I would also spend time talking to a teacher. They will be much more inclined to write a good letter about someone they actually know.
As for the schools, it's difficult to say where exactly to apply. It really depends where you rank in your school currently (maybe try to find that out). Philadelphia has a few tier 2 schools in Temple, Villanova, and Rutgers (actually in Camden, just across the river from Philly). Off the top of my head, I can't think of any tier 3's, but Drexel may be a tier 3/4? Finally, Widener is a tier 4 about 30 minutes from Philly. Of course there is UPenn also, but I doubt they take many (if any) tier 4 transfers. I can't speak about the other cities because I'm not from any of them. Hope this helps.