Top 50 Reasons to Raise Kids in Philadelphia

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By Paige Wolf

This post originally appeared on www.spitthatoutthebook.com in 2013. While revised, some of this information may still be dated – please update in the comments. Thank you!

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 we 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. Kids can learn to be rock stars at Girls Rock Philly and Philly School of Rock
    4. Arts, history, and culture galore – from zoos to children’s museums, we are never at a loss for things to do and see.
    5. Amazing restaurants and bars within walking distance. No drinking and driving and no date nights at Olive Garden.
    6. Almost every day hosts another festival, fair, or special family-friendly event. And we never have to worry about parking to see parades!
    7. 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.
    8. Who needs a swingset when there are so many playgrounds in walking distance with built-in playmates?
    9. Insomnia Cookies
    10. While the burbs may seem to have more greenery, it’s actually much more eco-friendly to live in a smaller space.
    11. Enough realistic diversity in culture, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation that our children have learned to ask – and answer – important questions and appreciate the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
    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 CenterSettlement 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 public schools getting better every year
    21. With Indigo Bike Share and plenty of bike lanes, Philly is quickly becoming one of the most bikeable cities. If you are brave, you can even strap your baby on a bike carrier!
    22. Sister Cities Park
    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. Universities mean access to plenty of babysitters.
    26. Food trucks – and night markets!
    27. We literally share a wall with one of my son’s best friends and two moms we can always count on in a pinch.
    28. Did I mention most of the local activity and entertainment for kids is free?
    29. Speaking of free, Philadelphia has recycling rewards so you can get free tickets to the Please Touch MuseumFranklin InstituteAcademy of Natural Sciences, and more just for curbside recycling!
    30. Free and low-cost after-school programs offered by schools, community programs, and local recreation centers
    31. No lawns to mow. We have plenty of grass – we just don’t have to cut it ourselves.
    32. 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!
    33. Blue Cross Riverrink, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and all the other cool pop-ups on the waterfront
    34. We live in close proximity of two Whole Foods, a ton of farmer’s markets, and even a Moms Organic Market!
    35. 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!
    36. Reading Terminal Market
    37. Santucci’s Pizza
    38. Philadelphia Magic Garden
    39. Less than $10 to Bolt Bus to NYC. Plus super close to train station and airport to go anywhere in the world!
    40. Philly has been named one of the best beer cities in the world. And if you have kids you’ll be thankful for that.
    41. Easy access to the sports stadiums.
    42. 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.
    43. They shoot movies and TV shows here! Maybe your kid will end up on camera or have a chance encounter with Robert De Niro!
    44. 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)
    45. Hiking, biking, running, and rowing in Fairmount Park
    46. A real sense of independence. Things like taking the bus and subway are great life skills to learn early.
    47. We have hidden gems like a pizza museum and a museum of medical oddities.
    48. Little Baby’s Ice Cream
    49. There’s a board game cafe coming to town!
    50. You get to be a close, personal neighbor of ours. And we are pretty rad.