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Renter's Guide to Reading

Come take a ride on the Reading Railroad – and claim the city as your new home! The city combines convenience and charm, and was even rated by WalletHub as the 7th-best city in Pennsylvania for family life and fun. It's also the first town in the state to receive a 3-STAR rating from the STAR Community Rating system for sustainability leadership.

Reading is the county seat of Berks County and is 10 square miles in area. That's three-quarters the size of Allentown and about 6% as large as Philadelphia.

As a railroad town, Reading occupies a very convenient location in the state. It's only about 63 miles from Philadelphia and 38 from Allentown.

The weather here is generally mild, with summer highs in the low 80s. The lows in winter average in the mid 20s – but without prolonged freezes.

Cost of Living in Reading, PA

A three-course meal for two at a mid-priced restaurant costs from $24 to $75, while the average price for a regular cappuccino is $3.60.

Electricity, heating, water, and waste disposal for a 915 square-foot apartment in Reading costs around $142 per month, which is just under the national average of $147.

The Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority (BARTA) provides bus service throughout the city.  A one day unlimited pass is $3, and a 31-day pass is $47.

Reading also has several local taxi companies, including Yellow Cab, Grab-A-Cab, and Reading Metro Taxi.

Living in Reading, PA

Residents here will tell you that the affordable cost of living and hassle-free commutes are some of the best parts of life in Reading. There's also plenty to do for young families.

The city once had a very high poverty rate, but has been making excellent progress in recent years. Revitalization of several neighborhoods and fresh leadership has led to an upturn.

Reading is also very diverse, with roughly half the residents being of Latin American descent.

Things to do in Reading

If you’re a sports fan, then Reading is the place for you! Watch the minor league Fightin' Phils play baseball at FirstEnergy Stadium, or catch a Reading Royals hockey game at Santander Arena. If soccer is more your game, Albright College fields a great team as well.

For some fun with the kids, take them fishing and camping at the Daniel Boone Homestead. They’ll also enjoy the living history demonstrations. Another hot spot for family fun is the Reading Pagoda, a beautiful architectural anomaly in the city. There’s even a gift shop and café for refreshments.

If you’re searching for a free thing to do, why not visit the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center? It’s over 600 acres of trails, wetlands, and streams, along with a garden of native wildflowers.

If you need to pick up a few things, you’ll find some great shopping in the city. One excellent choice is The Shoppes at Wyomissing, an outdoor mall with 29 stores and restaurants. There’s also the Fairgrounds Square Mall, a beautiful indoor mall with good food and shopping options.

Reading has some great parks! Antietam Lake Park is massive, at over 600 acres. There are trails for bike riding, hiking, or walking your dog. It’s also the perfect place for a picnic by the water. Nearby Stonecliffe Action Park is ideal for skaters and bike riders, letting you show off your skills on the many ramps here.

And Riverfront Park is perfect for hiking, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, or just a leisurely picnic.

For some special couple’s activities, start with dinner and a drink at The Knight’s Pub. This elegant tavern serves gourmet food and scrumptious desserts. Follow that up by catching a romantic movie together at the Movies 11 & IMAX.

Reading is well-known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration. In fact, USA Today rated it as the top celebration in the nation and among the top ten Oktoberfests in the entire world! Make sure to stop by and enjoy the beer, traditional German cuisine, and music.

Another yearly event is the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s WWII weekend, featuring a huge air show. Almost 100,000 people attend each year.

This city doesn’t lack for art either. The Reading Public Museum exhibits both classic and modern pieces. It even has an arboretum and planetarium. For the performing arts, take a trip to the Miller Center for the Arts. Here you can enjoy live theater and musical performances.

Employment and Economy

While Reading still has its industrial roots, economic opportunities here have diversified over the years. The healthcare sector is now robust in the city. Both Reading Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center provide thousands of jobs.

If you’re in manufacturing or chemical engineering, East Penn Manufacturing Company offers lots of opportunities for job seekers.

Another major employer Carpenter Technology Corporation, which is headquartered in the city. It offers careers in a wide variety of areas, including metallurgy, chemistry, and production.

Education in Reading

Public schools here are part of the Reading School District. The district contains 13 elementary schools and four high schools. Naturally, there are also a large number of local private and parochial schools to choose from.

Reading also has several great choices for higher education. There are four colleges and universities located here: Albright College, a private liberal arts institution; Alvernia University, a Roman Catholic university with strong pre-medicine and pre-law programs; Baker College, a not-for-profit career college; and Reading Area Community College.

Tips for Renting in Reading

Looking to make Reading your new home? Before you start packing, let's take a look at some of the local tenant laws to get you up-to-speed.

It's always important to pay your rent on time – but even more so in Reading. That's because there's no grace period on late payments. Your landlord can start the eviction process if you're even a single day late.

But if your landlord fails to make necessary repairs within a timely manner, you have the right to withold a portion of your rent, as long as you document the process and notify your landlord. Or you can make the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from your rent payment.