37 Things to Consider Before Moving to Philadelphia

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For the slanderous, Philadelphia is still Killadelphia, a Gotham-like city overrun with filth and crime, where school children pelt you with batteries. However, for Philly enthusiasts it’s a sunnier, less-expensive alternative to New York City, a culinary wonderland where the Schuylkill River flows golden with Cheez Whiz. So which one is it? Before you decide to relocate and buy a home in the City of Brotherly Love read Estately’s list of 37 things to consider before moving to Philadelphia…

1. City Of Brotherly Love Handles

Women’s Health Magazine declared Philly the #2 least healthy city in America in 2013, and Men’s Fitness recently named it the 14th fattest, but don’t go overboard. The average Philly resident may pack on a few extra pounds, but some of that is because the food is so damn good. Yes, locals could eat a few less soft pretzels for breakfast, but city residents are getting more active and childhood obesity rates are dropping. Still, if you’re going to put a few pounds on there is no better way to do it than with delicious Philly food.

2. 710 Calories In An 8″ Cheesesteak

Do you know the origins of Philly’s famed cheesesteak? Back in 1775, Benjamin Franklin invented a sandwich to feed to British troops quartered in American homes. Loaded with sautéed beef and melted cheese, this delicious gut bomb lulled the lethargic British into naps, allowing the revolutionaries to easily defeat them. Either that or it was invented by hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri in 1930. Who knows? History is fluid.

3. You May Find Your Better Half

Philadelphia is an excellent city for lonely singles looking for love (6th best in America), or for anyone looking to form a dynamic duo. For example, Daryl Hall and John Oates were just a couple of Philly kids in a band competition who met while running for cover during a shootout between two rival gangs. The pair hid in a service elevator, talked about music, became roommates, started the rock and soul band Hall & Oates, and have been making our dreams come true ever since. Are you’re a lonely Daryl Hall seeking a John Oates of your own? That person is probably somewhere in Philadelphia waiting for you.

4. Freedom—Born & Bred In Philly

Boston may have had the tea party, but American democracy was born in Philadelphia. The city served as capital during the Revolutionary War, and while Washington, DC was under construction. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were both signed in Philadelphia, it was the home of Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross made one heck of a flag there.

5. Affordable Homes

The median home price for the Philadelphia area is $240,000, which is considerably less than the New York Metropolitan Area’s $440,000. In addition, there are plenty of Philly homes perfectly for priced for those looking to fix up a place with little money down. With the money saved, you can decorate your home however you choose, but vintage doors, taxidermy, and homemade wood paneling are highly recommended. Also, catch up on the local real estate scene with these two great blogs:  Curbed Philadelphia and Philly Magazine’s real estate blog Property.

6. Beer, Glorious Beer

From the early days of the Founding Fathers to today, Philly has always been a beer town. The area is home to Yuengling (Pottsville), the oldest brewery in America, as well as a number of newer microbreweries. The city has anointed itself with the title of “Best Beer-Drinking City in America,” and to prove it they put on Philly Beer Week, an annual ten-day suds celebration that’s the largest of its kind in America.

7. Fly Eagles Fly

Are you a Dallas Cowboys fan looking to leave your loved ones a substantial life insurance policy? If so, Philadelphia is the perfect city to advertise your allegiance to Jerry Jones. Philadelphia is a serious football town and Eagles fans are known nationwide for being some of the most intense. Sure, they pelted Santa Claus with snowballs during a halftime show, and yeah, Lincoln Financial Field originally had a four-cell jail built into it, but Eagles fans have been through a lot. However, there’s hope that a new era is being ushered in by rookie head coach Chip Kelly. This long-suffering football town will eventually win a Super Bowl and when it does it’s going to be one hell of a party.

8. 8th Safest City From Natural Disasters

Sea levels rise, volcanos go boom, and earthquakes shake, but Philadelphia just kicks back and relaxes in its relatively safe spot in the Delaware Valley. Not everything is safe in Philly, but tornadoes rarely drop from the sky and it’s far enough inland that it doesn’t bare the brunt of hurricanes.

9. Chance Of Murder

Natural disasters may be unlikely, but unfortunately there are other dangers. In 2012 alone, there were 331 murders, so on average you’ve got a roughly 0.02% chance of being murdered each year.

10. Yo, Check Out This Art

Philadelphia is home to more public art than any other city in the country, and boasts world-class museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, and many others. Philly also takes its art to the street, encouraging large, public murals through its Mural Arts Program.

11. The Awesome Fest

It would be disappointing if The Awesome Fest failed to live up to its name, but The Awesome Fest is indeed awesome. This roaming film series shows awesome movies in non-traditional spaces all over the city. Basically, it provides opportunities to watch Revenge of the Nerds at Drexel Park. Awesome.

12. BYOB

Due to some arcane liquor laws on the books in Philadelphia, you have to purchase liquor at state-run liquor stores and you can’t buy beer at the grocery store. Due to restrictions on liquor licenses, many local restaurants can’t even sell alcohol, but many allow you customers to bring their own beer, wine, and even liquor. These BYOB restaurants actually save the customer considerable cash because alcohol is usually marked up considerably.

13. Homes With Basement Bars

Like nowhere else in America, Philadelphia-area homes commonly feature a bar in the basement. These subterranean speakeasies ensure that when the weather outside is frightful you can still be cozy, boozy, and secure in your home. View more of Philly’s basement bars HERE.

14. Underground Exploration

Bars aren’t the only things going on underground. There’s a labyrinth of pedestrian concourses and tunnels, as well as sewers and abandoned subway tunnels. If any city could be home to  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles it’s Philly. This hidden, underground city is known only to a small number of people, but maybe that’s because of alligator sightings near the sewers, or is it because the heroes in a half shell prefer it that way?

15. Cash Only

Lots of restaurants and shops refuse to take credit or debit cards because they’re totally old school, or else because they’re in the pocket of some kind of money clip mafia. There are 15 different money clips for sale at Philadelphia-based Etsy stores, more than double that of Boston. Coincidence?

16. Nicknames

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, which it turns out is from the Greek words philos (loving) and adelphos (brother). Other monikers include Quaker City, The City That Loves You Back, Land of 10,000 Odors, Cradle of Liberty, Gateway to Glenside, Big P, Killadelphia, Birthplace of America, and West Camden.

17. Incredible Chefs

Philadelphia has everything necessary to be a world-class culinary city. Located in close proximity to the Jersey Shore and the farms of Lancaster, Philly is a hub for fresh seafood, meats and produce. The city has welcomed wave after wave of immigrant from around the world so there’s multiple culinary traditions to draw inspiration from. And finally it’s loaded with star chefs, including Iron Chefs Masaharu Mormoto and Jose Garces, as well local talents like Jason Cichonski, Ela; Chris Kearse, Will; Joshua Lawler, The Farmer and the Fisherman; Kevins Sbraga, Sbraga; Lee Styer, Fond; Greg Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink; Mike Solomonov, Zahav; Joe Cicala, Le Virtu; and Joey Baldino, Zeppoli. So there’s a lot of them.

18. It’s Not New York City

Philadelphia has historically been a little touchy when compared to New York City, which is an apparent bench mark for any East Coast city. However, Philly has gotten its groove back of late and begun to welcome the comparison. Philadelphia offers many of the urban amenities of New York, but at a fraction of the price. Thousands of artists, hipsters, and other creative sorts have been abandoning Brooklyn and the other four boroughs for a new life in Philadelphia. The migration has lead many to speculate that Philadelphia is about to become the next Brooklyn. And since it’s only 71 minutes away by speedy commuter train, it’s actually possible to live in Philly and commute to New York City.

19. Democrat Oasis

Pennsylvania may be a swing state, but Philadelphia is one of the bluest cities in America. The solidly Democrat-voting city hasn’t elected a republican mayor since 1952 and President Obama received 85 of the vote in the 2012 election.

20. You Might Go To Prison

Your recently paroled cousin was correct; prison can be a really scary place. While Philly’s Eastern State Penitentiary is no longer home to inmates, it is now run like a giant haunted house. Be warned though, in addition to the actors posing as ghosts and ghouls, there are frequent actual ghost sightings at the prison and it remains popular with professional ghost hunters.

21. Giant Wooden Slide

A childhood right of passage for many, you’re not truly a local until you’ve descended the Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide. No word on risk of splinters.

22. Walkability

According to Walk Score, Philadelphia is the 5th most walkable large city in the country so you can skip the car altogether if you want and get by on foot power and mass transit.

23. Filthadelphia No More

Philly is a major city with an industrial past so it’s not going to suddenly appear at the top of any Greenest City lists. However, it’s a little unfair that Forbes ranked it third on its list of America’s Dirtiest Cities because of poor air and water quality. The city is getting cleaner—especially its streets—and we suspect this low ranking has more to do with the chew spit and trail of filth Lenny Dykstra left behind during his years with the Phillies.

24. It’s Not Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Did you see what we did with the title above? We did what everyone outside of Philadelphia does when they write about Philly, they make a stupid play on the name of the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Great show, but this word play is very predictable, but sadly obligatory…

Anyway, Philly’s weather calls for a chance of sunshine on 56% of days, far worse than Las Vegas’ 85%, but much better than Seattle’s 43%. While many claim it rains batteries and snowballs in Philly’s sports stadiums (historically accurate), the truth is Philadelphia receives an average of 42 inches of rainfall each year. Unfortunately, the rainiest month is July because Philadelphia weather apparently has some deep-seeded hatred for summer picnics.

25. Toughness

Philly residents are known far and wide for their toughness, but what few people mention is that they are also outstanding huggers. It’s definitely a bear hug, but it’s a hug that will make you feel warm, safe, and secure, unless your pocket gets picked in the process.

26. Adrian!!!!

The fictional boxer Rocky Balboa will forever be linked to Philadelphia, the city where the film was set. The famous Rocky Statue is located at the top of the “Rocky Steps” near the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Having your picture taken there is a classic tourist move, but a true Rocky fan can best them all and buy the ultimate souvenir—the Philadelphia house where part of Rocky II was filmed. Click the image below to see the Estately listing for the house.

27. Phillie Phanatic

Philly sports fans are well known for being fanatics, but the most famous fanatic of them all is the Phillie Phanatic. This over-sized green bi-pedal creature is the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, and probably the most famous mascot in all of American sports. Not only does he harass visiting teams and umpires with his amusing antics, he also drives an ATV and fires hot dogs into the crowd with a pneumatic gun. But just because he’s big and lovable doesn’t mean he’ll be your friend. He can get a restraining order if you call, text, and email him dozens of times to attend your birthday party.


28. 4th Most Bikeable U.S. City

First off, do you know who made bicycling look really cool? Philadelphia-native Kevin Bacon in the movie Quicksilver. Secondly, according to Bicycling Magazine Philadelphia has the most bicycle commuters per capita of the ten largest U.S. cities, and one of the highest percentage of female cyclists nationwide. Fairmount Park has 215 miles of recreational and mountain-bike trails, and there’s a 22 mile road to Valley Forge that’s mostly paved for road bikes.

29. Very Jamaican

Philadelphia is home to the second-largest Jamaican population of any city in the United States. Not only does that mean dozens of Jamaican restaurants and delicious jerk chicken, but it also means you won’t have to search far and wide for Jamaican music clubs playing dancehall, which are sort of hard to come by in other cities.

30. Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia is one of 12 U.S. cities with teams from the four major sports leagues—NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. The Philadelphia Flyers last won the Stanley Cup during the 1974-1975 season so they’re due. Plus, they skate real pretty like bulked up Michelle Kwans with mullets.

31. America’s Bacon Capital

Philadelphia was recently declared the #1 U.S. City for Bacon Lovers by Estately in recognition of the city’s many culinary baconteurs. The sixth largest bacon consumer in the country, Philadelphia restaurants have made taco shells out of bacon, invented the Turbacon, and even chicken fry this beloved meat candy.

32. University Town

With 17 four-year colleges and universities Philadelphia is positively littered with institutions of higher learning, and some solid college hoops teams. Just imagine all the fun parties and pranks to be had at University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, La Salle University, Temple University, St. Joseph’s, and nearby Villanova.

33. Tastykake

Ask a local and they’ll tell you “Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake.” Whether this is true or not is certainly up for debate, but the revered Tastykake is an iconic Philly brand. The late rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard even included it in his lyrics: “As I create, rhymes good as a Tastykake.” You don’t have to like Tastykakes, but you at least have to try them, preferably the Butterscotch Krimpets. Also, ask the locals to explain what water ice is.

34. It’s A Hoagie

Want to know what a delicious submarine sandwich in Philly? They call it a hoagie. There are no grinders in Philadelphia, only hoagies. You want to order a hero sandwich? It’s pronounced hoa·gie. It’s named for the sandwiches the workers on Hog Island used to eat, and if you don’t believe that there are a dozen other theories for the name’s origins.

35. Fairmount Park

Philadelphia is a major city, but you can still fish from piers, go horseback riding, and hike in the woods thanks to Fairmount Park. The sprawling 9,200 acres makes up 10% of the city and houses 63 separate parks, with everything from golf courses and off-road cycling trails to environmental learning centers and the Philadelphia Zoo.

36. You Know That Song

You know the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air performed by Will Smith? Of course you do. Do you know what happens when you tell someone from somewhere else you live in Philadelphia? They sing a few lines from that song to you. If you move to Philly that’s going to happen to you as well, even if you’re not West Philadelphia born and raised, and spent little to no time on the playground.

37. Most Incredible Roots Band

Philadelphia has a storied music history—Billie Holliday was born there—and there are dozens of famous musical acts with roots there, including The Roots. Also of note… Dick Clark, Boyz II Men, Dead Milkmen, Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Chubby Checker, G. Love, Jill Scott, Beanie Sigel, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Joan Jett, and Hall & Oates.


Ryan Nickum