9 Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania, According to Local Real Estate Experts

From historic hamlets and charming small towns to bustling metropolitan areas, the Keystone State offers something for everyone.

<p>pabradyphoto/Getty Images</p>

pabradyphoto/Getty Images

Pennsylvania has always been a land of pioneers and freethinkers, and it continues to be a welcoming place for newcomers of all backgrounds. With a strong economy — Pennsylvania has one of the largest GDPs in the country — a long history, low taxes, lush landscapes, and bustling cities, the state continues to be a popular choice for newcomers. Its thriving cultural scene, great food, charming small towns, trendy hotels, and scenic natural spots add to its allure and make Pennsylvania not only a great vacation destination but also the perfect place to call home.

Here, we rounded up nine of the best places to live in Pennsylvania as recommended by local real estate experts.


<p>Christopher Larson/Travel + Leisure</p>

Christopher Larson/Travel + Leisure

As the nation's sixth-largest city, Philadelphia is a major economic hub in the Northeast, so it certainly doesn't lack urban amenities in addition to all of its historical and cultural landmarks. The city's prime location in the region is, according to Abby Trimborn, the co-founder of Philly Property Group, one of its biggest advantages. With New York City and Washington D.C. less than two hours away from downtown Philadelphia, residents enjoy access to two more major job markets while living in a city with a much more affordable cost of living.

Trimborn also explained that the demand for homes in Philadelphia has decreased by 14 percent, which is good news for buyers. "We are currently positioned in 'lower demand,' which means it's more favorable for buyers in this market," she said. She highlighted the family-friendly Northern Liberties neighborhood, which has experienced a building boom in recent years, with over 5,200 residential units built or currently in development. According to data from Zillow, the median home value in the city is $215,593.

Related: 25 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia


<p>Courtesy of Discover Lancaster</p>

Courtesy of Discover Lancaster

Lancaster's cost of living hovers around the national average. However, median home prices are about $50,000 lower at around $337,233, according to Zillow. This is one reason the city is a wonderful place to retire; Lancaster ranked third in U.S. News & World Report's most recent list of the best places to retire in the U.S., thanks in part to home affordability and access to quality health care. The region blends urban and farm landscapes, giving residents a choice between distinct lifestyles. And since it sits at the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country, Lancaster also has a vibrant blend of cultures, reflected in its rich arts scene.


<p>DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images</p>

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

You don't have to be a fan of The Office to appreciate this beautiful Pennsylvania town that has become incredibly popular with newcomers. A combination of outdoor recreation, a small-town feel, proximity to cities like New York and Philadelphia, and affordable housing (the median home price is $156,435) led to a 45 percent increase in inbound migration in 2022, the second largest nationally after Miami.

"Scranton has a lot more to offer than just the backdrop of The Office," Virginia Rose, president and CEO of Lewith & Freeman/Luxury Portfolio International, said. "Scranton has seen an increase in home values, up over 17 percent this year. Our realtors have found that when relocating to the Scranton school district, ease of walkability and access to state park lands have been the largest driver of location."

Clarks Summit, just north of the town, and downtown Scranton, known for its historic mansions, are two neighborhoods Rose recommended potential buyers look into.

The Poconos

<p>Jon Lovette/Getty Images</p>

Jon Lovette/Getty Images

This lush area in Northeastern Pennsylvania has always been a popular weekend getaway for New Yorkers, but since the pandemic, the region has also emerged as a coveted place to call home among remote workers. The draws are many: endless mountain views, clean air, small-town living, and tranquility. If you're lucky, you can even wake up to beautiful lake views every morning.

Rose explained that potential buyers can find waterfront homes here for under $1 million, which is rarely the case nationwide. "Hawley is the quintessential small Pennsylvania town, and their downtown partnership has created activities all year long, including summer/fall farmers markets, Lake Fest, Winter Fest, and much more. There are several communities between Lake Ariel and Lake Wallenpaupack that offer ease of living and amenities like private pools, lakes, golf, and more," she added.

Related: 15 Best Weekend Getaways in Pennsylvania

Kennett Square

<p>Leigh Vogel/Visit Pennsylvania</p>

Leigh Vogel/Visit Pennsylvania

Located 40 miles west of Philadelphia, Kennett Square borders Delaware and is part of Chester County, known for its excellent schools. Nestled in the Brandywine Valley, Kennett Square residents benefit from many outdoor activities and access to miles of hiking and biking trails. Annual events such as the Mushroom Festival (the town is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World because it is home to many mushroom farms) and the many museums and historic landmarks make it a popular destination with visitors and a social hub. That doesn't mean, however, that residents have only historic homes to choose from.

"New townhomes and apartments are popping up around the town with easy walkability to local restaurants and pubs, parks, and exercise facilities," Paul Greenholt, real estate agent at Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate, explained. The median home price at Kennett Square is currently $566,196, up six percent since last year.


<p>pabradyphoto/Getty Images</p>

pabradyphoto/Getty Images

Harrisburg is so much more than Pennsylvania's administrative hub. The capital is rooted in history; it’s home to the National Civil War Museum and it’s less than an hour away from Gettysburg National Military Park. With the Susquehanna River running through the city and the Appalachian Trail just north of it, residents are treated to an abundance of activities like hiking, water sports, and camping. U.S. News & World Report also recently ranked Harrisburg the best place to retire in the U.S. and 38th in its ranking of the best places to live in the country.

Glen Mills

<p>Courtesy of Visit Delco, PA</p>

Courtesy of Visit Delco, PA

While many people choose to settle in Glen Mills because of its proximity to Philadelphia, there are plenty of things to do in this small town, one of the most sought-after communities with great schools.

"There are many fun and popular attractions in [the] Glen Mills area — Grace Winery, Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride, Newlin Grist Mill Park, The Golf Course of Glen Mills, and the Palmer and Tyler Arboretums, just to name a few," Karen Johnson, real estate agent at Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International, suggested, adding that one of the largest shopping malls in the country is just a short drive from town.

Chadds Ford

<p>John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images</p>

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Bucolic vistas, historic charm, highly-rated schools, and a tight-knit community make Chadds Ford, a small town just 30 miles west of Philadelphia and 10 miles north of Wilmington, a great place to live. The area is home to several wineries, museums, and historic sights.

"The Brandywine River runs through the middle of Chadds Ford and past the historic Brandywine Battlefield. As a result, a large portion of the area remains protected from further development via conservation easement," Victoria Dickinson, a broker with Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International, explained. She said that some neighborhoods that continue to attract buyers are nearby Knolls of Birmingham for its many communal amenities like a pool and tennis courts and Cossart Creek.


<p>Angelina Pilarinos/Travel + Leisure</p>

Angelina Pilarinos/Travel + Leisure

Pittsburgh may be known as Steel City for its role in the country's steel industry, but the city's arts scene is a lot more impressive. It has over 40 museums, including the Andy Warhol Museum and the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, and 30 concert venues, plus it ranks first nationally in direct spending for the arts. Pittsburgh is also a technology hub, attracting AI and robotics graduates and highly educated professionals seeking career development in education, finance, and healthcare services.

Lastly, although housing prices have been rising here, they remain much more affordable than in other Northeast cities, with median home values at $222,433, according to Zillow.

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