Love Where You Live: 5 Reasons Philadelphia Is A Great Place To Live

Love Where You Live. Solo Real Estate Philadelphia City illustration.

How do I love thee, Philadelphia? Let me count the ways! Some fall hard for Philadelphia’s history and architecture. Others are passionate about our sports teams (Go Eagles!), and many swoon over Philadelphia’s cultural offerings. Here are our top 5 reasons we love where we live; and why you too should fall in love with Philadelphia.

1. History: Philadelphia is a City of Firsts!

We were the nation’s first capital, had the first hospital, and were the first to grant religious freedom. We had the first fire department; university; botanical garden; stock exchange; mint; art school; art museum; zoo; African American church; world’s fair. Philadelphia also had the first Thanksgiving Parade! Did you know the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NYC came later?

Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1975.
Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1975. Temple Digital Collections.

2. World-Class Architecture

Philly is an architect’s paradise, from our 18th-century Federal and Georgian structures to 19th-century Greek Revival and Victorian buildings designed by William Strickland, John Haviland, Frank Miles Day, and Frank Furness. We also have the distinction of having the first skyscraper, the former PSFS office tower, designed in the International Style by George Howe and William Lascaze in 1931.

Deborah Solo, Solo Real Estate owner and broker, appreciates Philadelphia’s architectural treasures.

“Having trained as an architect, living in the Rittenhouse Square area offers me constant opportunities to explore some of Philadelphia’s architectural treasures. While as a lover of history, I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to seeing the layers of this city’s past continue to inform our communities and futures,” said Solo Real Estate owner and broker, Deborah Solo.

Solo Property Manager, Amy Noroski shares Deborah’s love of Rittenhouse Square, especially in the Spring and Fall. “It’s a great spot to have a picnic, people watch, and enjoy whatever musicians are playing,” she said.

3. Abundant Green Space: Parks, Gardens, Trails

William Penn’s “Greene Country Towne” was designed in 1638 with five public squares for the health of its residents. Logan Circle, Rittenhouse Square, Franklin Square, Washington Square, and Centre Square, now known as Penn Center, continue to be a source of pleasure for Philadelphians. Within the City limits, we also have Fairmount Park’s 2,000 acres of rolling hills and natural landscapes on both sides of the Schuylkill River, offering a vast recreation area for city dwellers.

The piece de resistance is the Schuylkill River Trail. A favorite spot for Solo agent, Rebecca Nichols-Franqui, the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) offers 30 miles of scenic walking, jogging, and bicycling. “You can hop on through the South Street Bridge ramp, and enjoy the views leading up to the Art Museum, up Kelly Drive, and, if you’re ambitious, all the way to the Wissahickon!” she said.

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk

Deborah Solo appreciates the city’s abundance of parks and public spaces with historic charm. “The walkability, ease of access to shops, restaurants, and attractions like the Rittenhouse Farmers Market, River Walk, and the charm of Fitler Square are just some of the wonderful things about where I live. I am also proud to have been a part of creating Liberty Lands Park in Northern Liberties where I lived and raised my children for thirty years.”

Another of Deborah’s favorite places is Columbus Park in the Passyunk Square Neighborhood. “I have spent many hours at the park with my beloved granddaughter Miriam and look forward to taking her sister, Gloria there as well,” said Deborah.

Solo Property Manager Amy Noroski on a hike in Philadelphia.
Solo Property Manager Amy Noroski on a hike in Philadelphia.

“I love where I live because there is always something to do,” said Solo Property Manager Amy Noroski, “Sporting events, live music venues, green spaces in Fairmount park and the Wissahickon Trails, plus exceptional bars and restaurants. My favorite places are The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in West Fairmount Park, the Horticultural Society Grounds, and the Azalea Garden behind the Art Museum. They take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city, allow you to decompress, and enjoy the magnificent array of flowers and greenery.”

Shofuso Japanese Garden. Image: Visit Philly.

Amy also loves Matthias Baldwin Park at 423 N. 19h St. “Friends of the Park maintain it so well and the landscape architect designed a truly beautiful space with a view of the skyline and the moon as it rises in the evenings.” Like many Phillies fans, another of Noroski’s favorite places is Citizens Bank Park when her team is in the playoffs.

4. Renowned Arts & Cultural Institutions

When it comes to the arts, Philly has few competitors. Voice and music students come from around the world to study at Curtis Institute and the Academy of Vocal Arts. The Philadelphia Orchestra takes no prisoners! The same can be said of our theaters, including the Wilma, Suzanne Roberts, and Arden. Art lovers from Manhattan to Paris flock to our Barnes Foundation which houses the world’s largest collection of French Impressionist painters. (Even the Louvre is envious.) When it comes to dance, Philly is on the move, from the PA Ballet to PhilDanco and the Koresh Dance Company. And let’s not forget, “the Philly sound” was created by Gamble and Huff at Philadelphia International Records. If you love jazz, we’ve got you covered at Chris Jazz Cafe, South Jazz Kitchen, and the Clef Club.

Academy of Music. Image: Visit Philly.

Solo Blogger Stacia Freedman has a deep appreciation for the narrow cobblestone streets, charming alleys, and Trinity houses that echo the City’s past but her favorite places in Philadelphia are all about the city’s art and cultural offerings. “I love the Academy of Music and its younger sister the Kimmel Center. Whenever I have out-of-town guests, I always take them to the Constitution Center and the Barnes Foundation,” she said.

5. Culinary Mecca: Restaurants and International Cuisine

Foodies rejoice! With several James Beard Awards under our belt, Philly is now officially a nationally recognized culinary mecca. Not just at expense account restaurants with two-month waiting lists, but at intimate eateries featuring inventive international cuisines.

One of Deborah’s favorite places is Reading Terminal Market. “This is such a Philadelphia institution and it represents what I love so much about our city. The communal experience of buying and enjoying multi-ethnic food in a historic building displays our diversity, culture, and vibrancy,” she said.

A Philly favorite. Reading Terminal Market Interior. Image: Visit Philly

Solo agents Alejandro Franqui and Rebecca Nichols-Franqui also love Reading Terminal Market for its variety and vibrant ‘city feel’. “Reading Terminal Market will always be on the top of my Philly favorites lists. I love the commotion, the mix of tourists and locals on lunch breaks, and trying something different every time I go,” said Rebecca.

Rebecca Nichols-Franqui and Alejandro Franqui love the variety and vibrancy of Reading Terminal Market.
Rebecca Nichols-Franqui and Alejandro Franqui love the variety and vibrancy of Reading Terminal Market.

Alejandro agreed and added “it’s a place where seemingly everyone in Philadelphia goes to shop and eat — and tourists love it too so it strikes a great balance. Similar markets in other cities lack the vitality that Reading Terminal has. Probably because they lack the locals coming to buy from butchers, produce sellers, and shops.”

A City Of Neighborhoods

Philadelphia is a City of neighborhoods, each with something to love.

Rebecca Nichols-Franqui lives in Passyunk Square and appreciates the neighborhood feel. “I love that Passyunk very much feels like a neighborhood, yet still has such easy access to all that Philadelphia has to offer. We know our neighbors, recognize kids at the park, and still can walk to dinner in Center City easily as well. We are also an easy few BSL stops away from the stadiums — so of course we had to finally get our Phillies season tickets!” added Rebecca.

Whether you live in University City, East Passyunk, Bella Vista, Queen Village, Old City, Fairmount, Germantown or Fishtown, there is a strong sense of community. You can participate in community clean ups, gardens and street fairs, enjoy local parks, support independently owned shops, buy fresh produce at farmers’ markets, develop lasting friendships and take pride in your neighborhood.

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