Sitting on the banks of the Delaware River and founded in 1682, Philadelphia is one of America’s oldest cities. Famous as the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philly is steeped in history and is a true city of U.S. firsts — home to the first American library, hospital, zoo, and much more. Nowadays, Philadelphia is an immensely popular tourist destination, an economic powerhouse, an educational hub and a cultural hotspot.

Here are nine things you should know before moving to Philadelphia:

1. How big Is Philadelphia, PA?

Philadelphia is the 6th most populous city in the U.S., and it covers a total area of about 142 square miles. It follows New York City as the second-largest city in the Northeast and it’s the largest one in Pennsylvania. The city encompasses the entire County of Philadelphia, with the city and the county sharing geographical boundaries. Center City is the beating heart of Philadelphia, extending between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers and Spring Garden and South Street, and its streets are dotted with restaurants, parks, hotels, shops and much more.

2. What is the weather like in Philadelphia, PA?

Philadelphia is on the northern edge of a humid subtropical climate zone and its weather reflects this. The city experiences four distinct seasons, characterized by hot and muggy summers, mild transitional seasons and moderately cold winters. Snow is common from December through March, with an average of 22.4” of snowfall annually.

Boathouse row with the frozen Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA
Boathouse row with the frozen Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA

Winter is a good time to check out self storage in Philadelphia. A climate-controlled storage unit is an ideal place to store seasonal clothing and decorations, furniture, appliances, garden tools, motorcycles, convertibles, and other items that don’t generally do well outside over winter. Meanwhile, a regular unit is great for seasonal tires and bicycles.

3. What’s the job market like in Philadelphia, PA?

Philadelphia serves as a center of economic activity in Pennsylvania, is home to several Fortune 1000 companies. Local corporations include Cigna, Colonial Penn, Independent Blue Cross, GlaxoSmithKline and Anthropologie. The city is also home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Prominent local industries include health care, finance, tech, manufacturing, transportation, tourism and biotechnology.

With a plethora of companies that operate through their offices in Philadelphia, the question of storing paper records arises. As they’re required to keep paperwork for a set amount of time, companies can easily turn to self storage to keep their paper records in a climate-controlled environment. This is a great alternative to using increasing amounts of additional office space for storage as paperwork adds up.

Research, particularly in biotech, is also a rising sector in the city and one that can make good use of storage units in Philadelphia. Self storage provides a superb solution for storing equipment and a range of materials in controlled conditions.

Philadelphia is a huge tourist hotspot, and people working in this sector can also benefit from hiring a storage unit. They could store everything from promotional materials to hotel supplies and even rental bicycles — the possibilities are endless.

Whether we’re talking restaurants, bakeries, clothing boutiques or other retail outlets, the small business scene in Philadelphia is rich and varied. For these businesses, space can come at a premium. Therefore, excess merchandise or other business-related items can be put in self storage. The service is especially useful before businesses run sales — they could use that extra space to keep their merchandise in without cluttering their brick-and-mortar premises.

4. Universities and college life in the City of Brotherly Love

Hundreds of thousands of students call Philadelphia home, with more than 80 universities, colleges and specialty schools in the city. The Ivy League University of Pennsylvania claims to be the oldest in the country, while Temple University boasts the largest student population in the city.

With the third-largest student population on the East Coast, accommodation options can be tight. Fortunately, the multitude of storage units in Philadelphia provide the additional space that students may need to keep their dorms and apartments clutter-free. Additionally, self storage is a boon for students at the end of each academic year. Instead of moving their belongings back home over the summer break, they can put them in a storage unit until the new academic year begins in the fall.

5. Outdoor recreation in Philadelphia, PA

With more than 17.5 square miles of parkland in Philadelphia, including the iconic Fairmount Park, you’ll find many ways to enjoy life outdoors in the city. Cycling and walking — not to mention following in Rocky’s steps by jogging up the famous flight of steps to the Art Museum — are all great ways to keep fit.

Philadelphia is also known for the various rivers and waterways that flow through the city. Among these, the mighty Delaware River – which defines the city’s southern border – stands out. Kayaking, canoeing and rowing are extremely popular pastimes in the city, and residents can make use of a number of boat launches and docks. Numerous storage facilities in Philadelphia offer boat storage, providing an excellent way for enthusiasts to keep their watercraft safe.

Cherry Blossoms and Canada Geese in Philadelphia along Schuylkill River
Cherry blossoms and Canada geese in Philadelphia along Schuylkill River

Philadelphia is a city of art, boasting more outdoor sculptures, murals and public art than any other city in America. Local artists can also make use of a storage unit, which is an excellent place to store supplies and works in progress.

6. Is Philadelphia, PA, a good place to live?

A place with a rich history, Philadelphia is a great city to live in, boasting big-city amenities such as restaurants, stores, entertainment options and much more, plus the friendliness of tight-knit communities. The city is also within traveling distance from major cities such as New York and Washington D.C., should you ever wish to go visit. Moreover, the city has made great strides to increase environmental living, with a network of bike lanes available not only within the city’s infrastructure but also within Fairmont Park. Moreover, the Philadelphia’s Trail Master Plan looks to increase the number of greenways and trails in the city.

Walkways and gazebo at Fairmount Park, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Walkways and gazebo at Fairmount Park, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Moving to Philadelphia, PA, from NYC

Whether during the pandemic or before, a lot of people have been moving from NYC to Philadelphia. The city’s affordability and increasing job opportunities make it an attractive option for residents of big cities such as New York. The proximity of NYC to Philly is also a factor that encourages people to move here.

Moving to Philadelphia, PA from Chicago, IL

Chicago is another big city that sees a lot of people moving in and also moving out. Some of those leaving the city are headed toward Philadelphia. The northwestern city still boasts an attractive mix of affordability and job opportunities. Additionally, Philly also sports much milder winters compared to Chicago’s colder weather during that time.

7. How self storage helps you to move to Philadelphia, PA

Steeped in history but with a modern edge when it comes to employment opportunities, Philadelphia is an attractive choice for everyone from young professionals to retirees. Out-of-state moving costs will typically rise as high as several thousand dollars if you hire a professional moving company. However, it’s hard to put a price tag on the peace of mind this can offer. If you are on a budget, you might consider doing it yourself or enlisting the help of friends and family, but this can be stressful.

Either way, if you’re new to town, self storage in Philadelphia can be a real asset. Not only does it allow you to move in at your own pace, but it also provides a backup plan in case of delays. If your belongings get to town before you can move into your new home, you can rent a self storage unit. The contents of a 2-bedroom home can comfortably fit inside a 10’x20’ unit, while a 10’x30’ unit is a better choice for a 3-bedroom or 4-bedroom home.

As well as the temporary advantages offered while you move, a storage unit provides a wealth of benefits in the long term, such as keeping your home clutter-free and providing a space to keep bulky seasonal items, furniture, appliances and much more all throughout the year.

8. Self storage assists Philadelphia, PA, residents

Here is how self storage can help if you’re a Philly resident:

  • Apartment dwellers

Across the city, single-family units are slightly more common than apartment buildings. However, most housing opportunities in Center City include apartment options. This neighborhood ranks as the second-most populated downtown area in the U.S., with many residents attracted to the proximity of the employment, entertainment and educational opportunities on offer.

Center City and the surrounding districts are home to many skyscrapers and multi-story condos, with many thousands living there. With space at such a premium, many residents will downsize in favor of being closer to the downtown attractions. Since downtown living will most likely mean you’re embracing apartment living, renting a storage unit in Philadelphia can help you make the most of your living space. Seasonal clothing and other seasonal items can stay in storage, leaving room for you to enjoy an uncluttered home.

  • Single-family home dwellers

If you chose the famous city houses or you live in the suburbs – with Devon, Berwyn, Swarthmore and Blue Bell being some of the best choices for suburban living – you might enjoy a little more living space as compared to apartment living. As it turns out, in the last decade, Philly family homes gained 313 square feet, bringing the average house size here to around 2,300 square feet in 2019, per a report on home size evolution.

Row houses in Spring Garden, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Row houses in Spring Garden, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When sharing a home with an enlarged family – either by welcoming a new tiny member into your family or by forming a multi-generational home – you will still find that your home can soon become cluttered with various possessions. Instead of keeping everything in your home at all times, you can keep seasonal items such as winter clothing, sports gear and decorations as well as furniture and appliances in a storage unit until they’re ready to be used again.

9. What are the storage options in Philadelphia, PA?

If you live in Philadelphia, self storage can assist you during various times of transition – moving, downsizing, growing your family or simply when you wish to keep your home organized – as the area boasts about 5.5M sq. ft. of self storage space according to data from Yardi Matrix. That’s 2.7 sq. ft. of self storage per resident, below the national benchmark of 7 sq. ft. of self storage space per person. To meet the demand of the market, a total of 127,000 sq. ft. of self storage are slated for delivery in 2022.

Philadelphia is a city with plenty of self storage options in terms of both unit sizes and prices among the 69 facilities available locally. Renting a self storage unit in Philadelphia costs about $150/month for a  10’x10’ unit, the most common size.

If you live in Philly, you might also consider storage units of different sizes. For instance, renting a 5’x5’ unit costs about $70/month and a  5’x10’ costs close to $100/month. Larger units such as a 10’x20’ unit – great for fitting the contents of a 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom home – rent for about $275/month.

If you’re looking to rent a climate-controlled unit, as you might need to do if you’re storing furniture, clothing, paperwork or similar items, rent will be a little higher for all unit sizes. A 10’x10’ climate-controlled unit in Philadelphia costs about $170/month, while a 5’x10’ unit rents for close to $70/month. Moreover, renting a 10’x15’ climate-controlled unit will cost you about $220/month and a 10’x20’ unit that offers the same amenity rents for roughly $280/month. For more information on the state of the industry locally, you can visit the Philadelphia self storage statistics page.

To find more Philadelphia listings, check out StorageCafe’s search portal.


Mirela is a real estate writer and lifestyle editor for Yardi. With an academic background in English and translation, Mirela now covers a range of topics including real estate trends, lifestyle and economy. Her previous experience in proofreading academic articles has inspired Mirela to choose a writing career path. In her free time, Mirela enjoys reading, but also hiking and creating art. You can contact Mirela via email.

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