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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:05 PM
 
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hi there!

we have the opportunity of moving to Pittsburgh or Harrisburg. We are undecided of which city to choose. we have 2 elementary school kids. I would like your advice/suggestions as to why you'd pick one or the other. Also, how is the weather in each place?

P.S. we are moving from Austin.

Thanks

Last edited by toobusytoday; 05-29-2012 at 02:53 PM..
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,477 posts, read 10,486,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calvar View Post
hi there!

we have the opportunity of moving to Pittsburgh or Harrisburgh. We are undecided of which city to choose. we have 2 elementary school kids. I would like your advice/suggestions as to why you'd pick one or the other. Also, how is the weather in each place?

P.S. we are moving from Austin.

Thanks
Pittsburgh has objectively more to offer and will probably make for less of a sense of culture shock, at least as far as living in larger, more cosmopolitan cities go. It's relatively easy to find peaceful sub/exurban enclaves in either metropolitan area, but it will be much harder to stake out that bustling city feel in Harrisburg. If you will be traveling a lot, Harrisburg is much more centrally located among more major cities. Cost of living is inexpensive in both. Pittsburgh weather is moderately cooler, with somewhat more dreary winters. Pittsburgh is also markedly snowier.

I spent a summer in Harrisburg and found it rather boring, though not unpleasant. In Pittsburgh, there are just so much more things to do, places to see, etc, which, to be fair, is expected when comparing an urban area of over 2 million with one right around 500,000.

Really, it comes down to whether you are looking to maintain or slow down your pace of living.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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Both areas share PA's hyper-fractionation of local governments. In PA, the basic unit of local government is the municipality (city, borough, township) less so than the county. The school districts aggregate one or several municipalities. Municipal boundaries do not closely coincide with postal address boundaries. The real estate agents generally know which are considered "good school districts".
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Kittanning
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I will say that downtown Harrisburg does have a vibrant, big-city feel.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:54 PM
 
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Many people aren't hyper-urbanites and seek a suburban location. For those, traffic is bad in both metros but the "good school districts" may be a little shorter commute to center city in smaller Harrisburg than in Pittsburgh. Pgh's busways and T are generally less effective mass transit commuting options than other major league cities have, they were gutted in greater proportion than the relative out-migration after deindustrialization.

Of course Harrisburg as a minor league city only has the bus stuck in the same traffic as an option (basically a parking saver on the city end, there are a few blocks of high density, with a bordering few blocks of gentrification, surrounded by inner city) although the bus routes finally do now extend to parts of Lower Dauphin/Derry Twp schools aka Hummelstown Borough and Hershey CDP.

If you are a city dweller Pittsburgh has much more desirable options with numerous stable neighborhoods, in effect two downtowns (counting Oakland), and eds/meds/museums of a class with even larger cities.

But for traveling to larger cities, 2-3 hours' drive from Pittsburgh gets you to Cleveland - while from Harrisburg 2-3 hours' drive gets you to any of DC, Baltimore, Philly, and NYC (with train a viable option with frequent service to latter two as fast as driving or faster to center cities). Harrisburg air service is somewhat better than one would expect from a minor league city relatively close to major metro airports. Harrisburg is a little deficient in the eds sector relative to size (Penn State main campus is 2 hours' drive although the Penn State medical and law schools and a branch campus are in the Hbg metro - at 3 separate locations), anymore the PSU medical school/center dominates Hershey more than the 2 remaining chocolate factories.

Politically Pittsburgh has more of a "Reagan Democrat" vibe although suburban/exurban areas have (like most Reagan Democrats) gone Republican; Harrisburg area (except for the relatively tiny City limits) trends to one-party conservative Republican although not far-right - and even the Democratic mayor leads her staff in daily prayer. Austin might have more liberals than either, especially Harrisburg.
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