, including Independence Hall and Christ Church.
  • In the first decades of the 19th century, Federal architecture and Greek Revival architecture were dominated by Philadelphia architects.
  • Frank Furness is considered Philadelphia’s greatest architect of the second half of the 19th century.
  • The Philadelphia Historical Commission was created in 1955 to preserve the cultural and architectural history of the city. The commission maintains the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, adding historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts as it sees fit.
  • In 1932, Philadelphia became home to the first International Style skyscraper in the United States, The PSFS Building, designed by George Howe and William Lescaze. It is the United States’ first modern skyscraper and is considered the most important one built in the first part of the 20th century.
  • The 548 ft City Hall remained the tallest building in the city until 1987 when One Liberty Place was constructed.
  • In 2007, the Comcast Center surpassed One Liberty Place to become the city’s tallest building.
  • For much of Philadelphia’s history, the typical home has been the row house. The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 19th century and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as “Philadelphia rows”.
  • A variety of row houses are found throughout the city, from Victorian-style homes in North Philadelphia to twin row houses in West Philadelphia. While newer homes are scattered throughout the city, much of the housing is from the early 20th century or older.
Museum of art in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Climate

Under the Köppen climate classification, Philadelphia falls in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone.

Under the Trewartha climate classification, the city has a temperate maritime climate.

Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold.

Early fall and late winter are generally dry.

Snowfall is highly variable, with some winters bringing only light snow and others bringing several major snowstorms, with the normal seasonal snowfall standing at 22.4 in of snow.

The January daily average is 33.0 °F , though, in a normal winter, the temperature frequently rises to 50 °F during thaws and dips to 10 °F for 2 or 3 nights.

July averages 78.1 °F, although heat waves accompanied by high humidity and heat indices are frequent; highs reach or exceed 90 °F .

Did you know?

Philadelphia is home to “The world’s largest cheesesteak” .
In 1988, Philadelphia’s home football team, the Eagles, helped to create the largest sandwich that was, shocker, the length of a football field.

What does Philadelphia have to offer?

If you are thinking about moving to Philadelphia, you are probably wondering about life in Philly.

What are some amenities, activities that this beautiful city has to offer?

You are probably wondering about the education system, if there are parks, sporting events and cultural sights, etc.

Well, we have you covered and we will show you why moving to Philadelphia is an excellent idea.

Philadelphia City Hall

Culture and historical sights

Philadelphia is home to many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States.

The historical sights include:

  • Independence National Historical Park is the center of these historical landmarks being one of the country’s 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are the city’s most famous attractions.
  • Other historic sites include homes for:

– Edgar Allan Poe
– Betsy Ross
– Thaddeus Kosciuszko

As well as early government buildings like:

– the First and Second Banks of the United States
– Fort Mifflin
– The Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church

Philadelphia alone has 67 National Historic Landmarks, the third most of any city in the country.

Philadelphia’s major science museums include:

The Franklin Institute, which contains:

  • The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences
  • The Mütter Museum
  • The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

History museums include:

  • The National Constitution Center
  • The Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia History
  • The National Museum of American Jewish History
  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the state of Pennsylvania and the Masonic Library
  • Museum of Pennsylvania
  • Eastern State Penitentiary 
  • The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial

Philadelphia is home to the United States’ first zoo and hospital, as well as Fairmount Park, one of America’s oldest and largest urban parks.

The city is home to important archival repositories, including the Library Company of Philadelphia, established in 1731, and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, founded in 1814.

The Presbyterian Historical Society, the country’s oldest continuous denominational historical society, is also located there.

Did you know?

With over 2,000 outdoor murals, Philadelphia is the mural capital of the U.S.
Philadelphia is home to many local artists, many of which have participated in the creation of the murals spread across the city.

Philly sunset skyline

Great Cuisine

The city is known for its hoagies, scrapple, soft pretzels, water ice, Irish potato candy, Tastykake, and is home to the cheesesteak, developed by German and Italian immigrants.

Philadelphia boasts a number of cheesesteak establishments, however two locations in South Philadelphia are perhaps the most famous among tourists: Pat’s King of Steaks and its across the street rival Geno’s Steaks.

Its high-end restaurants include:

  • Morimoto, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first restaurant
  • Vetri, famous on the East Coast for its take on Northern Italian cuisine
  • Lacroix, a staple restaurant situated in Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia is also home to a landmark eatery founded in 1892, the Reading Terminal Market.

The enclosed public market hosts over a hundred merchants offering Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, artisan cheese and meat, locally grown groceries, and specialty and ethnic foods.

Did you know?

McGillin’s Olde Ale House, located on Drury Street in Center City, is the oldest continuously operated tavern in the city.

Amazing Parks

The total city parkland, including municipal, state and federal parks within the city limits, amounts to 11,211 acres.

Philadelphia’s largest park is Fairmount Park which includes the Philadelphia Zoo and encompasses 2,052 acres of the total parkland, while the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park contains 2,042 acres.
Fairmount Park, when combined with Wissahickon Valley Park, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States.

The two parks, along with the historic Colonial Revival, Georgian and Federal architecture contained in them, have been listed as one entity on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

The city blooms with lively urban parks and re-imagined recreational landscapes giving it a city-in-a-park feel.

Residents and visitors enjoy relaxing, picnicking and playing in these public spaces that honor Penn’s vision, including the massive trail systems of Fairmount Park and Wissahickon Valley
Park as well as the delightful riverside enclaves of Race Street Pier and the seasonal Spruce Street Harbor Park.

Did you know?

First African American church – Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was the first church for African American people. The church was established in 1787 and continues to run today.

Women doing yoga in the park

Sports

Philadelphia’s first professional sports team was baseball’s Athletics, organized in 1860. 

The Athletics were initially an amateur league team that turned professional in 1871, and then became a founding team of the current National League in 1876.

The city is one of 13 U.S. cities to have teams in all four major league sports:

  • The Philadelphia Phillies in the National League of Major League Baseball, 
  • The Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League,
  • The Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and 
  • The Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association.
  • The Phillies, formed in 1883 as the Quakers and renamed in 1884, are the oldest team continuously playing under the same name in the same city in the history of American professional sports.

  • The Philadelphia metro area is also home to the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer.

  • Philadelphia was the second of eight American cities to have won titles in all four major leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA), and also has a title in soccer (from the now-defunct North American Soccer League in the 1970s).
  • The city’s professional teams and their fans endured 25 years without a championship, from the 76ers 1983 NBA Finals win until the Phillies 2008 World Series win.
  • The Eagles won their first Super Bowl following the 2017 season.
    In 2004, ESPN placed Philadelphia second on its list of The Fifteen Most Tortured Sports Cities.

  • Philadelphia is home to the Philadelphia Big 5, a group of five NCAA Division I college basketball programs. The Big 5 are La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, and Villanova universities.
  • The sixth NCAA Division I school in Philadelphia is Drexel University. Villanova won the 1985, 2016, and 2018 championship of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Did you know?

Philadelphia is home to the first Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year marks the 102nd  anniversary of the Thanksgiving Day Parade that was founded in 1920.

Drone shot of Philadelphia City

Education

If you are moving to Philadelphia with kids you surely want to know how good Philadelhia’s education system and schools are. Well, we are here to tell you that schools are very highly ranked as well as colleges and universities, so you have nothing to worry about.

Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a rich and storied history. This history began with Benjamin Franklin’s founding of the University of Pennsylvania as a European styled school and America’s first university. Today’s Philadelphia region is home to nearly 300,000 college students, numerous private and parochial secondary schools, and the 8th largest school district in the country.

Primary and secondary education

Education in Philadelphia is provided by many private and public institutions.
The School District of Philadelphia runs the city’s public schools.

The Philadelphia School District is the eighth largest school district in the United States which operates 242 of the city’s public schools, including 163 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, and 56 high schools.

Higher Education

Philadelphia is one of the largest college towns in the U.S., with over 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city limits and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area.

More than 80 colleges, universities, trade, and specialty schools are in the Philadelphia region. One of the founding members of the Association of American Universities is in the city, the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution with claims to be the First university in the United States.

Colleges and Universities within the city:

  • The Art Institute of Philadelphia
  • Chestnut Hill College
  • Community College of Philadelphia
  • Curtis Institute of Music
  • Drexel University
  • Holy Family University
  • La Salle University
  • Moore College of Art and Design
  • Peirce College
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Philadelphia University
  • The Restaurant School
  • Saint Joseph’s University
  • Temple University
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of the Arts
  • University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
  • University of Pennsylvania

Did you know?

Reading Terminal Market – The market is the longest running farmer’s market in the nation. Vendors sell everything from fish, to vegetables, chocolate, flowers, and cheese. The Terminal Market is indoors and open all year round.

Philadelphia skyline

Call us and get your free quote today!

Moving to Philadelphia?
The best way to move your home is by having professionals move you.

That is also moving the stress from your checklist and there is a reason behind the fact that so many people contact movers for assistance.

In addition to heavy lifting of your furniture items, movers are also able to pack your whole apartment in just a day or two.

They will be able to pack your valuables such as pictures, lamps, your flat screen TV and other things much better than you would do it.

But the most important thing when hiring movers is to choose a reliable and efficient moving company such as Philadelphia Movers.

Otherwise, you may end up having more stress than ever. 

Call us today and get your quote and let’s enjoy together!