U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Harrisburg area
 [Register]
Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 04-20-2011, 09:34 PM
 
4 posts, read 12,943 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

My family and I are moving to Harrisburg in a couple of weeks (me, my husdand, and our 1 yr old twins). We're moving because my husband will be consulting at Tyco.

I have a number of questions on unrelated topics, and would appreciate any input.

1) Housing: We're only going to be in the area for about a year, we don't have much time to find a place, and I'm most likely going to be a stay at home mom, but enjoy being able to walk as much as possible, want to be near parks, probably a library (I'm assuming it'll have some kids reading hours, etc.), supermarket, cafes, and other urban activities (I've lived in Chicago, SF, London, NYC, and Boston). From reading previous posts, I believe our best bet is one of the high rise apartments in the downtown/midtown area. Since we need a sizeable 2 bedroom and parking I think our only options are Towne House and River Plaza (in all the prior posts River Plaza isn't mentioned much, but it looks like they're undergoing renovations... will that make it a decent place to live?) So, one question is, are there other places we shoulld consider? It wouldn't be bad to have a yard, but I'm not willing to live in the suburbs. If the high rises are it, are their prices negotiable? I've never lived in a high rise, or worked with a building manager, so I don't know how these things work. Also, I read about townhouses in the midtown/downtown area. What are these and how does one go about finding out about them?

2) Work: My background is in non-proift program management and training and faciliation. Since we aren't going to be in the area for that long, I don't think it makes sense for me to get a full-time job, but I wouldn't mind something part-time. Where would I look for jobs like that?

3) Kids: a)Are there any organizations or groups for moms or that offer kids classes. My children are still really young, but it would be nice to take them to some sort of music, reading, nature, playtime, anything really, classes (probably more for my sanity than for their enjoyment). b) How would I find out about childcare and/or find a babysitter? c) Any tips on cool things to do with young kids in the area?

4) Transport: Is there any public transportation from downtown to Tyco? If not, I've read traffic can be bad, is it bad in that direction? How long do you think it would take to get to and from Tyco w/o a car? If my husband has the car, how limited will that make my life?

Thanks for any information you can provide. I really appreciate it.

Last edited by zdax330; 04-20-2011 at 09:43 PM.. Reason: One more thing to ask
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-21-2011, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,434 posts, read 3,672,381 times
Reputation: 1015
Quote:
Originally Posted by zdax330 View Post
1) Housing: We're only going to be in the area for about a year, we don't have much time to find a place, and I'm most likely going to be a stay at home mom, but enjoy being able to walk as much as possible, want to be near parks, probably a library (I'm assuming it'll have some kids reading hours, etc.), supermarket, cafes, and other urban activities (I've lived in Chicago, SF, London, NYC, and Boston). From reading previous posts, I believe our best bet is one of the high rise apartments in the downtown/midtown area. Since we need a sizeable 2 bedroom and parking I think our only options are Towne House and River Plaza (in all the prior posts River Plaza isn't mentioned much, but it looks like they're undergoing renovations... will that make it a decent place to live?) So, one question is, are there other places we shoulld consider? It wouldn't be bad to have a yard, but I'm not willing to live in the suburbs. If the high rises are it, are their prices negotiable? I've never lived in a high rise, or worked with a building manager, so I don't know how these things work. Also, I read about townhouses in the midtown/downtown area. What are these and how does one go about finding out about them?
Hi, and welcome to the area!

River Plaza is indeed undergoing some major renovations. The building was sold about a year ago, and the new owners seem intent on fixing some of the building's long-running shortcomings. I think once they get their renovations finished, the place is going to be a real gem. However, they do have a few drawbacks, all related to location. While you have Riverfront Park directly across the street, it's a long walk (about 1.5 miles) to downtown. The area east of River Plaza is not exactly the best place to go wandering. In fact, I recommend staying south of Reily Street until you get your bearings. It's not that every block north of Reily is bad; rather, it's a lot harder to inadvertently walk into a bad situation south of Reily than it is north.

Towne House is half a block from the Capitol Complex, which is arguably the safest place in the city. You're also only a few blocks from everything midtown has to offer, and no more than a half mile from any given downtown destination. My only complaint about Towne House is that just like its downtown sister (Executive House), it is in dire need of a cosmetic overhaul.

You might also want to consider Pennsylvania Place and The Grayco. Both have two-bedroom units. My personal experiences with Pennsylvania Place while lease-shopping were not pleasant. Grayco, on the other hand, was amazing. Both places have pros and cons that mainly amount to personal preference.

If I had to pick a two-bedroom apartment right now, I would have a very hard time choosing between The Grayco and Towne House. Both have the added advantage of being within walking distance of the train station for those emergency weekend getaways.

Regarding your proximity to urban lifestyle options, downtown Harrisburg has most of the dining / entertainment / nightlife options, while midtown has more shopping (though that's not saying much) and arts / cultural options. There's a "good enough" (small, limited selection, somewhat dingy) supermarket at Third & Sayford, along with a half dozen convenience stores peppered throughout downtown & midtown. Expect to drive 10 minutes into Camp Hill or Susquehanna Township for a good supermarket (Super Giant). Broad Street Market (Third & Verbeke) has a very good selection of fresh and pre-made foods.

You'll want to check out Midtown Scholar. It's an independent used / rare bookstore that has really grown into a community hub. They host a lot of special events, from political debates to acoustic performers to cupcake competitions. I don't know if they have any special children's programs, but their children's section takes up an entire wall and is almost always well-populated. They also have a decent-enough coffee bar, but I prefer Cafe de Luna a few blocks over. We do have a downtown library at Front & Walnut, but honestly, Midtown Scholar is more enjoyable.

You'll also want to explore downtown Harrisburg (mainly Second Street between Market and Pine) on a Friday or Saturday night. There are venues catering to all age groups and income brackets, ranging from dive bars (Pep Grill) to upscale lounges (Privado, Level 2) to everything in-between (McGrath's, Carleys, Zembie's, Molly Brannigan's, and many more). Midtown has its own nightlife showing (Midtown Arts Center, Garrason's Tavern, and a few others), but downtown is the undisputed king of nightlife in the region.

The state museum, Whitaker Center, Riverfront Park, City Island, and any one of the galleries tucked in along Third and Front streets provide family-friendly options. As the weather warms up, there are a number of festivals held in Riverfront Park, usually somewhere between Forster and Market.

Just bear in mind that this area offers substantially fewer urban amenities than what you might have experienced in NY / Chicago / Boston.

Quote:
4) Transport: Is there any public transportation from downtown to Tyco? If not, I've read traffic can be bad, is it bad in that direction? How long do you think it would take to get to and from Tyco w/o a car? If my husband has the car, how limited will that make my life?
Do you mean the Tyco facilities near Jonestown Road & Amp Drive? If so, traffic from downtown won't be much of a problem. Most of the congestion flows into the city by morning and out by evening. By living downtown / midtown and driving to the suburbs, your rush-hour exposure will be greatly mitigated. You'll also have at least three major & minor arteries to choose from (I-81 to I-83, I-81 to Cameron St, I-81 to Front St).

Public transportation does exist, but it's somewhat limited in this area. I've found that their schedule always gets me to my destination an hour before or 15 minutes after I need to be there. The website is here: CAT: Capital Area Transit

Let us know what you pick, or if you have any more questions. And again, welcome to Central PA!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-22-2011, 09:35 AM
 
4 posts, read 12,943 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for your reply. I appreciate all the info.
Do you know if going through apartments.com is the only way to get in touch with Grayco? When I google it, that's all I can find. (Though, we're a bit stuck without a dishwasher. We cook a lot and my husband brews beer--needs to sterilize those bottles.) It also looks like Towne House has no availablilty.
Would it be really terrible to end up at River Plaza? Any other ideas for places to check out for a quick move?
Also, is the rent negotiable? We do have an appointment with PA Place since there don't seem to be too many options in our time frame. The woman I spoke to said the price changes every day.
Thanks.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-22-2011, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,434 posts, read 3,672,381 times
Reputation: 1015
Quote:
Originally Posted by zdax330 View Post
Also, is the rent negotiable? We do have an appointment with PA Place since there don't seem to be too many options in our time frame. The woman I spoke to said the price changes every day.
Thanks.
Yeah, that was one of the things that perturbed me. Pay attention to noise levels when you tour, too. Low ceilings, awkward floorplans, so-so location, and that building's reputation all combined to make me look elsewhere.

Regarding River Plaza, I wouldn't call it "bad". It just really doesn't suit my style. I enjoy being able to walk downtown to grab a beer, meet friends, have dinner, exercise, etc. River Plaza was just a little too far removed for what I wanted to do. On the plus side, the building includes all utilities, has indoor parking, has a rooftop deck, and is being nicely renovated. It's by no means a bad choice; it's just a little too far from the downtown / midtown activities for my tastes.

The surrounding area doesn't start to turn sour until you head east of Second Street. Front and Second Streets are largely harmless. If you plan on walking to midtown / downtown, plan on walking down Front to Reily until you become more familiar with the surrounding neighborhoods.

Rents are usually negotiable just about anywhere you go. It all depends on your negotiating skills. Don't ask if they're "willing to go any lower"; that tells them you're willing to accept the base price. Instead, make yourself appealing. Make sure they know you're looking to sign a lease "within the next few days", and that you're shopping around. Find a drawback to the place. For example, if you're looking at Grayco, you might say something like "I can really see myself living here for a long time. This building is immaculate! But the lack of parking and the lack of a dishwasher ... I'm going to have to think that over. That's really important to me. That might turn out to be a dealbreaker. We have to discuss how we feel about going back to handwashing."

Maybe they'll reduce the rent, maybe they'll authorize a stowaway unit. Who knows, maybe they even have an apartment with an "off the books" dishwasher already added.

Googling "the grayco harrisburg" turns up a phone number: the grayco harrisburg - Google Search

One more suggestion: There are a LOT of townhouses, condos, and smaller apartment buildings for rent in downtown / midtown that don't show up on apartments.com. Many of them don't even advertise in the Patriot News. Most of the downtown units are concentrated in the area between Front & State and Third & Forster. Most of the good midtown units are between Front & Forster and Third & Sayford -- give or take. Unfortunately the only way to find these is to walk the streets. If you have the time to do that, there are gems to be had.

And a warning: No offense, but you are describing a Craigslist scammer's dream. You're unfamiliar with the area, you need to move quick, and you're looking for a 2-bedroom (more expensive) unit. I would be very, very, very wary of renting something from CL. If you manage to find a dream property on there and want our opinion, feel free to ask.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2011, 01:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 5,832 times
Reputation: 15
Harrisburg is a really nice city. The two busiest streets are 1st and 2nd. In warm weather, you can take your friends or family to River Front Park (a long black sidewalk next to the river) and enjoy the view.
If you ever want to walk or bike, you can go down River Front Park (left) and come across and metal bridge that leads halfway across the Susquehanna River. If you cross that bridge, you will get to City Island, where there is a Senators baseball stadium, mini-golf, and an arcade.
I go to Strawberry Square a lot, which is a very large building that has many, many things you can do. When you first walk inside Strawberry Square, there is a big room with ATM's and an escalator that leads to the 2nd floor. On the right, there are a few shops. If you go to the right of the escalator, there is a candy shop. On the right of the 2nd floor, there is a big room with a bunch of mini-sized restaurants (Subway, a pizza place, Chinese food, and more). If you go left of the staircase, there is a huge hallway with big butterflies hung on the ceiling. At the end of the hallway, on the left there is another big room. On the left is a small coffee-shop. Straight ahead is the back entrance of a gift-shop (I would recommend going through the front entrance). If you go left there are two counters. The counter on the left lets you go into a really cool room that has hundreds of cool and fun things (you have to pay, of course). The counter on the right lets you buy tickets for IMAX movies (which are 3d). On the left there is a bridge that goes to the IMAX theaters (don't go in the elevator if you want to see and IMAX movie). I'll let you explore the rest of Strawberry Square yourself.
If you follow 2nd street for about a mile, you will come to the Governor's Mansion. I would not recommend going to the Governor's Mansion on Halloween, because it can really scare the crap out of you. My favorite part about the Governor's Mansion on Halloween is that you get a big chocolate bar at the door.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2011, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
17 posts, read 53,388 times
Reputation: 19
I live down the street from River View apartments. While I have no experience with the management or anyone who lives there, I must say its a great building. The architecture is extremely impressive, as it is in the surrounding blocks. The neighborhood is VERY diverse, which to me was very refreshing, but it's something to be aware of, I guess. During the day, Harrisburg is safe in general, but at night I wouldn't stray much west of 3rd and north of Kelker or Muench. The downtown and most of historic Midtown are very nice and safe, even at night. That being said, it's a city, and any city in the US has it's fare share of nutjobs, so just stay aware of the surroundings!

I hope you're not disappointed moving here, with the impressive "world class" city resume you have. Harrisburg is no SF or NYC. It's a down home americana city, in "old fashioned" Pennsylvania. I read that you're husband is a homebrewer, I'd recommend checking out Scotzin Bros. in Lemoyne, just across the river, as well as Appalachian Brewing and Troegs. Pennsylvania in general, is full of great local brews (Victory, Sly Fox, Lancaster, Erie, Wyerbacher, Stoudts, Yards), I probably drank a few too many tonight hehe....

Anyway, welcome to Harrisburg, any more questions about the area just ask, and I hope you enjoy it here!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Harrisburg area
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top