The Pros and Cons of Living  Philadelphia’s Suburbs vs the City Center 

Philadelphia is a beautiful American city with history around every corner. While it’s not as big as its neighbors New York and Washington DC, it still captures the fast-paced energy of a large city. Some people love the hustle and bustle of living in the heart of a city, while others get a breath of fresh air in the suburbs. If you’re looking for the best places to live in or near Philly, here are some of the pros and cons of living in the suburbs versus the center city.

Pros of Philadelphia Suburbs

Easy Transportation to the City 

Philadelphia takes up about half the area of New York City, making it a manageable size. But if you don’t like living in the middle of everything, this also means that its suburbs are very close by. Philadelphia suburbs are accessible by public transportation as well as cars.

Suburbs like Ardmore and Conshohocken are only a 20-40 minute car ride depending on traffic. Both are also accessible by public transportation. If you need to get into Philadelphia for work or a quick dinner with friends, there are plenty of reliable transportation options that make it easy to do so.

Family Atmosphere

The suburbs of Philadelphia are home to many young families. If you find yourself looking for a place to settle, the suburbs of the city of brotherly love are a great place to do so. Towns like Exton are known for their great public and private school options. You can also bring the family into the city to explore kid-friendly establishments like the Franklin Institute.

If you’re moving to Philadelphia for work, you may be relocating with your family as well. You’ll find all the information you need to know about moving to the Philadelphia suburbs in this step-by-step walkthrough outlining corporate relocations and moving tips for the area.

Pros of Living in Philadelphia’s City Center


When you live in the heart of Philadelphia, you open yourself up to accessibility. Living in the city center makes it easy to get to different parts of the city by using the public transportation system. Most parts of Philadelphia are relatively easy to get to by walking, subway, trolley, or bus. You can even get to the airport easily from the heart of the city.

If you have to commute to different areas of the northeast like New Jersey or New York, you’ll become quite familiar with 30th Street Station. This train station is connected to New Jersey public transportation as well as the Amtrak system.

Arts, Food, and Culture 

The city of Philadelphia is teeming with arts and culture. When you live in the city you can take a stroll down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and pass the Rodin Museum and Barnes Foundation on your way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Right at the heart of the city you’ll find the Avenue of the Arts. This avenue includes establishments like the Kimmel Center, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the Academy of Music where you can catch an opera or ballet.

Some nights you’ll be looking for a bite. There are many great food options in every neighborhood of Philadelphia. Whether it’s grabbing a cheesesteak at a local spot or sitting down for award-winning food at Zahav, you’ll quickly find your new favorite spot.

Cons of Philadelphia Suburbs

Commuting Traffic

If you live in any suburb, you’ll be prepared for the frustration that comes with commuting. While it can be very easy to get into the city with public transportation, taking your car is much more convenient. With many people commuting in and out, you can very easily run into some frustrating commuting traffic. If you are a patient person you may not mind waiting it out to get back to your suburban home.


Philadelphia suburbs are more walkable than some other major city suburbs. But it doesn’t mean it’s the number one mode of transportation. If you decide to live in the suburbs, you are most likely going to want to buy a car to get around easily.

Cons of Center City Philadelphia

Rapidly Increasing Population 

Rent prices in Philadelphia are low compared to other major cities across the country. With lower costs and some major brand headquarters in the city, Philadelphia has been experiencing some overpopulation issues. This can make it more difficult to find an apartment to rent and also causes congestion on the streets and public transportation.

Poor Parking 

In addition to crowding on the streets, Philadelphia is known for its less-than-ideal parking situation. If you live in the city and want to get out now and then, it’s difficult to find housing that offers guaranteed parking. Even if your apartment has street parking, you will have to move your car very often due to street cleaning and other parking limits. Parking in a garage costs a pretty penny as well.


Philadelphia and its suburbs have much to offer to anyone that is looking to call the city their home. From arts and culture to great school and family life you can find it all in the area. Whether you like walking everywhere or going home to a quiet house, there is an option that will work for you in or around the city of brotherly love.

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