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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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Hello! My husband and I will be moving to the Harrisburg area this summer and we are wondering where we should live. We are about to have our first child so we definitely want to be in a safe area. We live in Chicago now and we like living in the city, but we don't have to live in the city. We just want to be sure to live in an area that is vibrant and has restaurants and things to walk to. No super suburbs! Does anyone have any advice for us?
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:10 AM
 
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Harrisburg is reminiscent of a super suburb. It's more sleepy than "vibrant" IMO and a complete 360 from Chicago. Honestly dunno that you would be happy here if you like Chicago but it depends on what you're looking for. Not many areas in the midstate that are particularly unsafe...other than some parts of inner city Lancaster, York and Harrisburg.

Looking for anything specific re: the area you want to live in? Diversity? Type of housing? Good schools?

The only place I can think of that somewhat resembles what you describe re: restaurants and things to walk to would possibly be Downtown Harrisburg although we're not talking 5 star eating places or super interesting things to do. Also dunno that I would want to live in the downtown area or even Harrisburg city w/ your family situation (housing is antiquated for the most part and the public schools are not good).
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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Since your child isn't in the school system yet, you should definitely consider midtown or downtown Harrisburg. It's the most vibrant, walkable area with lots of restaurants to choose from.

Camp Hill, a suburb about 5-10 minutes west of Harrisburg, also offers a nice walkable main street with restaurants/shops.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Don't move to Camp Hill. It is not walk able. There are few, if any, good restaraunts that would be comparable to Chicago. It is safe and quiet, but boring.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfchick View Post
Don't move to Camp Hill. It is not walk able. There are few, if any, good restaraunts that would be comparable to Chicago. It is safe and quiet, but boring.
I disagree. Camp Hill borough is quite walkable. In addition, there are a handful of restaurants along Market street including a great Lebanese place.
www.cedarslebanesecuisine.com

Comparable to Chicago? It would be ridiculous to compare the Harrisburg area to Chicago.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Maine
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Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
I disagree. Camp Hill borough is quite walkable. In addition, there are a handful of restaurants along Market street including a great Lebanese place.
www.cedarslebanesecuisine.com

Comparable to Chicago? It would be ridiculous to compare the Harrisburg area to Chicago.
I've been meaning to try the Lebanese spot...I do agree that Camp Hill has walk-able neighborhoods, but the downtown strip is a bit lacking, in my opinion, although Cornerstone is a nice little coffeeshop. I've lived here for 6 months and have never "walked around town". Its just a main street strip with a few odd shops, and a surprisingly large amount of boutique law firms and insurance offices stretching from Mechanicsburg to Lemoyne. Lancaster is walk-able, Harrisburg is walk-able (although spread out and the good spots like Mangia Qui and Little Amps arent far but it's easier to drive.) And yes, you can't even begin to compare this area to Chicago. The Farm to table thing is only just catching on. This area is not a hub for the latest food trends and hot spots.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:39 AM
 
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Midtown or Downtown Harrisburg seem to be the most fitting neighborhoods for the OP. Downtown is high rises and a few townhomes, midtown is mostly older brick townhomes and a few condo buildings. Both have coffee shops/restaurants/bars/entertainment options within walking distance. Midtown is a bit sleepier, more like a little town within a city, but it's a nice urban neighborhood close to everything. I can offer some more specifics on blocks or landlords if you ask, there are quite a few threads here that go into specifics about each neighborhood. Harrisburg has a lot of problems with the school district, finances, crime, etc... but I've found midtown to be a pretty safe area if you're not walking alone at 1am, and the residents are very diverse and friendly. If you choose the city you may want to start looking into private eduation as your child reaches school age, it's pretty doubtful the public schools here will do a complete 180 in the next couple of years.

Camp Hill is a very nice town, so are Mechanicsburg and Hershey, but they're "kind of" walk-able, quiet, sleepy suburban towns. About 20 miles down I-81, Carlisle is also worth checking out. They're very forward thinking in revitalizing their downtown, which is adjacent to Dickinson College. They've been making upgrades including bike lanes and a trail network around the town. That on top of the shops/restaurants downtown, it's a pretty vibrant little town for 20K population. The building density in Carlisle, HBG, and Mechanicsburg (Camp Hill is pretty sprawling) and most Eastern PA towns, make the towns feel larger than they actually are. The public schools in the towns outside of HBG are generally pretty good.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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Thanks for the replies everyone!!

I know that the Harrisburg area is completely different than Chicago...I am not expecting to find something similar to what I have here. However, I have also lived in smaller cities and towns and we have been happy there too. Really, I am just hoping to find a place to live that has a few things that are walkable so that my whole life isn't always based around driving.

My husband got hired by Penn State Harrisburg so we are wondering about Middletown since it would be nice to live close to where he works? How is that town?

I am not too worried about schools yet. We will just be renting so if we are miserable where we are we can always move next year once we get to know the area better. I am just trying to avoid being miserable when we first get there by moving somewhere that will fit our needs. We would love to live somewhere that is diverse. We are just trying to avoid the super suburban neighborhoods where each house is super far apart!

Again, thanks for all the input and please keep it coming!!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
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Look a little further south of Middletown - look at Elizabethtown. I think it probably has more to offer and the drive to the Penn State campus is not bad at all.
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:03 PM
 
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Middletown isn't a super-prosperous community and is mixed race but isn't scary, I've walked around in the evenings without seeing too much. One odd thing there is that a trust owns a large section of the borough and homes in this area are owned on leased property, some banks won't lend in that scenario. Flood zones need to be borne in mind too.

Elizabethtown has a puzzling dearth of retail and services for a town of its size with a college, by comparison Middletown still has two full grocery stores walkable from much of town, and the airport is an easy bike ride. From Middletown the Harrisburg retail hubs are a short drive up I-283/I-83, and if you need Nordstrom or Crate & Barrel or Ikea north Baltimore suburbs are barely an hour's drive on weekends and King of Prussia a little further. E-town is less connected, except to Lancaster because no fast roads head northeast or (especially) southwest from there.
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