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Moving to the Keystone State? Check out the best places to live in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is a state rich in American history and chocolate. It’s home to what once was one of the biggest colonial cities in the United States, Pittsburgh… as well as much smaller and arguably sweeter cities like Hershey. Check out our well researched list of the best places to live in Pennsylvania.
Oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—Philadelphia movers, Pittsburgh movers, and movers throughout the country.
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We’ve always been attracted to the underdogs. The small weird cities with tons of character and even more potential are the places that feel most at home to us. Maybe it’s because the Bellhop HQ is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Who knows. Regardless, we’re suckers for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania –– a small city of just over 300,000 people located at the southwestern corner of the state.
The city has a somewhat complicated history. During the 1950’s it was the 8th largest city in the United States and was responsible for half of the country’s steel production –– and this economic boom in the city caused an influx of more than 500,000 Italian immigrants.
Yet, unfortunately, as the city moved into the ‘70s and ‘80s, steel manufacturing practically disappeared from Pittsburgh and it was forced to reinvent itself.
Today, well over a half a century later, Pittsburgh is experiencing yet another economic boom as young professionals all around the United States are discovering the city to be a great place to build businesses, enhance careers, raise families, make money and not spend an arm and a leg to simply exist.
As larger cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Boston are becoming nearly unaffordable to merely survive, young people are giving up the big city dreams and heading to smaller cities like Pittsburgh where they can get a whole lot more bang for their buck.
Patrick Doyle, for example, a freelance writer and editor chose Pittsburgh along with his wife after the two of them had lived in both Denver and Boston –– two, as you probably know, very expensive cities.
Patrick told The Atlantic that both he and his wife road-tripped to over fifteen different cities including Washington, Raleigh, Charleston, Asheville, and Austin before they finally decided that Pittsburgh felt most like home –– describing it as being, “Clean, friendly, and full of a surprising amount of history. It was an East Coast city without the snobbery.”
Patrick doesn’t seem to be the only one that loves Pittsburgh, the city was voted the 30th most livable city in the world and the second most livable in the United States by CNN.
Another wonderful aspect of Pittsburgh is it’s diverse and eclectic neighborhoods. There’s Squirrel Hill, which offers one of the best food scenes you’ll find in the entire state. There’s Bloomfield, an affordable, vibrant neighborhood loved by college kids and young professionals alike. And, then, of course, there’s East Liberty, which is the tech hub of the city, loved by entrepreneurs and startups. The neighborhoods in Pittsburgh seem to go on like this forever, each offering something exciting and distinct.
Not to mention, for Pittsburgh only sporting a population of 300,000 people, it boasts three different professional sports teams –– the Steelers, the Pirates, and the Penguins. And, if there is one thing that everyone in Pittsburgh can agree on, it’s that the city sure does love its sports teams.
So, who is Pittsburgh for? We would say it’s for the young professional looking to move to a city where they can experience excellent job opportunity while also being surrounded with culture, history and a seemingly endless list of things to do. If you need help making a jump here, we’ve got you covered.
When you think of East coast cities, Philadelphia probably isn’t one of the first ones that come to mind. Perhaps, New York or Boston but not Philly. A truth that for whatever reason bothered the Huffington Post enough to write a massive article on the subject titled, 31 Reasons Philadelphia is the most underrated city in the United States.
In their article, they listed a number of reasons as to why Philly was the place to be. One of the 31 reasons they named was The Citywide Special, an unwritten drink menu item of sorts where twenty-some odd bars in Philly offer a shot of Jim Beam and a can of PBR for a lump sum of $3. So, it’s obviously a pretty cheap place to enjoy a drink… or several.
Like the above special, Pennsylvania is just a fun place to work, play and live. Over 200 different restaurants have what’s called Bring Your Own Beer (BYOB). There sporting events and fans are known to be some of the wildest ones in the entire world. And then, of course, there is cheesesteak, mounds and mounds of cheesesteak. Cheesesteak so delectably delicious that thousands of weary travelers pilgrimage to the city every year to be filled with cheese, grease, red meat, salt, and scrumptious doughy carbs. You can’t forget about that either.
But, in addition to all the fun, Philly has a lot to offers in the way of work too. It’s home to massive companies like AmerisourceBergen, Comcast, Aramark, Lincoln National Corp, Universal Health Services Inc., Crown Holdings Inc., Genesis Healthcare Inc., UGI Corp., Airgas, and Tol Brothers Inc. Not to mention, back in the summer of last year, Inc Magazine recommended that entrepreneurs keep a close eye on Philly as a potential destination hot spot for startups of all sizes.
With all that said, Philly isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, the city is pretty high up there in rent and is by no means the cheapest place in the world to live. According to Rentcafe, a one bedroom apartment is going to cost you on average about $1,300. So, you better be prepared to spend a nice chunk of your paycheck on rent.
However, if you’re willing to pay a little extra bread to live in the sixth largest city in the United States, you’re going to get what you pay for. There’s plenty to do from live music, professional sporting events, nightlife and the hustle and bustle that comes along with living in a big city.
So, who is Philly for? We would say anyone who is interested in a bigger city lifestyle. You’re going to pay more. You’re going to face heavier traffic. You’re going to experience the craziness that comes with living in a larger city. But, you’re also going to get the big city perks too.
If you’ve never heard of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, you’re certainly not the only one. This quiet valley town is a hidden gem in the state and one undoubtedly worth mentioning on our list of best places to live in Pennsylvania.
Bethlehem is a tight-knit community that is described as being very welcoming to newcomers, whether it’s a pair of travelers just visiting for the weekend or someone relocating permanently.
It’s one of the oldest cities in America and is filled with beautiful historic buildings giving the entire place a unique colonial atmosphere. What is even cooler is that the city has made an effort to reuse and repurpose many of the old buildings.
However, don’t let all the history fool you, Bethlehem also offers plenty of high-end shopping too. And, if you’re an avid skier you’re in luck. Just outside of Bethlehem is a ski resort called Blue Mountain.
Many people who move to Bethlehem do so because they want to be within proximity to larger cities without having to live in a larger city. Both Philly and New York City are just an hour drive away from Bethlehem giving residents the perfect opportunity to escape for a weekend if they’re craving a night out. And, while you’re still going to pay a decent amount living in Bethlehem, you’re going to save roughly $400- $500 a month on average compared to somewhere like Philly. The average rent in Bethlehem costs right around $1,100.
So, who is Bethlehem for? Bethlehem is for the individual that’s okay with living in a smaller city (right around 75,000 people total). While there is plenty to do, Bethlehem can’t be compared to Philly or Pittsburgh. They’re just not in the same league due to overall size and opportunity.
Now, which city is really the best place to live in Pennsylvania?
We just gave you the best places to live in Pennsylvania, but who would we name as the MVP on our list? That’s a tough one… but we’ve got to give it to Pittsburgh. With it experiencing such an incredible economic boom and overall renaissance, it’s an obvious choice for us. While prices there are getting more expensive, Pittsburgh is still reasonable and offers an insane amount of opportunity for young professionals looking to move out of large cities and still experience the same career trajectory.
If you decide on Pittsburgh, or any of the names on this list are right for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Like we said before, we coordinate local and long-distance moving services in Pennsylvania and we would love to help.
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