There’s only one American city where the voices of brave revolutionaries still echo along the streets, a city that has produced a sandwich so famous, just about everyone has tried one – even if they’ve never been here. A city where you can marvel at artifacts dating back to the birth of a nation. A city where you can even walk on water. The city, of course, is Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love. Philly. And if you are new to this city, there’s much to discover – history, beauty, fine arts, parks, shops, great food, and more. This city is so great that it ranked third on the New York Times list of the “52 Best Places to Visit.” Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Here’s what you’ll want to know about renting apartments in Philadelphia!
Things to Do in Philadelphia:
Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn. It was specifically designed to be the capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed here in 1776 and 1787, respectively, and the city served as one of the nation’s capitals during the American Revolution. With so much history weaved through the fabric of the city, the best place to start when you move to your new apartment in Philadelphia is with historic sites!
The very first thing you must see after moving to Philadelphia is, of course, the Liberty Bell. The iconic crack and inscription have inspired Americans since it was first installed in the Pennsylvania State House in 1751. The crack visible today was actually the repair job – metal workers widened the original thin crack to restore the tone of the bell and to prevent the crack from spreading.
After marveling at the Liberty Bell, head over to Independence Hall – the old Pennsylvania State House where the bell used to hang. It’s free, and well-worth a tour! This is, after all, where the nation’s Founding Fathers debated the way and how of creating a nation. It was the main meetinghouse for the Second Continental Congress, from 1775 to 1783, and it’s where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are part of the Independence National Historical Park, called “America’s most historic square mile.” Other buildings located within the park include the First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank of the United States, Franklin Court, and Carpenter’s Hall.
When deciding which historic sites to visit, you might not think about adding a penitentiary, but the Eastern State Penitentiary is an amazing location. This US National Historic Landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It opened in 1829 and housed such criminals as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. It was finally closed in 1969. Eastern State Penitentiary, which has several ghostly legends and amazing stories, is open year-round for tours.
The Franklin Institute, named for Benjamin Franklin, opened in 1824. This famous science museum is one of the nation’s oldest science museums, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After exploring the exhibits, be sure to stop by the 20-foot-high Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, a marble statue sculpted by James Earle Fraser in the late 1930s.
The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s First Zoo – it was chartered in 1859 but the opening was delayed due to the Civil War. It finally opened in 1874. It is a gorgeous zoo and is home to many endangered species. The zoo also features a paddleboat lake, a rainforest-themed carousel, and a children’s zoo. The zoo is home to about 1,500 animals.
When William Penn designed Philadelphia, he included five public squares. One of those original squares is Franklin Square (originally called North East Publick Square), which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The square was built by Thomas Holme in 1683. Today, the square features a carousel, a miniature golf course, the Ben Franklin Bridge, and a centerpiece fountain.
There’s more to Philadelphia that cheesesteak – although a Philly Cheesesteak is a must-have once you’ve found your Philadelphia apartment! You may be surprised by the amount of fine dining available in Philly, from upscale French and Italian restaurants to Latin, Soul, Vegan, and Gluten-Free. Foodies will fall in love with Philadelphia – and its signature cheesesteak!
You can’t just order a Philadelphia Cheesesteak. First, you have to decide if you want Cheese Whiz or provolone. Do you want fried onions, or one without? Locals have ordering down to three short words — “one whiz with.” (One Philly Cheesesteak with Cheese Whiz, with fried onions.) If you want provolone, simply replace “whiz” with “provolone” when ordering. And if you don’t want fried onions (really?), you simply say “without.”
Now that you are ordering like a local, where do the locals go for the best cheesesteaks? The first place to try is John’s Roast Pork. You may have a tough time finding it – the tiny sandwich shack doesn’t exactly stand out. It is on Snyder Avenue, and it opened in 1930. If you ask a local where to go for the best cheesesteak, they will most likely send you to John’s. But don’t wait – this extremely popular lunch spot usually has a line – and the grill shuts down at 2:30 pm.
Of course, if you want to taste the authentic original, then Pat’s King of Steaks is the place to go! Pat Olivieri invented the steak sandwich here in 1930 – and Pat’s King of Steaks is still owned and operated by the Olivieri family. When Pat invented the sandwich, this was a tiny stand in South Philly’s Italian Market – today it is the world’s most famous place to get Philly Cheesesteak. It is still in the same location – and it is the only location. After enjoying your Philly Cheesesteak, walk it off by touring the Italian Market, which is a one-of-a-kind location filled with shops, produce stands, fishmongers, and more.
If you want to “walk on water,” simply stroll across the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, an extension of the Schuylkill River Trail. The boardwalk is suspended about six to twelve feet above the water, depending on the tide. The boardwalk is 2,000 feet long and 15 feet wide and is ideal for walkers, joggers, bike-riders, and more.
Sports fans, this is your city! Philadelphia has teams in all four major sports for year-round sports fun! Tailgate at the NFL Philadelphia Eagles football games, cheer on the NHL Philadelphia Flyers hockey team, watch the MLB Philadelphia Phillies play baseball, and support the NBA Philadelphia 76ers basketball team! There’s also a Major League Soccer team, the Philadelphia Union, and (of course) college sports!
What to Consider When Moving to Philadelphia:
Philadelphia is one of the nation’s most-populated cities. It is located at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, which provide a gorgeous setting for the city skyline. But this city isn’t just a pretty face – Philadelphia is one of the most-educated cities in the country, with the second-largest student population on the East Coast. There are 80 colleges and universities in the area, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, Bryn Mawr College, Eastern University, and Saint Joseph’s University.
When searching for apartments in Philadelphia, keep in mind that this city is a collection of very distinct neighborhoods. You’ll want to find the one that suits you best. For example, if you want a luxury high-rise apartment surrounded by distinctive museums, high-end restaurants, and historic houses, then you’ll want to rent in Logan Square.
If you love to shop, rent an apartment in Queen Village! This is home to Fabric Row, the Headhouse Farmers Market, boutiques, and several elegant bistros. Rittenhouse Square is another great destination for shoppers – it is lined with sidewalk cafes, high-end boutiques, art galleries, and theaters.
Colorful murals, narrow streets, and rowhouses – for those who prefer a working-class neighborhood that’s slightly gritty and filled with great hidden gems, then Fishtown is ideal. This neighborhood is home to many artists and professionals, and several locations in the neighborhood are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you want to surround yourself in history, complete with cobblestone streets, then Old City is the perfect neighborhood. Along with Independence Hall, Penn’s Landing, the Franklin Fountain, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the Liberty Bell Center, Old City also has an edgy art scene.
Why Philadelphia Apartments Are Hot:
Beautiful neighborhoods filled with public art and colorful murals, amazing historic sites and museums, fantastic fine arts venues, world-class shopping, and food so fantastic they have their own signature sandwich and their very own Iron Chef (Masaharu Morimoto) – what’s not to love about Philadelphia?
Of course, if you want to live in an apartment in Philadelphia and enjoy all of the above things, you’ll need cash. Luckily, Philly has a strong economy and a healthy job market. In fact, Philadelphia is home to several Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies. The city is ninth among world cites and the Philadelphia economy is ranked fourth in the US. Companies in Philadelphia include Colonial Penn, Pep Boys, GlaxoSmithKline, CIGNA, Comcast, Aramark, and Crown Holdings. In addition to industries that include manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, biotechnology, media, and financial services, Philadelphia enjoys a large tourism industry.
History: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House.
Teams in all four major sports leagues — including the Phillies and the Eagles.
Exploring Valley Forge National Historical Park and sailing the Delaware River.
Amazing festivals, including the Brandywine Harvest Festival and the Free Library Festival.
Fishing, hiking, boating, rock climbing, bouldering, swimming, golfing, and horseback riding.
Three casinos, several museums, restaurants, art galleries, and hip, walkable neighborhoods.