Philadelphia Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Day Trips from New York City
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Philadelphia Area Map

Neighborhoods

Since Philadelphia is arranged on a grid system, the mostly one-way roads are easy to navigate. Helpful maps are posted along street corners across the city – watch for the "Walk! Philadelphia" signs to get around the different neighborhoods. Downtown Philadelphia, called Center City, has numbered streets that run north to south; the streets that run east to west generally have tree names, such as Walnut, Spruce and Pine.

Accessible via 15th & Market Sts, City Hall Station and Walnut-Locust Station subway stations.

The busiest part of Philadelphia is downtown or Center City, where the old and the modern come together. The neighborhood is constricted by the Delaware River on its east side and the Schuylkill River on the west, while Vine Street and South Street form its northern and southern boundaries. Stop by Rittenhouse Square, a tree-filled park in the southwest quadrant of Center City, where many professionals choose to take their lunch. It serves as a reprieve in an area filled with sleek skyscrapers, posh apartments and upscale hotels.

Old City

Accessible via the 2nd & Market Sts, 5th & Market Sts, and Penn's Landing subway stations.

Eclectic Old City in the east side of Center City is popular with the younger set. Filled with trendy galleries and some of the hippest restaurants in the city, this neighborhood once played host to the cast of MTV's "The Real World: Philadelphia" in 2004. History lovers will find the Betsy Ross House in Old City, as well as Elfreth's Alley, known by Philadelphians as the nation's oldest street.

Historic District

Accessible via the 8th & Market Sts and 5th & Market Sts subway stations.

Just south of Old City is the Historic District, and like it sounds, this area shepherds the most historically significant attractions in the city. Those familiar with Philly say there's no way that you can visit and not stop by the Independence National Historical Park. Other Historic District must-sees include the Benjamin Franklin house, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall – where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Waterfront

Accessible via the 2nd & Market Sts subway station.

The Delaware River waterfront on the far east end of Center City is bustling and vibrant during the day and night. In summer, the area becomes home to concerts and popular festivals. This is also where you will find the Independence Seaport Museum, which contains pieces displaying the city's nautical past.

Accessible via the 37th & Spruce Sts and 34th & Market Sts subway stations.

One of Philadelphia's many nicknames is the "Athens of America," named so for the swath of students in University City. Located west of Center City and across the Schuylkill River, this area is where you'll find the Ivy League's University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), with architecture reminiscent of England's Oxford and Cambridge universities. Drexel and University of the Sciences are also nearby.

Accessible via the Ellsworth-Federal Station subway station.

Located at the southern end of the city, South Philadelphia is packed with diversity and ethnic cuisine. Although the area leans heavily towards Italian influences (Sylvester Stallone's character Rocky Balboa is from here), there is also a growing Asian presence. In addition, some of the city's more famous cheesesteak vendors like the Italian Market are located in South Philly at South 9th Street.

Accessible via the Route 38 bus and the Route 15 trolley.

With more than 8,000 acres of land situated northwest of the city, Fairmount Park is one of the world's largest city parks, offering hiking, trails for walking and horseback riding, and piers for fishing. The Philadelphia Zoo is here, as well as Boathouse Row, a line of 1860s buildings that sit along the Schuylkill River. At night, they are outlined by small lights, making them even more of a sight to see.

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