Moving to Philly - general questions about Philly and moving

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kellen, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA

    Just found out I got accepted into a Physician Assistant program in Philadelphia. Currently live in Seattle.

    So many questions:

    1. How is Philadelphia? I have traveled there many times, but where to live, places to avoid, that kind of thing. The school is 4-5 miles northwest of center city. Moving with my GF, so she would probably work downtown. Just wondering if it would be best to live near her work and let me commute, ie if its safer that way.
    2. Anyone have experience moving across country? Tips?
    3. Anyone in Philadelphia here? I am going to need some new friends!
    4. Which apple store do you go to?
    5. Happy hours? I love em, let me know if you have any insight.
    6. Any other Philly insight? Some insider info, something you like, something you hate? I hear they have no tax on clothes!

  2. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I have family in Philadelphia. I love it there- it's like a smaller Brooklyn. My advice is to live somewhere around Center City if you can. You should be able to find a route by streetcar or bus to school.

    Loves me some Philly.
  3. liquidtrend macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2008
    just stay away from west philadelphia.

    i hear that if you were born and raised, youd be on the playground most of those days...

    chilling out, maxin', relaxin' all cool.

    maybe even shootin' some b-ball outside of school.
  4. Tofaha macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    lmaoo..when a couuuple of guys who were up to nooo good..
  5. messedkid macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2007
    Oshawa, ON
  6. gfish31 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    philly is a great place, i live there currently. stay away from far west philly, and north of temple (aka lasalle area). plenty of awesome happy hours and places to get drinks whenever. Old City is awesome for bars. Roosevelt's is one of the best places for happy hour. Sporting events are always top notch, cuz we got the best fans in the world. i dunno, there's a lotta good things in Philly...
  7. furcalchick macrumors 68020


    Dec 19, 2006
    South Florida
    about moving cross country...make sure you only pack the things you think you'll need for the first month or so in philly in your car, and try to keep everything you need for your long trip (up to a week) in a place you can get to quickly (clothing, toiletries) in 1-2 bags. and don't try to get through the trip faster than you have to, know your limits and plan your stops.

    about the city...if you're going to a sports game in philly, make sure you're cheering for the home team if you want to come back in one piece.

    also, delaware, which isn't too far from philly has tax free shopping.
  8. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Don't go to a Phillies baseball game wearing anything but Phillies gear, they have some of the meanest fans around. ;)
  9. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the info.

    Probably move over by myself in 6 months in my jeep with the bare essentials. My gf thinks she will be able to easily transfer but I am more realistic.

    How do Seattle and Philly compare with cost of living, traffic, rent and income. Or not compared to Seattle but the rest of the us.

    Going to be weird going from working to just going to school for 2 years.
  10. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Cost of living will be less than Seattle, that's for sure. In my experience, Philly is pretty inexpensive, even less than Chicago, which is pretty reasonable.
  11. amusiccale macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Well, living in the "north of temple (aka lasalle area)" I would probably agree. You really have to be aware of yourself in some parts of town. Art Museum's nice to go to on Sundays, when it's pay-as-you-will if you like that kind of thing. Some decent dining to be found, if you keep an eye open. As for an apple store? King of Prussia is the closest that I know of. Check out the website - regional rail services (if you're into public transportation or have ever attempted parking in Philly) are nicer but more expensive than the subway. (and rumor has it the R5 will soon have a no-cell-phone car. About time!)
  12. schnable macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2008
    Jumping in late on this one.

    If you're into urban living, downtown Philly is a great, livable city. "Center City" is the downtown core. Besides being the commercial hub, it is very residential and livable, and most day to day things can be accomplished without a car. There are surrounding neighborhoods that are also safe and within walking distance to Center City.

    That said, there are many areas that are NOT so nice to live in, so if you want to venture outside of the CC halo (get a bigger place, maybe park a car on the street, less hustle bustle), there are some great, more "neighborhoody" areas but it is advisable to get some help from a local about specific areas because Philly can be very "block to block" -- a local cliche, but very true. These kinds of neighborhoods can be very rewarding if you're into getting to know your neighbors, joining community groups, finding hole in the wall type places, etc.

    PhillyBlog ( forums are a great resource. You can post a specific address to one of the neighborhood forums and within 24 hours have some great opinions about the area. Just browsing the forums will help to give you a feel for the different neighborhoods, too.

    If you want some specific recommendations, feel free to PM me. I can probably point you in the right direction if you let me know some details (buy vs. rent, prices, neighborhood vibe, etc.).

    I haven't spent much time in Seattle, but, Philly is definitely bigger and more diverse. And when I was in driving from the Seattle airport, people were going BELOW the speed limit. Don't try that here ;-). Traffic within the city is dense but not too bad. Commuter traffic on the main highways in and out of the city can be horrendous, but the regional rails (commuter rail) is pretty solid out to the 'burbs.

    Not sure what your GF does, but University of Pennsylvania is the city's biggest employer and they have great benefits. Most of their stuff is in West Philly (the good part) which is a very easy and short subway or bus ride from downtown. Always good to check them out for all kinds of jobs.

    There are three nearby Apple stores (Ardmore, King of Prussia, Cherry Hill), but there is a rumor one if going in right downtown. We'll see. There is already an officially licensed local shop that does a good job downtown, as well. There's also an Apple store in Christiana, Delaware which is not far and has no sales tax!

    For happy hour/night life, there are tons of great bars downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods. The city currently has a fetish with the "gastropub" concept, which is a laid back pub atmosphere with more upscale food and extensive beer list. See Standard Tap for the prototypical (and, IMO, best) example of this concept. If you're not into snobby beer, there's plenty of more "traditional" bar options as well. For dining, there's great options all over downtown, and a lot of top-notch BYOB places (due to draconian Quaker liquor laws). Of course we also have the best sandwiches in the world--cheesesteaks, hoagies, and the unsung-outside-of-Philly Roast Pork Sandwich. See for local food and nightlife options, the Philly people on there tend to be pretty on point.

    Good luck!
  13. bassproguy07 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2008
    Katy, TX
  14. iPhil macrumors 68040



    Like Lee said cheaper than seattle unless you piss these people off then there's a small chance of becoming a Tv Star... ;) :D
  15. schnable macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2008
    I forgot to mention an important point about Philly.

    We're an east coast town, and people are a lot more rough around the edges than in the Northwest. That's not to say people aren't helpful or friendly--they are--but on an anonymous level, people are kind of *******s. But in a charming way.

    Once you step out of the shiny downtown areas, Philly is also really dirty. We have a litter problem, no doubt about it.
  16. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    My views on Philly as an outsider who was there for two stints of about a month each.

    - As schnable said, people are definitely more "rough around the edges" than you will find in a lot of places. I found them a little too rough for my liking...bordered on rude and elitest at times. Obviously, not everyone is like that, and there were certainly great people too. But in general, that's how I felt. If you go to the Franklin Institute and park there, kick the parking cashier woman in the face. She was the worst person I've ever dealt with.

    - The cost of living was definitely higher than where I come from (the south). The cost to park a car in that city is astronomical. Just checking into my hotel (just over 20 minutes), I was charged $7 for "parking" in front of the hotel, after the guy said "yeah, no problem, just leave the car right there". Almost all garages within town are $3.50-$5 for the first 20 minutes and cost as much for a day as I can park at home for a month.

    - If you like beer, don't plan on getting it during your store run. You can only buy beer at either something like a pizza take-away place by the 6-pack, or at a beer distributor. That is one of the suckiest things about Philly.

    - If you are there in the summer, don't even try to get into downtown on a weekend day. There's a freakin' parade almost every damn weekend and the streets are closed. Made it real fun trying to get semi trucks with our equipment in and out of there! My assistant had to do a Home Depot trip one day and it ended up taking 3 hours because she got stuck on a closed street with no way out and cars stopped behind her.

    - The nightlife did seem pretty cool. I didn't get out into it much, but from what I did see, it looked fun.

    - Wawa is awesome.

    - Learn the phrase "working man"...

    Hopefully, I didn't offend anyone. You can take potshots at Atlanta if you want...that would be fun, but almost too easy.
  17. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    Kinda off topic but i visited Philadelphia last year and i loved it, i have friends who live in New Jersey and we drove down to Philadelphia, what a lovely city much nicer than New York imo, it seemed more 'open' and not as dangerous but that's just my pov.

    We went to a place called Dave and Busters?????? it was a big sports/games type place set under a bridge out of the town. Weird but pretty fun.
  18. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Hate to rain on your parade, but I grew up in SE PA, and as a result spent alot of time in philly. It is VERY blue collar and nowhere near as sophisticated as NYC. As far as cities go, you can do far better. I think philly can best be described as a place that has potential, but fails to live up to it. It is going bankrupt. Firehouses and libraries are closing, it has ALOT of violent crime even in neighborhoods you wouldnt expect to have violent crime.

    That said, there are some decent enough cultural attractions. It has some nice museums, a world class orchestra, and attracts decent concerts. It has nice waterfront attractions on both the Camden and Philly waterfronts. The area around the art museum is excellent for bikeriding, roller blading or just checking out the guys and girls on a saturday afternoon.

    As far as places to live, if you have to live in the city I recomend finding a place in the historic area if you can afford. Thats one of the safer neighborhoods.

    If you dont have to live in the city, (and I highly recomend that you dont unless its a must), look to one of the suburbs. Wayne, Radnor, Manyunk, or what is called the "main line" area. These all offer affordable living, without the hassles and crime of being in the city, and have more of a "small town" feel without sacrificing convienence. All of these places put you within a 20-30 minute drive of the city, and all are close to public transportation routes.

    Happy hours. There are a few brew pubs in philly that have decent happy hours. I have a link somewhere that lists them. If I find it i will post it.

    As far as moving across country goes, keep it simple if you can. If you can afford to have movers move your stuff ahead of you, do that. If you cant do that, try shipping (UPS) as much stuff as you can to someone you know back here.

    Moving across country presents a great oppurtunity to see many places in the U.S. One that may not be available to you again. make the most of it.

    Also, philly has a very high wage tax. This drives many people out of the city and into the burbs.
  19. kellen thread starter macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    So a little more info. I got into Philadelphia universitys physician assistant program. It's located ~4 miles northwest of downtown Philly.

    I am going to be a student, so no buying a home yet. Renting for sure. I would like to live next to campus, but my girlfriend is trying to transfer (banan republic manager), but I don't know where she will or when.

    I would like to be closer to her work so she can just walk as it's a little rougher area than we are used to. Makes sense to me so she doesn't have to wait after work for a bus. Again that just depends on where she transfers to.

    Looking at manayuk or center city now. I will be flying over in a couple of months to see the area and find a place.

    Thanks for the help. If you have more info, please share.
  20. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Well, if your going to be a student than that makes things a little different.

    Living a students life, living in the city isnt that bad. Of course it depends on your lifestyle, interests, etc...but Id say as a student you'd probably be quite happy (at least for a little while) living in the city opposed to the burbs, at least for the first year or so.

    Id probably suggest staying in the city for at least one semester, and during that time check out what the burbs I mentioned have to offer. Out of those I mentioned Id say that wayne or radnor are probably the best. Manyunk isnt bad, but it wouldnt be my first choice. Outside of the attractions there (Manyunk brew pub, Grape Street Pub) Its kind of a weird area..

    Just make sure you pick a decent neighborhood. Im not exaggerating when I say that Philly is a violent, dangerous city, and even the "safe" neighborhoods see their share of crime. The U of Penn campus and its surroundings have had its share of shootings, stabbings and robberies over the years, and you dont even have to go one block off the Temple U campus to find yourself in the ghetto.

    Also, as a student, Id suggest traveling light for your move. Take only what you'll need, and enjoy the trip out to the east. The first time I traveled out west for school I made the mistake of packing everything I own. Most of it I didnt use because I was too busy working and studying, and it sat in a storage unit for years.
  21. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Jan 6, 2007
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    Depending on where exactly your school is, and how you are depending on getting there, I would look at Old City and Manayunk. Both areas are a little more affordable than the Rittenhouse/Center City/classic "urban" Philly. Both are pretty full of young people, so if you are after quiet, they might not be the best.

    Buy a lot of voltage regulators and Smart-UPS's. The wiring in both areas is pretty beat up. A lot of the houses are eleventy-billion years old, so hopefully you do not mind that sort of thing.

    If I moved there I would lobby the GF fairly hard for one of those two areas opposed to a center city condo surrounded by 70y/o's who just seem generally unhappy to be living there.

    As others have said, get ready for puritanical liquor laws. No wine carried exclusively by 7-11 out here!

    If one area will keep you two from having to own a car (or two cars) I would say go for that. It is still a pretty nice walking city.
  22. Gerry R macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2009
    i go to springboard media on walnut st. in philadelphia. their online store has same day delivery in philadelphia which is pretty awesome.
  23. adamfishercox macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2007
    I don't really have much to add about Philly, everyone else has pretty much gotten it down.

    As far as Apple Stores, all of them are just too far away from such a major city. It's weird that there's no downtown Apple Store. Springboard is great and also Bundy Computers. They are closer than any official Apple Store.

    BTW, the King of Prussia store is tiny as crap, go somewhere else if possible. They pump oxygen in there just so you can breathe :D
  24. BlackSnow macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2008
    123 Fake st. Hell, MI
    That's statewide.

    Yes, Wawa is the best store ever.

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