The 10 Best Places to Retire in Pennsylvania

Retirees seek an affordable quality of life where the leisure time and recreational activities they enjoy are available. Where to retire depends upon a variety of factors, including climate, affordable housing, quality health care and family ties. Pennsylvania is becoming a retirement haven offering affordable housing, low taxes, quality health care and access to major metropolitan areas including Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New York City.


Pittsburgh ranks high as a retirement destination on a number of surveys.:

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  1. National Geographic rates Pittsburgh the top Adventure City in America.
  2. Smartmoney's 2008 survey ranked Pittsburgh the fourth most recession-proof city for retirees.
  3. The 2011 Global Livability Ranks by London-based Economist Intelligent Unit ranked Pittsburgh as the most livable city in America.


Pittsburgh offers:

  • Affordable housing
  • Walkable neighborhoods
  • Shopping
  • Museums
  • Restaurants
  • Professional sports teams
  • Cultural activities.

The entire city has been undergoing a Renaissance since the demise of the area steel companies. Old steel mills have been torn down and replaced with university construction and commercial buildings. The city is home to a number of colleges, including the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon.


South Central Pennsylvania

The towns of Harrisburg, York and Lancaster offer affordable housing and small central cities with shopping, restaurants and cultural opportunities.

Harrisburg, the state capital, has been undergoing downtown redevelopment. The area is centrally located and easily accessible to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Lancaster County offers farms, rural areas, small towns, and a center city undergoing a revival with boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. I


Harrisburg has a vibrant downtown farmer's market. Cultural amenities include the Fulton Opera House, the symphony, and events at Millersville State University and Franklin and Marshall College.

The county has numerous retirement communities


York is the third town in the South Central Pennsylvania triangle and the city embarked on urban renewal initiatives. The city established an Artist Homestead Program to attract working artists as well as retiring artists. The program offers incentives for the purchase of a home and studio in the city.


Central Pennsylvania

State College is the home of Pennsylvania State University and the campus sprawls throughout the town and countryside.

The college town offers the cultural and educational activities of a major university within a small town environment. Retirement communities are springing up throughout the area appealing to Penn State graduates and all retirees interested in a university town setting.


Also consider Lewisburg, the home of Bucknell University, is a small town north of Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River. The town boasts a newly vibrant downtown with shops and restaurants.


This major city on the Delaware River is home to numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Drexel. The city offers shopping, cultural events, museums and restaurants. Fairmount Park is a large center-city urban recreational area comprising over 9,000 acres providing walking, biking, and cycling paths along the Schuykill River. Beach fans love the fact that the city is one hour from the Jersey shore.


Montgomery County

Forbes magazine ranked Montgomery County, outside of Philadelphia, the number one best place to grow old in a 2008 survey. The area encompasses the affluent suburbs north and west of Philadelphia, including the King of Prussia, mall and historic old towns such as Bryn Mawr and Lower Merion Township, the home of Haverford College. The area offers proximity to the cultural events and shopping of Philadelphia and the ambience of suburban life in towns and communities dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


New Hope

New Hope is a small town north of Philadelphia on the Delaware River. It is a popular weekend tourist destination with antique stores, art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Summer offers water activities along the river. The town is not far from winter recreational activities in the Pocono Mountains.