For an unique view of Philly take a ride on the zoo balloon. It's a hot air balloon tethered at the Philadelphia Zoo. You can ride up, take in the view, and come right down again. It's an interesting way to snap a great photo! Take a sweater. It's COLD up there!
Philadelphia has a large and comprehensive subway system. It is the most economical way to get around the city and there are stations located just about anywhere that someone would want to go. Maps of the subway are available in hotels and in some Philadelphia guide books as well.
Our hotel was located in downtown because most of the sites are in walking distance in Philadelphia. Actually you can see most of the main sites in some hours. What I liked most was that there were many useful signs with maps and directions in many street corners.
There are many local buses going everywhere and some subway lines that may be useful, we used the blue line to reach the main train station. The public system is cheap and extensive.
There are single tickets for $2 but you can buy a bag of 2,5,10 tokens that cost $1.55 each, so it’s much cheaper.
If you just want to use the public system many times in one day you can buy a one day convenience pass for $7(valid for 8 trips on bus, subway and trolley).
The city center is easily accessible because there are many buses on most of the main north-south and east-west streets. So, you can rest for a while and save some energy just by hop on and off these buses,
We arrived in Philadelphia by bus from New York. The trip was 2 Hours long and we payed only $1! Megabus is an amazing low cost company that has some great offers. From Philadelhia you can take MEGABUS to New York, Washington DC, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Toronto etc Pic one shows our first image of the city as we were crossing the bridge into Philadelphia. Pic 2 shows the bus, as you can see a good modern bus :)
Many people arrive in Philadelphia by train. The 30th street Station (pic 3) is a huge station that has many restaurants inside (we spent some time while we were waiting for our bus). It’s located near the Schuylkill river. The subway is right next to it.
PHL is Philadelphia’s airport. It’s an international airport but I never used it so I don’t have any info about it.
Like in most of touristic cities in the world there is also a hop on hop off bus(pic 1) here in Philadelphia too. I guess it’s good to tour the city if you are in a hurry but we preferred to walk around as Philadelphia city center is safe and walkable and most of the sites are close together. The bus of course is an easy way to see all tha many sights in approximately 90 minutes.
You can find their route at their site, tickets can be sold in advance but also from the driver. The daily ticket costs $37 and the 2 day ticket costs $53
Opposite the Independence Visitor Center start the Trolley buses too(pic 2). Each loop is approximately 90’ and the price for a daily ticket costs $27
A more romantic alternative is to take a horse carriage. They are located opposite Independence Hall (pics 3-4) and I guess they go around the area.
We don't normally give a lot of thought to water transportation as a means of getting materials from one place to another. And when we think of transportation for people, we mostly think of ferries, or private boats. But ports are an important part of why many cities were built where they were. Only a few years after William Penn's vessel "The Welcome" landed on the shores of the Delaware River, Philadelphia became the New World's leading center for trade and commerce, a title it held for more than a hundred years until it was eclipsed by New York. Philadelphia is still fourth in the nation in the amount of tonnage handled, and second in the number of ship arrivals. The Port also has the unique distinction of being the largest fresh water port in the world, and it has recently been designated as a strategic military seaport.
Sometimes channels have to be dredged. Maybe the channel was originally deep, but has shoaled, or maybe the ship's drafts (how far they stick down in the water) has gotten larger. Dredging the Delaware River Federal Shipping Channel dates back to the late 1800s when the controlling depth of the Delaware River was 18 feet. The current 40-foot depth was reached during World War II. The Corps of Engineers' (who are responsible for the waterways) Philadelphia District has maintained the Delaware River at its authorized depth.
At the moment there is a controversy as to whether to deepen the channel to 45 feet. Pros and cons are given in the website below.
Philadelphia has also become a cruise ship port of embarkation.
Probably the cheapest way to go to Philly from NY is the bus. Took it in Chinatown and it cost me something like 20$ to go to NYC. Best is to buy go and return tickets and to leave late. Generally, in Chinatown, NYC, you find super cheap bus transportations to other main East cities (DC, Philadelphia, Boston)
Cities of the American northeast – Boston, Philadelphia, and New York – might not be the world’s cheapest, but you can save a bundle by taking advantage of the recent boom of budget bus companies. These buses, which also connect with Washington, DC, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and even Charlotte, are a steal at as little as US$1 one way. (These prices are not typical!) I am thinking about going from Charlotte to DC next week and Megabus is currently quoting a round trip as low as $85. Boltbus does not currently serve Charlotte. Megabus has a much wider service area, ranging from Portland, Maine to Del Rio, Texas and Orlando, Florida. Considering most destinations are pedestrian-friendly (with good public transport and walkable centers), you can hop-scotch across the region without booking a flight or hiring a car. Better still, the ride’s comfortable, there’s free wi-fi, buses leave on time and there’s often plenty of room.
Book early online to get serious discounts on already cheap routes from Megabus and BoltBus.
I recommend Peter Pan Trailways for all your bus travel on the East Coast. The trip from Port Authority, NYC is a little over 2 Hours, direct, and usually includes a complimentary film. The fare is inexpensive and the bus station in Philadelphia is central to sights, and the Liberty Bell. Peter Pan entered an "alliance" with Greyhound, so if you book over the phone, be sure to specify you want a Peter Pan bus. TRUST ME. You don't want Greyhound
If you are going to be in the city for a couple of days and are planning to rent a car to get around, you can buy a parking meter smart card. It comes in $50, $20, $10, and $5 amounts and can be purchased in numerous places like Wawa's or pharmacies in the city. I know that the Wawa on South St. sells them all of the time. You can use these cards to pay for meter parking all over the city so that you don't have to carry change in your pocket or if you forget it. Just keep it in your wallet and you'll never wind up in a situation where you have to walk around the street trying to get change from a store to feed the meter. Some of the card also come with perks like museum passes. Go on the website below where you can either purchase a pass or see what they come with.
The good thing about center city Philadelphia is that practically every other block you will see a sign (check out the image) hanging on a light post that will have names of historic/famous/points of interst on them and they point into the direction of where you would need to go to find those places. You really don't need a map because there are a number of maps around center city as well and if all else fails, just ask somebody and they will happily point you in the right direction.
Philly is not a bad city to drive in, the grid pattern of streets is easy to figure out, and the rivers and City Hall provide good navigational landmarks. Parking is really not too much of a problem as long as you don't mind paying about $10 to $25 a day on weekends. It beats trying to find a free spot.
We opted to park our car at the WESTMONT Train station in Cherry Hill area of NJ. It was only about a five minute drive from our hotel.
We paid $2.15 each for one-way tickets. The station was very nice. The parking was free on saturday. The train ran every 15 minutes so it was very convenient scheduling.
We took the train into the SEPTA subway system in Philadelphia and got off at the 8th street station near Independence Building.
I've travelled a lot - and unfortunatly adn sad to say, Philadelphia has to be one of the worst places when it comes to public transportation.
the BIGGEST HASSEL is really teh fact that everything stops running early. Therefor, if you're out on the town adn its after like 11 or 12 at night, you're only way of getting home is a CAB, and cabs arn't cheap - especially if yo're taking one back to the suburbs.
SEPTA - septa basically sucks... i went for 3 years with no car, so i can attest to the fact that septa sucks. not only are they almost alwyas late (except for when you're late and you miss the damn thing b/c its the one time they come early) - they are expensive too... If you dont buy your ticket at the station, they charge you an extra 5 bucks - so make sure you buy your ticket at the station...
buses and subway just get confusing and then there's a lot of stations which are shady adn not safe...
Philly is a nice size - the down town area (from the art museum out to the river ) can definilty be walked - you'd need all day - if not a whole weekend... but its not so big that you can't just walk around...
biking? its equal to a form of suicide... drivers in this city are near insane and road rage predominates - they have absolutely no respect for people on bikes at all - not to mention the roads can absolutely SUCK which makes for a bumpy ride
so.. that leaves us with ... walking...
if you're int he suburbs and you're near a R_ train line, take it down town and walk - you'll see more anywa
By Air : Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is located about 7 miles from downtown Philadelphia. There is a rail service to the Airport is available on SEPTA'S High Speed Rail Line (R1) train that operates daily, every 30 minutes with easy connections to AMTRAK at 30th Street Station.
By Bus :
The Intercity bus service is very good, with daily arrivals from all parts of the country. The Greyhound Bus Terminal is located at 10th and Filbert Sts.
By Car : Philadelphia is accessed by the PA Turnpike, I-76, I-95, and the New Jersey Turnpike.
You can travel via SEPTA bus, subway, or trolley. The areas bus and trolley network is widespread. Almost any area of the city can be attained by public transit. You can a buy daily, weekly or monthly transpass.
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