Situated in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region of the East-Coast, Philadelphia is a city full of residents who have a lot of pride in their city. While Philadelphians have a bit of a reputation for being rude and the worst sports fans, it's actually a great place to live.
If you're making your way to Philly, here are 16 things to know before you move there.
1. More people live here than you may think.
Philly is the second-largest city on the East Coast of the United States, after New York City. It's also the sixth most populous city in the US. More than 1.5 million people call it home, and its population continues to grow.
2. People might seem rude, but they're just being direct.
While people in the city can seem like jerks, don't take their directness as an insult. Philadelphians have no problem telling things like they are rather than putting on a fake smile or sugarcoating the truth. So don't expect a polite and refined vibe here.
If someone tells you your shirt is hideous, take it as a sign of love, rather than an insult. There's no place for niceties in the City of Brotherly Love.
3. The city is full of passionate sports fans.
Philly sports fans have a serious allegiance to their teams, even when they aren't doing so hot. Along with being some of the most loyal sports fans in the country, they also have a reputation for being some of the worst.
When the Eagles won their first Superbowl in 2018, fans cried, cheered, climbed street poles, and flipped some cars.
4. Philadelphia is deemed "the birthplace of the US."
Philadelphia played a big role during the time of the American Revolution. While the Lenape Native American people occupied this land for many years before the arrival of colonialists, William Penn first received a charter for what would become Pennsylvania in 1681. In the following years, Philadelphia thrived as a major US city.
On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence at the Pennsylvania State House, which we now know as Independence Hall. On July 8, the Liberty Bell rang to call citizens to hear the first reading of the declaration.
Today, you can visit the Liberty Bell outside of Independence Hall and learn about endless American History throughout the historic buildings.
5. Public transportation is decent.
SEPTA provides public transportation throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. To get around the city, you can hop on the subway, trolley, or bus. The subway is reliable, but it doesn't run to all parts of the city. Buses connect to more areas, but they don't always arrive on time. To head to outlying areas, including Malvern and Bryn Mawr, take the regional rail.
6. Don't say you're going "downtown."
While the hearts of many cities are known as downtown, this isn't the case in Philly. The hub of the city, home to skyscrapers and historic sites, is "Center City."
7. Philly is full of colleges and universities.
Philadelphia is home to over 10 institutes of higher education, including Drexel University, The University of Pennsylvania (aka Penn), and Temple University. Both Drexel and Penn are located in University City, so many students live in this area.
There are also more than 100 colleges and universities in Philadelphia suburbs, including Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford.
8. You can easily travel to other major cities.
Since Philly is centrally-located in the Mid-Atlantic, you can easily travel to other major East Coast cities. New York City, Washington, DC, and Boston are all just a train or bus ride away. Head to the gorgeous 30th Street Station to board an Amtrak train and ride to the city of your choice. Most Amtrak tickets cost $80+, so check out Megabus for a $5-10 bus ticket.
9. There's more than just cheesesteaks to eat.
While Philly is known for its cheesesteaks and soft pretzels, you can find a lot more to eat in the city. Italian immigrants have left a strong mark, and there are numerous restaurants serving up pasta, mussels, and gelato. If you're looking to make a killer cheese plate, hit up Di Bruno Bros.
While Philadelphia does have a diverse culinary scene, it still offers some classic Philadelphia foods like water ice, roast pork sandwiches, and hoagies. Michael Solomonov, Jose Garces, Marcie Turney, and Stephen Starr are well-known Philadelphia restaurant owners who serve cuisines from around the world.
10. Neighborhoods vary quite a bit.
Philadelphia is filled with over 25 unique neighborhoods. Rittenhouse Square is a high-class and expensive neighborhood surrounding Rittenhouse Park close to Center City. Chestnut Hill is another upscale neighborhood. However, it's located in Northwest Philadelphia and is known for its stately Victorian homes and green spaces.
There are plenty of hip neighborhoods offering new bars and indie art galleries set amidst row homes. Fishtown and Northern Liberties are two neighborhoods that attract a young, hip crowd. Bella Vista and Fairmont are perfect for young families with tree-lined streets and plenty of places to eat.
11. The mountains and shore are a day trip away.
If you want to escape the urban atmosphere for a day, it's easy to do so. New Jersey beaches including Ocean City, Avalon, and Atlantic City are all less than a two-hour drive away. If you're hoping to hit the mountains for a hike, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers tons of trails.
12. You don't want to miss the Mummers Parade.
Each New Year's Day, thousands of people line Broad Street to watch the Mummers Parade. The streets are filled with mummers – people dressed in colorful garb and frolicking to celebrate the new year. The parade can get a bit rowdy, and it's a much-anticipated event.
13. The cost of living isn't too bad.
Housing costs in Philadelphia are lower than in other major cities such as NYC and Boston. However, rent prices are rising. Don't expect to find an apartment under $1,000 per month, but you can plan to find a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,400 and a two-bedroom apartment for under $1,600.
14. People visit the outside of the Philadelphia Art Museum as much as the inside.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers visitors a look at paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more. However, plenty of people visit the museum just to run up "The Rocky Steps." After reenacting this moment, you can take a break along the banks of the nearby Schuylkill River.
15. Wawa...it's a culture.
Once you move to Philadelphia, you'll quickly learn about Wawa. This chain of gas stations/convenience stores serves up coffee, built-to-order hoagies (not "subs"), and breakfast sandwiches. Looking for breakfast or lunch? Head to Wawa, punch in your order on a touchscreen, wait a few minutes, pay a few bucks, and leave happy.
16. Try to avoid I-76 at all costs.
If you're commuting into or out of the city, try to avoid driving on I-76. Any 20-minute drive can easily turn into a 1+ hour drive here. This road is full of congestion and accidents, so it's best to find an alternate route or take public transportation.
Enjoy the City of Brotherly Love.
Now that you know a little more about Philly, get ready to move to the city and make it home. Before long, you'll be as home in the city as the cast from It's Always Sunny...but that doesn't mean you'll be as stupid.
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