GEtting around town
From the airport
Our personal recommendation: Take the Regional Rail from the airport to Suburban Station in Center City. Trains run often, and costs $7 each way. Just look for the sign for “Train to Center City,” buy a ticket, and hop on. From Suburban Station, you can easily walk, or catch a cab to any of the hotels.
Take a cab. The time we missed our train and had to take a cab to the airport, it cost us $30.
By bus or by train
Amtrak trains and many of the buses (Megabus, Bolt bus, etc) will take you to 30th Street Station, which is located just west of the Schuylkill River, about 1 mile from City Hall. In order to get to Center City, you can catch a cab or take the subway. The subway station is located at the corner of 30th Street and Market Street. You’ll want to get on the Market-Frankford Line heading east towards City Hall, and get off at the 13th Street / City Hall stop. Cost of a subway ride is $2.50. Please be aware that if you do not have a SEPTA key card (costs $5 before you add money to it) you must have EXACT CHANGE to buy a ride. Unfortunately, the city no longer sells tokens or day passes, and the station managers are not permitted to handle cash to make change.
DRiving & Parking
While driving in Philadelphia is perilous enough by itself, the real challenge is finding a place to park at a reasonable price. Options include:
Valet Parking. Each of the hotels at which we reserved a block of rooms will valet park your car…. for a substantial cost. Home2 Suites $43/night. Aloft Hotel $44/night. The Courtyard Marriott $45 + tax per night.
Park in a public garage.
The garage across from our apartment (One Franklin Town Blvd) is $12 for 24hrs, and less for a weekend day. It’s a bit further away, but still only about a 15-20min walk from any of the hotels.
Street parking. Most streets in Center City are 2-4 hour metered parking. Depending on the area, there may be free parking after 8pm and on Sundays.
Public Transit in Philadelphia
The city is quartered by its subway system, which runs north-south along Broad street and east-west along Market Street. It acts as the primary mover around the city. Cost is $2.50 per ride. Be aware that if you do not have a SEPTA key card (costs $5 before you add money to it) you must have EXACT CHANGE to buy a ride. Unfortunately, the city no longer sells tokens or day passes, and the station managers are not permitted to handle cash to make change. Bus rides on the SEPTA buses are also $2.50 per ride.
Places to see
While in Philly, don’t miss out on the great sites, food, and atmosphere that make it an incredible city.
The Delaware river water front
A short ride along the subway’s Market Frankford (blue) Line to 2nd street will put you right next to Penn’s Landing. A pleasant walk south, along the Delaware river, will bring you to the Spruce Street Harbor Park (equipped with hammocks, cafe tables, giant chess and other games) and the resident tall ships.
Old City Philadelphia and the Liberty bell
The Market-Frankford Line’s 4nd Street stop accesses the historic sections of the city around Independence Hall and the Constitution Center. The immediate area is also home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops.
Reading Terminal Market
The historic train station has been converted into a bustling vendor space. Some of the best doughnuts in the city can be found here, in addition to all manner of candies, spices, and seafood. A must stop for anyone new to the city. Be aware that it is often very crowded in the middle of the day and afternoon, especially on Saturday. For a less crowded experience, go in the morning, or on Sunday when some shops are closed.
Ben Franklin Parkway
Stretching north-west from City Hall, decorated with the flags of more than 90 countries, the parkway leads you to Philly’s world famous art museum. This grand building boasts an incredible array of art, impressive exterior grounds and gardens, and of course (ugh)… the steps from the movie Rocky. Don’t miss the Rodin sculpture garden on your walk up.
Shaded by many large trees and lined with park benches, Rittenhouse Square is a lovely place to take a stroll, people-watch, or sit with your coffee and a book (from the Barnes and Noble at the corner of 18th & Walnut). Rittenhouse Square also hosts a farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. Open 9am-3pm on Saturdays from May till November, you can find fresh cut flowers, potted plants, and a wide variety of locally sourced fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats.
The Fairmount station of the subway’s Broad Street (orange) line will place you at the feet of The Divine Lorraine hotel. Heading west from this historic hotel, now apartment building, is Fairmount street. We do most of our restaurant going along this street (Zorba’s, iPho, and Fare are highly recommended). And we recommend the Eastern State Penitentiary tour, for a look behind the massive stone edifice in the middle of a busy city thoroughfare.