Philadelphia, once the capital of the United States, plays an exemplary role in the history and life of the nation. Its colonial legacy and architecture are almost unrivaled and its universities, museums, companies and laboratories are world class. The city has also become an increasingly important cultural and artistic center as well in the past few decades. As Philadelphia rebounds from its mid-20th century decline, the city is now seen as a model for sustainable urban growth and a surprisingly affordable haven for those seeking the best of urban American life without the expense or pretense of other neighboring East Coast cities.
For most visitors, the landing point will be Center City, the "downtown" section of Philadelphia. It is bounded by Vine St. to the north, the Delaware River to the east, South St. to the south, and the Schuylkill River to the west. The 2018 Center City residential population of 193,000 makes it the third most populated central business district in America, behind New York City and Chicago. Other popular districts to visit are Old City, West Philly, and South Philly.
Philadelphia, often called the "Birthplace of America" and referred to as the "new Athens" early in its existence, is the birthplace of America's modern republic. Founded by William Penn in the late 17th century, the city's name translates to "City of Brotherly Love" and has been a seat of freedom since its inception; originally founded by Quakers, the colony promoted religious freedom among its residents in stark contrast to the England of the time.
Known for its role in the American Revolutionary War, Philadelphia saw the convening of the Continental Congress as well as the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Shortly after the nation's inception took place in Philadelphia, the city was named the nation's capital, a role it filled from 1790 until 1800, when the capital moved to Washington, D.C..
Benjamin Franklin, probably the city's most famous resident, was responsible for the city's alternative title, the "new Athens." While Franklin's most famous experiment dealt with the conducting of electricity, he was also responsible for the country's first insurance company, the city's first public library and the first fire department; Franklin also played a great role in establishing the city's postal system as well as inventing new conveniences such as bifocal lenses and the Franklin Stove.
Philadelphia has seen its skyline and its name in lights throughout the years in such famous films as the "Rocky" series (the statue from "Rocky III" stands prominently outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art), as well as films like namesake "Philadelphia" and many of Philadelphia native M. Night Shyamalan's thrillers.
The Liberty Bell is right in the center of Philadelphia inside a pavilion near Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell is a major piece in Philly's history. It was rung to announce the news of the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 in Great Britain. John Sartain in his book, Reminiscences of a Very Old Man, claims the bell was cracked during this announcement: "The final passage of the Emancipation Act by the British Parliament is linked to a bit of Philadelphia history. On receipt of the news in Philadelphia the Liberty Bell in the tower of the State House was rung, and cracked in the ringing. When I was up in the tower in 1830, two years after, viewing the cracked bell for the first time, Downing, who was then the custodian of Independence Hall, told me of it and remarked that the bell refused to ring for a British Act, even when the Act was a good one."
The Philadelphia area's 6.2 million inhabitants comprise a diverse group of almost every nationality. Philadelphia's primary cultural influences can be seen in its plethora of Irish pubs, the city's Italian Market, the Chinatown District, and the Reading Terminal Market, which plays host to a diverse crowd of merchants — from first-generation European and Asian immigrants to the area's local Amish and Mennonite farmers.
Philadelphia's economy is as diverse as the population that inhabits the city. In Old City, the 'Third Street Corridor', from 3rd and Chestnut Streets to Vine Street, is home to many locally owned businesses contributing to art, design and fashion industries. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange, the oldest one in America, has been in operation since 1790. In addition, the city is host to several Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast (the nation's largest cable television provider), CIGNA insurance, Aramark, and Lincoln Financial Group. In the region there are approximately 50 higher education institutions, making Philadelphia a large 'college town'.
Dating back to the city's roots as the nation's first capital, the federal government's presence is also strong in Philadelphia. A U.S. Mint is located near Philadelphia's historic district and the Philadelphia division of the Federal Reserve Bank is close to that. The city also plays host to a large number of prestigious law firms and is considered one of the nation's centers of law.
The Pennsylvania Railroad, once the largest railroad company in the world, continues to influence Philadelphia's economy under the Amtrak name. Amtrak's third-busiest station, 30th Street Station, is on the west bank of the Schuylkill River.
Finally, many medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, and medical technology firms make their homes in and around Philadelphia, arguably making it the nation's healthcare capital.
Philadelphia has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Winters, despite the name 'subtropical', are cold and often snowy, with temperatures usually hovering around 32°F (0°C) during the colder months. Average annual snowfall is 24 inches (59 cm) and occurs mostly in January and February. Most storms are 5 inches or less; large snowfalls are rare; in 1996 a single storm dumped 30.7 inches (78 cm) of snow on the city.
Spring and fall are rather pleasant, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s F (15°C-25°C). Summers are sometimes hot and humid as is typical of the mid-Atlantic region.
Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport (IATA: PHL, ICAO: KPHL) is the largest airport in the Delaware Valley, just minutes from the city and is served by taxis and the SEPTA Airport Line. Taxis offer a flat rate of $28.50 from the airport to Center City. The SEPTA Airport Line serves each terminal throughout the day until approximately midnight and takes about twenty minutes to travel between the airport and Center City Philadelphia, making stops at all major commuter tunnel stations: 30th Street Station (Amtrak), Suburban Station (Penn Center, City Hall) and Jefferson Station (East Market Street, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market). Tickets for the Airport train can be purchased on-board the train, cash-only, for $8. Tickets can also be purchased with a credit card on the Mozio iOS App for $6.75. Tickets purchased at ticket windows at stations in Center City cost $6.50. You can also buy a day pass for $11 valid on all regional rail trains after 9:30 a.m. (except into New Jersey) either on-board the train or at a ticket office. However, if you buy on-board the train be advised that to use your pass on SEPTA services other than Regional Rail, you will have to trade in your pass for an Independence Pass at a ticket office in the city center. A family pass is available for $25; the same restrictions apply. Alternately, the #37 SEPTA bus stops at all terminals (Directly outside baggage claim) and goes into South Philadelphia, terminating at the Broad Street Line subway station "Snyder." The trip costs $2.25 cash, payable to the driver.
The predominant carrier at PHL is American Airlines, which offers flights to destinations throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as a handful to Latin America. Southwest has become American's main domestic competitor at PHL.
Air charter companies such as Monarch Air Group, Mercury Jets fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstreams down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.
Other nearby airports such as Trenton-Mercer Airport (IATA: TTN, ICAO: KTTN), Atlantic City International AirportIATA: ACY, ICAO: KACY), and Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport (IATA: ILG, ICAO: KILG) have regularly scheduled service from low cost carriers such as Frontier and Spirit Airlines.
Train-to-plane connections are available between Philadelphia's 30th Street Station (IATA: ZFV) and Newark International Airport (IATA: EWR, ICAO: KEWR) or Baltimore-Washington International Airport (IATA: BWI, ICAO: KBWI) (1 hour from EWR; 80 min from BWI). United Airlines sells tickets between 30th Street Station and Newark Airport as part of its partnership with Amtrak. Other New York and Washington-area airports are much less convenient.
Philadelphia proper also has the Northeast Philadelphia Airport (IATA: PNE, ICAO: KPNE). PNE is Pennsylvania's sixth busiest airport. It opened in 1945, which was a great relief to the city, in which PHL (then called the Philadelphia Municipal Airport) was shut down. Currently, it operates as the city's general aviation airport and does not have scheduled commercial airline service.
The city is a major hub along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Keystone lines, with frequent trains (at least once an hour during the day) from some of the nation's largest cities. Inbound trains from Washington and New York arrive at least once an hour during the day; 30th Street Station is also part of Amtrak's Acela High Speed Corridor which allows for faster travel times between the major Northeast Corridor cities. The Keystone and Pennsylvanian trains arrive in Philadelphia many times throughout the day, with Keystone service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia arriving between 10-14 times daily and Pennsylvanian service between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia arriving once each day. Additionally, Amtrak provides service to Vermont, Virginia, Charlotte, and overnight service to Florida and New Orleans.
Passengers with Amtrak tickets may transfer to SEPTA's Regional Rail lines for free, provided they are traveling the same day to or from Suburban Station or Jefferson Station. This an easy way for Amtrak travelers to travel between 30th Street Station and Center City.
It's also possible to get to Philadelphia from NYC via commuter rail. Using this method, one would take New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor line from Penn Station to Trenton and then transfer to SEPTA's Trenton Regional Rail Line. While this is about a third the price of Amtrak service from NYC, it is more than an hour slower.
All SEPTA Regional Rail commuter lines stop at the SEPTA Platform at 30th Street Station. Commuter rail is an efficient way to see the scenic Philadelphia suburbs and enjoy the shopping that the city's 'burbs have to offer. New Jersey transit to and from Atlantic City makes stops around the clock at the station. SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line stops just one block outside the station at a newly-renovated station and is efficient for travel between 30th Street, Center City, Kensington/Northern Liberties, Old City, and West Philadelphia.
As a last resort, and most costly depending on destination, 30th Street Station has a taxi platform just outside the main entrance that is served by all major Philadelphia taxi companies, Uber and Lyft. Several rental car agencies operate at 30th St Station.
Philadelphia is located at the crossroads of many of the region's and the nation's most vital Interstates. Interstate 95 runs along the eastern edge of Philadelphia as it traverses the East Coast from Maine to Miami. In addition, Philadelphia is linked to the Pennsylvania Turnpike which traverses the state from east to west. The Northeast Extension of the Turnpike connects Philadelphia to the Poconos and Wilkes-Barre-Scranton. It is also served by I-76 and I-676, which connect directly to the New Jersey Turnpike and Atlantic City Expressway, and indirectly to the Garden State Parkway. Within the city, Route 1 (also called Roosevelt Boulevard) serves as a connector for Northeast Philadelphia and Center City. There are also bridges across the Delaware River that link Philadelphia to New Jersey. From north to south, they are the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, Tacony-Palmyra Bridge (Route 73), Betsy Ross Bridge (Route 90), Benjamin Franklin Bridge (US 30) and Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76).
Traffic — In terms of congestion, Center City Philadelphia compares favorably to most large U.S. cities. Gridlock does occur, however, particularly during rush hour. Traffic generally moves at the slowest pace in the Chinatown neighborhood, on the numbered streets west of Broad and in the South St. and Old City areas on weekend evenings. The most heavily-traveled roads in the area are I-95, I-676/I-76 (The Schuylkill Expressway aka "The Surekill"), which connects Center City to the various suburbs west of the city, and I-476, the "Blue Route," which curves from the south to the west of Philadelphia, connecting I-95 with I-76 and, beyond that, the PA Turnpike. Rush-hour delays are common on all these roadways: During the morning rush-hour I-95 south-bound typically backs up between the Bridge St. and Girard Ave. exits and eastbound Rt. 76 (The Schuylkill Expressway) typically jams from Gladwynne to 30th St. During the evening rush-hour, I-95 usually slows from the Bridge Street to Academy Road exits. On I-676 and the west-bound Schuylkill traffic can be stop-and-go from roughly Broad St. potentially all the way to the so-called "Conshohocken Curve," just east of the town of the same name, effectively doubling the time it normally takes to drive from Center City to the PA Turnpike entrance at King of Prussia. Anyone planning to drive through Philadelphia during either rush hours would do well to anticipate traffic conditions and plan accordingly.
Philadelphia is served by the Greyhound, Trailways, Bieber, and Peter Pan bus routes to cities across the U.S. The city is also served by a Chinatown Bus service, which began as a way to shuttle Chinese immigrant workers between various Chinatowns, but are now low-cost bus options for anyone looking to get in to Philadelphia from New York City or Washington, D.C. Although the buses are a bargain compared to corporate competitors like Greyhound, they are far from luxurious; they also use small terminals in both Chinatown districts, and have a poor reputation for safety, which can be daunting for less adventurous visitors.
To compete against the Chinatown buses in the low-cost, low-frills bus market, corporate bus companies have started Megabus and BoltBus services. In Philadelphia, these buses will arrive near 30th Street Station.
The Greyhound Bus Terminal near Market East Station is notoriously chaotic during peak hours. Buses departing from this terminal on high-demand routes (e.g. to New York) are regularly overbooked and leave when they are full. So having a ticket in this situation does not guarantee you a spot on the respective coach. Should you need to catch a specific coach when travelling with these operators, it is advisable to purchase an "express" ticket that guarantees you a seat (slightly more expensive though). Alternatively, use companies that guarantee you a seat (e.g. MegaBus, BoltBus).
The RiverLink and Freedom Ferry services provide travel from Philadelphia to neighboring Camden, NJ between April and September. The service provides direct service to Camden's BB&T Pavilion on the Waterfront, a popular concert venue for the Philadelphia area. Access to the other waterfront attractions, including an aquarium, is also provided by the ferry service.
There are plenty of public transportation options to get around the downtown core of Philadelphia. Buses, trains, and trolleys gather at 30th St. Station and the 69th St. Transportation Center.
Philadelphia is one of America's most walkable cities. This has been taken advantage of, and the city is marked extremely well by "Walk! Philadelphia" signs that are placed on each block, guiding visitors toward shopping, dining, cultural sites, local must-sees, and public transportation should it need to be taken. The city has two very walkable shopping districts as well as the walkable Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is home to many museums, including the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences museum, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the country's great art museums (and the steps made famous in the "Rocky" movies).
Philadelphia has a growing bicycle-friendly culture that includes a network of bike lanes and a new citywide bike share service called Indego. Indego has hundreds of recognizable blue bikes and over 100 stations throughout Center City and the surrounding areas, and offers multiple payment options: 1. With a $15, 30-day membership, riders get unlimited free rides of up to one hour, with additional hours costing $4; 2. With a $10 year long membership, rides are $4 per trip, with hours past the first hour costing $4; and 3. Without a membership, rides are $4 per half hour.
SEPTA BUS runs an extensive bus network in Philadelphia. Buses are a convenient (if slow) method of getting almost anywhere within the city. On-time performance is relatively lacking especially in the suburbs, and it's bound to happen to you at least once in a weekend if you take the bus heavily. Frequencies are spotty in the outer suburbs so plan ahead. Cash fare $2.50, exact change only. In Center City, bus routes will be fairly well documented on bus shelters, but in all other locations around Philadelphia, route maps and schedules will generally not be posted; in fact the stops or route markers may only be posted on a tree branch, so do your bus route research early.
Phlash Bus. Philadelphia has a seasonal (May-October) trolley bus for tourists called the Phlash. It runs in a 20-stop East-West circuit of major tourist locations, from the Museum of Art in the West to Penn's Landing in the East. Free for kids under 5 and for senior citizens (aged 65 or more). It is $2 per ride or $5 for a one day pass. Look for the purple trolley bus or the winged purple & blue logo.
The hubs for regional rail (commuter) are Suburban and Jefferson (formerly Market East) Stations in Center City and 30th Street Station (just outside Center City with connections to Amtrak). Major subway/elevated/trolley transfer stations are located at City Hall/15th Steet (adjacent to Suburban Station), 8th Street (connecting several SEPTA lines and PATCO), and 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby.
SEPTA Regional Rail regional commuter rail trains stop in Center City at underground commuter rail tunnels. The three major center city stops, 30th Street Station, Suburban Station and Jefferson Station, will drop you off right in the center of it all. Suburban Station is near City Hall, the shopping district, the financial district, and many cultural attractions; Jefferson Station connects to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, shopping at The Fashion District mall, and the Reading Terminal Market, a famous local food-centered marketplace. Traveling within Center City is considered a "Zone 1" fare and will cost $3. Fares to other destinations are up to $8. PA seniors ride for free with state-issued ID or SEPTA Senior Key Card. Between Temple University, the city center stations and University City, service is generally frequent enough that you won't need a schedule. Service in other areas tends to be about every hour, with more frequent service during peak hours. The Airport Line runs every 30 minutes from about 4:30 AM to midnight 7 days a week, and Paoli/Thorndale and Lansdale/Doylestown also have half-hourly service during the day on weekdays. The lightly-used Cynwyd line runs only Monday through Friday on a rush-hour centered schedule.
Regional Rail lines are named according to their termini.
New Jersey Transit RiverLINE is a lightrail line serving 20 stations between Trenton and Camden, NJ. The line connects with DRPA's PATCO Hi-Speed Line at Camden's Walter Rand Transportation Center. RiverLINE travels North-South along the Delaware River entirely in New Jersey. One-way fare between Trenton and Camden, NJ is $1.50. There are reduced fare options for senior citizens, children and families. Monthly passes are available. Trains come every 15 minutes during rush hours but only every 30 minutes at other times. There is no late evening service except on Saturday nights.
New Jersey Transit Atlantic City Line provides service to suburbs in New Jersey and to Atlantic City. Service patterns are somewhat uneven; be sure to check the schedule online in advance. These trains pick up passengers from the Amtrak concourse at 30th Street station.
SEPTA operates two elevated/subway lines, and a Subway-Surface line that serve Center City Philadelphia as well as the smaller neighborhoods on the city's fringe. Cash fares are $2.50 per trip. A day pass good for 8 trips can be purchased from any SEPTA Vending machine for $9. Seniors ride free with ID.
Broad Street (Orange) Line — referred to as the "subway" by locals — runs North-South underneath Broad St. It serves Temple University, City Hall, the Sports Stadium Complex and everywhere in between. The BSL also has a "spur" called the Broad-Ridge Spur that serves Chinatown and 8th & Market Sts. in Center City. Free transfers from the Broad St. Line to the Market-Frankford Line can be made at City Hall Station (BSS) to 15 St. (MFL); a free interchange with Subway-Surface Lines can be made at the City Hall station. Transfers from a subway to a bus or from a bus to a subway cost $1.00 and must be purchased before the bus or train leaves the station. This transfer is also required from the 8th St. Ridge Avenue spur to the 8th MFL station.
Market-Frankford (Blue) Line — referred to as the "el" by locals — runs North-South from the Frankford Transportation Center in Northeast Philadelphia to 2nd and Markets St., then East-West between 2nd and Markets St. and the 69th St. Terminal in Upper Darby. The line runs underground beneath Market Street from 2nd to 45th Streets within Center City, Old City, and University City, and is elevated elsewhere. An interchange with the Broad-Ridge Spur is available at 8th St. Station; an interchange with SEPTA's Regional Rail is available at 11th St. to Market East Station, 15 St. to Suburban Station, and at 30 St. to the 30th St. Amtrak Station; a free interchange with the Broad St. Line is available at 15th St. Station. Free interchanges with the Subway-Surface Lines are at 13th St., 15th St., and 30th St. Stations.
Subway-Surface Lines — referred to as the "trolley" by locals — is actually a set of five streetcar lines: 10 (Lancaster), 11 (Woodland), 13 (Chester), 34 (Baltimore), and 36 (Elmwood). Each runs along a different avenue in West Philadelphia, but all meet at a subway portal at 40th St. and Woodland Ave. (except the #10, which joins the subway at a portal at 36th St.) to run in a streetcar subway under the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University to 30th St., then under Market St. from 30 to Juniper St, near 13 St. It shares 30th, 15th, and Juniper/13th St. stations with the MFL, but is the only subway stopping at 19th and 22nd Sts. along Market St. There is a free interchange between the lines at all three shared stations. There is no cross platform interchange because the MFL has high platforms, and the Subway-Surface has low platforms, and these have to be on the right side of the streetcar.
Norristown High Speed Line — sometimes called the Route 100, this above-ground electric single car service departs from the 69th Street terminal on the Market-Frankford Line and travels through suburbs in the Main Line to Norristown. Service comes about every 20 minutes, with more frequent service including express trains during peak hours. Stops are made on request only- to request a train to stop when standing on a platform (except at 69th Street, Ardmore Junction, and Norristown), it is necessary to press a button to activate a signal to stop the train. Otherwise, trains can blast through at up to 65 miles per hour, leaving you stranded. When traveling outbound from 69th Street, passengers should be prepared to pay a fare as they exit. If you are transferring to/from the another service, you can get a transfer upon boarding for one dollar. However, in August 2018, they got rid of paper transfers and the transfers are automatic if you board another bus, subway, or trolley after exiting the train, or as you transfer from the bus, trolley, or subway onto the high speed line. As of 2017, they got rid of zone charges and the fare is $2.50 if you pay with cash and $2.00 if you pay with a Septa Key card
PATCO Hi-Speed Line operated by the Delaware River Port Authority, travels between 16th and Locust Sts. past 8th and Market Sts. in Center City Philadelphia and Lindenwold Station in Southern New Jersey. PATCO runs underground in the city and rises above ground to cross over the Delaware River on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. It then runs underground in the center of Camden, then is above ground through the rest of its trip in New Jersey. There is no free interchange between SEPTA's subways or regional rail and the PATCO service. The PATCO line is the easiest way to access Camden, NJ's waterfront attractions, including the New Jersey State Aquarium and the Susquehanna Bank Center at the Waterfront concert venue. Fees for the service are based on the distance of travel. Those rates are as follows:
SEPTA One-day Convenience Pass
Passengers who wish to use a combination of SEPTA trolley, bus and subway around downtown Philadelphia may purchase a one-day convenience pass. It costs $8 and may be purchased from the ticket booth at a SEPTA subway station. The one-day pass allows 8 rides on the day it was purchased.
To use the pass, present it to the driver or station attendant at the fare gate who will punch the ride number (from 1 to 8) you have taken to indicate how many rides were used. Transfers that require you to exit the station fare gates will be counted against the number of rides allowed by your pass. Transfers to a bus will also be counted against your ride allowance.
The pass is not valid on regional/commuter rail lines. However, SEPTA offers the Independence Pass, which is a one day pass that is valid on all modes of transit, including the regional rail lines. The Independence Pass costs $12 for an individual and $29 for a family.
Taxis are regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority and display a medallion license on their hood. All taxis are metered. Rates are $2.70 at flagfall, $2.30 per mile (1.6 km), and $.23 every 38 seconds the taxi is stopped. There is also a variable gas surcharge. For trips from the airport, a flat rate, including fuel surcharge, of $28.50 applies. An additional $1 per passenger ($3 maximum) after the first passenger will be charged on flat rate trips between the airport and Center City for those passengers over the age of 12. Tipping for good service is common.
Philadelphia is also home to Enterprise Car Share and Zipcar, where, after registering and receiving an electronic fob, you can book vehicles by the hour or day. Register well in advance, as you will need a physical fob to use any car. Both have vehicles stationed at various locations called 'pods' around Philadelphia. You first book online, and then use your personal fob to unlock the vehicle, returning it to the same location. Rental is $5.90-7.90 per hour, or approximately $50 for a full day, plus a few dollars booking fee and $0.09 per mile (1.6 km) traveled.
SEPTA operates 8 trolleys lines, including the 5 aforementioned subway-surface branch lines, as well as two suburban trolley lines that travel from the 69th St Terminal in Upper Darby. The 101 line travels to Media, while the 102 line travels to Sharon Hill, both in Delaware County.
In addition, the 15 line (running along Girard Ave.) has recently been renovated and vintage trolley cars are now in use on this route. Connections to this line can be made at either the Broad Street Line or Market-Frankfort Line Girard Stations; a transfer should be purchased upon boarding the trolley or entering your origin subway station for 75 cents to avoid paying an additional fare when making the connection. Among its other uses, the 15 line provides the only rail link to the Philadelphia Zoo.
SEPTA has also been studying whether to restore trolley service on former lines, as many miles of rail are still in place.
Much of Philadelphia's art requires not a dollar to see and not a building to enter. Philadelphia has the largest collection of public art in the nation, courtesy of the city's innovative Mural Arts Program, designed to stop graffiti and enliven the city's buildings. They even provide a free tour. Other public art of note includes the many glass mosaics found throughout the city; a sampling of this great public art can be seen on South St. east of Broad.
Center city Philadelphia offers many public statue displays. "The Clothespin" is a sculpture by Claes Oldenburg that resembles a clothespin located just across from City Hall on West Market St. LOVE Park, serving as a terminus between City Hall and the museum-laden Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., features a famous LOVE statue by Robert Indiana that has come to represent the brotherly love that Philadelphia was founded on.
More statues can be found throughout Fairmount Park along Kelly Dr. on east side of the Schuykill River. Sculptures by Remington can be found on the path, while several sculptures by Alexander Milne Calder can be found in Laurel Hill Cemetery, which is located just off the paved walking path.Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
Center City West is home to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Academy of Natural Sciences, Franklin Institute Science Museum, Mutter Museum, Rosenbach Museum & Library and Rodin Museum. Center City East is home to the African American Museum. Old City is home to the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Independence Seaport Museum, the National Constitution Center, and the new Museum of the American Revolution. West Philly is home to the Please Touch Museum North Philly is home to the Wagner Free Institute of Science.
Nightlife Fluid Nightclub- 613 South 4th Street, Philadelphia (215)-629-3686 Sisters- 1320 Chancellor Street, Philadelphia (215)-735-0735 Shampoo Nightclub- 417 N 8th Street #A, Philadelphia (215)-922-7500 Walnut Room- 1709 Walnut Street, Philadelphia (215)-751-0201 G Lounge- 111 South 17th Street, Philadelphia (215)-564-1515 Pulse Night Club-1526 Sansom Street, Philadelphia (215)-751-2711
Live Music Live Music World Café Live- 3025 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Phone Number: (215) 222-1400
Johnny Brenda’s- 1201 N. Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19125 Phone number: (215) 739-9684
Theater and music
Philadelphia prides itself on its wide variety of live performances, particularly for music. Venues can be found throughout Center City East and West, Old City, South Philly and the Northern Liberties/Fishtown districts of North Philly. R5 Productions  promotes smaller bands and affordable shows at several local venues.
Walnut Street Theater Walnut Street theater puts on many productions including Music Man and Love Story amongst many more. Address: 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 1910.
Forrest Theater Forrest theater puts on live productions such as Million Dollar Quartet Address: 1114 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Wells Fargo Center This venue also hosts live shows and concerts such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber. Address: 3601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Academy of Music Shows such as War Horse are shown at this theater. Address: 1420 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Merriam Theater Shows such as Blue Man group play here. Address: 250 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Piazza at Schmidt's Venue for a number of free concerts courtesy of the local radio station WRFF 104.5
Theatre of Living Arts One of the most popular venues in Philadelphia with shows almost every night located on south street. Locals often refer to it as the TLA
To find shows, dates, venues, and tickets go to www.philadelphia-theater.com or order tickets by phone at (800)-430-8903
Full of of historical landmarks, Philadelphia is home to numerous tours.
Philadelphia is rich with educational opportunities. Universities include Temple University, Philadelphia University , Drexel University  with the only co-op program in the area, the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania , La Salle University  a major Catholic university, Saint Joseph's University  a Jesuit university, and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia  a divinity school; as well as "Westminster Theological Seminary"  in Glenside.
The Community College of Philadelphia  is Philadelphia's premier community college.
Art schools include the University of the Arts , one of the most prestigious art schools in America, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts , Moore College of Art and Design  an all women college, Hussian School of Art , and the Art Institute Philadelphia .
Temple University- 1801 North Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19121 Phone number: (215)- 204- 7000 Website: www.temple.edu
La Salle University- 1900 West Olney Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19141 Phone number: (215)- 951-1000 Website: www.lasalle.edu
Philadelphia University- 4201 Henry Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 Phone number: (215)-951-2700 Website: www.philau.edu
Drexel University- 3141 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Phone number: (215)-895-2000 Website: www.drexel.edu
University of Pennsylvania- 3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Phone number: (215)-898-5000 Website: www.upenn.edu
Saint Joseph’s University -5600 City Ave Philadelphia, PA 19131 Phone number: (610) 660-1000 Website: www.sju.edu
Philadelphia's job market is ever-expanding both in the city and in its suburbs. The 975' Comcast Center is a constant reminder of the economic revitalization of Philadelphia and of Comcast's presence in the city. Additionally, a Keystone Opportunity Zone over the Powelton Rail Yards adjacent to 30th St. Station promises a bright future for jobs and new office buildings in the city.
For unique shopping, there are distinct districts. 3rd Street Corridor in Old City continues steadfast with Philadelphia's founding entrepreneurial spirit of independence. This 'Old World' section has the city's acclaimed independent retailers for fashion, art and design. Landmark Sugarcube®  should not be missed for the fashion savvy. Salon-goers will enjoy Moko, an organic beauty studio along the corridor. Going southwest from Old City is Antique Row, on Pine Street between 9th and 13th (Center City), is home to a mix of antique stores and local gift and craft boutiques. Further south is The Italian Market in South Philly an open-air street market with fresh produce and food; although it was historically an Italian district, there is now an infusion of Mexican culture. Another distinct area is Chinatown (Center City), an ethnic enclave of Asian Americans residents and business owners. West of Broad Street in Center City just south of City Hall is home to national brand based retail.
Philadelphia's Old City district has always been a center of commerce and culture. As Philadelphia grew to be a larger city many shops and department stores were established on Market Street between Old City and City Hall. Two such landmark department stores on Market Street were Gimbels and Strawbridge & Clothiers. As growth of the city and region at-large continued during the 20th century, those same department stores found it increasing difficult to competing against suburban department chains. In the 1970s, the Gallery at Market East, an urban mall utilizing Gimbels and Strawbridge & Clothiers as major anchors, opened to stem the tide of retailers fleeing the urban core to the regional shopping malls. Despite initial success in the first decade or so of operation, the Gallery remained unable to compete; Gimbels closed in 1986, Strawbridge's closed in 2006 and now stands vacant. Currently in 2015 the mall is closed for renovation in a renewed effort to uplift Philadelphia's retail industry and increase property values. Before closing, the mall offered mid-range stores catering to the city's working class population, and had a busy food court on the basement level, convenient for the 12,000 or so daily commuters who took the regional rail into the city.
Just northwest of the Gallery is the Reading Terminal Market, a very successful indoor public market that opened in 1893 at the site of the Reading Railroad's headhouse terminal, now part of the Philadelphia Convention Center, after open-air sidewalk markets were closed down in the 1850's due to health and safety concerns. Today some of the current vendors have been in business for over a century, and sell produce, meats, chocolates, and a variety of other usually handmade foodstuffs and items. There are small restaurants as well as a section for Pennsylvania Dutch (or Amish) vendors in this tightly packed historic market.
West of Broad Street the adjacent shopping district of Center City eventually regained its footing as downtown Philadelphia revitalized. Starting in the 1980s and 1990s along Chestnut Streets and Walnut Streets west of Broad Street to Rittenhouse Square, features national brands, chain stores and a few boutiques, from the high-end Burberry, Tiffany and Diesel to lower scale with locally-managed corporate Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. Chestnut Street also has a range of mid-range shops, a few independently owned boutiques as well as bargain big-leaguers like H&M. The Shoppes at Liberty Place is located Philadelphia's second-tallest building, and The Shops at the Bellevue is located in a historic building on Broad Street, both house retail chains and food courts in a 'mall like' environment.
See the Districts articles for specific listings.
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without trying the cheesesteak, Philly's most famous homegrown food, a sandwich made of a fresh roll filled with grilled shaved beef and cheese (as well as onions, mushrooms, and other optional sides). The spiritual homes of the cheesesteak are Pat's King of Steaks , where the cheesesteak was invented, and Geno's Steaks, where they claim to have improved on Pat's version. They are located next to each other in South Philly.
Although Pat's and Geno's are the most famous cheesesteak joints, there are many others to choose from, particularly in South Philadelphia—John's Roast Pork at Snyder and alley-street Weccacoe is considered by many locals to offer a standout, and many prefer Jim's Steaks  or Tony Luke's . Though South Philadelphia is the undisputed home of this sandwich, Steve's Prince of Steaks in Northeast Philadelphia off Cottman Ave. is outstanding (new location in Center City at 16th and Chestnut as well). Campo's at 2nd and Market (Historic District) has been making cheesesteaks since 1947. Campo's  'The Great Northeast' is also home to Chink's Steaks, a delightful drug-store throwback on Torresdale Avenue near the Delaware River. No cheesesteak aficionado can call himself such without a visit to Dalessandro's Steaks or Chubby's on Henry Avenue in the Roxborough section of Northwest Philadelphia (north of Manayunk and East Falls). This regions best steak, though, is found at takeout only Sorrentino's on cresson in Manayunk. Sonny's in Old City, on Market St between 3rd and 4th, also serves an excellent cheesesteak in a location convenient to Independence Hall. Philadelphia's other notable sandwich is roast pork which can be found at Dinic's in the Reading Terminal Market, Tony Luke's, John's, or a latin version at Porky's Point. There's also a cheesesteak food cart on UPenn campus (33rd St) that serves a pretty decent version at lunch time for half the price of Pat's or Geno's. Lastly, the city's best Roast Beef sandwich served on a locally baked sarcone's roll is at caffe chicco.
A caveat before ordering a cheesesteak, particularly at the often crowded Pat's and Geno's—know how to order. There is somewhat of a 'no soup for you' attitude at these busy and fast-service oriented establishments which can really make a tourist stand out. The way to order is as follows: It is assumed that you are going to order a cheesesteak, so unless you are not, don't specify this. First, say the type of cheese—only american, provolone, and whiz are generally available. Ask for swiss at your own risk. The only condiment that is not available in a jar outside the stand will be fried onions; with (or "wit" in Philly parlance) or without ("witout") will specify your preference on the matter. So 'Whiz "Wit", Provolone "Witout",' etc. Not too complicated, and a straightforward way to have a nice local moment on your travels.
The cheesesteak may be the most well-known Philadelphia sandwich, but it was the hoagie that was named the "Official Sandwich of Philadelphia" by former mayor Ed Rendell. While the origin of the hoagie is disputed, with even nearby Chester city claiming to have invented it, what is not in question is the fact that hoagies are delicious. Consisting of cold cuts, lettuce, and other toppings on a hoagie roll, the hoagie is one of Philadelphia's oldest, most popular sandwiches. There are various types of hoagies, from Turkey hoagies to Italian hoagies and more, and locals often eat their hoagies with mayonnaise and "oil".
Invented in nearby Tinicum, in Delaware County, the stromboli is another local food staple. Similar to a calzone, a stromboli is a turnover that is made from either Italian bread dough or pizza dough, and can be filled with a variety of ingredients. The most common types of stromboli are pepperoni, vegetable, meatball, pizza, and cheesesteak, though strombolis can be filled with virtually anything.
Another less well-known local food is the tomato pie, a type of pizza in which the sauce is put on after everything else, as opposed to before the cheese and other toppings. Derived from Sicily, the tomato pie was invented in the general Philadelphia area in the 1910s. Depending on the place, a tomato pie can either be thin crust or thick crust.
Local and street food
You can also find cheesesteaks at Reading Terminal Market, located at 12th and Arch Sts. Here visitors will find many stands selling produce, meats, flowers, and baked goods. Reading Terminal Market is a good place to get lunch if you are in the area. The multitude of vendors and low prices provide plenty of options for a quick meal. It's also home to one of the city's best pretzels (Miller's). Families from the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) community of Lancaster County operate a number of the businesses in the market, but only on Tuesday-Saturday. One of the most famous Pennsylvania Dutch businesses at Reading Terminal Market is Beiler's Bakery. The line for fresh donuts from Beiler's is often long, but it moves quickly, and the donuts and apple fritters are worth it.
Philadelphia's most famous snack is the salted soft pretzel, and Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the pretzel in the United States. Philly soft pretzels are distinctive in that they are flattened into a wide rectangle and are made in long chains in which the wide sides of the pretzels are attached. A person may typically buy two, three, or more attached pretzels at a convenience store or from a street vendor. The price is low, especially compared to national vendor brands sold in other cities and in malls. Unlike pretzels served in many other cities, Philly pretzels are not served hot, but at room temperature and often eaten with mustard.
The most famous sweet snack is from the Tastykake brand. Their main factory is in the Navy Yard in far south Philly, so every flavor and type of TastyKake is sold in Philadelphia, and they are usually extra fresh, since they do not have to travel far to the retail outlet.
Also unique to the area are Goldenberg's Peanut Chews , a bit-sized chocolate bar with a chewy peanut center. Originally developed as a high-energy ration bar during WWI, but still popular today!
While not necessarily considered food, Philadelphia's own DubbleBubble is considered the first commercially successful bubble gum, and its parent company, Fleer pioneered the packaging of baseball cards with bubble gum.
Scrapple is a favorite comfort food of native Philadelphians. Best described as a spicy breakfast pork product, scrapple is of Pennsylvania Dutch origin and is made from pork by-products (you're better off not knowing exactly what's in it) and cornmeal, cooked into a thick pudding, formed into a loaf, sliced, and fried. You'll find it on the breakfast menu of many neighborhood diners in Philly. Ask for it very crispy.
Philadelphia was once known as the "Ice Cream Capital of the World" at a time when ice cream was sparsely available in the US, and recently Philadelphia's Capogiro was named the Best Ice Cream in the World by National Geographic.  
Probably the most well-known local dessert is Italian style water-ice. Found all over the city and metro, some of the more well-known local standouts are John's in South Philly, Rosati's in Clifton Heights, Delaware County, and of course the locally-based chain Rita's. While both Rita's and Rosati's are available all over the country and even Internationally to an extent, only Rita's has multiple storefronts. Rosati's is available in businesses around the country and even Internationally but only has a single storefront, at its factory in Clifton Heights.
Wawa (The name is derived from the Ojibwe word for the Canada goose) is a chain of local convenience stores similar to, but better than, 7-Eleven. They are most famous for their deli ordering terminals, which allow you to specify via a touch-screen monitor exactly what you want on a sandwich. Although locals refuse to consider Wawa's cheesesteaks as authentic, due to its use of ground beef rather than sliced or diced beef, the Wawa option is still delicious and you get to customize it with a wide range of options.
Chickie's and Pete's Crab House and Sports Bar: This restaurant is known for its famous crab fries. They are dipped in melted American cheese and are a crowd favorite. Their menu also includes crabs, steak sandwiches, pork sandwiches and more. This restaurant also caters and does parties. You can find many Philadelphia sports fans here on a game day. Whether it is for drinking or eating out as a family this restaurant hits the spot. The original location is on Robbins Ave, but other locations include Bordentown, South Philadelphia, Philadelphia International airport, Drexel Hill and more.
Late Night Eats
Royal Tavern- 937 Eat Passyunk Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19147 Phone number: (215) 389- 6694
Standard Tap- 901 N. 2nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19123 Phone number: (215) 238-0630
H&J McNally’s Tavern- 8634 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19118 Phone number: (215) 247-9736
Philadelphia has an extremely vibrant culinary scene, with many young and enterprising new chefs coming to the City of Brotherly Love for its food-obsessed culture. Local restauranteurs such as Stephen Starr , Marc Vetri , Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto  and Jose Garces , and others have become household names and food celebrities in their own right, transforming Philadelphia's food scene and exporting its concepts to other parts of the country. In part, the scene is bolstered by a culture of organic and sustainable foodstuffs coming from local farmers.
Pennsylvania's draconian liquor laws make it very expensive and inconvenient for restaurants to obtain liquor licenses. As a result, many restaurants—including some of the best—are BYOB, that is, Bring Your Own Bottle. These restaurants will advertise their BYOB-status, and will usually help you out by supplying corkscrews, glasses, or club soda, so long as you supply the beer, wine, or spirits. You'll have to pick wine or spirits up at a state-sponsored liquor store, or six-packs of beer from a neighborhood bar. Convenience stores usually do not sell alcoholic beverages, some local stores may sell beer. Even if you don't drink, or don't want a drink, dining at a BYOB can pay off as the restaurant doesn't need to pay off a license and can charge a little less for the food.
Philadelphia has unusual and complicated drinking laws for a large city, mainly due to bureaucratic red tape over these very long standing laws and the tax revenue Pennsylvania collects from strict control over liquor sales. In recent years though, many PA residents have been strongly pushing for change or reform due to the unpopular inconvenience of the state run stores and that, even among locals, these laws are widely considered unprogressive and backwards compared to the liquor laws of most states across the nation. Because of the state's complicated liquor laws, supermarkets and privately owned stores cannot sell hard liquor, and only as of 2016/2017 have major stores such as Acme, Wegmans and Whole Foods been able to sell beer and wine, with a surprisingly large and varied selection. State-sponsored liquor stores are the only place to legally purchase liquor and spirits and are all over the place (though often have limited hours, especially on weekends) but they don't sell beer. Beer distributors do sell 6-packs although their prices are discounted towards encouraging larger purchases such as cases and kegs. The best way to buy beer-to-go in Philadelphia are from the many smaller stores and delis that in recent years have specialized in selling an extremely wide assortment of import and domestic beers, with a popular trend towards stocking lesser known craft beers, both local, national and export, as well as beers that are either seasonal or limited runs. One of the biggest reasons locals prefer buying from these stores is because most of them offer what's called a "mix-a-6", allowing for single bottles of different types of beer to be put together as variety 6-pack, and often given a small discount for doing so. This allows for sampling a wider selection of beers or just buying a couple different favorites. These stores are very popular, especially in Center City, Northern Liberties & Fishtown, South Philly and other surrounding neighborhoods, with well known places such as The Foodery and Food and Friends markets being go-to places for selection, "mix-a-6" and for staying open later into the evening compared to grocery stores. These stores have both helped to promote and grow, and benefited from, Philadelphia's visibly strong, public beer culture, celebrated in events such as the annual summertime Philly Beer Week  or the Philly Craft Beer Festival  in March.
Local beers include Yuengling, Yards, PBC (Philadelphia Brewing Company), Sly Fox, Victory and Troegs, just to name a few. Many bars will have a varied selection of beers you already know and love alongside ones you've never heard of. If you're ever stuck on a choice but don't want to look out of place, just ask for a "lager", which in Philly specifically means the Yuengling Traditional Lager.
Primarily, most of the nightlife scene takes place in Center City (West and East) and in Old City. The areas around Rittenhouse Square in Center City, and Headhouse Square and Penn's Landing in Old City, are popular destinations that have a large concentration of bars and clubs, many of them attracting the hip, young, pretty people of the suburbs or the universities. Slightly further out, the vacant warehouse turned gentrified neighborhood of Northern Liberties district is another solid nightlife destination with more of a "yuppie" vibe. Just further north and Philadelphia's version of Brooklyn, is the young, hipster neighborhood of Fishtown, The center of this neighborhood is conveniently located along the el train stop at Girard ave and Front street. There is a wide assortment of nightclubs, bars & restaurants, music venues, art galleries and many boutique stores ranging from high-end fashion, electronics, arts & crafts and "yard sale" type stores selling just about every kind of trinket to unique furniture and antiques you can imagine. Bounded by staunchly traditional ethnic neighborhoods to it's north, east and west, Fishtown has turned into a very popular location known for artists & musicians, people in the fashion industry, small business owners and dedicated community-minded, young new home owners who take pride in the eclectic neighborhood.
On the other side of the city, in South Philly, is the East Passyunk Ave corridor (in that it is east of Broad street). This avenue stretches between neighborhoods, from Buena Vista/Queen Village at the northern end (around Passyunk ave & Christian st), to Broad & McKean streets at it's most southern end. It's epicenter is loosely between Dickinson and Moore streets, where the majority of stores, bars and restaurants are located. Along this single avenue is a large collection of bars and restaurants, clothes and record shops, delis and a large Acme grocery store and CVS, as well as multiple parks and gardens. Philly's famous Pat's & Geno's sit prominently along Passyunk ave at Reed street, an unmissable bright beacon for the late night bar crowds. Further towards it's northern and southern ends, the locations are further spread out and generally have a quieter, more neighborhoody type feel, especially just off the corridor to the east and west. Passyunk ave is notable in it's difference to Fishtown in that it still has many of the old, traditional South Philly restaurants and bars as well as multiple bodegas and "mom and pop" drug stores in the nearby blocks, that have been staples for the locals for generations. In addition, unlike Fishtown which pushed out or created it's own community, Passyunk ave has blended seamlessly with the long standing families and locals of south Philly, creating a rich and fun mixture of multiple generations of Italian, Hispanic and East Asian communities and families, and the newer, younger singles and couples just moving into the surrounding neighborhoods that are more affordable yet still "close to the action" of Passyunk ave and Broad street.
Yet another area that has a vibrant nightlife, which is the Manayunk neighborhood .
However, bars can be found in just about every corner of Philadelphia, and nothing is more characteristic of Philly than the local bar as a default place for social gathering; every neighborhood's got one or two just around the corner, even if it's a dark, run-down dive without proper signage and a crowd of blue-collar regulars, or a new-but-looks-old pub attracting the yuppies with outdoor seating and live music. Any major street or well-known district is going to have its own selection of watering holes, and each of these establishments will cater to a crowd, whether it's students, sports fans, hipsters or clubbers. In particular, streets and neighborhoods with a notable collection of drinking locales, not including Center City, Old City or Northern Liberties, include University City and West Philly; South Street and Passyunk Ave in South Philly; and the Art Museum District.
In the summer, the Center City District sponsors Center City Sips , a downtown-wide Happy Hour every Wednesday from 5PM-7PM where many bars and restaurants all participate in drink specials: $3 beers, $4 wines, $5 cocktails, and half-price appetizers or other food specials.
It's been said that Philadelphia invented, or at least popularized, the popular pub trivia event that is known here as Quizzo , which are called by other various names such as "quiz nights" by the time they expanded to other parts of the United States. Philadelphia native Patrick Hines first began running Quizzo games at the New Deck Tavern in University City in 1993 (though he spelled it with one 'z', as in "Quizo"), and began a second one at Fergie's Pub in Center City in 1995; there are now plenty of other bars running their own Quizzo nights throughout Philadelphia, and while Hines has moved to Ireland, he still writes the questions for several local bars. If you're able to find yourself in a game (you'll have to have a team and needlessly long and/or hilarious team name, or see if you can join one as a free agent) it's a fun way to spend a night, but be prepared to be completely left in the dust by trivia buffs who play regularly.
There are many other breweries in Philadelphia due to increased interest in craft beer. This list is current as of early 2017:
Philadelphia is home to a limited number of hostels (compared to cities outside the United States.)
There is a wide variety of hotels located in the city of Philadelphia. Hotels usually range from $100 to $200 a night, excluding weeks with major trade conventions. Center City is home to a wide variety of moderate and high end hotel chains that can be found in five main areas:
Philadelphia is thoroughly covered by all of the major American cellular telephone companies. AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint-Nextel Wireless, and T-Mobile Communications phones will all receive full service in most parts of the city. As always, service indoors varies according to signal strength, phone brand, and the composition of the building itself. AT&T has contracted with SEPTA to provide wireless service in transit tunnels.
Wireless Philadelphia, a project that intended to cover the entire city with wireless internet access, is undergoing some management troubles. While the entire city is not yet covered, Rittenhouse Park, as well as many Starbucks and the ING Cafe at 17th and Walnut Sts., are hot spots. Reading Terminal Market also has free wifi.
For someone who isn't familiar with either the Mid-Atlantic / Northeast or even just Philadelphia, local lingo in the area can seem rather daunting. Here is a breakdown of Philadelphia's most popular local terms:
Philadelphia is frequently cited as one of the most dangerous cities in America and while violent crime continues to be an issue, it is usually drug-related and confined to areas of the city less visited by tourists. The places that visitors are likely to see when visiting Philadelphia are generally safe. Still, it pays to be well-informed. As a general safety tip, avoid public transportation at night and in the early morning. Instead, take a taxi, Lyft, or Uber -- especially if walking home from a bar late in the evening. Muggings are common regardless of the neighborhood.
Center City and its immediate surrounding neighborhoods, in particular, have low crime rates. Wealthier neighborhoods like Rittenhouse Square, Old City, and Society Hill are safe, as are most central districts including the Art Museum area, Chinatown, the Parkway, Northern Liberties/Fishtown, and Bella Vista. Some property and nonviolent crimes do occur in these neighborhoods, but they are generally safe to visit and explore.
At night, parts of Center City become deserted, especially east of City Hall (between Broad and 11th Streets and between Arch and Walnut Streets). There is a considerable homeless community in this area that can occasionally harass pedestrians, but there is little danger of actual crime.
"Flash mobs" -- large groups of teenagers coordinated through social media -- have been known to randomly assault individuals and couples in Center City. This often occurs when the weather warms in spring and summer, and in the late afternoon when schools let out. Avoid rowdy group of teenagers by crossing the street or entering a store until they have passed. There is a heavy police presence on weekday afternoons near the intersection of 15th and Chestnut Streets where several incidents have occurred.
Other parts of the city still have issues with violent crime. Violence is generally concentrated in the north-central, west, and southwest portions of the city, and includes the areas surrounding Drexel and Temple Universities. On and near Temple's campus, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you stay within 1-2 blocks of Broad St and take note of the blue security posts. Riding the subway to Temple (Girard and Cecil B. Moore stops) is acceptable during the day but not recommended after dark. Near Drexel's campus, most crime occurs in Mantua (a neighborhood directly above campus) and to the west. While it may be tempting to walk from Drexel's campus to the Zoo, it is not recommended. This area is improving as many Drexel students have moved into Mantua and other parts of Powelton Village. A good rule of thumb is to stay east of 40th St. and south of Spring Garden St. Powelton Village has many shops and restaurants and is mostly situated on Lancaster Ave., but walking too far west can put you in a completely different area. Both Temple and Drexel Universities have their own police departments and maintain an active presence on campus 24/7. Still, violent crime does occur, and it's always best to be vigilant.
The University of Pennsylvania's campus is considered safer than Drexel and Temple, but the neighborhood to the south, Kingsessing, is a crime hotspot. Baltimore Ave. is buzzing with student activity and contains many restaurants and bars. However, it isn't recommended to go further west than 50th St. If you're adventurous, some of the city's best African restaurants can be found in Kingsessing, but it's much safer to take a cab, Uber, or Lyft than it is to walk.
South Philadelphia is for the most part very safe with the exception of the area comprising the neighborhoods of Grey's Ferry and Point Breeze (bound by I-76 to the west, Greys Ferry and Washington Avenues to the north, Broad Street to the east, and Passyunk Avenue to the south). Parts of this area are also improving, especially around Washington Ave. The other half (East of Broad St.) is much safer and contains the renowned Genos and Pats Steaks.
North Philadelphia is an umbrella term for many working-class and low-income neighborhoods in the north that are continuously struggling with crime, both violent and petty. However, in the "near north" (below Girard), Fairmount is a great neighborhood with a great diversity of residents and is home to some of the city's best bars and restaurants. Brewerytown, located north of Fairmount and east of the Zoo, is gentrifying rapidly despite the area's crime and is becoming a safer place to live. Fairmount Park also stretches to this area by the river; the park is very safe during the daytime and running along the Schuylkill on Kelly Drive is a common activity. The area east of Broad St. and south of Girard Ave. is best avoided until reaching 4th Street and the Northern Liberties neighborhood. Beginning at East Girard Ave. and Front St. is Fishtown, which is safe to explore on foot. In some parts of Kensington surrounding Fishtown, you can find more bars and restaurants, but be very cautious and avoid any points near Kensington Avenue. Again, follow cues from locals, and if you find yourself in an area that doesn't feel right, turn around.
Avoid far north neighborhoods like Strawberry Mansion, Fairhill, Stanton, etc. unless you are visiting someone who is very familiar with these areas. With a trusted companion who knows the neighborhoods, it's a great chance to see the Philadelphia not shown in the movies.
Northeast Philadelphia has gotten more dangerous over the last few years, however, there is not much to see in the places where the majority of the crimes occur. The most outer parts (Somerton/Bustleton, Fox Chase) are some of the safest parts of the city and contain a few nice Eastern European restaurants. Pennypack Park makes for a great stroll during the day, however, avoid it at night regardless of the surrounding area. Holmesburg Prison and the Frankford Boat Launch are the only two other notable attractions, however, take extra caution in these neighborhoods.
Homosexuality is tolerated in Center City East, but it may not be as well received elsewhere, especially in tougher neighborhoods or in sections with more African-American Baptists.
Also, be careful of traffic when crossing at major intersections In Philadelphia, as in many major cities, one must always walk, cross, and drive defensively. Many intersections are four-way stops, yet drivers often roll through these without yielding to pedestrians.
If you choose to bike in Philadelphia, be very vigilant and stay off of the sidewalks, and always following the direction of traffic. In recent years a "disagreement" of sorts has developed between motorists and bikers throughout the city, and you may be actively harassed by drivers, especially if you are going slow. Ride as close to the side as possible to allow aggressive drivers to pass you. Be alert and anticipate drivers and passengers opening car doors without checking for bicycle traffic. Often, motorists fail to yield to cyclists in bike lanes when turning right; be prepared for distracted drivers.
The winding Schuylkill expressway (I-76) provides some beautiful views, particularly around Boathouse Row, but do not try to enjoy them from your car; with the high speeds, the river on one side, and jagged rocks on the other, this is a sure way to cause an accident. The same applies on Kelly Drive, east of the river. This narrow, winding road with two undivided lanes in each direction has a speed limit of 35mph -- but you will find many vehicles exceeding this. Drive very defensively and do not attempt to look at the views, as accidents (sometimes fatal ones) are common. Martin Luther King Drive, which is on the west side of the river, is somewhat less congested and features a few areas with parks and picnic tables to enjoy the river.
Although it is exaggerated at times, Philadelphia sports fans have earned a reputation as a very passionate bunch. Be extra vigilant when attending a game at the Sports Complex and avoid wearing the visiting team's colors -- especially during an Eagles game. It is best not to provoke the Philadelphia fans; take their jabs in stride, as fans have been assaulted and even seriously injured in fights in and around the Sports Complex and around town.