Pennsylvania Cities Top Best Places to Retire List

By Kelly Leighton | Nov. 4, 2022 | 3 min. read

Forget Florida. Retirees should be heading to the commonwealth.

Five cities in Pennsylvania were in the top 10 places to retire in 2022-2023, according to U.S. News and World Report, with eight in the top 20. The site ranked Lancaster first, Harrisburg second, York fifth, Allentown ninth and Reading 10th. Scranton (17th), Philadelphia (19th) and Pittsburgh (20th) also made the list of 150 cities best for retirees. What makes these areas stand out? According to the report, they have happy local residents, housing affordability, affordable tax rates and high health care quality.

Lancaster, which was ranked fifth last year, was applauded for events for retirees (including the Lancaster Senior Games), museums, a farmers market and plenty of restaurants to try. The cost of living is generally affordable with lower taxes for retirees than other states in the U.S.

“Lancaster County has state-of-the-art hospitals, senior living facilities and plenty of places to play golf or tennis. The area is easy to get around and we have great restaurants and proximity to Philly and New York City,” said Logan Hutton, a member of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors® who serves on the board of directors. “Lancaster County has all four seasons and each of them are beautiful. My favorite part about living in Lancaster is having amazing tennis courts around and very good trout fishing.”

“Probably the greatest appeal of Lancaster is its cost of living,” added Richard Boas III, also a board of directors member at LCAR. “At least compared to many other areas around the country, specifically cities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with a client from out of state only for them to comment that ‘everything is half off’ in Lancaster. When you get more bang for your buck buying a home and it costs less to live here, it’s no surprise that Lancaster is such a popular retirement destination. Another selling point is the sheer variety of activities to partake in. From baseball games at the Lancaster Barnstormers stadium to plays at the Fulton Opera House, there is always something to do. Lancaster is also a huge tourist destination with a lot of history and, of course, the Amish. You could be driving through the city one minute and the next minute you’re surrounded by field after field of farmland.”

“Lancaster is extremely versatile in what it offers,” said Boas. “If retirement means seeing the sights and enjoying the nightlife, you may want to consider the city as there are an almost unlimited number of things to do. If you’re more into peace and quiet, then maybe the countryside is more for you. You can have your space and enjoy the seclusion. Lancaster is unique in that it has a little bit of everything.”

Harrisburg landed in second place overall and scored well for its value, as the cost of living in the city is below the national average. Harrisburg also offers retirees a strong quality of life, offering many outdoor activities, historical features and close access to Hershey, Lancaster and Gettysburg. York, which came in fifth, offers some of the most affordable housing on the whole list, with plenty of opportunities for retirees to either rent or own. Just like Harrisburg and Lancaster, York offers a variety of outdoor activities, museums, places to eat and an arts scene.

Allentown, Reading, Scranton, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh all scored highly on affordability, as well as quality of life. Cities in Pennsylvania offer retirees a little something of everything.

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