Big City Survival Tactics, Philadelphia
I lived in Philly for about two years and not once have felt that I was in danger. Okay, one night I felt a bit weird in the subway as they were some really weird people there, but apart from that I can say that if you use your common sense, Philly is quite a safe place to be. First - City Center is really safe. I worked for a criminal lawyer in Philly and know from there that hardly any serious crime happens here. Lots of crime happens in North Philadelphia and another really nasty spot is the corner of Broad Street and Girard. Don't go there. If you come for sightseeing, you will mainly be in City Center anyway. I lived on 'Temple University campus and the campus is pretty safe. But don't go to the adjoining areas. On the corner of Cecil B. Moore and Broad Street some of my fellow students had to witness a double murder on a Sunday afternoon. To sum up: stick to City Center, University City and Temple Campus. South Philly is okay during daylight, though not too recommendable. Stay away from Northern Philadelphia. The subway is pretty safe during the day. In the evening, don't take it if you don't have to or stay within a group of friends. Rather take a cab or a bus. Avoid getting gas at night, you might be surrounded by shady figures asking for money within a few seconds (happened to a friend of mine). Apart from that - do what you should always do: don't wave around with money and don't go into unfamiliar and shady areas.
Ok. every major city in the world has traffic problems... and I have been in most of them haha. But, what is unique about the east coast of the U.S. is that there are so many major cities very close together.. Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. So, when you travel you have to worry not just about the traffic in one city but others.
The pic I took here was the third major traffic jam I was in driving from Dover, DE to Philadelphia on Interstate 95. One was a 13 mile backup!! When I drive to Washington D.C on business from Philadephia, I count my blessings when I can make it all the way there without being in a traffic jam. There is always heavy traffic on the major interstates between the cities and within them as well.
If you planning on driving on the east coast... realize the time frames for your normal rush hours.. 7-9 am and 4 - 7pm, Monday to Friday. But... also realize that in the summer months traffic is very very heavy on Friday nights going south and East and on Sundays going North and west. This is mostly beach traffic and you can get stuck in some nasty traffic jams at toll booths or bridges. Just hope there isn't an accident somewhere ... yikes :)
Friday nights and Sunday nights can get heavy all year also because a lot of people commute from where they work.. to where they live or have family.
In Philadephia.. listen to the AM radio station 1060 for traffic updates.... I don't go anywhere without tuning in and if you have computer access, check out the traffic.com website before you take that drive.
I took the subways a few times and I noticed one thing - most people wait upstair and not on the platforms. I guess thats the way how you can tell whether the platforms are safe or not....That was Day Time & I just followed . Its always good to be on the safe side !
I have lived in Center City Philadelphia for 13 years and feel very comfortable walking anywhere in it, South Street to Vine, alone, up until about 10 pm. You can in fact walk anywhere you're going in the Center City area...it's not all that large.
As in any city, don't dangle your purse from your shoulder or put it down on the ground while you take a photo. Don't engage shady-looking characters in long converstions. Panhandlers are not dangerous. I often give food, but never money.
I work in the University City area and also feel quite safe there in the daytime. Because of less traffic and less light, I am somewhat more leery of walking around this area by myself at night.
Walking the streets after dark is not fun. I've had people ask me for drugs, hit on me, try to touch me, etc. Make sure you have some friends with you, and ignore any people that come up to you. A firm "no" works well too. My friend always brings a pocket screecher, just in case.
None really, except the normal: Be aware of your surroundings all the time, never give any money to beggers( which I am sure you dont do anyway)!.There are plenty of police around the historical sites, so if you ever feel unsafe or lost, they can help you.
even during the daytime in this city, i felt very much unsafe. we were approached by strangers trying to talk to us, and also my family members were on a tour bus while someone was shooting a gun in the area! they had to cancel the tour. i would DEFINITELY not go out in this city alone at night, and be careful during the daytime. many of the smaller streets are empty during the daytime, except for one or two shady looking people, so watch out!
Philadelphia has it's dangers just like any big city. I will just give you a brief reminder of the things you should keep in mind while in the city.
Don't walk alone at night, and be mindful of your surroundings.
Never carry large sums of money on your person, or leave them in your hotel room-- leave extra money in the safe at the front desk.
(This one may appear racist, but it is not intended to be, it's just 'the way it is'.) Some communities in the city do not welcome people of other ethnic or sexual persuasions or race. While I think it is sad and close minded on their part, you can be putting your self in danger if you go in these areas uninvited or unescorted. Be mindful of where you are-- you could be entering someone else's *territory*. (I think this whole thing is stressful, which is one of the reasons I could never live in the city.)
Don't leave valuables in plain view in your vehicle and lock the doors.
Parking is an absolute nightmare in Philadelphia. Plan extra time to find a spot if you have an appointment. Expect to pay exhorbitant prices to park. I suggest you leave your car behind and use public transportation.
Philly has reliable transportation-- trolly, subway, bus, high speedline, train-- we've got it all. They can take you wherever you want to go. Just one word of caution, Philly's underground subway is one of the filthiest I have ever seen, and some really shady charaters are about-- but it can get you where you need to go.
With the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in NYC and Washington, I thought it might be prudent to discuss the possibility of an attack. I seriously doubt that any of the tall buildings in Center City would be affected, mostly because we don't really house any giants of U.S. commerce.
Unfortunately, the area that is likely to be targetted is Olde City...that's the historic area. Within an 8 block area lies the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, U.S. Mint, and many documents of historical significance. There are also many foreign embassies in the area.
In the event that anything should happen, head North. You'll be getting out of the way of emergency personnel and out of the general historic area faster that way.
Use big city survival tactics and stay in the tourist areas and you should be fine. Dress down when walking around (Don't look like a visitor). Use common sense, don't flash money, etc... Stay out of the many drug infested areas, it is very dangerous. I owned a store for three years in the Frankford section of North philly, I was lucky to get out alive!
As with any big city, practice discretion, but you don't need to be too paranoid here. Mainly, you just have to be a little more cautious at night.
The primary tourist areas, including Center City(Spring Garden to South, Delaware river to Schuylkill river), are fine in the daytime. At night, just be aware and stay where you see other people.
After 10PM, it's a good idea to stay off the subways (unless you're riding home from South Philly after a game); take a bus or taxi instead. Also, use caution at night at regional train stations (R trains) outside of Center City.
Other places tourists should generally avoid: North Philly, West Philly west of UPenn & Drexel areas.
AS IN MOST MAJOR CITIES,PHILLY HAS IT'S CRIME RATE.I SUGGEST THAT WHEN YOU VISIT PROTECT YOURSELF...DON'T CARRY LARGE SUMS OF MONEY AND FOR GOD'S SAKES, DON'T FLASH IT. THIS ATTRACTS THE WRONG ELEMENT TO YOU. DON'T WALK DOWN STREETS THAT ARE ISOLATED OR DESERTED...YOU NEVER KNOW WHO MIGHT BE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS. PHILLY, WELL DOWNTOWN PHILLY HAS MANY LITTLE PARKS. PERFECT FOR WALKING THROUGH FOR THOSE ROMANTIC MOMENTS UNDER THAT STAR LIT SKY...BUT IT'S ALSO A PERFECT PLACE TO GET AMBUSHED BY A MUGGER OR RAPIST...DON'T LOOSE YOUR COMMON SENSE, AS HISTORIC AS PHILLY LOOKS, IT'S STILL MODERN TIMES...ENJOY BUT USE CAUTION...PLEASE!!!!
Because Philly is highly dependent on tourism, in every area that would have a lot of tourists, you'll find more danger from the drivers than from criminals. The areas which truly are dangerous -- and they definitely exist in Philly -- have nothing worth visiting.
Thus, a simple rule: if you, as a visitor, have no reason to go to an area of Philly, then don't go. Do this, along with following typical street smarts (as noted above), and you'll have more trouble with cars than with crooks.
It costs $4 to cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Then add up to $25 for parking in the city center.
Depending on when you drive to the city center there will also be a lot of traffic.
This is some of the thoughts that you should include when you are deciding if you should stick with a cheaper hotel in Camden or a central located hotel in the city center.
I visited Philadelphia for about three days while on business and I have to say the city changes remarkably after dark sets on the city. During the day (especially the afternoon) there is lots of people and traffic in the Center City area (this is where I was most of the time). This made downtown Philadelphia more comfortable for me, as I am from a very urban part of the country and I like the crowds and traffic. At night, everything shuts down after 10 p.m and there isn't much to do after that. When I was walking back to my hotel through downtown I noticed many homeless people and "gangs" on the street. On one occasion I overheard a conversation going on while I was walking back and it was between a man and a woman. The man said "give me the money *****" and as he was saying this two police cars pulled up with all the lights on and I'm pretty sure he was arrested after that. Keep in mind I had no idea this was going to happen and I was leisurely walking down a main road in the Center City district of Philadelphia. If you ask me, I will not be coming back here unless it is crucial and this city is not the safest city at all.