The Ins and Outs of City Living in Philadelphia: A Lifestyle Guide

William Penn carefully chose the name Philadelphia with intent. Broken down, his choice took the Green word for love, phileo, and combined it with the word for brother, adelphos. Together, we have Philadelphia, widely known as the City of Brotherly Love.

Those living in the city might not always agree with the moniker, but they do recognize that Philly has some amazing attributes. So, if you’re considering moving there, it’s wise to learn the facts, both good and bad, about your potential new home. From the big-city energy to the small-town relationships, here, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of living in Philadelphia.

1. Philadelphia Has All the Amenities of a Big City

Penn likely didn’t predict that his first steps in naming the location and starting a charter would turn into one of the ten largest cities in the nation, yet, that’s exactly what happened.

Today’s residents and visitors of Philadelphia can visit massive museums, attend innovative universities with top reputations, and explore the cultural scene through nightlife and an eclectic cuisine scene (you’ve heard of Philly cheese steaks, right?).

Whatever you need, from groceries to souvenirs, it’s available within walking distance of most places. You’ll even find a choice of cannabis dispensaries where you can shop with your MMJ license (available at reputable sites like Veriheal).

Still, with all of the big-city metropolis living, those who stay in Philadelphia long enough will tell you that it has a small-town vibe where everyone takes care of each other.

2. The Location Offers Convenient Access to Other Big Cities

Although Philly offers plenty to do within its city limits, many people choose to live there because of its easy access to other, less-residentially-friendly places. 

For instance, if you want to work in New York City but don’t want to pay the exorbitant NYC rates to live there, you can take a train from Philadelphia and be there within 1.5 hours. You might think that sounds like a long ride, but it’s a normal part of the day for many Big Apple workers who come from New Jersey or other cities surrounding the boroughs. Comparing the cost of living between NYC and Philadelphia, it’s easy to see why many residents think the 3-4 hour commute is worthwhile.

It’s also conveniently located to popular getaway destinations. You can enjoy your day off exploring the Atlantic Ocean or the Pocono Mountains within a two-hour drive and be home for dinner. Take a weekend getaway by train to Washington, DC, and avoid the notorious traffic jams. Or, stay in the city and deep-dive into all the urban and rural treasures it has to offer!

3. You Won’t Need a Car

Part of the reason for Philadelphia’s low cost of living is that most of the city is accessible without a car. You can walk, bike, or take one of the many forms of public transportation (bus, subway, and rail car). The typical commute is between 25-45 minutes.

No matter whether your job is within the city limits or just outside, there’s a way to get there via the network of public transport. This advantage opens residents up to more job opportunities than they’d get in a typical city.

Since you don’t need a car, you also won’t have the expenses of gas and insurance. However, there are options like Turo and other rental car companies spread out across the city if you want the convenience of a vehicle to get away for a while.

4. It Is a Tourist Destination

Finally, one thing to be aware of before moving to Philadelphia is that it is a tourist destination. As such, you’re going to have busy seasons full of people clogging the streets and adding lines to restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment venues.

Known for its rich and diverse history, Philadelphia houses the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and many other sites with significance dating back to the American Revolution. Modern movie buffs will visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art simply because of its role in the Sylvester Stallone movie “Rocky.”

The views along the waterfront, the iconic LOVE statue, notable cuisine districts, and much more bring tourists to the area. As you get used to living in Philly, you’ll learn when to stay away from certain locations to avoid the crowds. 

But you gotta admit, living in a city chock-full of such amazing things to do is pretty cool.


If a movie to Philadelphia is on your radar, we encourage you to take a trip to the City of Brotherly Love and check it out first! These four ins and outs of living in the largest city in Pennsylvania should help you decide whether it’s right for you, and a short stay to experience it for yourself will seal the deal.