Philadelphia Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in Pennsylvania
Credit

Courtesy of Tetra Images/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

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. If you need a little help navigating Philly's neighborhoods, consider signing up for a guided tour.

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.

Although the main tourist areas of Philadelphia like Center City are generally safe, frequent travelers say other parts of the city (like South or West Philly) can be very dangerous. Use common sense during your stay: Keep your valuables near you (and preferably hidden from view) at all times. If you're unsure about how to get to a certain destination, take a cab or drive, especially at night.

Explore More of Philadelphia

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019