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Know this before you move to Harrisburg, PA

Know this before you move to Harrisburg, PA

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Moving to a new city is always an adjustment, but knowing what to expect can help make the transition smoother. With its affordability, job opportunities, and amenities, Harrisburg can be an attractive option for those looking to relocate – just be sure to go in with your eyes wide open.

Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws of Harrisburg is its relatively low cost of living compared to other major cities in the state and surrounding areas. Housing costs, in particular, are quite affordable, with the median home price around $150,000 as of 2023. However, it’s worth noting that some areas of Harrisburg are more expensive than others, so do your research on neighborhoods before committing to a purchase or rental.

Job Market

Harrisburg’s job market is heavily influenced by the presence of state government and associated industries. Other major employers include healthcare, education, and transportation/logistics companies. While the job market is stable, it may not be as diverse as larger metropolitan areas. If your career is niche or specialized, you’ll want to ensure there are suitable opportunities before relocating.


Like much of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and humid, with temperatures often reaching the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit. Winters can be quite cold and snowy, with average highs in the 30s. Spring and fall are mild but can be rainy. If you’re moving from a region with more temperate weather, be prepared to invest in proper seasonal attire and gear.


While Harrisburg itself is relatively compact, many residents live in surrounding suburbs and commute into the city for work. Traffic can be heavy during rush hours, especially on the major highways like I-83 and I-283. If you’ll be commuting, factor in potential traffic delays when calculating your travel time. Alternatively, explore public transportation options like the Capital Area Transit system.

Things to Do

Despite its modest size, Harrisburg offers a decent array of cultural and recreational activities. The city is home to several museums, including the National Civil War Museum and the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the Capital Area Greenbelt, a 20-mile loop of trails perfect for walking, running, and biking. Nearby Hersheypark and other attractions in Hershey are also popular destinations.

Nightlife and Dining

While Harrisburg may not rival major cities for its nightlife scene, it still has a respectable number of bars, clubs, and live music venues concentrated primarily in downtown and Midtown areas. The dining scene is diverse, with options ranging from casual eateries to upscale farm-to-table restaurants. Ethnic cuisines like Vietnamese, Indian, and Mexican are well-represented.


Like any city, some areas of Harrisburg, PA are safer than others. Generally, the suburban areas surrounding the city tend to have lower crime rates than some of the urban neighborhoods. Do your due diligence when researching potential areas to live, and take typical precautions when out and about, especially at night.


Pennsylvania has a relatively high tax burden, with a flat 3.07% income tax rate as of 2023. Property taxes can also be steep in some areas. However, there is no tax on retirement income like Social Security benefits, pensions, and IRAs/401(k)s for residents over 59.5 years old.

Moving to Harrisburg, PA, offers a unique opportunity to experience the best of both urban and suburban living. With its affordable cost of living, job opportunities, cultural attractions, and outdoor recreation, the city has something to offer everyone. While it may take some time to adjust to the pace of life and navigate the city’s quirks, Harrisburg is a place that will quickly feel like home to those who embrace its charm and character. Learn more about The Top Parks in Harrisburg, PA

FAQ About Harrisburg, PA

The job market in Harrisburg is heavily influenced by the state government, healthcare, and education sectors. The largest employers include the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and several local school districts. However, there has been growth in industries like technology, finance, and logistics as well.

Harrisburg has a public transportation system operated by Capital Area Transit (CAT), which runs bus routes throughout the city and surrounding areas. However, the system is not as extensive as those found in larger metropolitan areas, so many residents rely on personal vehicles for their daily commutes.

The cost of living in Harrisburg is relatively low compared to other major cities in the region. Housing costs, both for buying and renting, are generally affordable. However, utility costs can be higher due to the city's aging infrastructure.

Harrisburg's location along the Susquehanna River provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Capital Area Greenbelt offers hiking, biking, and running trails, while the river itself is popular for fishing, boating, and kayaking. Several state parks and forests are also within a short drive from the city.

Yes, Harrisburg is a diverse and welcoming community with a rich history and a vibrant mix of cultures. The city is home to several neighborhoods with their own unique character and traditions, reflecting the various ethnic and cultural groups that have called Harrisburg home over the years.

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