Philadelphia Travel – How To Plan Your Visit to the City
Philadelphia travel brings you the opportunity to visit this beautiful city. This photo was taken from one bank of the Schuylkill River; you see the columns of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the far left, and the Philadelphia skyline on its right.
/ CC BY 3.0
Philadelphia travel can be tremendously rewarding, as you have the opportunity to visit America's most historic city. It is filled with stunning architecture, unique historic sites of depth and quality, a vibrant nightlife scene, and so much more.
So you're planning to travel here... Let's get started!
Traveling To Philadelphia - Planning Your Trip
Philadelphia Travel By Air
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) offers service by nearly all major carriers, although US Airways uses PHL as a hub and it has the most flights here.
You also can easily and inexpensively travel by SEPTA Regional Rail train, from PHL to Center City Philadelphia - the train stops at multiple airport terminals, and subsequently travels to all three major Center City train stations. You can also travel by cab from PHL to Center City.
Philadelphia Travel By Train - Amtrak
The major Amtrak station in Philadelphia is 30th Street Station, which lies in the heart of the Northeast Corridor. It is easily accessible from all other Northeast cities, via both Acela Express and regular Amtrak trains.
You can also visit Philadelphia via Amtrak from outside the Northeast, although it will be a longer train ride, and air travel may be cheaper and faster.
If you are traveling from New York City, you can take a combination of NJ Transit and SEPTA Regional Rail trains, from Penn Station in Manhattan, to Center City Philadelphia, if you don't want to take Amtrak.
Philadelphia Travel By Car
Philadelphia Travel by Car is convenient, as the city is conveniently situated at the confluence of several Interstate Highways - I-95, I-76 (the Schuylkill Expressway), I-476 (also known as the Blue Route, although you won't ever see an official sign calling it that). I-676, the Vine Street Expressway, bridges I-95, which parallels the Delaware River, and the Schuylkill Expressway, which parallels the Schuylkill River.
It is also located close to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, from which you can connect to the Blue Route and U.S. Route 1. From New Jersey, you can take the New Jersey Turnpike, directly to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. You also have the option of several bridges that span the Delaware River - the Burlington/Bristol Bridge, the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, the Betsy Ross Bridge, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Walt Whitman Bridge, and the Commodore Barry Bridge.
From points south, you can take I-95 north from Baltimore or Washington, DC, and you can also take U.S. Route 1 North, if you would prefer to drive through a rural area, although it will take you much longer.
Do I Need A Car To Enjoy Philadelphia?
No, it's far from an absolute necessity. If you are staying in a Center City hotel, the car actually would be more of a hindrance than a help, particularly if you want to focus on the downtown tourist attractions. Philadelphia has an extremely compact, walkable downtown, with inexpensive mass transit and relatively inexpensive taxicabs.
That having been said, if you want to explore the entire region, a car would be helpful. SEPTA Regional Rail runs out to the distant suburbs, but it is of limited utility in seeing the most popular places in the suburbs.
Philadelphia Travel - How To Get Around the City and Region
The Philadelphia region can be easily explored by car, but if you are interested in the major Philadelphia tourist attractions, the vast majority of them are located in central Philadelphia. Particularly for visitors unfamiliar with the roads and highways, we'd recommend SEPTA, the Phlash Trolley (which runs from May 1 to October 31, until dinnertime), and taxicabs for sightseeing. This is one reason why we recommend selecting a hotel in Center City.
You can take a look at our
Getting Around Philadelphia Main Page
- from which you can learn about SEPTA City Transit, SEPTA Regional Rail, and how to walk around downtown Philadelphia.
Where to Stay - Philadelphia Hotels
Philadelphia hotels are plentiful, and concentrated in Center City Philadelphia, near the Pennsylvania Convention Center in particular. For more information on where you can consider staying during your visit, we recommend our
Philadelphia Hotels Guide
- which provides the basic information which you need, before deciding in which section of the city you will stay, and which particular hotel.
Once You've Arrived in Philadelphia - Planning Your Visit
Where to Eat and Drink - Philadelphia Restaurants
The Philadelphia restaurant scene is among the finest in the nation, as there are restaurants of remarkable diversity, meeting every conceivable taste and budget for a visitor. For more on where to eat and drink, first take a look at our
Guide to Philadelphia Restaurants
- from that main page, you can explore the vast number of Philadelphia restaurants, organized by geographical area.
Philadelphia Travel - What to See and Do, In and Around the City and Region - Our Customized Self-Guided Tours
Philadelphia tourist attractions are many, and it's often difficult to prioritize them, particularly if you aren't from here.
We've designed tours for one day, two days, and three days thus far, if you'd like a basic guide as to how to spend your time. Click on the links below, to learn more.
Philadelphia In Only One Day
Two Day Tour of Philadelphia
Three Days in Philadelphia
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