Moving to Philly?
There is no city in country quite like Philadelphia. Besides claiming status as the birthplace of the American democracy, this metropolis of six million is an exciting, idiosyncratic, delicious contradiction you’ll relish getting to know.
Philly is large in population, yet small and perfectly walk-able in scale. It’s hip and sophisticated with world-class museums and restaurants that regularly land on nationwide best-of lists, yet grounded in a blue-collar past that celebrates sandwiches, sports and neighborhood block parties.
It’s dense and urban, a mostly uninterrupted grid of redbrick rowhomes that stretches for miles, but relief comes in beautiful parks, a pair of rivers, evergreen forests, botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuaries all within the city limits—not to mention sprawling countryside, the Atlantic Ocean and Pocono Mountains all just an hour away.
So congratulations on having the foresight to move here. Your friends will likely follow you in a year or two.
Though Philly is easy to navigate on foot or by bike — there’s a bike share program that’s expanding its network couple months — it’s definitely a driving city. People own cars and use them. Fortunately, traffic is not as much a problem with the exception of the main highways, I-95, which runs along the Delaware River on the east side of town, and I-76, which follows the curve of the Schuylkill River before curving out to the western suburbs. (Of the two, 76 is by far the more nightmarish.)
The more salient issue with owning a car in Philly is parking. It can be tight, especially in popular residential neighborhoods like Fishtown and East Passyunk, where locals can get… let’s say creative… with where to park their vehicles.
Public transit is decent, with regular buses running across and up and down the city’s grid, and a subway system that can get you to most points in town relatively efficiently. Complementing that is a healthy ride-share industry that can get you where you want to go quickly and affordably.
Count on four full seasons in Philadelphia. Fall and spring are absolutely gorgeous, with relatively mild temperatures and lovely foliage. You can expect a few minor snowfalls and one major blizzard each winter. Summer weather ranges from pleasantly warm to unbearable, the heat compounded by extreme humidity. It’s highly suggested to befriend a local with a beach or mountain house.
The Philadelphia economy is powered by big and small businesses. Despite rapidly rising prices, real estate is still affordable relative to many other major cities — wait till you see what you can get in Philly versus DC, Boston or New York — which makes the barrier to entry low for indie upstarts and the creative class.
The city is also nexus of educational and medical institutions, some of the largest employers. Fortune 500 companies like Comcast, Aramark, Dupont and Campbell’s Soup are all headquartered in the metro region.
Unemployment rate: 5.2% (June 2016)
Average weekly wages for all industries: $1210 (4Q 2015)