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 Philadelphia

Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love

History

Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the USA and full of fascinating history. It is here that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, separating from Great Britain and creating a new country. It is also the birthplace of the constitution (the country’s founding document), which today governs how laws are made and followed across the USA. The city is very proud of its history and has numerous sites and museums dedicated to sharing the significance of these early days.

 

Philadelphia is currently the nation’s sixth most-populous city and is situated between two other renowned American cities – New York City and Washington D.C. In the 21st century, the city is known for its many prestigious institutes of higher education as well as a vibrant arts and cultural scene. It is also home to one of the largest urban park areas in the country, giving visitors plenty of opportunities to escape into nature.

Getting Acquainted

Following the news and trends of the city will help you feel at home in no time. See our recommendations below for local news outlets and insider Instagram accounts to follow:

Local News:

Philly Social Media Accounts

  • Campus Philly (@campusphilly) - helps students integrate into Philadelphia and find jobs or internships

  • Visit Philadelphia (@visitphilly) - provides general tourism and visitor information

  • Wooder Ice (@wooder_ice) - covers Philadelphia news and events

  • When Where What Philly (@whenwherewhatphilly) - features fun stuff to do across the city

Exploring The Region

Philadelphia is an excellent starting point for a variety of day-trips:

  • City hopping: Philadelphia is just 1.5 hours from New York and 2 hours from Washington, D.C. by train.

  • Head to the hills: In summer, the Pocono Mountains in northeast Pennsylvania offer a cool escape from the summer heat of the city; in fall, the changing colors of the forests are spectacular; and in winter, the slopes become a destination for snow sports enthusiasts.

  • Beach retreats: On summer weekends, many Philadelphia residents go 'down the shore' (i.e. to the beach). You can get to Atlantic City in New Jersey in just 1.5 hours by train or bus.

  • Exploring the Keystone State: There is so much to explore across the state of Pennsylvania, from historic sites to picturesque towns to the great outdoors. You can find a wealth of options in the State Tourism Office's Happy Traveler Guide.

Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Where to Start?

Philadelphia has a wealth of neighborhoods, each with their own history and sense of community. Some are large, others are just a few blocks in each direction. If you are exploring housing options, it is a good idea to learn about the different neighborhoods you might inhabit and what to expect as a resident - both the amenities (like local stores and celebrations), and the other important considerations (like general safety and access to public transport).

The following resources can help you get an overview of the city's neighborhoods:

  • Philadelphia Neighborhoods features a detailed map to help understand the different neighborhoods.

  • Visit Philadelphia provides historical context and points of interest on neighborhoods across the city.

  • Niche lets you search for a neighborhood by address or ZIP code, and offers information on an area's median rent, diversity, and safety.

  • The Philadelphia Police Department website features a tool for finding specific crime statistics on custom areas of the map.

Green Spaces

About 13% of Philadelphia is park land, which includes small leafy squares in urban neighborhoods and expansive natural lands within the city limits. If you crave an escape to nature or just some relative peace and quiet, you can visit some of the following parks in different parts of Philly:

  • Bartram's Garden: a park and horticultural space in Southwest Philadelphia.

  • Clark Park: a large park in West Philadelphia featuring events year-round.

  • Cobb's Creek Park: 100 acres of wooded parkland along Cobb's Creek in West Philadelphia.

  • East Fairmount Park: 650 acres on the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River.

  • FDR Park: 350 acres of parkland at the bottom end of South Philadelphia.

  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge: the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania and a habitat for wildlife.

  • Pennypack Park: 1,600 acres of woodlands and wetlands in Northeast Philadelphia.

  • Rittenhouse Square: a public park located in the heart of Center City and surrounded by fine dining, retail, and luxury residential buildings.

  • Washington Square: a public park located in close proximity to the Historic District.

  • The Woodlands: a historic, leafy cemetery in West Philadelphia.

  • West Fairmount Park: 1,400 acres of parkland on the western bank of the Schuylkill River; home to the Belmont Plateau (which offers wonderful views of the city) and the Philadelphia Zoo.

  • Wissahickon Valley Park: 1,800 acres of woods along the Wissahickon creek in northwest Philadelphia, featuring over 50 miles of hiking trails.

For cyclists, the Schuylkill River Trail also offers a safe and scenic way to explore along the banks of the Schuylkill River from deep within Philadelphia to well beyond the city limits.

Climate

Despite its proximity to the coast, Philadelphia is a city of extremes when it comes to weather. It is good to bear this in mind when considering your wardrobe!

 

Summers in the city are hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching around 90°F/32°C during the height of the season. Most buildings are air-conditioned, but not all, so this is something to consider when looking for a place to live.

 

Winters can be very cold, and the temperature often falls below freezing (32°F/0°C) even during the daytime. There are occasional heavy snowfalls between January and March, which can make it difficult to get around. Sometimes the weather causes trains and buses to stop running, and schools may close for safety reasons.

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