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10 Things to Know Before Moving to West Chester, PA

Written by Aislyn Hobbs

As a lovely Pennsylvania town, West Chester is a delight to live in. This city was once regarded as a hub for clockmaking in the 18th century, but today, it is better known for its historic buildings, thriving business, and lively college campus. Commuters will appreciate West Chester’s proximity to Philadelphia, so settling down here is a pretty good idea.

Do you have doubts about whether or not you should relocate to West Chester? Let’s check out ten things you should know before the big move.

1. A safe place to live in

The crime rate in West Chester is 1,705 per 100,000 residents. This is 27% less than the average in the United States and 16% less than the average in Pennsylvania. 

The city has a rate of 182 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, which is 53% lower than the U.S. average, and a property crime rate 22% below the U.S. average, at 1,522 crimes committed per 100,000 residents. And so it should come as no surprise that West Chester is a secure community.

2. A cost of living index of 124.3

With an index of 124.3, West Chester has a high cost of living. The city’s cost of living is 24.3% higher than the national average, but considering that you’re outside of Philadelphia, it’s still rather cheap.

A family of four in West Chester would require an annual income of $109,074 to get by comfortably, as calculated by the Economic Policy Institute. This amounts to around $9,089 every single month. A typical home in West Chester will set you back $660,000. This is a lot more than the median home price in America, which is $416,000.

3. Live in neighborhoods like Price Street, Downtown West Chester, or The Reserve at Glen Loch.

Looking for the best neighborhoods to settle in West Chester? West Chester is home to many popular areas, including Price Street, Downtown West Chester, and The Reserve at Glen Loch.

The Price Street location could be a good fit if you are a young professional or a family with school-aged children. Those who need easy access to West Chester University will find that Price Street is one of the nicest neighborhoods in all of West Chester.

One of West Chester’s finest areas is its downtown. The trendy stores and eateries of downtown can be found all along North High Street, which runs right through the heart of the neighborhood. Downtown West Chester is home to a wide variety of apartment buildings.

As one of West Chester’s most family-friendly and secure communities, The Reserve at Glen Loch is a top choice for many local residents. The 108 carriage and townhouses in this area all have spacious yards and easy access to the neighborhood’s wide sidewalks.

4. The city has scorching summers and chilly winters

The Köppen climate classification describes West Chester as a humid continental climate. This means that there are four different seasons in West Chester, with scorching summers and chilly winters. July is the hottest month in the city, with an average high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. January, with an average low of 26 degrees Fahrenheit, is the chilliest month of the year.

The average annual snowfall in West Chester is 27.7 inches, so make sure to bring your snow shovel with you when you move there.

5. Commodore Business Machines, Mars Drinks, and Keystone Foods are some of the city’s employers

Looking for employment in West Chester? The city is conveniently located between Philadelphia and Wilmington; thus, many citizens can easily commute to either city for work. However, there is no shortage of employment opportunities in West Chester. Commodore Business Machines, Mars Drinks, and Keystone Foods are just a few of the leading employers in West Chester. QVC’s main office is located in or near West Chester as well.

The average salary in West Chester is $73,000 per year, as reported by Payscale. 

6. The West Chester Area School District serves the city

The West Chester Area School District is responsible for educating the town’s children. Over 12,000 students from pre-K through 12th grade attend schools in the West Chester school system. Henderson High School, West Chester East High School, and Rustin High School are the three local high schools in the West Chester area.

West Chester is home to four Catholic private schools: St. Agnes School, Saints  Peter and Paul School, Saints Simon and Jude School, and St. Maximilian Kolbe School. The North Campus of West Chester University is also located in West Chester.

7. The city is walkable

With a population of approximately 20,000, West Chester is the county seat of Chester County and a charming small town not far from both Philadelphia and Wilmington. One of the things that makes West Chester special is how easily it can be explored on foot. The city has a high walk score of 74.

Convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and retail outlets (for times you just want to treat yourself) are all within walking distance. Get your daily errands done at the post office or bakery on foot, then head to the park with the kids or go for a run around town.

8. Visit nearby wineries or Longwood Gardens

West Chester is conveniently located in the heart of Chester County, close to all the beautiful vineyards and flourishing flora and fauna of Brandywine Valley. Chaddsford Winery is not just one of the oldest but also the most well-known wineries in the state, located in Chester County. Wine lovers can also visit Chaddsford, Galer Estate, or PennsWood Wineries within a half-hour’s drive. 

West Chester residents also flock to Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s best botanical gardens, all year round. Longwood Gardens, home to year-round fountain presentations, cultural events, and breathtaking floral displays, is only a half-hour drive away.  

9. A convenient location

West Chester’s proximity to numerous main thoroughfares makes regional commutes quick and easy, whether you work in town or elsewhere in the region. 

West Chester Pike goes right through the middle of town and leads directly to Center City Philadelphia, with a commute time of around an hour on most weekdays, thanks to heavy traffic on Routes 202 and 322. Besides Wilmington (which is only about 35 minutes away), residents of West Chester travel to the surrounding communities of Great Valley and King of Prussia.

10. Enjoy the nightlife scene at Kildare’s, The Social, or Split Rail Tavern.

Both college students from nearby West Chester University and long-time residents of the area enjoy the vibrant nightlife that the city center has to offer. 

Kildare’s is the best option for sports enthusiasts, Split Rail Tavern is a favorite of beer connoisseurs, and The Social is a fantastic venue for listening to live music. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center is a downtown theater that features live performances every night of the week, ranging from concerts and comedies to dramas for children.

In Conclusion

In summary, West Chester, PA, offers a secure and vibrant living environment. The city experiences distinct seasons, featuring hot summers and cold winters. While the cost of living is relatively high, there are many job opportunities in prominent companies. West Chester is a compelling choice for those seeking a dynamic yet safe community.

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