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Median RentMedian Sqft
Studio$1,199408 sqft
1 Bed$1,475600 sqft
2 Beds$1,700878 sqft
3+ Beds$1,9951,086 sqft

About

Philadelphia is best known as the home of the Liberty Bell, the cheesesteak, and Rocky, which is fitting — as it’s a city that values history, good food, and hard-working athletes. Philly’s iconic sights remain some of its best, from City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Boathouse Row and the Italian Market. But the City of Brotherly Love keeps growing and changing, too, thanks in part to its youthful university population and diverse communities from all over the world. More down-to-earth and affordable than nearby New York City, Philly attracts creatives, entrepreneurs, and academics to cafés and co-working spaces in trendy neighborhoods like Northern Liberties and Fishtown. Further away from the center, areas like Chestnut Hill and East Falls (the latter was the home of Grace Kelly before she became a movie star and the Princess of Monaco) retain old-fashioned elegance. And on the other side of town, in South Philly, Italian and Mexican immigrant enclaves are at the heart of a lively food scene, while a trio of stadiums bring in crowds of enthusiastic sports fans.

You’ll find a wide variety of apartments for rent in Philadelphia. From classic rowhouses off Rittenhouse Square to gleaming high-rises on the riverfront, and from modern lofts on Fitler Square to antique brick houses in Manayunk, there’s a range of places to live in Philly. The average rent (and the average cost of living) is somewhat higher than the national average, but prices vary widely, and Philadelphia is affordable compared to many other cities on the East coast.

Getting Around

Many of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are wonderfully pedestrian-friendly. But the city is large enough that you’ll need other forms of transportation to move around it. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operates subways, buses, trolleys, and regional trains in the city and the surrounding region.

The subway system, which first opened in 1907, is the third-oldest in the United States. Today, SEPTA operates three lines that criss-cross the city. The Broad Street Line subway runs north and south along Broad Street, serving South Philly and the sports stadiums (to the south) and the Spring Garden area (to the north). The Market-Frankford Line heads in a perpendicular direction along Market Street, traveling northeast to the Fishtown/Northern Liberties area and west to 30th Street Station, the city’s main train station, in West Philly. In addition to being one of the city’s grandest landmarks, 30th Street Station is also a hub of transport for local and long-distance travel: you can catch a bus, trolley, or subway from here, or an Amtrak train to New York City, Washington DC, and various other destinations. The third SEPTA subway line — the Norristown High Speed Line — isn’t technically a subway, as it travels above ground. But it’s useful for traveling to northwest suburbs like Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Villanova.

SEPTA also runs Regional Rail trains to neighborhoods and points of interest that the subway doesn’t reach, like Philadelphia International Airport and the northern neighborhoods of Manayunk, East Falls, and Chestnut Hill. Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) trains also pass through Center City, traveling across the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey.

If a subway or train doesn’t take you where you want to go, one of SEPTA’s many trolley and bus lines can. Another excellent option is cycling — plenty of locals get around on bicycles, at least when the weather’s decent. The Indego bike share program has stations around the city, which is laced with bike lanes (some buffered, others not). And the Schuylkill River Trail, a protected 75-mile mixed-use trail, extends from Center City all the way to Valley Forge National Park.

Food & Drink

The decadent cheesesteak sandwich — Philadelphia’s famous delicacy — still reigns supreme, and it’s frequently debated who makes the best one. Other local classics include hoagies, soft pretzels, water ice, and tomato pie. But Philly’s food scene extends well beyond these iconic snacks. From sophisticated French restaurants on Rittenhouse Square and family-run trattorias in the Italian Market to hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown, legendary taco joints in South Philly, and beloved BYOBs in nearly every neighborhood, Philadelphia is home to an incredibly diverse selection of places to eat and drink.

A good cup of coffee is never far away in Philly, with several excellent coffee roasters operating their flagship locations in the city. These include La Colombe in Fishtown, Ultimo in South Philly, and United by Blue in University City. You’ll find their other outposts around the city, plus various locations of other popular coffee roasters like ReAnimator, Rival Bros., and Old City Coffee Co. Another great place to stop for coffee or lunch is Reading Terminal Market, a historic covered market that opened in 1893. A wide range of international cuisines are represented here, plus Amish-crafted cakes and candies; the market also has some of the city’s best butchers and produce stands.

Generally speaking, you’ll find the highest concentration of both casual eats and fine dining establishments in Center City — Parc, on Rittenhouse Square, is a long-running landmark specializing in French cuisine, and high-end Zahav is known for its prix-fixe menus featuring modern Israeli cuisine. South Philly is known for Italian and Mexican eateries, especially around the Italian Market, while Fishtown and Northern Liberties have hipster-friendly ramen shops and a wide array of bars and pubs. A good number of restaurants around the city have a BYO policy, so you can bring in your own beer or wine. In warmer weather, outdoor beer gardens pop up around the city. Good options include Independence Beer Garden, Spruce Street Harbor Park on the banks of the Delaware River, and Parks on Tap, which takes up residence on the riverfront lawn in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Shopping

The first department store in the United States still stands at 1300 Market Street in Philadelphia. Wanamaker’s — now a Macy’s — opened in 1877. Though not much of a shopping destination these days, the Wanamaker Building is still home to the world’s largest operational musical instrument, a grand organ that’s played every day but Sunday.

For more modern shopping, try Rittenhouse Square, where you’ll find the gorgeous flagship location of Anthropologie, UNIQLO, Urban Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Warby Parker, and gourmet food shop Di Bruno Bros. On the other side of City Hall, Fashion District Philadelphia is a contemporary shopping center with a range of mainstream stores. Explore the city’s historic fabric district and Jewelers’ Row in Center City. Old City is home to souvenir shops and high-end boutiques, while South Street has plenty of quirky secondhand shops and bookstores. Find more indie designers and antique stores in Fishtown, Fairmount, and Northern Liberties. The large gift shop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best places to pick up a thoughtful gift.

Things to Do

Many first-time visitors to Philadelphia make a beeline to Old City and the city’s most historic landmarks, including the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, the National Constitution Center, and Benjamin Franklin’s grave. Center City and its surrounding neighborhoods also feature a range of excellent museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art — note the Rocky statue near the base of the famous staircase leading up to the entrance — the African American Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

The Philadelphia Magic Gardens are the colorful indoor-outdoor exhibition space of the eccentric Philadelphian mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, whose one-of-a-kind murals decorate nearby walls and sidewalks along South Street. The quirky Mütter Museum displays medical oddities, and the Independence Seaport Museum, on the banks of the Delaware River, provides an overview of the region’s maritime history. The adjacent Spruce Street Harbor Park is wonderful in summer, and the Blue Cross RiverRink has an ice skating rink in winter.

Top attractions for families are the Franklin Institute, with interactive science and technology exhibits, Franklin Square, with a carousel and fountains, and the Please Touch Museum in West Philly. Nearby, find the main location of the Free Library of Philadelphia and Sister Cities Park, with the popular Children’s Discovery Garden and a ten-geyser walk-through fountain. A few blocks further along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, you’ll arrive at Love Park with its iconic sculpture, a photo op for both locals and visitors. It’s located near the base of a Philadelphia landmark, City Hall. The surrounding plaza hosts ice skating in winter and a popular German-style Christmas market around the holidays. When the weather’s cold, it’s the perfect time to catch a show at one of several stately theaters at the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus.

There’s plenty of space for cycling, walking, and picnicking on the riverfront, along the Schuylkill River Trail, and in the sprawling Fairmount Park, one of the country’s largest urban parks. Located in a gorge in the northwestern part of the city — easily accessible for residents of East Falls, Manayunk, Chestnut Hill, and Roxborough — Wissahickon Valley Park is a wooded refuge that’s great for hiking and walking. In warmer months, Kelly Drive closes to traffic as regattas take over the Schuylkill River between famed Boathouse Row and East Falls. You can see rowers training throughout the year; stop at Cosmic Café, tucked away amid the historic boathouses, to have a coffee by the waterfront and watch. There’s a bike rental kiosk nearby.

Philadelphia is, of course, a huge sports town. Fans flock to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex to watch their favorite teams play at a trio of stadiums. Citizens Bank Park is home to the Philadelphia Phillies, a Major League Baseball team. Wells Fargo Center (also a popular concert venue) hosts an NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, and NHL team the Philadelphia Flyers. Lincoln Financial Field is home to the Philadelphia Eagles, an NFL team.

Colleges & Universities

Philadelphia is also a college town, hosting a selection of universities and centers of higher learning. Roughly 120,000 students are currently enrolled at colleges within the city, with more than double that number enrolled in the larger metropolitan area. The University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have their main campuses in West Philly — right next to each other, in fact, which is why the area is called University City. There’s a distinct academic atmosphere here, with lots of cafés, bookshops, food trucks, and inexpensive places to eat and drink.

Center City is home to the University of the Arts. Prominently located on the Avenue of the Arts, it’s one of the oldest art schools in the country, dating back to the 1870s. Temple University is located in North Philadelphia, and the area is slowly gentrifying around the campus; its striking new state-of-the-art Charles Library is a destination in itself. A handful of university campuses are located further from the center in quieter settings, including La Salle University in Germantown and Thomas Jefferson University in East Falls. Saint Joseph’s University is just outside of Philly, and the surrounding suburbs are home to Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Villanova University, and more.

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