Our Philadelphia Travel Essentials include a look at everything you need to know to enjoy a holiday in Philadelphia, from the climate to popular festivals, landmarks, and surrounding towns. We'll examine topics like the public transport systems, getting to your hotel, and other basics of spending time in this city. Philadelphia is one of the great cities in our nation and the birthplace of the United States.

Naturally, much of what you'll encounter is familiar here, but you may also encounter a surprise or two. Check out some useful travel essentials for a Philadelphia trip.

  • 1

    When is the best time to travel to Philadelphia?

    When is the best time to travel to Philadelphia?
    • Philadelphia's climate is marked by temperate weather with wet springs, hot and humid summers, dry and crisp falls, and cold winters with at least one big snowstorm.
    • The most rainfall can be seen in July with an average of 4.28 inches, though precipitation is steady year-round with an average of 2.6 to 3.75 inches in other months.
    • The warmest months of the year are June through August, with average highs exceeding 80 degrees and a July average of 86.2, topping all months.
    • The best time to visit is between March and May when hotel rates are good and the cherry blossoms burst into colour across the city.
  • 2

    Philadelphia basics

    Philadelphia basics
    • The plug type is a typical 2- or 3-prong wall outlet just like everywhere in the United States.
    • Electricity is 120 volts (60 Hz).
    • The currency is the United States Dollar and normal US coinage.
    • The international dialling code is +1, but you usually don't have to dial it to call within the continental US or outlying territories.
    • For emergency telephone calls, call 911, the universal number across the US This number applies even in cases of non-life-threatening emergencies where you just need to get hold of police or first responders.
  • 3

    How to get to my hotel in Philadelphia?

    How to get to my hotel in Philadelphia?

    Philadelphia has some of the best transport options in the entire country, so getting here from just about anywhere is a cinch. You can fly, take a train, or even catch a boat or ferry to come into town.


    Philadelphia is serviced by Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), which is located roughly 15 to 20 minutes from city centre. After flying in, and depending on your hotel, you can take a shuttle to town, hail a cab or rideshare, or rent a car. Bus service is also an option. 

    Major train stations

    Train lines in Philly along with trolleys and subways will get you where you need to go. Train stations can be found throughout the city. The major Amtrak station is inside the 30th Street Station on the edge of the Centre City area. If you're taking a major train into town, this is your most likely stop.

  • 4

    How to get around Philadelphia?

    How to get around Philadelphia?

    Travel tips

    Philly's mass transit authority, SEPTA, runs almost all the public transport in the city, including trains, buses, trolleys, and subways. You are best advised to take part in the SEPTA Travel Wallet programme or secure a key card to make your travel throughout the city largely painless, though cash is accepted for most transit options. Be sure to have exact change handy if you are using cash.

    Subway system

    Philly's rapid transit combines the use of subway lines, trolleys, and buses to get you where you need to go. You'll travel on 2 major subway lines throughout the city, the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford Line. They are exceptionally comprehensive and can get you almost anywhere in town.

    Taxi and rideshare

    Taxis can be safely and easily hailed from almost any high street. They are abundant all through Philly. Rideshare services are also widely available, with Lyft and Uber being the most popular and trusted. The Philly Black Car limo service is also quite popular among locals.

    Bus network

    Like the subway system, the bus network is expansive and can easily get you from one point to another almost anywhere in the city. Combined with the subway and trolley lines, this public transit system ensures that you'll have no problem navigating Philly. In fact, many say that the trackless trolley system is the only way to see the city, and it works on the same system as the bus and trolley network.

    Car hire

    Philadelphia is one of the nation's major cities, and as such car hire services such as Enterprise, Budget, and Avis can be found just about everywhere. The airport can set you up with a hire car when you get into town, and many hotels can direct you to the nearest place to rent a car while you're here. All you need is a driving licence, a credit card, and a photo ID to get up and running, for the most part.

    Bicycle rentals

    Bicycle rentals are a popular way to get around Philly, get some exercise, and see the city. You can find any number of rental services including Indego, a bike-share service that maintains grab-and-go self-service stations all across the city. You can pick up a bike from any station and return it to any other station when you're done with it.


    Ferries leave from the main Delaware River ports city centre including Penn's Landing and Wiggins Park. These can take you on a river cruise to see the city from the water. They also travel to New Jersey if you want to take a day trip to see the sights there. Ferries are also wheelchair accessible.

  • 5

    What are the main annual events in Philadelphia?

    What are the main annual events in Philadelphia?

    Mummers Parade

    When: Jan. 1, every year

    What: Local clubs compete for prizes with elaborate costumes, music, dance, and floats with moveable scenery that can take months to complete. It's one of the big spectacles of the year.

    Where: Broad Street, ending at the Convention Centre where performers are judged

    Philadelphia Auto Show

    When: Early March annually over a full week

    What: This show highlights hundreds of vehicles showcasing the latest hot models, concept cars, and upcoming trends in the auto industry.

    Where: Philadelphia Convention Centre

    Philadelphia Flower Show

    When: Held in mid-June over a full week every year.

    What: The longest-running flower show in the nation and one of the largest, with acres upon acres of stunningly coloured flower gardens, displays, and art pieces. Each year has a different theme, and it's been going on for nearly 2 centuries.

    Where: Recently moved outdoors to FDR Park in South Philly.

  • 6

    What are the main landmarks in Philadelphia?

    What are the main landmarks in Philadelphia?

    Independence National Historical Park

    This federally designated and protected historic district hosts several sites that were important to the American Revolution. The park's centrepiece is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were born. The Liberty Bell can be found here, as can the First and Second Banks of the United States, Carpenters' Hall, and the City Tavern, which has been re-created and operates today.

    Elfreth's Alley Museum

    The oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the nation, this spot is also a living history museum of historic homes with 2 adjacent houses dating to 1755 that serve as a formal museum to trace the history of the alley and its namesake blacksmith, Jeremiah Elfreth. You'll also find a gift shop here. You can take a 45-minute guided tour or explore on your own.

    Philadelphia City Hall

    This is among the largest municipal buildings in the United States with more than 14.5 acres of interior space. It's famed for its iconic statue of William Penn and stands 548 feet high, which is astounding in that it has no steel frame. It boasts lavish public rooms that are popular with social media photographers.

    Love Park

    This public square is home to one of the most iconic and quirky sculptures in the city: the word "LOVE" spelled out in giant letters that are brightly lit at night. Its formal name is John F. Kennedy Plaza, and besides the sculpture, it offers an ornate fountain, tonnes of green space, walking paths, and benches for relaxing and people-watching.

  • 7

    What are the main towns around Philadelphia?

    What are the main towns around Philadelphia?

    As if Philadelphia doesn't offer enough to do, the many towns and villages around this major city offer tonnes of historic sites, museums, quirky gift shops, great dining, and stunning scenery. Whether you want something a bit different or you want to just explore the region, these spots an hour or less from town are sure to enchant.


    This historic town features a walkable city centre business centre with beautiful buildings and a true small-town feel. It's known for its arts and entertainment spaces, indie boutique shops, and local restaurants. You'll find performance spaces and tonnes of annual events, arts festivals, and shows all year long. It's about 40 minutes north of Philly. Among the more famous spots here are the Ambler Theatre, the Act II Playhouse, and the campus of Temple University. Its First Fridays festival is a must-attend.

    Kennett Square

    This town about an hour west of Philly offers a classic historic city centre that features tonnes of events including unusual offerings like winter farmers markets, speaker series, and festivals. You can find a wealth of local mom-and-pop shops to support the local economy, as well as fantastic dining here. Some popular attractions include the Kennett Underground Railway Mural; Longwood Gardens, covering more than 1,000 acres of meticulously maintained woodlands; and The Creamery, a historic 1902 community gathering spot and craft beer garden.

    New Hope

    About an hour north of Philly, New Hope in Bucks County offers eclectic shopping and a scenic small-town feel. It's known for its restaurants right on the river and its many cultural attractions with a Main Street that has been featured in USA Today and Travel & Leisure. Here you can see the New Hope Historical Society, the Locktender's House historical site, and Perry Mansion. A canal runs directly through city centre, making this one of the more scenic small towns in the region.


    Doylestown is the county seat of Bucks County and offers a wide range of stunning buildings, speciality shopping destinations, outstanding local dining, and historic sites. It's only an hour from Philadelphia but offers so much to do that you can easily spend an entire holiday here. This town was named as USA Today's Best Small Town Cultural Scene and offers such attractions as an actual castle as well as the Mercer Mile of museums and the Michener Art Museum just off Main Street.