Top 50 Reasons to Raise Kids in Philadelphia


With so many friends considering moving to the suburbs, I want to remind myself (and anyone else on the fence) all of the rewarding things about raising a family in the city. Despite the problems that I surely vent about, we couldn’t be dragged from our home by wild horse-and-carriages. While I totally respect everyone’s right to do what is best for their family, whether it be urban, suburban, rural, or traveling the world in an RV, here are just a few reasons why we love it here and think you might too!

  1. I’m convinced that city kids (not to mention the parents) get more exercise. We walk, bike, and scoot everywhere.
  2. Free public pools and sprinkler parks
  3. Enough realistic diversity in culture, race, and sexual orientation that our children never even question the differences
  4. Kids can learn to be rock stars at Girls Rock Philly and Philly School of Rock
  5. Arts, history, and culture galore – from zoos to children’s museums, we are never at a loss for things to do and see.
  6. Amazing restaurants and bars within walking distance. No drinking and driving and no date nights at Olive Garden.
  7. Almost every day hosts another festival, fair, or special family-friendly event. And we never have to worry about parking to see parades!
  8. Less driving – I can’t even imagine piling the kids in a minivan just to go to the grocery store. Plus you really only need one car, if that. Saves a ton of money on gas and possibly avoids hours of commuting.
  9. Who needs a swingset when there are so many playgrounds in walking distance with built-in playmates?
  10. Insomnia Cookies
  11. While the burbs may seem to have more greenery, it’s actually much more eco-friendly to live in a smaller space.
  12. Far less snow shoveling.
  13. Super affordable parent-coached T-ball
  14. Living in smaller spaces also fosters more family togetherness. Mansions can feel like caverns where everyone is separated.
  15. Authentic ethnic food and culture always nearby from Chinatown to the Italian Market
  16. Smith Playground
  17. Some of the best art, music , and dance education available with nearby resources like Queen Village Art Center, Settlement Music School, and Rock School of Dance. Many of these programs even offer walking pick-up from the public schools so kids get plenty of supplemental arts education while parents don’t have to rush to school at 3 p.m.
  18. Fresh Direct Grocery Delivery
  19. Close access to the very best doctors and hospitals.
  20. Phenomenal preschools like Moonstone Preschool and Mi Casita Spanish Immersion Preschool
  21. With a bike share system on the way and plenty of bike lanes, Philly is quickly becoming one of the most bike-able cities. If you are brave, you can even strap your baby on a bike carrier!
  22. Sister Cities Park
    Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 12.18.40 PM
  23. Urban gardens. Sure, you probably have farmers’ markets and maybe even farms in the burbs. But what is cooler than an amazing garden growing in the middle of Fishtown like Greensgrow or the phenomenal pop-up garden by the horticultural society!
  24. When I was in high school, it took me 15 minutes to drive there. And the bus ride was about an hour meaning I pretty much woke up at dawn. Whether you choose public, private, or parochial school, you can probably walk there in less time than it takes to drive.
  25. Nest playspace and classes
  26. Universities mean access to plenty of babysitters.
  27. Food trucks – and night markets!
  28. We literally share a wall with one of my son’s best friends and two moms we can always count on in a pinch.
  29. Did I mention most of the local activity and entertainment for kids is free?
  30. Speaking of free, Philadelphia has recycling rewards so you can get free tickets to the Please Touch Museum, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, and more just for curbside recycling!
  31. City kids regularly interact with people on all socio-economic levels, including the homeless, and learn how to interact without fear or judgement.
  32. No lawns to mow. We have plenty of grass – we just don’t have to cut it ourselves.
  33. Amazing summer camps for budding young athletes, actors, artists, and dancers. But we don’t even need them yet because the preschools go straight through the summer – and have water play!
  34. Despite what you may have heard, Philadelphia public schools keep getting better and better. Due to amazing and dedicated teachers and parents and some phenomenal advocates in city council and beyond, many of our public schools are thriving despite federal and state attempts to starve resources. We couldn’t be happier with our public elementary and we know families from at least a dozen other schools who feel the same way.
  35. Chances are, if you live in the Center City area your property values are going up even during the worst economic downturns. There is so much growth in this area, you can barely cross a street without walking past a construction site. The drilling and hammering is annoying, yes, but those expensive townhomes, office buildings, and shops are only going to improve the quality of life and the value of your home.
  36. We live in close proximity of two Whole Foods, a ton of farmer’s markets, and even a Moms Organic Market coming this year!
  37. You aren’t stuck inside in a snowstorm or even a hurricane. You can always walk to the local bar to wait out the storm with a cocktail!
  38. Reading Terminal Market
  39. Santucci’s Pizza
  40. Philadelphia Magic Garden
  41. Less than $10 to Bolt Bus to NYC. Plus super close to train station and airport to go anywhere in the world!
  42. Philly has been named one of the best beer cities in the world. And if you have kids you’ll be thankful for that.
  43. Easy access to the sports stadiums.
  44. Everyone kind of knows each other. You’d think we were living in a tiny town but in every neighborhood you are bound to see people you know every time you take a walk.
  45. They shoot movies and TV shows here! Maybe your kid will end up on camera or have a chance encounter with Robert De Niro!
  46. Running in the city is always interesting and scenic. Running around cul de sacs is no fun (as I can attest from visits to Florida)
  47. Hiking, biking, running, and rowing in Fairmount Park
  48. A real sense of independence. Things like taking the bus and subway are great life skills to learn early.035  Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 12.18.14 PM
  49. We have hidden gems like a pizza museum and a museum of medical oddities.
  50. You get to be a close, personal neighbor of ours. And we are pretty rad.

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