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Living in Philadelphia

A comprehensive guide about living well in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for being a great place to visit and live in. But what is it about the city that makes expats want to live there? In this section, you can find concrete information about practical aspects of living in Philly, such as its transport, leisure and education system.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Life in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has something for everyone. There are national parks, waterways and forests, for those who love the great outdoors, and theatres, galleries, museums and a vibrant choice of entertainment and nightlife.

When compared with other large metropolitan areas such as New York City and Washington DC, which are just a couple of hours away, Philadelphia is also a much cheaper place to live. Property rental prices are around 30% cheaper, and public transportation costs almost 20% less than in NYC. Add to this your grocery shopping, which will cost you 11% less in Philadelphia, and you can see how much money expats could be saving when choosing to live here rather than the more expensive options not far away.

Furthermore, any expatriate that needs to see a doctor while living in Philadelphia will certainly be in one of the best places. The Greater Philadelphia area has 161 hospitals and medical facilities, four designated cancer centers, and the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, which was named in 2012 as the ‘Best Pediatric Hospital in the World’ by Parent’s Magazine.

Transportation in Philadelphia

SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) covers all of Philadelphia and some surrounding areas. It is the 6th largest transit system in the USA, consisting of a network of subway, rail, bus and trolley commuter transport services to get you around easily and cheaply. Tickets and passes for the transport system can be bought at most stops and stations, on board, or simply online. Philadelphia also has an international airport, served by 30 airlines and with over 560 daily flights to around 130 different cities.

For those who will be traveling round Philadelphia by car but would like to avoid buying one, ‘Car Sharing’ might be an interesting alternative. PhillyCarShare has thousands of members who can use the company’s cars throughout Philadelphia. The aim is to reduce the number of cars on the road, promote the use of cars that save gas, reduce pollution and save the drivers money.

Education in Philadelphia

For expats with children who are planning to live in Philadelphia, education will be a top priority, so selecting areas with good schools and colleges is really important.

As in most cities, some neighborhoods have better schools than others, but there is a wide choice of both public and private schools to pick from. In total, Philadelphia County has over 300 public schools (most of which are operated by the School District of Philadelphia), more than 24048 private schools, and 60 post-secondary schools.

When it comes to making the decision which school to send their kids to, expat parents can use ratings such as the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings to get a first feel for the quality of the different schools. However, a personal visit might also be a good idea. For those attending university in Philadelphia, the following stats should be encouraging:

  • The city has the highest award rate for first professional degrees
  • The universities here have the 2nd highest award rate for bachelor degrees

Culture and Leisure in Philadelphia

Thanks to all the cultural associations in Philadelphia, people don’t need to pay much to have a cultural experience here. As well as lots of art galleries and museums, there are events throughout the year that combine music, entertainment, and food from many different ethnic groups, which are enjoyed by thousands.

Philadelphia has so much to offer, including:

  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has more than 30,000 pieces
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Throughout the city you can see more than 3,000 huge murals
  • Over 1,600 exotic and rare animals at the Philadelphia Zoo
  • The Grand Opera House
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
  • The 9th Street Italian Market – this is the oldest outdoor food market in the USA
  • South Philadelphia Sports and Entertainment Complex – this place is not only home to many of Philadelphia’s sports teams, but is also a very popular venue for concerts and other events

For expats who love their sports, Philadelphia won’t disappoint you. Nearly all of Philadelphia’s professional teams play close to Center City in top class arenas, include:

  • Football-Lincoln Financial Field
  • Soccer-PPL Park
  • Baseball-Citizens Bank Park
  • Hockey and Basketball-Wells Fargo Centre

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: March 17, 2015
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