Life in Philadelphia affords its residents a mix of both a metropolitan city feel, including public transportation and an exciting nightlife, while also maintaining the charm of a small town. For those looking to set up home a close distance from the city, there are numerous options available that are suitable for all stages of life.
You may be a working professional looking for a laid-back lifestyle close to the city. Perhaps you are a family eager to plant your roots in a safe neighborhood outside the metro area. Or maybe you are reaching retirement and are seeking a community that offers quality healthcare and fitness activities. Whatever the case may be, there is something for everyone amidst the suburbs of Philadelphia. Read on to explore Gentle Giant’s top five Philly suburbs based on factors including housing, education, and recreation.
Perfect For: This Philadelphia suburb is suited to all including young professionals, families, and retirees. However, Ardmore specifically stands out as a great place to raise a family.
Housing Costs: Realtor.com estimates that the median sold home price is $450,000. The average rent rate for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $1,500.
Ardmore tops the list of Philadelphia suburbs for its low unemployment, tax and crime rates, quality schools, and relaxed small-town lifestyle that is still only a stone’s throw away from the heart of Philly. The charming area of Ardmore is known as the ‘Main Street’ of Philadelphia’s Main Line and boasts a plethora of retail options, restaurants and bars, and hosts events like the annual Oktoberfest. Ardmore also offers its residents an exciting cultural scene. You can visit the Ardmore Music Hall for live events or take in the latest outdoor art exhibitions with a stroll through Linwood Park. Families will feel right at home in this picturesque Philadelphia suburb thanks to its craftsman-style homes and brick rowhouses. Easy access to top-rated schools like Chestnutwold Elementary School and Lower Merion High School, as well as the area’s low crime rates make it an obvious choice for families.
We recommend…an evening stroll through Linwood Park followed by live music and bowling at Wynnewood Lanes Rock N Bowl night.
Perfect For: Young Professionals
Housing Costs: The median sold home price is $345,000, while the average rent rate for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $1,700.
For the young professional who works in and around Philadelphia’s city center, Conshohocken is a top option. This Philly suburb provides its residents with big-city amenities like bustling bars and live events, while maintaining a laid-back feel. There is no shortage of walking trails and green spaces so it’s perfect when you need a break from the work from home life. The restaurants and shops lining the historic and quaint Fayette Street keep residents busy on the weekends, and many young professionals are known to frequent the likes of the StoneRose Restaurant for post-work happy hour. Conshohocken is a short commute from Philadelphia city center which makes it ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle. The suburb affords easy access to one of the busiest stretches of I-76, along with rail service for anyone eager to avoid rush hour traffic.
We recommend…escaping the home office by taking a leisurely hike among the natural beauty of the Delaware Valley on the Schuylkill River Trail. Top this off with a trip to Jasper’s Backyard for a bite to eat and you have the recipe for a perfect Sunday.
Perfect For: Retirees
Housing Costs: The median sold home price is $525,000 according to realtor.com. Zumper estimates that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Media is $1,600.
Media is located in Delaware County, just outside of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia suburb, affectionately referred to as ‘Everybody’s Hometown’, was ranked as the sixth-best city to retire to in the country by SmartAsset in 2021. The rankings were determined by collecting data on three key factors that impact the quality of life of a retiree. These factors were tax-friendliness, medical care, and social opportunities. Media has a tax burden of approximately 15.5%, .3% lower than the nationwide tax burden. Additionally, its sales tax rate is 6.0%, while the US average is 7.2%. There are several recreation and retirement centers available to the residents of Media including Granite Farms Estates. Those looking to keep fit and active can visit one of the many outdoor parks like the Ridley Creek State Park or practice their swing at one of America’s premier public golf courses, Glen Mills. And when it comes to healthcare, it’s easy to understand why Media is a top option for retirees. It is estimated that there are approximately 20 medical facilities per every 1000 residents. Nationwide, that number is just .7 per 1000.
We recommend…taking a stroll down the charming State Street where you will find ‘a cozy strip of shops and restaurants’ and discover live music pop-up events. You can also take in a show at the Media Theater for the Performing Arts located on East State Street.
4. King of Prussia
Perfect For: Families and Young Professionals
Housing Costs: The median sold home price is $388,000 according to realtor.com. The latest Zumper figures reveal that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in King Prussia is $1,855.
Located about 21 miles northwest of Philadelphia, King of Prussia is a Philly suburb with an interesting history and unique name. The area was originally built around an 18th-century inn and tavern. This and the city were both named after King Frederick the Great who ruled the country of Prussia for over 46 years. Today, the suburb is known for its great eateries and shops, including one of the country’s largest retail shopping malls, the infamous King of Prussia Mall. Many families happily call King of Prussia home largely due to its array of top-rated schools including Gulph Elementary School, Upper Merion Area Middle School, and Upper Merion Area High School. Additionally, there is no shortage of outdoor space for children to exert their energy. Valley Forge National Park offers many trails for biking, hiking, and horse riding, while the McKaig Nature Center affords residents over 93 acres of parkland to explore.
With a quarter of the population in the 18-34 age range, young professionals will also feel right at home in King of Prussia. Entertainment and social options are plentiful. You can enjoy an after-work brew and let off some steam at Bury the Hatchet Ax Throwing or indulge in some retail therapy at the aforementioned King of Prussia Mall. For those traveling to the city for work, commuters are a straight shot away on the Schuylkill Expressway. Alternatively, the area itself has a strong jobs economy. For those with a degree in marketing, healthcare, or engineering, some of King of Prussia’s top employers include Hibe, Lockheed Martin, and MedRisk.
We recommend…playing tourist for the day by participating in a history-filled walking tour along the miles of trails at Valley Forge Park. The park is a well-known site of the revolutionary war and a must-visit for history junkies.
Perfect For: Families and Retirees
Housing Costs: The median sold home price is estimated at $475,000 by realtor.com. Zumper lists the average rent of a one-bedroom Exton apartment at $1,785.
The suburb of Exton is a small city in Chester County, located approximately 40 minutes from the city of Philadelphia. Both city slickers and nature lovers will feel at home in Exton due to its mix of retail stores and walking trails. The Chester Valley Trail offers residents a scenic biking route, while visitors to Exton Park can enjoy a picnic by the pond, football in the field, or a stroll along the Park’s trail. For those in search of city comforts, Exton’s Main Street is abuzz with busy stores and quality restaurants. You can enjoy the freshest spicy salmon maki at Issho Sushi and Steakhouse or taste traditional American eats like the wonderful wings at Stolen Sun Brewing & Roasting Co. Aside from its abundance of outdoor space, Exton’s inventory of top-rated schools is a major pull for families. The area is home to quality schools including Exton Elementary School, Collegium Charter School, and Downingtown High School East.
For those in the more senior age category, Exton is also an attractive option. ‘Between 2013 and 2018, Chester County’s senior population grew by 18.4%’ and Exton is now home to a growing community of retirees. To meet the demands of the growing senior population, several senior living options have opened in the area. These include a mix of independent living, personal care, and dementia care like the community of Arbor Terrace Exton.
We recommend…a bike along the scenic Chester Valley Trail followed by a game of kickball in Exton Park and you’ve got the perfect fun-filled Saturday for the family.
Once you’ve decided on the best Philadelphia suburb for your budget and lifestyle, reach out to a reputable Philadelphia moving company to get even more key information about life in the City of Brotherly Love. If you are planning a move to Philadelphia, you can use our free move estimate tool, moving tips, and other valuable resources.