Philadelphia was declared the nation’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO in 2015, so it should come as no surprise that the city is chock-full of historical landmarks and institutions. Explore the intimate city center on foot or by bike and enjoy diving into the world-class culinary scene here (yes, it’s more than just hoagies and cheesesteaks).
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WHEN TO GO
March – May: Temperatures typically range from the mid-30s to 50s in March, while April and May see average temps of 60 and 70 degrees. Thanks to the pleasant weather and relative lack of tourists, this is one of the best times to visit Philadelphia.
June – Aug.: Summertime in Philly is tourist season, although the hot sunny weather is great for enjoying outdoor activities.
Sept. – Nov.: In September, temperatures begin to cool off and tourists start to disappear. October is lovely, with the changing of the leaves. November can be chilly, with highs in the mid-50s.
Dec. – Feb.: Winters in Philly are harsh. Temperatures are downright frigid, with lows in the 20s in January and February. That being said, airfare and hotels are cheap.
NEED TO KNOW
Visas: Travelers from outside the United States will need a valid passport, as well as ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) eligibility or a full visa.
Money: Currency is in U.S. dollars. ATMs are widely available.
Travel Health: Travelers (including U.S. citizens) should check for vaccination, proof of negative COVID-19 test and face mask requirements, as well as any travel restrictions, before planning their trip. The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the best resources for up-to-date information and guidance. Before traveling, research and prepare for what to do if you get sick while away.
Getting Here: The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is located 10 miles southwest of downtown. To get downtown from the airport, hail a taxi, rent a car, take a rideshare or utilize a SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) service — trains run every 30 minutes to Center City, and the airport is served by three bus routes.
Getting Around: It may be most convenient to navigate Philadelphia by car, but SEPTA is one of the most comprehensive subway/commuter-rail/bus systems in the country — you can use it to get virtually anywhere you want to go. Philly is also a very walkable, bikeable city.
Local Lingo: English is the primary language spoken in Philadelphia. What’s referred to as “Center City” marks Philly’s geographical heart. Some terminology to keep in mind when ordering your cheesesteak: whiz means with cheese whiz and wit means with onions. Youse (as in youse guys) is the plural of you.
Must-Have Apps: Uber; Lyft; SEPTA
Insider Tip: Rent an Indego bike and cycle along one of Philly’s popular multiuse trails, like the Schuylkill River Trail & Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Loop.