Philadelphia has something for everybody. Take note:

  • If you're thin, you can relish running up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art a la Rocky. Please don't scream "Yo Adrian!" or we will have to hurt you.

  • If you're fat, feel comforted that Men's Fitness magazine named Philadelphia as the "fattest city in the nation."

  • If you like food, take note that Philadelphia is brimming with some of the best tasting noshables in the U.S., including soft pretzels with mustard, Tastykakes, and the ever-famous Philadelphia cheesesteak.

  • If you want to live in a city with a sense of history and architecture, then you'll be happy to know that Philadelphia was once a capital of the U.S. It also houses Independence Hall (where the Constitution was signed) and the Liberty Bell. And many of the houses there used to be occupied by important dead people such as Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin.

  • If you want to go to college, Philadelphia has several top-notch schools, including University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University and Temple University.

  • If you like sports, then Philadelphia has plenty of teams: the Phillies (baseball), the Flyers (hockey), the 76ers (basketball), and the Eagles (basketball). Notice how patriotic all those teams' names are. Except for the Flyers. That's just random.

  • If you like freaks, then Philly has its own version of Venice Beach called South Street: A veritable cornucopia of strange (read: adult) stores, funky restaurants, and interesting people.

If you're reading this SYW, then chances are that you're already considering making the move to Philly. Well you're in luck - the task of finding an apartment in Philadelphia is not as hefty as its citizens allegedly are. With many diverse and unique areas to choose from (and a much more affordable market than New York, LA, or Boston), there's a Philadelphia neighborhood for everyone.


Before you start looking for an apartment, you need to make an important decision: how much are you willing (and able) to pay in monthly rent? A posh one bedroom apartment in Center City can drain $1500 a month from your wallet, whereas an apartment that lies north or west of the downtown hotspots are much cheaper, ranging from $300 - $650 per month. A good way to find your upper-limit for housing costs is to divide your monthly net (after tax) income by three. If this figure isn't exactly high, you can (1) make more money, (2) consider living outside of Center City, or (3) get yourself a roommate to cut rent costs.

Finding a roommate

Getting a roommate is great because you get to share the cost of living with someone else. The bad news is that you also have to share your living space with that person. Because apartments in Philadelphia are so cheap, you can get an extremely nice apartment if you're willing to team up for it. So if you do decide that a roommate is the way you want to go, the best thing to do is hook up with a friend or acquaintance who's also looking for a place. Another method is to consult a roommate agency (try the Philadelphia Yellow Pages) or use an online roommate referral service such as Easy Roommate or Roommate Click. Some of these services may cost you some dough, but it's worth it if they save you from a raving lunatic roommate from the ninth circle of fiery flaming hell, no?

Whichever option you choose, you need to select your roommate carefully so that you don't end up with a scary roommate who seems to be just a little bit too close to his mother. Obviously, not all strangers make good roommates, but less obviously, not all friends make good roommates either. In either scenario, you need to ask your potential roomie(s) the following questions to find a good match:

  • Have you ever had a roommate before? What, if anything, bothered you about your past roommate(s)?

  • Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend or other friend who will be staying here frequently? Are you promiscuous? (Unless you like waking up to find naked strangers in your apartment, you probably want to ask this one. Additionally, asking it will establish what you consider acceptable ahead of time).

  • Do you smoke? Drink? Do drugs? If yes to any, how often?

  • Do you have any medical conditions (i.e. asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, etc.) that I should know about?

  • Do you stay out late on weeknights? When do you rise in the mornings?

  • What is your occupation?

  • Did/do you have any credit problems?

  • Do you have any pets? Are they house-trained?

  • What do you like to watch on television? What music do you listen to?

  • Do you know how to clean up after yourself?

  • Do you bathe regularly, use deodorant, brush your teeth, and generally participate in hygienic behavior?

  • Where did you get that kick-ass tattoo?

Whatever you ask, in the end you should feel very comfortable with your future roommate. If you do not, you are taking a big risk shacking up with this person. If things don't work out, maybe we'll have already written "SoYouWanna bury a body?"

One last note about roommates: arrange it so that your roommate co-signs the lease. Otherwise, you will be held financially responsible for all damages incurred by your roommate, and you will have to pay the entire rent on your own if your roommate should unexpectedly run off with circus freaks.