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  • Writer's pictureVenture Philly Group

Debate: Do You Need a Car to Live in Philly?

There are some cities that you need a car in order to get around as efficiently as possible. But in a Philadelphia, that is up for debate. Philly is the 6th largest city in the world. Do you think you need a car to live in this city? Let’s look at the pros and cons of having a car in Philadelphia.

Pros of Having a Car:

  • Errands/Grocery Shopping:

    • Having a car to run errands like getting groceries is very convenient. Walking several blocks with your grocery bags is not exactly ideal.

    • The flip side: with new technologies like Instacart and other grocery delivery services, that could be an alternative solution for you.

  • Commuting outside of Center City:

    • If you commute outside of the city for work, having a car will make your travel much simpler.

    • It also gives you more professional opportunities with a wider range of locations to search for jobs.

  • Reliable Transportation:

    • You can hop in the car and go anywhere you want whenever you want. You are not confined to train or bus schedules to get to a new city when you get the itch to travel or if you need to get out of town for any reason.

Cons of Having a Car:

  • Expenses:

    • The cost of owning a car can come with a hefty price tag. You likely have a monthly car payment, insurance payment, gas, maintenance costs and you might have to pay for a place to park it if your home doesn’t have private parking.

  • Traffic:

    • Traffic in Philadelphia can be very frustrating, especially during morning and evening commute times. You could sit in bumper to bumper traffic for a long time. Plus, sometimes you can get places faster on foot or public transit if the traffic is bad enough at that time.

  • Parking Issues:

    • Finding street parking can also be very frustrating. Sometimes you can drive around for an extremely long time just to find available street parking or you pay for garage parking.

    • You might be able drive to a location within the city faster than taking public transportation at times, but how long will it take you to find parking once you get there?

    • The flip side: if your home has designated parking, then having your car in the city makes sense and you can use it as often or as little as you want. However, you’ll still have to find parking at your destinations.

Properties For Sale with Designated Parking:

Other Ways to Get Around:

  • Walking

    • Philadelphia is one of the most walkable cities in the country! Center City is just 2 miles wide so you could walk river to river in an afternoon.

    • It’s also a city of neighborhoods, so you can find pretty much anything you need in your own neighborhood that’s just a short walk away.

  • Biking

    • Many people ride bikes around Philly. You can either have one of your own, or you can use Philly’s bike share program, Indego. They have traditional and electronic bike options.

  • SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority)

    • Market-Frankford Line

    • Broad Street Line

    • Buses

    • PATCO

    • Regional Rail

    • Trolleys

    • Norristown High Speed Line

  • Trains to Other Cities from 30th Street Station

    • Amtrak

    • NJ Transit

  • Call a Car

    • Uber

    • Lyft

    • Taxis

Properties with Great Walkability in Center City:


  • Ultimately, you do not need a car to live in Philadelphia. There are many other ways to get around.

  • It really comes down to your personal situation.

  • If it’s just for convenience, then that’s a personal decision that comes down to affordability and finding a place to park it. Plus, if you have designated parking where you live, then that makes sense to have a car.

  • If you don’t need it and it will be an unnecessary cost and headache, you can go without it.


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