- Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State for its role in U.S. history
- The state’s roots are deep in manufacturing, including industries such as coal and steel
- Living in Pennsylvania gives you access to all the riches of the state, no matter what city you call home
Pennsylvania holds a notable place in the history of this country. Not only did it help shape our formation into the United States, but its roots are deep in the coal, steel and railroad industries. Living in the Keystone State puts you among historic locations that paved the way for the development of so much of this country.
It’s a lofty reputation to hold up, but staying grounded in industry and opportunity has enabled the state to maintain itself as an attractive spot for those looking for employment. With affordable housing across the state, plenty of colleges and universities and a slew of historic landmarks, why wouldn’t you want to call this northern state home?
For all these reasons, the best places to live in Pennsylvania stretch from one side of the state to other. Some cities are easily recognizable, while others you may hear about for the very first time. Regardless, you’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to finding the perfect home in Pennsylvania.
- Population: 125,845
- 1-BR median rent: $1,885
- 2-BR median rent: $2,027
- Median home price: $187.750
- Median household income: $41,167
- Walk score: 59/100
A rich Dutch history gives Allentown a unique look and feel. Situated on the Lehigh River, this busy city is full of beautiful parks and gardens. It offers up a diverse collection of inhabitants with plenty to do to accommodate any lifestyle. There are plenty of job opportunities and thriving districts for the arts, theater and culture.
A day out and about in Allentown isn’t complete without a walk through the Allentown Art Museum, The Liberty Bell Museum, America On Wheels Museum and more. If the season is right, grab tickets to see the infamous Lehigh Valley IronPigs AAA baseball team go a few innings as well.
- Population: 33,577
- 1-BR median rent: $975
- 2-BR median rent: $1,099
- Median home price: $240,000
- Median household income: $79,894
- Walk score: 46/100
A Pittsburgh suburb, Bethel Park combines affordable housing with excellent schools and an abundance of green space. The city’s population is a combination of retirees and young professionals, but it’s also a great place for families. In addition to the parks, you’ll find plenty of bars, coffee shops and retail outlets.
With less than 30 minutes between Pittsburgh and Bethel Park, the town draws in those still commuting in for work, but who are looking for a quieter place to end each day. On weekends, locals will stay put and enjoy everything from the Montour Trail to the Hundred Acres Manor.
Source: ApartmentGuide.com/Society Hill
- Population: 8,130
- 1-BR median rent: $890
- 2-BR median rent: $1,422
- Median home price: $225,900
- Median household income: $87,008
- Walk score: 34/100
One of the best places to live in Pennsylvania is a small city along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Camp Hill gives you a nice amount of waterfront to explore. The town is also home to the northernmost engagement of the Gettysburg campaign during the Civil War. To honor this piece of history, you can follow the West Shore. There you’ll find historic buildings and battle sites.
For outdoor lovers, Camp Hill is a perfect home base to access hiking, biking, skiing and water activities. There are also plenty of local parks for a simple stroll.
- Population: 5,043
- 1-BR median rent: $2,060
- 2-BR median rent: $2,655
- Median home price: $380,000
- Median household income: $112,500
- Walk score: 44/100
As a suburb of Philadelphia, Collegeville got its straightforward name from Ursinus College. Academic life still plays an important role here, although the city is also a popular destination for a variety of businesses.
While there’s plenty of shopping and plenty for college students, the area’s top feature is the Perkiomen Trail. This 20-mile path follows the river, connecting many parks and historical sites. You can walk, bike and even ride horseback along the path.
- Population: 50,099
- 1-BR median rent: $1,137
- 2-BR median rent: $1,407
- Median home price: $199,025
- Median household income: $39,685
- Walk score: 55/100
As the state capital, Harrisburg is one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania as much for its location within the state as for its history. Living here puts you near the Susquehanna River, Appalachian Trail and the cities of Hershey and Gettysburg. You can easily sample a little nature and history with so much close by.
Within Harrisburg itself, you have access to the city’s own island. Here you’ll find a beach, riverboat, arcade and more. It’s a great stop during the day. When the sun goes down, keep yourself occupied with the upscale bars and restaurants downtown.
- Population: 13,858
- 1-BR median rent: $915
- 2-BR median rent: $1,075
- Median home price: $339,900
- Median household income: $69,688
- Walk score: 57/100
Yes, it’s named after that chocolate bar. Hershey is often referred to as one of the sweetest places on earth because, to this day, Hershey’s still calls the city home. This not only means a variety of job opportunities working with chocolate but plenty to lure in tourists. The city also boasts Hersheypark, which has rides and a zoo, Hersey Gardens and Hersheypark Stadium.
Although the city grew up around a single company, today, it contains all the attractive elements of a smaller town one could want. Step away from the more touristy areas to find scenic hiking trails, museums, restaurants and shops.
- Population: 58,039
- 1-BR median rent: $1,269
- 2-BR median rent: $1,453
- Median home price: $225,625
- Median household income: $45,514
- Walk score: 56/100
Situated alongside Amish Country, Lancaster is home to the Pennsylvania Dutch. While you can tour Amish attractions and even immerse yourself into the lifestyle for a special experience, locals have plenty of other activities to occupy their time.
As one of the best places to live near Philadelphia, the downtown area is full of shops, theaters, restaurants and art galleries. Underground caverns provide a little adventure for those seeking something different. You can also take a ride on the country’s oldest operating railroad or see a different side of the city’s history with a ghost tour.
- Population: 9,120
- 1-BR median rent: $995
- 2-BR median rent: $995
- Median home price: $425,000
- Median household income: $77,420
- Walk score: 38/100
Another commuter town, Perkasie is one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania because it’s a great small town that’s only about an hour away from downtown Philadelphia. Once known for its factory that made baseballs for the major leagues, Perkasie today has managed to grow while holding onto its rural appeal.
A fantastic park system and revitalized downtown area provide the perfect combination of hometown activities for residents. There’s no shortage of restaurants, shops, music venues and more.
- Population: 1,603,797
- 1-BR median rent: $1,872
- 2-BR median rent: $2,102
- Median home price: $260,000
- Median household income: $45,927
- Walk score: 84/100
The most populated and well-known city in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia definitely has one of the rooms where it happened. Not only is it the original home of the Liberty Bell but it also housed our Founding Fathers as they signed the Declaration of Independence into being.
Popular in its own right, Philadelphia offers additional appeal for its proximity to New York City. Hop a train into the city for work or a weekend of fun. You can also stay close to home and snack on an authentic Philly cheesesteak as you enjoy the art and history of downtown. There’s no shortage of 300-year-old buildings, cultural attractions, quaint parks, bars, restaurants and shops.
- Population: 302,971
- 1-BR median rent: $1,435
- 2-BR median rent: $1,890
- Median home price: $217,000
- Median household income: $48,711
- Walk score: 69/100
Bookending the state, Pittsburgh is the most populated city on the opposite end from Philly. Known as the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh has long shared a connection with steel, however, the industry is only part of what makes this area so special. As a highly walkable city, you can easily explore on foot but wear comfortable shoes. With over 712 sets of city-maintained steps, you’re going to get a great workout.
If walking isn’t your thing, don’t worry, Pittsburgh has you covered. For sports fans, this affordable town is home to professional baseball, football and hockey teams. For those looking toward higher education, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are the notable tip of Pittsburgh’s collegiate iceberg.
- Population: 95,112
- 1-BR median rent: $1,475
- 2-BR median rent: $1,540
- Median home price: $160,000
- Median household income: $32,176
- Walk score: 69/100
Named after the Reading Railroad, which all you Monopoly players should know well, the town of Reading sits in the southeastern part of the state. Today, it’s uniquely known for the variety of pretzel companies that call the area home. Reading is also a combination of culture and history. It’s easy to divide your day between looking at an Egyptian mummy in the Reading Public Museum and hiking through the Nolde Forest. You can also check out Daniel Boone’s birthplace for some real American history.
With plenty of affordable, suburban housing, residents get drawn into Reading for the charms of the city itself, as well as its proximity to Philadelphia. These two cities on the list of best places to live in Pennsylvania are only about 60 miles apart.
- Population: 76,328
- 1-BR median rent: $1,184
- 2-BR median rent: $1,095
- Median home price: $149,000
- Median household income: $40,608
- Walk score: 58/100
Laid out more like a traditional small town, Scranton has tight-knit neighborhoods clustered around a thriving downtown. You’ll find trendy restaurants, boutiques and art galleries nestled among the historic Lackawanna County Courthouse building.
Taking into account its high population of young professionals and families, Scranton caters to its residents with plenty of special activities, including cultural festivals and monthly art walks. Scranton also pays homage to its nickname, the Electric City, with The Electric City Trolley Station and Museum. The first streetcars, successfully powered by electricity, ran here in the 1880s.
Source: ApartmentGuide.com/Willow Pointe
- Population: 13,730
- 1-BR median rent: $1,907
- 2-BR median rent: $2,230
- Median home price: $300,000
- Median household income: $79,162
- Walk score: 57/100
A small town with big fun, Willow Grove offers residents a quiet, laidback community that doesn’t lack the amenities you’d want close by. There are plenty of shopping and dining options that you’d expect to find in bigger cities.
As a Philadelphia suburb, Willow Grove has the nearby city going for it as far as activity goes, but it’s not without its own set of museums and historic sites to occupy residents. Visit the 42-acre grounds and home at Graeme Park or check out the indoor playground at Urban Air Adventure Park for something really different.
Find an apartment for rent in Pennsylvania
The best places to live in Pennsylvania spread to all four corners of the state. Each city has its own charm, beauty and history to explore, not to mention job opportunities and affordable housing.
Once you decide what area is right for you, begin the hunt. Look for apartments for rent in Pennsylvania to see all your options. Then, start narrowing things down by location, amenities and more. You’ll find the perfect place to call home in no time.
The rent information included in this summary is based on a median calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com as of December 2021.
Median home prices are from Redfin as of December 2021.
Population and median household income are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The information in this article is for illustrative purposes only. This data herein does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.