You'll need a bicycle or car for getting around West Chester, especially if you decide that renting a home outside of the center of town is more your speed. West Chester is convenient but lacking in public transportation, and walking is only convenient in the center of town. There's plenty there to walk to, but you'll still want to get out now and again. So make sure the property rentals you check out come with a parking spot.
Pennsylvania is notorious for having weather that is difficult to predict, with 40-degree temperature swings in a single day not uncommon. Winters will get pretty cold, while summers will be hot and humid. You'll want to keep a sweatshirt and an umbrella on hand year round, as even in the midst of summer you can get a cool, rainy day. The trade-off for this is that the area does not see natural disasters -- no earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes or the like -- just the odd blizzard every other year.
West Chester is a renter-heavy town, with the vast majority of properties being occupied by renters. This is due partly to the nearby university and also to its convenient location. This makes for a competitive market, particularly for larger property rentals that students can split cheaply, but also means that it won't be difficult to come by studio apartments or two-bedroom apartments, especially if you time it correctly. Just make sure you have all of your paperwork in order and the best references possible lined up.
There's a few different neighborhoods of this town to choose from. Spot one that suits you?
Borough Center: Right in the middle of everything, the borough center is a prime spot to find a row home for rent, with lots of two- or three-bedroom row homes. There is a great number and variety of rental units in this neighborhood, including some furnished apartments.
Oakbourne: South of the center of town, Oakbourne is mostly owner occupied, but there are a handful of high-rise apartment buildings with rental units. However, it is also a neighborhood with a lot of four- and five-bedroom houses, so if you're looking for a large home for rent in West Chester, this would be a good place to start. Plus, it is fairly close to the borough center.
Milltown: If you've got some four-legged family members, start your search in the Milltown area. There are plenty of pet-friendly apartments in this neighborhood, and many of these apartments are also friendly to folks looking for housing on a budget.
Downtown West Chester is a lively hub, with plenty of local retail and restaurants. The "ThinkShopBuy...Local" initiative has brought many of these shops together, and they're all open for the monthly First Friday events. The Visual Expansion Gallery is an art store that constantly displays local and national artists, while Painted Plate offers pottery and more. Cigar shops rub elbows with skate shops, and antique shops share space with athletic apparel stores.
Just as varied is the choice of restaurants. West Chester loves international flavors, and the selection of flavors reflects this. Grab a curry at Spice Indian Thai Bistro, some sushi at Kooma, enchiladas at Mas Mexicali Cantina or a perfectly cooked steak at Pietro's Prime. Best of all, they're all within walking distance of each other in the middle of town.
There's always something to do around town as well. West Chester University brings in international performance artists throughout the year to events that are open to the public. The downtown kicks off the year with the West Chester Film Festival, and the summer brings on all sorts of events, including the Swinging Summer Thursday music festivals and numerous arts festivals. The summer season of festivals wraps up with a bang with the Chester County Restaurant Festival at the end of September.
There is plenty to do out in the fresh air, with numerous parks in and around the city. Go fishing in Fernhill Lake, golfing at the West Chester Country Club or lounging at the public parks. The West Chester Sports Complex is a lighted, multi-sport complex used for numerous leagues. The complex is open to the public and brings out lots of residents for a sense of community.