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5 Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania

By: Emily Kho
August 18, 2021

If you're interested in moving to the Keystone State, a state known for its deep-rooted industrial history and culturally diverse dining, you'll be faced with the challenge of figuring out where you want to live. You might find yourself struggling to narrow down your options, with so many incredible cities to choose from.

To help you through the process of beginning your Pennsylvania apartment search, you'll need to start by narrowing down your options and choosing your ideal city. That's why we've created this guide to help you learn more about the best places to live in Pennsylvania and find the best city for you!

1. Philadelphia

Philadelphia, often referred to as Philly, is the most populated city within Pennsylvania and the sixth-most populated country. It is the second most populated city in the Northeast, falling behind New York City. Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by the English Quaker William Penn, making it one of the oldest municipalities in the country. Historically, Philadelphia played a significant role in the American Revolution as a meeting ground for the Founding Fathers.

Explore the city and check out the historic Liberty Bell, pose with the Rocky Statue for a photo opp, and, of course, enjoy an authentic Philly cheesesteak while living in the city.

There are 150 distinct neighborhoods within Philadelphia, all with unique features. Additionally, there are around 100 suburbs here as well. Some of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia are Old City, University City, Chestnut Hill, Bella Vista, and Center City.

People from across the United States started migrating towards Bridgeport because it is an affordable city with a very high quality of life. In the first quarter of 2021, the most significant migration to Philadelphia came from New York, New York, making up an astonishing 22.1% of the moves into the city. Behind New York was Washington, DC, at 5.2%, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, at 4.1%.

So, if you're wondering how to find an apartment in Philadelphia, it's time to start with some research. There are a few things to know before moving to Philadelphia. First, take a look at the cost of living in Philadelphia and get a better idea of the average rent and rent price trends. Finally, check out the thousands of apartments available for rent now in Philadelphia.

2. Pittsburgh

Located in the southwest portion of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is found at the confluence of the Monongahela River and Allegheny River, where the Ohio River is formed. In terms of population, Pittsburgh falls second to Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania. The city has two nicknames, the Steel City, after the more than 300 steel-related businesses, and the City of Bridges, for its 446 bridges.

Bridges aren't the only notable elements of infrastructure found in this city. Anyone living in Pittsburgh is familiar with the countless stairs, as the city boasts a staggering 712 sets of public steps, more than any other hilly city in the country, like Cincinnati or San Francisco. Every early October, the city hosts its annual StepTrek, a noncompetitive walk through the South Side Slopes neighborhood.

For sports fans, Pittsburgh is home to three major professional sports teams. The Pirates play in the MLB, the Steelers in the NFL, and the Penguins in the NHL. Additionally, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers plays in the highest level of collegiate athletics in the country, a D1 Power Five conference.

Throughout the east coast, people have begun increasingly moving to Pittsburgh. In the first quarter of 2021, the most significant migrations to Pittsburgh came from New York, New York, making up the most considerable portion at 7.1% of the moves into the city. Behind New York is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 6.4%, and Washington, DC, at 4.1%.

If you think you might want to call Pittsburgh home, check out the city's average rent and rent price trends and the hundreds of apartments available for rent now in Pittsburgh.

3. Allentown

On the Lehigh River in Allentown, the third-most populated city in Pennsylvania. Historically, Allentown was a wilderness area used by the local Native Americans for hunting grouse, deer, other game, and fishing trout. Today, Allentown is known for its rich Pennsylvania Dutch history, IronPigs baseball team, and award-winning park system.

The industrialist Harry Clay Trexler had notable roots in the park system of Allentown today. Once inspired by the City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century, Trexler worked to turn a community trash pit into the 6.59-acre West Park. Other notable parks in Allentown include Cedar Beach Park, Allentown Rose Gardens, and Cedar Creek Park.

If you're looking to explore the historical side of Allentown, stop by America on Wheels, offering an excellent history of the transportation industry. The Lehigh Valley Heritage Center provides a comprehensive look into the people and industries of Lehigh County. Lastly, the Mack Trucks Historical Museum showcases the history of Mack Trucks, which is no longer in business.

There is a long history of professional baseball in Allentown, dating as far back as 1884. The city today is best known for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the Philadelphia Phillies'. The 8,100-seat Coca-Cola Park is one of the newest AAA parks in the country found on the east side of Allentown.

Check out the hundreds of apartments available for rent now in Allentown.

4. Erie

The city located on the south shore of Lake Erie is appropriately named Erie. This city is the fourth-most populated city in Pennsylvania and has been nicknamed the Flagship City. Much of the development in Erie came from the manufacturing industry, which remains prominent in the local economy. Other sectors are now expanding in Erie, including higher education, technology, and healthcare.

The most visited state park in all of Pennsylvania is Erie’s Presque Isle State Park. The Presque Isle peninsula enters Lake Erie at this park, where individuals and families of all ages can come and enjoy a plethora of recreational activities. The only surf beaches found in the entire state are here at Presque Isle State Park.

Other exciting things to check out in Erie include the Erie Maritime Museum, which is found along the waterfront and focuses primarily on the War of 1812. However, it covers the city's complete maritime history. For families with children, the Scallywags Pirate Adventures offers a 90-minute themed cruise full of adventure. Best of all, there are adult booze cruises provided by the same company throughout the season.

A hidden gem of Lake Erie is its premier grape growing and wine production. Just east of downtown Erie, you’ll find many excellent wineries. Some of the favorites include Presque Isle Wine Cellars at the Colony, 6 Mile Cellars, Inc., and Heritage Wine Cellars.

Check out the apartments available for rent now in Erie.

5. Reading

In the southeastern region of Pennsylvania, you will find Reading, strategically located along a massive transportation route connecting the state. Reading comes from the historic Reading Railroad, which transported coal from Pennsylvania throughout the eastern United States. Today, Reading has been nicknamed the Pretzel City for the number of different pretzel bakeries found here, including Tom Sturgis, Dieffenbach, and Bachman.

Reading is broken into 23 unique neighborhoods, with some of the most populated being Hampden Heights, East Reading, Eastside, Penn's Commons, and College Heights.

Multiple sports franchises call Reading home, many of which have a long history of creating athletes at the highest levels of their appropriate sports. The minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies is the Reading Fightin Phils, who play at FirstEnergy Stadium. Additionally, two of the top amateur soccer teams in the nation call Reading home, including the Reading United AC and the USL League Two.

For those who are interested in the artistic culture of Reading, the Reading Symphony Orchestra is noteworthy. The Orchestra has multiple education projects, including the Reading Choral Society, the Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir.

Other exciting things to check out in Reading include the Pagoda, the Reading Public Museum, and the Fairgrounds Farmers Market. The local farmers' market is a great place to pick up fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and desserts.

Check out the apartments available for rent now in Reading.

Final Thoughts - Where Should I Move to in Pennsylvania?

No matter what you are looking for in Pennsylvania, whether it is life along the waterfront of Lake Erie in Erie or the hustle of a more metropolitan area like Philadelphia, there's something for everyone. Thankfully, some of the best places to live in Pennsylvania are still reasonably priced.

So, if you are interested in moving to Pennsylvania, now might be a good time to start your research. First, find out more information about the cost of living in Pennsylvania. Next, register with Apartment List today and start checking out the thousands of available apartments to rent in Pennsylvania!

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained SEO writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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