Philadelphia, PA, affectionately known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” provides residents an urban way of life filled with history and delicious cuisine. However, the question remains: Is Philadelphia a good place to live? While the city offers a wealth of cultural experiences, career opportunities, and a lively urban atmosphere, it also presents its own set of challenges like high property taxes. In this Redfin article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of living in Philadelphia to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.

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Homes for sale in Philadelphia, PA | Apartments for rent in Philadelphia, PA | Houses for rent in Philadelphia, PA

Quick Facts about Philadelphia

Median home sale price $265,000
Average monthly rent $1,995
Walk Score 75/100
Transit Score 67/100
Bike Score 67/100

1. Pro: Birthplace of the United States

Philadelphia, a city steeped in American history, proudly stands as the birthplace of the United States, adorned with iconic landmarks like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. This storied backdrop not only instills residents with a profound sense of pride but also offers a wealth of educational experiences, making Philadelphia a good place to live.

2. Con: Traffic congestion

One of the downsides of living in Philadelphia is the traffic congestion. The city’s layout, combined with its high population density, often leads to significant delays during rush hours. Commuters frequently find themselves stuck on the Schuylkill Expressway, which can be frustrating and time-consuming. Public transportation options are available, but they don’t always alleviate the problem.

3. Pro: Diverse culinary scene

Philadelphia is a haven for food lovers, offering a diverse culinary scene that ranges from world-famous cheesesteaks to high-end dining experiences. The Reading Terminal Market is a must-visit, featuring a variety of local and international cuisines. Additionally, the city hosts numerous food festivals throughout the year, such as the Philadelphia Taco Festival celebrating everything from Italian to Mexican cuisine.

4. Con: Hot summers and cold winters

Philadelphia experiences weather extremes throughout the year, from hot and humid summers to cold and snowy winters, offering residents a diverse climate experience. Summer temperatures often soar into the 90s Fahrenheit (30s Celsius), while winter lows can plummet below freezing, creating a wide range of weather conditions to adapt to. Additionally, the city occasionally faces severe weather events such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, and occasional snowstorms.

5. Pro: Low cost of living

Philadelphia offers a relatively low cost of living compared to other major East Coast cities like New York, making it an attractive option for those seeking affordability without sacrificing urban amenities. Housing prices are more affordable, with a median home sale price of $265,000 with a range of options available from historic row houses to modern apartments, catering to various budgets. Additionally, everyday expenses such as groceries and dining out are generally more budget-friendly, allowing residents to enjoy the city’s offerings.

skyline view of philadelphia waterfront

6. Con: High property taxes

Despite a lower cost of living, residents of Philadelphia often face high property taxes, which can be a significant financial burden. The city’s tax rates are among the highest in the state standing at 1.36% making homeownership more expensive. This can be particularly challenging for first-time homebuyers and those on a fixed income, potentially limiting their housing options.

7. Pro: Strong educational institutions

Philadelphia is home to several prestigious educational institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Drexel University. These schools offer a wide range of academic programs and contribute to the city’s vibrant intellectual community.

8. Con: Aging infrastructure

Philadelphia grapples with aging infrastructure, presenting challenges for residents and commuters alike. The city’s roads are notorious for their potholes and cracks, causing discomfort and potential damage to vehicles. Additionally, the public transit system, particularly SEPTA, faces reliability issues and delays due to outdated equipment and maintenance backlog, impacting daily commuting experiences.

9. Pro: Green spaces and parks

Philadelphia has an impressive array of green spaces and parks, providing residents with ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, offers miles of trails, picnic areas, and scenic views. Smaller neighborhood parks such as Rittenhouse Square also contribute to the city’s overall quality of life.

10. Con: High taxes

Philadelphia holds the distinction of being one of the highest-taxed cities in the nation, burdening residents with significant tax obligations. With steep city wage taxes, property taxes, and above-average sales tax rates, living in Philadelphia can be financially challenging compared to many other cities across the nation. These high taxes can impact residents’ disposable income and overall affordability, shaping the financial landscape of the city.

Methodology: The median home sale price and average monthly rental data is from the Redfin Data Center. The Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score data is from Walk Score.

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