Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania 2024

pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, often referred to as the Keystone State sits in the northeastern part of the United States and is a tapestry of various cities, towns, and countryside locales, each boasting its distinct personality and allure.

Deciding on the ideal place to settle down in Pennsylvania is no small feat, as it plays a crucial role in shaping your lifestyle and overall well-being.

For those considering a move, especially towards urban centers like Pittsburgh, seeking assistance from reliable services such as movers in Pittsburgh can greatly simplify this pivotal life choice.

Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, with its rich history, diverse landscapes, and a blend of urban and rural living, offers a variety of appealing living options for individuals and families alike.

From the bustling streets of Philadelphia with its deep historical roots and vibrant cultural scene to the serene beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities of the Pocono Mountains, the Keystone State caters to a wide range of preferences and lifestyles.

Harrisburg

Harrisburg

Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, is a vibrant city that offers a high quality of life. The cost of living is generally considered to be affordable, especially when compared to larger metropolitan areas on the East Coast.

The city’s cost of living is slightly below the national average, making it an attractive option for individuals and families looking for a balance between urban amenities and manageable living expenses.

Housing in Harrisburg is one of the most significant factors contributing to its overall affordability. Both home purchase prices and rental rates tend to be lower than the national average, offering good value for those looking to live in the state capital. The housing market varies from historic homes in established neighborhoods to newer developments in suburban areas.

The city is home to several excellent schools, including Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and Harrisburg Area Community College.

Healthcare is also readily available, with UPMC Pinnable Harrisburg, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Hamilton Health Center contributing to a comprehensive healthcare network offering a wide range of services to meet the needs of the community.

Harrisburg offers a rich cultural scene, with museums like the State Museum of Pennsylvania providing insights into the state’s history, from natural history to cultural heritage.

The city also features a lively downtown area, Midtown, where residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, including the Broad Street Market, one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the country.

Harrisburg’s strategic location makes it a central hub for exploring the wider region, including the nearby Appalachian Trail and the charming towns of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

The city’s riverfront is a focal point for community activities, hosting numerous festivals and events throughout the year, and offers outdoor recreational opportunities such as walking, biking, and boating.

Reading

The pagoda at Reading

Reading is a historic city located in southeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living in Reading is lower than the national average, and the real estate market is affordable.

The city is home to several excellent schools, including Albright College and Reading Area Community College.

Known historically as “The Pretzel City” for its prominent pretzel bakeries, Reading played a significant role during the industrial boom with its thriving railroad and manufacturing sectors. The city is perhaps most famously home to the Reading Railroad, immortalized in the game of Monopoly.

Today, Reading boasts a diverse community with vibrant neighborhoods, a variety of cultural festivals, and a strong arts scene. The GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, housed in a former factory, is a testament to the city’s commitment to cultural revitalization, offering studios, galleries, and theaters.

The Pagoda, perched atop Mount Penn and easily recognizable by its distinct Japanese architecture, offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding valleys.

Reading is a city in transition, with efforts focused on revitalization and community development. Its rich history, combined with a growing emphasis on the arts, education, and local businesses, contributes to Reading’s unique character within the Pennsylvania landscape.

Scranton

Scranton

Scranton is a city located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is generally considered to be affordable, especially when compared to larger metropolitan areas in the Northeastern United States.

Housing in Scranton is one of the most significant factors contributing to its affordability. The median home price and rental rates in Scranton are below the national average, making homeownership and renting more accessible for a broader range of people.

The housing market includes a variety of options, from historic homes to newer constructions in suburban settings.

The city is home to several excellent schools, including the University of Scranton and Lackawanna College. Healthcare is also readily available, with several hospitals and medical centers located in the city.

Often referred to as the Electric City due to its early adoption of electric streetcars in the late 19th century, Scranton played a pivotal role in the industrial era, which has left an indelible mark on its identity and architecture.

The city is also known for its vibrant arts scene, with venues like the Scranton Cultural Center hosting a variety of performances and events. The University of Scranton and other educational institutions add a youthful vibrancy, contributing to the local economy and cultural life.

Surrounded by the picturesque Pocono Mountains, Scranton provides ample outdoor recreation opportunities, from hiking and skiing to exploring the numerous parks and nature reserves.

Despite the challenges of economic transition, Scranton maintains a strong community spirit, reflected in its lively festivals, friendly neighborhoods, and resilient, forward-looking residents.

Allentown

Allentown

Allentown is a city located in eastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living is generally considered to be affordable compared to many other cities in the United States, particularly those on the East Coast.

Housing in Allentown tends to be more affordable than in larger metropolitan areas like Philadelphia or New York City. The cost can vary widely depending on the neighborhood, type of housing, and its condition.

Both rental and purchase prices are typically below the national average, making Allentown an attractive option for many.

The city is home to several excellent schools, including Muhlenberg College and Cedar Crest College. Key attractions in Allentown include the Allentown Art Museum, which offers a diverse collection of art, and the America on Wheels Museum, showcasing the nation’s transportation history.

The Da Vinci Science Center provides interactive exhibits for science enthusiasts of all ages.

Allentown is also home to beautiful parks and recreational areas, with the picturesque Lehigh Parkway offering trails, fishing, and scenic views.

The annual Allentown Fair, one of the oldest in the country, celebrates the city’s agricultural heritage and community spirit with entertainment, rides, and exhibits.

West Chester

West Chester is a borough located in southeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living in West Chester, Pennsylvania, is generally considered to be higher than the national average, reflecting its desirability, historic charm, and proximity to Philadelphia.

Housing is one of the more significant expenses in West Chester, with costs above the national average.

The market includes a mix of historic homes, apartments, and newer developments, with prices varying widely based on size, condition, and location. The demand for housing in and around the downtown area, known for its charm and convenience, often drives prices higher.

The borough is home to several excellent schools, including West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Immaculata University. Healthcare is also readily available, with several hospitals and medical centers located in the borough.

Known for its rich history, picturesque downtown area, and strong sense of community, West Chester offers a blend of suburban comfort and urban flair.

The borough’s heart is its historic downtown district, characterized by beautiful brick sidewalks, elegant Victorian architecture, and tree-lined streets. This area is bustling with unique boutiques, gourmet restaurants, cozy cafes, and cultural venues, making it a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

Throughout the year, West Chester hosts numerous events and festivals that showcase local art, music, and culinary delights, fostering a strong sense of community and local pride. The borough is also known for its commitment to sustainability, with initiatives aimed at preserving its historic charm while embracing green practices.

Stroudsburg

Stroudsburg

Stroudsburg is a borough located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living is generally considered to be moderate and is often seen as more affordable compared to larger metropolitan areas, especially those within proximity to New York City and Philadelphia.

Housing costs in Stroudsburg are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the higher prices found in nearby urban centers.

The real estate market offers a variety of options from historic homes in downtown areas to more spacious properties in the surrounding countryside. Both rental and purchase prices tend to be below the averages found in major cities, making Stroudsburg attractive for those looking for more space at a lower cost.

The borough is home to several excellent schools, including East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and Northampton Community College.

Stroudsburg’s proximity to the Pocono Mountains makes it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The area offers a plethora of recreational activities, including hiking, skiing, fishing, and kayaking, with the scenic Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area nearby, providing stunning natural beauty and outdoor adventures.

Culturally, Stroudsburg hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from music and art to local cuisine and heritage. The Sherman Theater, a historic venue on Main Street, is a focal point for entertainment, hosting concerts, performances, and community events.

With its blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and a tight-knit community, Stroudsburg presents an appealing mix of small-town living with access to outdoor recreation and cultural amenities.

This makes it an attractive place to live, work, and visit for those who appreciate a slower-paced lifestyle while still having access to the vibrancy and amenities of a bustling town center.

Devon

a woodland walk next to a river

Devon is a census-designated place located in southeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living in Devon, Pennsylvania, is generally considered to be higher than the national average, reflecting its status as an affluent suburb within the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

The upscale nature of the community, coupled with its desirable amenities, excellent schools, and convenient location, contributes to the higher cost of living.

Housing is one of the most significant contributors to the higher cost of living in Devon. The real estate market here features a range of upscale homes, including large single-family residences, historic homes, and luxury apartments.

Both the cost of purchasing and renting homes in Devon are well above national averages, driven by the area’s desirability, the quality of the properties, and the well-maintained neighborhoods.

Devon is also known for its excellent educational institutions, including top-rated public and private schools, which contribute to the area’s appeal for families, including Conestoga High School and Devon Preparatory School.

The suburb offers a variety of shopping and dining options, with boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, and quaint cafes dotting its landscape, particularly along Lancaster Avenue, the main thoroughfare.

Known for its high quality of life, beautiful homes, and well-maintained neighborhoods, Devon offers a serene and upscale living environment.

One of Devon’s most notable annual events is the Devon Horse Show, the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse competition in the United States. This event, held since 1896, draws competitors and spectators from around the world and is a highlight of the community’s social calendar, reflecting the area’s deep equestrian heritage.

Despite its relatively small size, Devon boasts a strong sense of community, with numerous local events, clubs, and organizations fostering a close-knit atmosphere.

Its convenient location provides easy access to the amenities and employment opportunities of Philadelphia, while still offering a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Amish Country

horses in Amish County

Amish Country is a region located in southeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, particularly in areas like Lancaster County, is generally considered to be moderate and is often lower than in many urban areas across the United States, including nearby cities like Philadelphia.

Housing costs in Amish Country can vary widely from town to town but are generally more affordable compared to larger metropolitan areas. The region offers a mix of rural homes, including farmhouses and newer developments, with prices typically below the national average for both buying and renting.

The area is home to several excellent schools, including Lancaster Mennonite School and Lancaster Country Day School. Healthcare is also readily available, with several hospitals and medical centers located in the area.

Visitors to Amish Country are greeted with vast, meticulously maintained farms, horse-drawn buggies, and a rural landscape dotted with one-room schoolhouses and windmills.

The region is renowned for its handcrafted goods, including quilts, furniture, and other artisan products made following time-honored techniques. Roadside stands and local markets abound, selling fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare.

Cultural experiences in Amish Country also include tours of authentic Amish farms, buggy rides, and visits to museums dedicated to preserving and explaining the Amish way of life.

Despite the focus on tradition, the Amish and Mennonite communities are not isolated; they interact with visitors and the surrounding areas, providing a unique cultural exchange.

The towns and villages within Amish Country, such as Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, and Lititz, offer charming shopping and dining experiences, with local eateries serving up hearty, home-style meals.

The area also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating the region’s heritage, crafts, and culinary delights.

Pocono Mountains

Pocono Mountains

The Pocono Mountains are a region located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The cost of living in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania is generally considered to be moderate and can offer a more affordable alternative to the higher costs found in nearby metropolitan areas such as New York City and Philadelphia.

Housing costs in the Pocono Mountains are typically lower than the national average, making it an attractive option for both primary residences and vacation homes.

The region offers a range of housing options, from rustic cabins and traditional single-family homes to luxurious estates and lakefront properties. Prices can vary widely based on location, size, and amenities.

The area is home to several excellent schools, including East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and Northampton Community College.

The Poconos are renowned for their outdoor adventure opportunities, including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and water sports.

The area boasts numerous state parks, such as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which offers miles of trails for hiking and breathtaking views of the Delaware River. In the winter, the region transforms into a winter sports haven, with several ski resorts offering slopes for all skill levels.

Aside from outdoor activities, the Pocono Mountains are home to charming small towns and historic villages, each with its unique attractions, from local art galleries and antique shops to cozy restaurants and cafes.

The region is also famous for its romantic getaways, family resorts, and luxurious spas, catering to a wide range of visitors.

Cultural events, music festivals, and seasonal activities, such as fall foliage tours and summer concerts, add to the Poconos’ appeal, making it a versatile destination for both relaxation and adventure.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in the mountains, an action-packed outdoor adventure, or a cozy weekend by the fireplace, the Pocono Mountains offer a memorable experience for every type of traveler.

Choosing the right place to live in Pennsylvania can be a daunting task, but it is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

Based on our research, the best places to live in Pennsylvania are Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, Scranton, Allentown, West Chester, Stroudsburg, Bethlehem, Ardmore, Devon, Swarthmore, Penne Wynne, Amish Country, and the Pocono Mountains.

 Each of these places offers a high quality of life, with affordable real estate, excellent schools, and ample recreation opportunities. We hope that this article has been helpful in your search for the perfect place to call home in Pennsylvania.

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