Where to live for Chester county PA job
January 24, 2014 6:46 AM   Subscribe

New job near Kennett Square, PA/Southern Chester county.....What towns should I consider living in or near with a commute of 35mins or less?

I'm relocating for a job in southern Chester county PA. Any ideas or suggestions on cool towns to consider while looking for rentals? I'm in my late 20s, ideally would find an area with similarly aged professionals or grad students, some green space, easy access to Philly by SEPTA. I generally prefer living in more suburban neighborhoods with yards and trees, and a short commute to good restaurants, music, movies, etc.

Any suggestions? Towns I'm currently looking at are Kennett Sq., Newark, Wilmington, possibly Phoenixville though that would be a bit of a commute.

Also, any house/apt. hunting tips besides Craigslist?

posted by pilibeen to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Check out West Chester. Its about 30 minutes to Kennett. I live just outside the borough so its a short trip to get to the restaurants/bars downtown. Its about a 15-20 minute trip to Malvern or Paoli to catch the regional rail which takes you into Philly. It was $9.50 for a round trip ticket last time I rode. Given what you are looking for don't look further south than Kennett or more west than Thorndale (I don't recommend Coatesville). Phoenixville isn't bad but youre looking at more like an hour commute in traffic. Feel free to memail me if you have more questions or want more specifics.
posted by Nolechick11 at 7:04 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ditto West Chester. It's quite close to Kennett, and has a pretty decent dining / nightlife scene, since West Chester University is right there.

I live in the outer parts of Chester Co, and Coatesville / Thorndale / Downingtown really don't have a lot to offer. I mean, Downingtown has its highlights, but if I were in my late 20s and looking for what you are? I'd move heaven and earth to live in West Chester.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:17 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hm. I grew up in Chester County. I'm going to flat-out nix Newark and Phoenixville -- too far, not good city access, Phoenixville anyhow is pretty boring (don't know about Newark). Wilmington wouldn't be a terrible choice. As a general location thing, you want to look east (northeast/southeast) of Kennet Square if access to Philly is important to you. You should be able to find suburban living anywhere in the area.

The problem with West Chester is that it's a college town. It does fit a lot of what you're looking for, but it has problems. I attended undergrad there for a year, and there's a lot of animosity between the college and the residents. Rent can be cheap, but some of the apartments are shit. Anywhere near the university gets raucous every. single. weekend. Definitely, definitely don't get a place close to the university unless you're prepared to have kids peeing on your lawn on a regular basis. OTOH, if you like to party, it's a good place. Also, SEPTA access to Philly isn't so great. I commuted from Philly to West Chester for a semester and after the first few weeks of taking a bus to the subway to the bus, including waiting at transfers and just missing the once-an-hour bus, not to mention it's a well over an hour trip, I ended up driving the rest of the term because it only took 45 minutes and I could come and go as I pleased. When I lived closer to West Chester, it felt like everything was faaaar from school. Also with traffic, you get the extra traffic of living close to a commuter school.

I actually think Media might fit the bill. It's got a cute little downtown, lots of suburb, and great SEPTA access (the regional rail as well as the light rail). I know people who have lived there and they loved it. Here's a site that lists things to do etc.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:01 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you decide to move across the border to DE, Newark is way more interesting than the part of Wilmington near the train station and IMHO living in Wilmington isn't particularly pleasant. Suburbs of Wilmington are fine, North Wilmington/Talleyville/Greenville is nice but older than what I'd think of for 20's.

You actually might really like Newark--nice college town vibe and restaurants, train station, reasonable rent.
posted by serelliya at 8:06 AM on January 24, 2014

Nthing West Chester. You'll have easy access to 202 and, if you're going south in the morning/north in the evening, you'll be going opposite the rush hour traffic. Phoenixville doesn't have as good access to 202 and the section of road north of West Chester is being reconstructed, so already bad traffic is worse there. Not sure when the construction will be complete.

West Chester is a college town, so there's plenty of activity there. Also, and I could be wrong here, it's always struck me as a wealthier area than Phoenixville. At least the areas of Phoenixville I'm typically in are more run-down. WC is also easier to get around; its roads are built on a grid system, whereas Phoenixville grew up pretty haphazardly.

Phoenixville does have easy access to Valley Forge Park. Kimberton, which is right next door, gets rural pretty quickly if green spaces are more important to you. It also has a good weekly farmers market on Saturday.

One problem with West Chester, as Nolechick11 pointed out, is the lack of a Septa station. I do think there's one in Exton, though, which isn't too far.

I'm not too familiar with southern Chester County, so can't offer much help there.

And welcome!
posted by lharmon at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2014

Absolutely West Chester, with a close second being Media.

Both have a great atmosphere; West Chester is the home of a college but there are lots of young professionals! In fact, I have two sets of cousins who are both raising their families there, and my husband and I considered it as we were home searching (we both work in Philly and the commute was a bit of a turn off for me, but that was one of the only strikes).

We live in Delaware County and love hanging out in Media, and in West Chester when we get the chance. Tons of restaurants and bars, and there are a number of outdoor events in the summer. Media actually has weekly dining under the stars in the summer, which is awesome.

Both West Chester and Media are close to Philly, but Media is a lot more direct - but at the very edge of your "30 minute commute from Kennet Square".
posted by kellygrape at 3:20 PM on January 24, 2014

One other thought. When I was in high school in Chester county one of my teachers mentioned that he lived in Delaware for tax reasons. This was 10-15 years ago, so take that with the appropriate grains of salt. But tax rates may be something worth checking.
posted by lharmon at 12:43 PM on January 26, 2014

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