Transplant Asks: What Should I Know About Living in Philly? Roast Pork and Dive Bars, to Start.

philadelphia brewing company

One Philadelphia perk: free brewery tours. Image via Philadelphia Brewing Company

A Reddit user posted this plea for information on r/philadelphia:

My husband and I are moving to Philadelphia for work. We have visited the city once or twice before, but this will be our first experience living in a non-rural environment. Lay upon us your nuggets of wisdom!!

Naturally, there are plenty of answers, some of them more sensible than others. We’ve broken down some of the more salient answers by category:

Food and Drink:
• We love beer and food, and you will too…or you’ll hate your life here
• The citywide specials will fuck your night up really quickly.
• Don’t be afraid of bars that look a little bit sketchy on the outside. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
• Sketchy bars are the best in town.
• PBC and Yards breweries have free tours on saturdays.
• Pat’s and Geno’s are tourist traps.
• Roast Pork > Cheesesteak
• Look up where your farmer’s markets are, they pop up everywhere on the weekends.
• Not all Philly Pretzels are created equal.
• Prepare to gain weight.

• People will double-park on busy streets whether there’s actual parking on the block or not.
• You will learn the hard way how horrible the PPA is and will soon join the ranks of the fist shaking outraged people who are forced to deal with their oversight and heartless monstrous corruption.
And if you honk or yell at them, they’ll look at you like you’re the asshole. Welcome!
• People will also double-park next to parking spaces.
• Keep a SEPTA token in your wallet for when the PPA tow your car.
Get a PPA parking sticker if your neighborhood is zoned for residential parking.
• The parking authority will catch you and fine you 90% of the time your meter runs out of time, even if it’s only a few minutes.

• Be nice to your neighbors, if you live on a good block, they’ll look out for you after you earn their trust, its a good thing.
• Important in life but esp. in a city. Be polite and to the point with strangers.
• Being nice to neighbors should also mean those whom you see every day, SEPTA dude or homeless chick.
• A good or bad experience living somewhere is mostly affected by you.

• Trust your gut, and always be aware of your surroundings.
• Never leave anything of value in your car.
• Keep your head on your shoulders, don’t assume you’re safe anywhere and follow the crowds and you’ll be good.
• Travel in groups once the sun goes down if you’re not familiar with the area.
• If you have a vehicle, get a steering wheel club.
• East Philly is Camden. Stay out of East Philly.

• Don’t be mean to homeless people, but don’t let them harass you.
• Become aware of some local shelters or food distribution points and point truly needy people in the right direction.
• Angry homeless man? Keep walking. Car accident? Keep walking. Someone asking for change? Keep walking.

The Good Stuff:
• Enjoy all the green spaces. There are so many parks!
• There are definite advantages to living here- a cornucopia of good places to eat, stuff to see and colorful people to encounter.
• Go to the art museum…in fact, go visit all of our museums, we have a lot of them, and they are all awesome in their own ways.
• Explore this city with whatever free time you have
• Embrace the attitude, its the best part
• There is a learning curve at first, but Philly is a rad place to live.

The one comment that seems to encapsulate it all is this one:

Philly has one foot in the future and one rooted reluctantly in the past. It makes for a sometimes zany, frustrating and endearing life. It becomes more endearing with each passing season… there’s a lot to love beneath the surface here, if you will.

To see the rest of the answers and get information about all the terrific users who answered the questions, check out the thread here:

New to the area… What is your greatest life lesson learned while living in Philadelphia?

And leave your own life lessons in the comments section here!