So you’re travelling to Philadelphia — smart choice! This guide will give you everything you need to know about visiting Philadelphia, from getting to and from the airport, to the best Philly books you should read, to the cool local spots you should check out.
SEPTA’s Airport Line is the most economical option for getting you from any terminal of PHL into Center City. Amtrak, SEPTA’s regional lines, and Philly’s trolleys and subways are available from 30th St. Station. For on-the-go transit tracking, download the SEPTA Instant App — it’ll give you up-to-the-minute info on train, bus, and subway times.
Purchase a SEPTA Key Quick Trip from the fare kiosks located on the train platforms (centre boarding platform kiosk accepts cash/credit and debit; baggage claim side platform kiosk only accepts credit/debit only).
One-way fare is good only for travel from Philadelphia International Airport on the Airport Regional Rail Line, on the date of purchase. The cost is USD 6.75 to Center City and USD 9.25 to all other SEPTA destinations.
Alternately, you can hire a taxi; taxis from PHL to Center City have a fixed rate, while taxis are metered from 30th St. Station to the airport. Any of the taxi operators from the airport and train station are reputable. If you opt for a taxi, try to pay in cash. Drivers have to eat the cost of credit card transactions, meaning a chunk of your fare goes straight to the credit card companies.
Cost one-way: approximately USD 36
Lastly, there is the Lady Liberty Shuttle, which offers shuttle service from the airport to Center City hotels for about USD 10.
Public Transit: The SEPTA will get you everywhere you need to go in Philadelphia — and whenever, too! The system runs 24 hours in some parts of the city. You can now purchase “Quick Trip” tickets from kiosks at stations for convenience for in-city transit such as subways, trolleys and buses, and tickets for regional rail. Cost varies depending on method of transport. Consider purchasing a one-day pass, which gives you eight rides for USD 9.
Taxi: Metered taxis are available throughout Philadelphia, and are safe to use. A typical trip within the city will cost USD 10 to 20. The easiest and fastest way to get a taxi is to hail one on the street.
Walking and Biking: Using your own legs is the best way to see Philadelphia! It’s safe to walk throughout the city, and a the city’s Indego bike-share program is a great way to explore the city. There are stations all across Center City and some outlying neighbourhoods.
If you’re in Philadelphia between November and March, you can really get into the local Philly vibe by checking out a college basketball game. You’ll get an exciting atmosphere in an historic arena, along with getting to watch some great rivalries. You can buy tickets from the Palestra Box Office.
Cost: USD 10 to 50
Street art fans should definitely visit Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a funky, colourful year-round mosaic art installation in an off-the-beaten-path neighbourhood. It’s very popular, so be sure to book your tickets in advance.
Cost: USD 10 for adults, USD 8 for students and seniors
Philadelphia is also the best place to experience two of the biggest days of the year. On July 4th, you can celebrate Independence Day, America’s birthday, in the nation’s birthplace at the Wawa Welcome America concert and fireworks show. And on New Year’s Day, you can experience one of the USA’s quirkiest traditions at the Mummers Parade, an annual spectacle of costumes, musical performances, dancing, and general silliness. Best part? Both events are free!
Looking for more things to do? Urban Adventures offers several day tours in Philadelphia, all led by local experts that will give you a taste for local life in the city:
Italian Market Immersion
Hit the country’s oldest and largest everyday open-air market for some authentic, Philly foodie action. Fill your calorie quota with cheese, chocolate, deli items, and baked goods, and connect with the merchants and personalities that have shaped the character of this street for generations.
Philly On Tap
Tap into Philly’s legendary beer scene on this adventure through Philly’s bars, pubs, and microbreweries. Make a toast in Philadelphia’s oldest pub, sample craft brews, and learn about why Philly is one of America’s best beer cities. Beer lovers, include this one in your Philadelphia travel plans!
History in HD
Forget watching History Channel documentaries, why not see the landmarks that shaped America in real life on this Philadelphia tour? From the building where the US Constitution was signed to George Washington’s house, and a church where America’s founding fathers once sat, this tour even includes a craft beer to help you digest all the history.
Street Food for Thought
Combine street food and brain food on this Philadelphia tour that takes in the hallowed halls of academia, the glory of the grand terminal, the worship of college sports, and the fun of food trucking!
Markets, Mosaics, & Magic
Art, culture, diversity and of course, the spirit of Rocky lives on in South Philly! Join this Philadelphia tour to see just how eclectic this gritty city is. From Jewish delis to Italian markets, churches, cemeteries, and public art, South Philly is a slice of the real Philly.
Festivals of Philly (seasonal)
Experience the best of Philadelphia’s festival season! Journey into Philly’s most fun and interesting neighbourhoods for a celebration of art, food, music, beer, and more. Your guide will provide an insider’s perspective to the best of the fests.
Center City Holiday Tour (seasonal)
Experience the American festive season on this limited edition Philadelphia tour that celebrates all things Christmas. From outdoor yuletide villages, to holiday-themed light and sound shows, and the greatest window displays in town, it’s enough to make the Grinch run and hide.
Philadelphia Private Tour
Put our team of local experts to work to build the perfect itinerary just for you. You can include some of the components of our regular tours, or none at all. If you’re not sure, we’ve got plenty of ideas for what you might want to include. If you let our team of expert locals know your interests, they will come up with all kinds of things!
If you can only see one movie about Philadelphia before you go, it better be Rocky! Sly Stallone, Eye of the Tiger, the Art Museum steps… need we say more?
The Roots deliver the best soundtrack for exploring Philadelphia. Upbeat music, great personalities, and starring roles on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon make them major Philly stars.
Looking for a good book to read that oozes Philadelphia? Check out Walking Broad by Bruce Buschel. It’s a very real and comprehensive description of Philadelphia, uncovered through the author’s interviews with people across the city.
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Philadelphia isn’t called the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ for nothing! This is a city dedicated to providing those travelling to Philadelphia with a friendly welcome and a memorable stay. Jump on a Philadelphia tour with Urban Adventures to see the very best of the city from a local perspective. Whether you’re looking to hear offbeat stories about Philadelphia’s famous sights, or want to simply sip on a Philly beer with a local, we’ve got the tour for you!