Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Center City

Jamie Smith Raphael June 13, 2024

If you’re considering relocating to the heart of Philadelphia, Center City offers an unparalleled blend of urban convenience, cultural richness, and vibrant community life. This guide provides all the essential information you need to make your move to Center City, PA, smooth and informed.

Understanding Center City

Center City is Philadelphia's central business district, encompassing a range of neighborhoods from the historic Old City to the bustling Rittenhouse Square. This area is known for its iconic landmarks, diverse dining options, and thriving arts scene. Whether you’re drawn by the historic charm of Society Hill or the modern appeal of Logan Square, Center City has something for everyone.

Key Neighborhoods

Old City

Old City is the birthplace of American independence, home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. This neighborhood is ideal for history enthusiasts and those who appreciate cobblestone streets and 18th-century architecture. It offers a mix of residential properties, from historic row houses to modern lofts.

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Center City. Its namesake park is a green oasis amidst the urban landscape, surrounded by upscale shops, restaurants, and high-rise apartments. This area is perfect for those who enjoy a luxurious lifestyle with easy access to amenities.

Society Hill

Society Hill boasts some of Philadelphia's oldest and most beautifully preserved homes. This neighborhood is known for its Federal-style rowhouses and quiet, tree-lined streets. It’s an excellent choice for families and professionals seeking a serene residential environment close to the city center.

Logan Square

Logan Square is home to some of Philadelphia’s most notable cultural institutions, including the Franklin Institute and the Barnes Foundation. It offers a mix of residential and commercial properties, making it a vibrant and dynamic place to live. The area’s central location provides easy access to the rest of the city.

Center City Real Estate Market

Market Overview

The real estate market in Center City is diverse, catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets. From luxurious high-rise condominiums to historic townhouses, the housing options are plentiful. As of the latest data, the median home price in Center City is higher than the national average, reflecting its desirability and prime location.

Buying vs. Renting

Deciding whether to buy or rent in Center City depends on your long-term plans and financial situation. Renting is a popular option, especially for young professionals and newcomers, offering flexibility and lower upfront costs. However, buying a property can be a sound investment, given the area’s robust real estate market and potential for appreciation.

Working with a Center City Real Estate Expert

Navigating the Center City real estate market can be complex. Partnering with an experienced real estate agent is crucial. Jamie Smith Raphael is a trusted name in the area, providing expert guidance and personalized service to help you find the perfect home.

Cost of Living

Living in Center City is more expensive than other parts of Philadelphia and the national average. Housing is the primary expense, but residents also enjoy a high standard of living with access to top-tier amenities, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Budgeting for these costs is essential when planning your move.


Public Transit

Center City is well-served by public transportation, making it easy to navigate without a car. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operates buses, trolleys, and trains throughout the area. The Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford Line are the primary subway routes, providing convenient access to different parts of the city.

Walkability and Biking

Center City is one of the most walkable areas in Philadelphia, with a Walk Score of 98. Many residents prefer walking or biking to work and for daily errands. The city’s bike-sharing program, Indego, offers an affordable and eco-friendly transportation option.

Education and Schools

Public Schools

Philadelphia’s public school system offers several options for families living in Center City. Notable schools include Meredith School Catchment (elementary), General George A. McCall Elementary School, Greenfield Elementary School, Alexander Adaire School (prek to 8th grade) and Masterman School, all known for their academic excellence.

Private Schools

There are several prestigious private schools in and around Center City that provide exceptional educational opportunities such as Germantown Friends School, The Philadelphia School, Penn Charter School, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Friends Select School and St. Peter's School.

Higher Education

Center City is near several renowned universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, St. Joseph University and Drexel University. These institutions contribute to the area’s vibrant intellectual and cultural environment.

Healthcare Facilities

Center City is home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the region. Hospitals such as Pennsylvania Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital offer comprehensive medical services. Access to top-notch healthcare is a significant advantage for residents.

Lifestyle and Amenities

Dining and Entertainment

Center City boasts a diverse culinary scene, from fine dining restaurants to casual eateries. Areas like Midtown Village and Reading Terminal Market are popular food destinations. Residents can enjoy theaters, live music venues, and art galleries for entertainment.

Parks and Recreation

In addition to Rittenhouse Square, Center City offers several parks and green spaces, including Schuylkill River Park, Three Bears Park, and FDR Park, Dilworth Park and Washington Square. These areas provide a welcome respite from the urban hustle and are perfect for outdoor activities.


Shopping in Center City ranges from luxury boutiques along Walnut Street to eclectic shops in Old City. The Fashion District Philadelphia offers a modern shopping experience with retail, dining, and entertainment options.

Moving Tips

Plan Ahead

Moving to Center City requires careful planning, especially if you’re coming from out of state. Research moving companies and secure your moving date well in advance.


Urban living often means less space. Consider downsizing your belongings before the move to make the transition smoother.

Explore the Area

Spend some time exploring Center City before you move. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods, amenities, and public transportation options.

Ready to Live in Center City, PA?

Moving to Center City, PA, offers a unique opportunity to experience the best of Philadelphia’s urban lifestyle. From its historic landmarks to its modern amenities, Center City is a vibrant and dynamic place to call home.

Whether you're renting a chic apartment or buying a historic townhouse, you need a Philadelphia real estate expert who can help you find the perfect property for your needs. Contact Jamie Smith Raphael today for more information and to start your journey to Center City.

Search homes for sale in Center City here.

Work With Me

Jamie Smith Raphael, a luxury real estate agent in the Philadelphia Area with a passion for her career and clients, brings extensive industry experience, skillfully handling transactions exceeding $150 million, always prioritizing an exceptional client experience.