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Old 08-06-2018, 02:22 PM
 
Location: USA
1,041 posts, read 1,147,304 times
Reputation: 1224

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My wife and I recently vacationed in Philadelphia for 5 days, and we both fell in love with the city.

I realize that the area one stays in can weigh heavily in his or her overall assessment of the trip. Because I'm a huge history geek and planned to visit a slew of historic sites, it only made sense to book a hotel in the historic district (Old City), which proved to be a fantastic decision.

Everything from Independence Hall to Christ Church to Washington Square was a short walk away. It felt as if all the places we wanted to check out were in our backyard.

Of all the cities we've visited -- Washington D.C., Boston, New York City, Williamsburg, and now Philadelphia -- we've never felt more at home than we did in Old City and Society Hill.

I expected more hustle and bustle (a la New York City), but for the most part, it was pretty calm and relaxed. Of course, popular spots like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell attracted nice crowds, but nothing too overbearing. The restaurants were inviting and the food was great. Best of all, we felt safe strolling the neighborhoods late at night.

The people (whether locals or tourists) seemed more down-to-earth than those in New York or Boston, who struck me as snobby.

I couldn't get enough of the verdant, quaint parks we came across throughout the city. What better way to unwind than by spending an hour or two there with a good book or cup of coffee in hand?

Here's my question: Many people say that just because a place seems amazing during a trip doesn't mean you'd love it if you actually lived there.

Is this the case for Old City/Society Hill? Is there anything about the areas (cost of living, housing, parking woes, etc.) that might deter someone with a rosy outlook following a vacation from moving there?

Last edited by Wordsmith12; 08-06-2018 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,335 posts, read 744,209 times
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Society Hill sure is nice.

Fun fact. It is the largest historic colonial neighborhood in the USA. Sorry Boston. Philly beats you here too

What is your housing/rental budget? Philadelphia for being the 2nd largest city on the east coast is relatively affordable. But that does not mean it is cheap.

Queen Village. Fitler Square. Spring Garden. Fairmount.

All similar feeling neighborhoods in terms of character and verdant. to give you options in price points. As Society Hill is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. $1 Million dollar starting price point is common.

Penthouse sold for nearly $18 million last year in the neighborhood. With that, it doesnt mean it is not attainable, but knowing some more information in regards to expectations makes a difference. My guess is there are a smattering of offerings at the 500k price range. Not much below that, unless you want a condo w/condo fees.

This is why I suggested the other neighborhoods, which are all very quaint and you will love.

Philadelphia is America's best kept secret. Although it is quickly being discovered. (Im not sure how I feel about that yet). lol
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:57 PM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
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There is a poster (redddog) who has lived in Old City for a couple of years. He, and his wife, moved here from NYC. He loves it here.

Maybe he will see your post and reply.
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Old 08-06-2018, 07:15 PM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post
My wife and I recently vacationed in Philadelphia for 5 days, and we both fell in love with the city.

I realize that the area one stays in can weigh heavily in his or her overall assessment of the trip. Because I'm a huge history geek and planned to visit a slew of historic sites, it only made sense to book a hotel in the historic district (Old City), which proved to be a fantastic decision.

Everything from Independence Hall to Christ Church to Washington Square was a short walk away. It felt as if all the places we wanted to check out were in our backyard.

Of all the cities we've visited -- Washington D.C., Boston, New York City, Williamsburg, and now Philadelphia -- we've never felt more at home than we did in Old City and Society Hill.

I expected more hustle and bustle (a la New York City), but for the most part, it was pretty calm and relaxed. Of course, popular spots like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell attracted nice crowds, but nothing too overbearing. The restaurants were inviting and the food was great. Best of all, we felt safe strolling the neighborhoods late at night.

The people (whether locals or tourists) seemed more down-to-earth than those in New York or Boston, who struck me as snobby.

I couldn't get enough of the verdant, quaint parks we came across throughout the city. What better way to unwind than by spending an hour or two there with a good book or cup of coffee in hand?

Here's my question: Many people say that just because a place seems amazing during a trip doesn't mean you'd love it if you actually lived there.

Is this the case for Old City/Society Hill? Is there anything about the areas (cost of living, housing, parking woes, etc.) that might deter someone with a rosy outlook following a vacation from moving there?
The housing is some of the most expensive in city. But compared to similar places in NY, DC, Boston it's still likely to be a bargain.

Old City/ Society Hill is absolutely one of my favorite places in the city. Very charming and, it's calm, like you discovered, most of the time. I never get tired of all of its historical aspects and I'm a native to area.

I would suggest though that you look at some other neighborhoods so you have a good sampling of things before making any moving decision.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Toronto
349 posts, read 896,547 times
Reputation: 943
We lived in Society Hill several years before moving to Toronto, and we loved living there. Its beauty and unique charm are obvious. Beyond that however, we knew everyone on our block and there is a real sense of neighbourliness.


Parking: We owned two cars at the time, one parked on the street with a resident's permit; the other we rented space in a parking garage a couple of blocks away. I think at the time we paid about $150 per month for the garage.


The house was about 200 years old, and as you might expect, upkeep is a challenge. One has to accept living with very little private outdoor space, close proximity to neighbours and occasionally tourists peering through your windows.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:17 AM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
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OP, you might want to look more in Old City proper. Look into the area north of Market St toward Vine St, 5th to Front St.
Lots of new housing and it will pull you away from most of touristy parts which sort of end at Arch St(Betsy Ross house).

Still lots to love. The Race St Pier. Fringe. The "coming soon" Cherry St Pier.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:14 AM
 
Location: USA
1,041 posts, read 1,147,304 times
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Thanks for the replies.

It's been a couple of days since we got back and I already miss Old City.

My wife wants to stay close to family (we live in Florida), so moving is probably a long shot.

Still, if moving ever becomes a real possibility, Old City will find itself atop my list.

I never thought I could feel so at home somewhere outside my city like I did in Philly.

But I'm not sure I would enjoy living there once the novelty of it all wears off. As a previous poster noted, there are things that would definitely take some getting used to, like the area's palpable touristy feel.

Without a doubt, we plan on visiting/staying in Old City again in a few years. It's a shame more people don't know about or visit this historic gem.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:42 AM
 
153 posts, read 125,007 times
Reputation: 144
I enjoy visiting Old City but hated living there.

I found it to be very dirty, especially the days when all the bars and restaurant have their trash out on the street and it often spills over and never gets picked up. It reminds me a lot of the East Village in NY.

And it can also feel a little overwhelming when tourists flock to the area. I just wanted to go for a nice quiet walk a lot of the time but then you need to navigate your way through tour groups and people stopping every 10 feet to take photos.

We currently live in Society Hill and it's super clean and very quiet. A little too quiet for me sometimes but a lot more relaxing then Old City.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:20 AM
 
10,265 posts, read 5,931,280 times
Reputation: 3628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordsmith12 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

It's been a couple of days since we got back and I already miss Old City.

My wife wants to stay close to family (we live in Florida), so moving is probably a long shot.

Still, if moving ever becomes a real possibility, Old City will find itself atop my list.

I never thought I could feel so at home somewhere outside my city like I did in Philly.

But I'm not sure I would enjoy living there once the novelty of it all wears off. As a previous poster noted, there are things that would definitely take some getting used to, like the area's palpable touristy feel.

Without a doubt, we plan on visiting/staying in Old City again in a few years. It's a shame more people don't know about or visit this historic gem.
Well, I mentioned that one could significantly miss most tourists(although I don't want to give off the impression that I dislike tourists!) if you concentrate on northern Old City. Or maybe another Center City neighborhood, like Fitler Sq. Fitler Sq is in sw part of Center City. It's mostly residential, is historical(Victorian/early 20th C.) and does not attract tourists so much.

Phila. gets millions of visitors every year so lots do know. The July 4th is a peak time, for obvious reasons, for tourists.

I am of two minds about people's ignorance about the city. It's irksome to be sandwiched between NY and DC. But on the other hand we have "hidden" qualities which are a surprise to people once they come. Is anyone surprised about NYC? Or DC?
Not really. So being surprising to folks(like you) is fantastic.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:27 PM
 
186 posts, read 111,588 times
Reputation: 231
Both Old City and Society Hill are iconic urban neighborhoods - if you enjoy city living, living in these areas is awesome.

Anyways, nice post, hope you come back - and, don't forget to tell all your friends about how much you loved Philly!
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