Philadelphia travel guide

Philadelphia Tourism | Philadelphia Guide

You're Going to Love Philadelphia

The birthplace of the United States of America, Philadelphia has it all. From elite sports to music, fantastic food, museums, shopping opportunities, and plenty of accommodation options, "the City of Brotherly Love" covers all the bases, and more.

Philly has a unique atmosphere. Maybe it's the beautifully painted murals in Center City, the cobblestone streets in the Old Town, or the relaxed vibe of Washington Square. It's a city that welcomes everyone, from sports fans in bars like the Fox & Hound to the tour guides at Independence Hall who field every question, no matter how obscure.

It's also a city that caters to daytime and nighttime activities. You can spend the day at the Museum of Art or visiting iconic sights like the Liberty Bell, then stay up into the small hours at jazz bars like Time or clubs like Rumor. It all comes together in a city that really lives up to its nickname.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Philadelphia

1. Experience the Birthplace of the United States of America

Philadelphia is steeped in historical significance: in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed at Philadelphia's Independence Hall. After the end of the American Revolutionary War, the same room provided the backdrop for the signing of the Constitution.

2. Visit One of America's Greatest Sporting Cities

Philadelphia is a city of sports fanatics, and it's the kind of place where you can watch elite NFL (the Eagles), NBA (the 76ers), NHL (the Flyers), or Major League Baseball (the Phillies).

3. Mouth-watering Cheesesteaks and a Galaxy of Craft Breweries

Wherever you walk in Philadelphia, you'll encounter delicious smells, from the sizzling cheese and beef of a perfectly made cheesesteak to the rich buttery aroma of freshly baked pretzels. Head to legendary restaurants like Geno's for the best cheesesteaks, then wash them down with local brews from craft breweries like 2nd Story.

4. Mix Art and Cinema at the Museum of Art

Philadelphia's Museum of Art isn't just one of the finest galleries in the world, it's also an iconic cinema backdrop, immortalized by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. See masterpieces like Rodin's "Thinker" before posing for a shot atop the Rocky Steps.

5. A City Center with History Around Every Corner

In Philadelphia, beautiful 18th-century homes, historic churches, and narrow, cobbled streets appear as if from nowhere, making it a great city to explore by foot. Center City and the Old City are compact and easy to get around, while the Metro puts most suburbs within easy reach.

What to do in Philadelphia

1. Independence Mall: Birth of a Nation

Philadelphia's touristic center revolves around Independence Mall, the site of the historical signing of America's Declaration of Independence. During this 1776 event, the famous Liberty Bell still rang in the steeple of Independence Hall, while visitors can now appreciate the symbol of freedom on display in the park down below, surrounded by countless other historical landmarks.

2. Reading Terminal Market: Provoke your Senses

Offering the freshest produce in the city, Reading Terminal is one of the largest farmer markets in the world, and this should come as no surprise considering the longstanding history of agriculture in the State of Pennsylvania. Visitors come to taste local delicacies or to pick up groceries for a home-cooked feast, with an unforgettable atmosphere to boot.

3. Philadelphia Museum of Art: If You Know What You're Worth

A nationally renowned institution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is full of masterpieces from all over the world. A visit also encompasses two attractions in one: the 72 stone steps of the museum are famously known as the "Rocky Steps" for their use in the Sylvester Stallone film, providing an epic photo opportunity mimicking the beloved film.

4. Eastern State Penitentiary: Embrace your Freedom

Touring Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary is a haunting experience, as it was one of the nation's first and most influential prisons. Now a museum, the grizzly building still incites a thrill as groups stroll past solitary confinement cells while hearing stories of the notorious convicts who once inhabited them.

5. Barnes Foundation: Impressive Impressionists

The Barnes Foundation exceeds expectations for lovers of Modern Art, boasting countless masterpieces from Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, as well as essential highlights from Greats the likes of Van Gogh, Degas and Modigliani. To top things off, this sustainable building is also immersed in pristine gardens.

1. Independence Mall: Birth of a Nation

Philadelphia's touristic center revolves around Independence Mall, the site of the historical signing of America's Declaration of Independence. During this 1776 event, the famous Liberty Bell still rang in the steeple of Independence Hall, while visitors can now appreciate the symbol of freedom on display in the park down below, surrounded by countless other historical landmarks.

2. Reading Terminal Market: Provoke your Senses

Offering the freshest produce in the city, Reading Terminal is one of the largest farmer markets in the world, and this should come as no surprise considering the longstanding history of agriculture in the State of Pennsylvania. Visitors come to taste local delicacies or to pick up groceries for a home-cooked feast, with an unforgettable atmosphere to boot.

3. Philadelphia Museum of Art: If You Know What You're Worth

A nationally renowned institution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is full of masterpieces from all over the world. A visit also encompasses two attractions in one: the 72 stone steps of the museum are famously known as the "Rocky Steps" for their use in the Sylvester Stallone film, providing an epic photo opportunity mimicking the beloved film.

4. Eastern State Penitentiary: Embrace your Freedom

Touring Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary is a haunting experience, as it was one of the nation's first and most influential prisons. Now a museum, the grizzly building still incites a thrill as groups stroll past solitary confinement cells while hearing stories of the notorious convicts who once inhabited them.

5. Barnes Foundation: Impressive Impressionists

The Barnes Foundation exceeds expectations for lovers of Modern Art, boasting countless masterpieces from Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, as well as essential highlights from Greats the likes of Van Gogh, Degas and Modigliani. To top things off, this sustainable building is also immersed in pristine gardens.

Where to Eat in Philadelphia

For an authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteak, head to Geno's or Carmen's in Reading Market, while the hotdogs at Franks a Alot are a great snack between the sights. You'll find excellent Vietnamese at Pho Cali in Chinatown, sushi at Kabuki Sushi, and gourmet burgers and high-quality craft beers at the Misconduct Tavern on Locust. Expect to pay $15-20 for a medium range meal (plus 10 percent sales tax) and more than $30 at the more upmarket restaurants. A basic cheesesteak costs around $8-10.

When to visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia in May
Estimated hotel price
C$ 35
1 night at 3-star hotel
Philadelphia in May
Estimated hotel price
C$ 35
1 night at 3-star hotel

The most popular time to visit Philadelphia is summer, when the Pennsylvania weather is at its best (and you can take part in July 4th celebrations). However, if you want to dodge the peak season crowds, try visiting in fall, when warm spells and dazzling sunshine are common, or even the festive season, when Philadelphia really goes to town, with ice rinks, markets, and holiday sales.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Philadelphia

Plane

Philadelphia International Airport is served by almost all major US airlines. The easiest and fastest way to get into town from the airport is to take the SEPTA regional rail connection, which costs $6.50. Taxis are available for around $30, while the 37 bus runs to Center City and costs $2.25.

Train

Philadelphia is home to one of the USA's most beautiful Amtrak stations - 30th Street Station - and the city has good rail connections to other US cities. Routes like the Keystone connect Philly to New York, while Northeast Regional and Carolinian services link it to Washington D.C. and cities in the South. Getting from 30th Street to the city center is simple: just take the Market-Frankford Metro line.

Car

Philadelphia is easy to reach by car from regional cities like Boston, New York, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh. If you are coming from the north or south, take I-95, while anyone coming from Chicago can take I-90 and I-76.

Bus

The major bus operator in Philadelphia is Greyhound, which stops at 30th Street Station and Filbert Street in Center City. However, there are plenty of other bus companies to choose from, including Peter Pan, Megabus, HGT Bus, and Bolt Bus.

Airports near Philadelphia

Airlines serving Philadelphia

United Airlines
Good (2,811 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,358 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,100 reviews)
KLM
Good (345 reviews)
Air France
Good (392 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,018 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,397 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,303 reviews)
SWISS
Good (450 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,181 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (914 reviews)
Iberia
Good (906 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,353 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (277 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (533 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (300 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (305 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (100 reviews)
Finnair
Good (683 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,543 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Philadelphia

Center City - Philadelphia's downtown neighborhood, Center City, is the place to shop, eat, and drink. If you are after a superb cheesesteak or some authentic Philadelphia pretzels, Reading Terminal Market is not to be missed. Chinatown offers great Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese food (check out the sushi wraps at Hai Street Kitchen), while Walnut Street hosts stores like Gap and Barbour.

Popular Neighborhoods in Philadelphia

The Old City - Where America's story began, Philadelphia's Old City is full of atmosphere (and tour parties). If you're looking to surround yourself with historical sites like Benjamin Franklin's Printing Office, Betsy Ross' home, Independence Hall, or the Liberty Bell, there's no better place to stay.

Fishtown - Philadelphia's hippest neighborhood, Fishtown is about 30 minutes' walk northeast of the city center. Full of coffee houses and bars like ReAnimator or Kraftwork, it's a creative hub too, thanks to independent galleries like Black Vulture and boutiques like SWAG.

Most popular hotel in Philadelphia by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Philadelphia

Most booked hotels in Philadelphia

Historian Inn
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
C$ 149+
Best Western Topaz Lake Inn
Good (7.4, Good reviews)
C$ 186+

How to Get Around Philadelphia

Public Transportation

SEPTA (the South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) runs all public transportation in Philadelphia. The Metro is a great way to hop between Center City and the Old City, while buses cover all major suburbs. Single tokens for the Metro are $1.80 each, day passes for all transportation are $8 and weekly Transpasses cost US$24.

Taxi

Taxis are a convenient way to get around Philadelphia - but they're not cheap. Expect to pay a meter drop of $2.70 and then $2.30 per mile to reach your destination. The cheapest UberX vehicles cost $1.25 for the meter drop, then $1.10 per mile with a minimum fare of $5.75.

Car

Renting a car in Philadelphia isn't really necessary unless you are staying in outlying suburbs like King of Prussia or Delco (Delaware County). If you do need to drive into town, there are plenty of parking garages on Market Street and other locations, but expect to pay $18 or more to park for a day. The bridges out of Center City are usually packed at rush hour, so try to travel outside peak periods if possible. Most major rental companies are represented in Philadelphia, including Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

The Cost of Living in Philadelphia

Philadelphia's Hottest Shopping Streets

Philadelphia is a great shopping destination. Center City streets like Market Street, Chestnut Street, and Walnut Street are the place to go for major brands. 2nd Street in the Old City hosts a collection of offbeat independent boutiques and galleries like Pentimenti and Muse, and Fishtown is another excellent place to look for apparel, art, and jewelry. Philadelphia Mills also offers stores like Old Navy, Forever 21, and Foot Locker.

Groceries and Other Necessities

Central Philadelphia isn't crammed with supermarkets, although there are a couple of ACME stores that offer a good selection. There are also 7-Eleven outlets and various smaller deli markets like Mulberry Market, while Reading Terminal Market is a good place to hunt for fresh produce. Expect to pay $3 for 12 eggs or $2 for a pound of apples.

Cheap meal
C$ 16.09
A pair of jeans
C$ 59.34
Single public transport ticket
C$ 3.02
Cappuccino
C$ 4.84
Other popular cities in Pennsylvania