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Philadelphia is more than just a historical city. It is a great place to live as a resident, with all the advantages of a large city but on a far more manageable scale.
Where to Live
One of the great things about Philadelphia is the wide variety of housing options. It is possible to either rent or buy, and both options are relatively affordable. High rises, brownstones, townhouses, condos, and houses are all available, depending on where in the city you want to live.
Several neighborhoods are popular among residents. University City is right next to the hospital and offers some of the most affordable housing available in a diverse neighborhood. It is the closest neighborhood to the hospitals. Rittenhouse Square is in Center City, and is the home to many residents. Easily accessible to the hospitals via public transportation, Rittenhouse Square offers many nearby options for food, entertainment, and shopping.
Other options for housing are available elsewhere in Center City, including Old City and Society Hill, and in the Art Museum area. Some residents, especially those with families, chose to live in the suburbs.
Food and Drink
Center City and University City are home to a number of excellent restaurants, many of which are BYOB. In addition to traditional Philadelphia foods like cheesesteaks and soft pretzels, you will find many other types of cuisine for any price range.
There are also a number of markets available, including the famous Reading Terminal Market, a former train station that now houses a variety of vendors offering fresh and prepared foods, and the Italian Market.
One of the perks of living in Center City is that there are many bars within walking distance of your apartment. They range from your local sports bar to wine bars to lounges. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, the bars of Center City hold popular happy hours with discounted food and drinks. Other evening entertainment options are available, including clubs and live music venues.
If you have any interest in the arts, you will want to start with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition to its well known permanent exhibits, many artists are represented in traveling exhibits. The Rodin Museum offers an in-depth look at the work of the famous sculptor who created “The Thinker.” On the first Friday of every month, the galleries in Old City open for evening browsing and a popular happy hour.
Philadelphia also offers many options for those interested in music. The Kimmel Center hosts many concerts, including those of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Mann Center in Fairmount Park brings performers to town in an open air setting, where you can bring a picnic basket and a bottle of wine to enjoy with the music. In the summer, Rittenhouse Square hosts weekly free outdoor concerts.
Numerous theater performances are held throughout the year, from the larger productions on the Avenue of the Arts to smaller shows in venues throughout the city. The Philly Fringe Festival and the Independent Film Festival bring unique, offbeat productionsto the city.
In addition to the established productions, there are many schools that offer performances and exhibits, which can be excellent and are usually quite affordable. These schools cluster around the Avenue of the Arts, in the center of the city.
Even with the busy schedule of residency, you will have some time to get outside and get fresh air. Fortunately, there are options close to the hospital. Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country, and offers a number of trails for running, biking, and rollerblading, as well as lots of green space for picnics or sports. A path travels down Kelly Drive, passing scenic Boathouse Row, along the Schuylkill River, to Schuylkill River Park in Center City, which has a large dog park and tennis courts.
If you need a longer break from the city, within a short drive is Valley Forge National Park. The mountains of the Poconos are only a few hours away, and the Jersey Shore is only 70 minutes away.
One of the best things about Philly is that a car is not necessary. Public transportation is excellent. Between buses, subways, and trolleys, you can access all parts of the city relatively easily. Regional rail lines can take you to the airport or the suburbs. If you are looking to get further away, there is a large train station close to the hospital offering easy access to New York, DC, and other Northeastern cities.
Penn offers its residents a choice of either a bus pass (also good on subways, trolleys, and regional rail) or a parking permit.
Of course, Philadelphia also offers a number of historical sites, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Franklin Institute. Great for when the parents visit.
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