Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the nation and remains one of the most popular and exciting spots to visit. However, it's also rapidly increasing in population by drawing in a younger set of people with initiatives focused on adding new tech business sectors, beautiful parks that will give you plenty of places to relax, and a unique array of fun and interesting activities where you can meet new people. Beyond sports, there are bars, restaurants, and shopping centers to visit.
As a result, if you're interested in moving to Philadelphia, it's important for you to know about some of the best places to live in the area. We collected information on the 10 most popular Philadelphia neighborhoods and ranked them best on various factors, including crime levels, school quality, and much more. This blog should appeal to anyone who's interested in moving to Philadelphia or even Philly residents looking to move to another area within the city.
You'll not only learn about the 10 best places to live in Philadelphia but three places you should definitely avoid. These are spots that might have high property costs, questionable climb levels, or other concerns that make them best to avoid. Furthermore, we also answer several questions about Philadelphia that you might have before moving here. Don't forget to read through the full article to get these answers and ensure that you get the best results for your new move.
Best Place to Live in Philadelphia
The following list will highlight the best places to live in Philadelphia, including Philly neighborhoods with a high standard of living, reasonable real estate prices, and many other benefits. We've arranged them in reverse order so you can get a good feel for their value and pick neighborhoods that make the most sense for your specific living needs.
Conshohocken is a strong place to live in Philly that mostly gets knocked for its diversity and crime, which are both below average. Beyond that, it's a great place for housing and families because of reasonable home prices and strong public schools. Home prices are $344,800 on the median, which is low for the area, while rent is $1,818, which is actually higher than most areas in the city and nearly $1,000 more than the national average. Rent and ownership are split about 50/50.
Great public schools help this area rank highly, as it has 16 options, many of which rank as A+. There are also many parks in the area, plenty of shopping options, and a unique feeling of urban living in a fairly suburban environment. It's a good choice for young people who don't have a lot of money, even if the rent is higher than it should be here.
9. Rose Valley
A step up from Conshohocken, Rose Valley has a similarly questionable diversity ranking but better crime levels and a strong nightlife. Residents claim that it has a rural feel because most people own their homes, the population is just over 1,100 people, and there aren't a ton of big businesses. This gives it a bedroom community feel that makes it a cozy place to live if you're older or just retired or want a low-key and relaxing place to live.
The city has about eight different schools, two of which rank as A+ and the rest of which rank as A. There's a high median income of about $185,500, though most people in the area have to travel to downtown Philadelphia to work in jobs that make that kind of money. Most of the businesses in this city are service-based, which is a good option for young teens who need a little extra money to pay for cars or "fun money" options for full-time employees.
Narberth has about 4,467 people to create a fairly cozy and comfortable living environment in a fairly big-city area. The crime here is excellent and consistently makes it one of the safest places in Philly to live. The nightlife and diversity are also fairly good, meaning you should have plenty of fun things to do and people to meet if you decide to move here.
Education also ranks well here, with 29 public schools, many of which have excellent A+ rankings. Homes do tend to cost a bit more here, with a $550,600 median house cost being well over double the national average. Rent is also a little higher at $1,528, though that's below other cities on this list. Thankfully, there's a good blend of property rental and ownership, meaning that it should be easy for many types of people to transition to living here.
Nationally, Berwyn continually ranks highly among other cities of similar sizes. It's considered the 72nd-best place to live nationally, the 30th-best suburb based on public schools, the 38th-best suburb overall, the 12th-best place to raise a family, and the 11th-best suburb to have a family. With a 30th ranking in public schools overall, it's a wonderful place to raise your little ones and even improve your overall education as well.
As far as real estate goes, there's a nearly even mix between ownership and renting, with a median home value of $550,100 and a median rent of $1,538. Those are a little high, but the quality of the homes here is excellent. With residents having a $120,000 median home income, you'll likely be traveling elsewhere to work due to there being a lack of big businesses within Berwyn.
We're now getting to the truly great places to live in the city, with the five entries after this getting even more attention in each writeup. Exton just about made the cut, but for its lower diversity rating. It's still pretty good at B+, but the lower nightlife and housing rankings (though still high) also bring it down a little. That said, there are many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks in this area, and people with a moderate view of life and an open mind to new residents.
Except to meet an educated and friendly population here, as well as a median household income that's nearly double the national average and a crime rate that's excellent compared to other Philly burbs. Perhaps in a few years, Exton will jump into the top five best places to live in Philadelphia, but for now, it can comfortably sit at number six.
Swarthmore sits among the best places to live in Philadelphia for a number of reasons. It has a low-key and rather suburban feel that makes it cozy and relaxing. While it only has 23% rental property options, those are typically high-quality, meaning that it's fairly easy to find a place to live here. Nationally, Swathmore consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in America, which we'll explore in more depth in the next paragraph.
For example, it's considered the 14th best suburb in America, the 24th best place to raise a family in a suburb, the 30th best place overall to raise kids, 195th best public schools, and the 30th best place to live in America overall. There are 16 public schools in the city with A+ rankings, which makes it a great place to raise your little one. You can feel comfortable knowing that they're getting an education worth your time and money.
Home prices do tend to be a little high here, with a $443,000 median purchase price that is nearly double that of the national average. Median rent is also about $100 more than the national average ($1,275), though that's still fairly low compared to similarly big cities. As a result, it's fair to say that Swarthmore is an affordable option for most people's living needs.
Devon is a great place to live that mostly gets high rankings for its quality beyond its diversity. About 84% of the residents are white in this region, with 9% Hispanic, 3% two or more races, and minimal African Americans. That's concerning if you're interested in learning about new cultures, but if that isn't too big of a deal for you, this is one of the best places to live in Philly. For example, it rates highly on employment rates and income rates in the area.
People in this area make a median income of $197,820, which is far above the national average. There are also many jobs in the area in a variety of sectors, though it's fair to say that this is somewhat of a bedroom community. You might have to travel to work if you live in this area, which might not be that big of a concern if you don't mind traffic that much.
The school system is also strong here, with multiple A+ educational opportunities for your children. Furthermore, the crime rate here is below average and typically one of the best in the Philly area. As a result, this place is a strong area to raise your children and an excellent option for young professionals looking to settle down in a region successfully.
3. Penn Wynne
Penn Wynne typically gets highly ranked for its public schools, family-friendly atmosphere, nightlife, and diversity. It's also a fairly safe place to live, with crime well below what you typically expect in Philly. Philadelphia has a reputation for crime that's kind of unfair because most are centered in specific areas, and suburbs like Penn Wynne are actually very safe places to live.
One slight knock against the area is its high home-ownership rate of 88%. While that's not bad if you plan on moving to the city for good, the lower rental options can be fairly frustrating. The median home value of $395,300 can also be frustrating, though it's fair to say that's below some regions, particularly cities of the size and scope of Philadelphia.
Residents are also fairly diverse, with a high rate of college-educated professionals and a good mix of nearly 50/50 between male and female residents. While it's primarily white (about 71%), there are about 20% Asian and African-American residents (combined) in this area. As a result, it's a good place to live if you want to meet a lot of interesting people outside your normal range.
Ardmore is a suburb in Philadelphia that's often called one of the best places in Philadelphia. It's not hard to understand why when you visit there! Almost every niche within it is rated highly, except for diversity. That said, a poll of the residents found that 67% of those who lived in the area called it "progressive" and 33% as "friendly," meaning it's very welcoming to new people.
There are over 30 different public schools in the area, many of which get A+ rankings and strong reviews from residents. The job market is pretty strong here, with residents making about $107,087 every year. About 64% of residents in the area own their home, though there are plenty of rental options if you're new to the area and want to settle down quickly.
Nationally, Ardmore is very highly ranked and is considered the second-best suburb in America, the third-best place to live in the nation, and the eighth-best place to raise a family. It's also the sixty-second-best place for young professionals, meaning that it provides you with plenty of amazing amenities that make it well worth moving here if you're young and starting a new life.
If you're looking for the best places to live in Philadelphia, Chesterbrook is easily the champ! While its cost of living is higher than Pennsylvania in general and the United States (particularly in the median home cost of $438,200), it makes up for it by providing you with many other benefits. Residents of the neighborhood rate many aspects of this neighborhood highly.
First, their public schools are acclaimed and get an A+ grade from Niche. In fact, just about every element that dictates home quality gets great grades here. It's ranked as a great place for families with very strong schools, excellent diversity, fun and engaging nightlife, a strong culture of support, and excellent homes with a climate that is comfortable and relaxing.
This area also has a good mix of owned and rentable homes, with a 34% home rental option. That makes it a lot easier to move to the area without a lot of confusion. Crime is quite lower than the national average, nearly 90% of the residents have a college degree, and there's a median household income of $126,687 and plenty of great places to work in the area.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Place to Live in Philadelphia
If you plan on moving to Philadelphia, make sure you consider the following factors to ensure that you move to an area that you enjoy:
- Cost of living, including how much homes cost
- Job opportunities, including how much you can make
- Schools, such as what public schools get ranked
- Culture, such as whether residents have college degrees
- Climate, including whether it feels comfortable for non-residents
- Crime rate, such as violent and non-violent crimes
- Diversity, including whether it's welcoming to everyone
- Quality of life, including what kinds of parks are available
3 Places in Philadelphia You Should Avoid
Now that you know a few of the best places to live in Philadelphia, it's important for you to understand a little about places you should avoid. If you see real estate investment or rental properties in these areas and are thinking of moving there, please take our word for it and avoid these areas as much as possible. Read through each review to learn more about why.
3. Franklin Mills
Franklin Mills gets fairly low grades from Niche in various rankings, including housing, family life, crime and safety, and public schools. The three neighborhoods in this section all get low marks for public schools, meaning it's best to seek out private support if you need it or to simply pass on living in the area. That might be the best idea for most people with families.
That said, Franklin Mills does report unusually high in diversity ratings, which helps to raise its grade. It also has plenty of nightlife opportunities, like bars and restaurants, that might interest you. That said, the crime problems in the area make it a frustrating and even dangerous place to live, so it's better to look at any of the neighborhoods mentioned above before moving here.
2. West Parkside
West Parkside is not a great place to move if you have children. Its schools consistently rank as 4 out of 10 from Great Schools, which is a below-average score. Though there are some things to do in the area, such as restaurants and coffee shops, it's typically considered a "bedroom" community. That means it's fairly boring and not an exciting place for children.
It also gets a B- for violent and property crimes from Niche, and many people in the area simply don't feel safe living here. That's reason enough to avoid West Parkside, particularly if you have children. The lower salaries common in this area all indicate that there's a dearth of great employment options, so do what you can to stay clear of this area to stay safe.
Cochranville is by far the least desirable place to live in Philly for a number of reasons. First, the nightlife is poor, crime is rampant, and diversity is only middling. It's actually pretty well known for being a retirement community, which means that criminals often flock here to take advantage of the residents. Its suburban feel is nice, and the public schools are actually decent.
Furthermore, about 82% of the residents in the area own their homes, meaning there are minimal options for rental. That can make it harder to live here, particularly as the median home prices are at $211,300 on average. That is actually below the national average, but the quality of the houses available here certainly doesn't justify that kind of price tag.
Philadelphia is considered one of the most affordable big cities in the nation. Cities like New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle, and Chicago are between 10-130% more expensive, which makes it a great place to move here if you want a comfortable and affordable home.
People who live in Philadelphia often point to its small-town vibe, as well as its lower cost of living and unique sports scene, as a great part of living here. While there are some crime concerns to keep in mind, it's still worth considering this city as a great place to raise children.
If you're on a budget, it's probably ultimately cheaper to rent in Philadelphia than it is to buy. However, if you plan on getting into real estate investment or want to flip homes, buying is a better idea. Think about long-term investment before making a choice here.
According to Zillow, rental prices in Philadelphia are currently $1,600 on average. That's a decrease of $17 from the previous year. That's a fairly high rate, though there are cheaper options available in the city and a myriad of rental options to consider.
Philadelphia's average home price is $370,000, which has matched the surge in costs throughout the nation in recent years. Surprisingly, that's a more affordable rate than some cities, which makes Philadelphia a smart place to invest in a home.
Due to its relatively inexpensive cost of living, you can make about $59,384 in Philadelphia and live comfortably. That's a much lower price than places like San Francisco and Chicago, meaning you're more likely to live in this city comfortably and affordably.
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Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee