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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia

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Travel to Philadelphia

Flying to Philadelphia

American Airlines, British Airways and Delta offer direct flights to Philadelphia from the UK. Flights to Philadelphia tend to be cheapest between January and March. The busiest and therefore most expensive time is always the summer months, Christmas, New Year and around Thanksgiving from late November onwards.

If you're travelling from within the USA, Philadelphia is served by multiple domestic carriers, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United.

Flight times

From London -8 hours

From New York - 1 hour 30 minutes

From Los Angeles - 5 hours 20 minutes

From Toronto- 1 hour 30 minutes

From Sydney - 21 hours (including stopover)

Travel by road

Road travel in Pennsylvania is excellent, with good state roads connecting Philadelphia, Scranton, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, as well destinations further afield, such as Niagara Falls and Washington, DC.

In general, US freeways and interstates use odd numbers for north-south routes and even numbers for east-west routes over their whole length, although be warned, there are exceptions to this standard. Just to make things a little more confusing, the odd route numbers increase from low in the west to high in the east, and even-numbered routes increase from low in the south to high in the north.

Driving in the USA is on the right. A valid national driving licence is required, although it's a good idea to bring an International Driving Permit if your licence isn't in English. You must also have third-party liability insurance at the very least; however, collision damage insurance is highly recommended, as costs can be very expensive.

The minimum driving age is 16 years. Speed limits are generally 40kph (25mph) in residential areas, 48kph (30mph) in urban districts, 88kph (55mph) on highways and up to 113kph (70mph) on the interstate highways, unless otherwise posted. Anyone sitting in the front seats must wear a seat belt, as must all children under 18 years of age. Children under four years of age must be protected in car seats while children age four to eight must use a booster seat.

The AAA (tel: +1 800 222 4357; midatlantic.aaa.com) provides emergency service and information and may offer reciprocal benefits to members of automobile clubs in other countries.

Emergency breakdown services

AAA (tel: +1 800 222 4357).

Routes

The Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) is a toll road providing swift and efficient travel across the state, from New Jersey to Ohio. It leads into Philadelphia from the east and the west.

The interstate highway I-95, also known as the Delaware Expressway, connects Philadelphia to Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC in the south and to New York City and Boston in the north.

The I-95 connects with the I-87, which runs north to Montreal.

Coaches

Greyhound (tel: +1 800 231 2222; www.greyhound.com) provides bus services to and from Philadelphia. The main terminal, the Greyhound Terminal, is located at 1001 Filbert Street. There are buses to and from all parts of the country, including transcontinental services via Chicago, Illinois and St Louis, Missouri.

Megabus (tel: +1 877 462 6342; www.megabus.com) also operates coaches to numerous destinations in the eastern USA, including New York and Washington, DC.

Time to city

From New York City - 2 hours

From Baltimore - 1 hour 50 minutes

From Washington, DC - 2 hours 30 minutes

From Lancaster County, Atlantic City and the New Jersey shore - 1 hour

Travel by Rail

Services

National and local train services operate from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station located on the banks of the Schuylkill River. A huge art deco building opened in 1933 and now fully owned by Amtrak, it is reputed to be one of America's busiest commuter stations. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Operators

Philadelphia is served by America's national rail operator Amtrak (tel: +1 800 872 7245; www.amtrak.com), which operates high-speed rail services all along the northeast corridor, taking in Boston, New York and Washington, DC, with connections to other major cities in the USA and Canada. In many cases, taking a train across the northeast corridor can be far more convenient than flying. It's far less hassle and you'll be dropped off right in the centre of town.

For local services, you need to turn to SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) (tel: +1 215 580 7800; www.septa.com), which also connects to NJ Transit trains in Trenton, New Jersey before going on to New York.

Journey times

From Boston - 5 hours

From New York City - 1 hour 10 minutes

From Baltimore - 1 hour 10 minutes

From Washington, DC - 1 hour 40 minutes.

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City Highlight: Philadelphia

Philadelphia is more than just a beacon of American liberty, it's vibrant art scene, diverse population and world-class museums all add to its appeal

Featured Hotels

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Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

Situated in the Philadelphia’s tallest tower, the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia offers a unique experience and magnificent views of Philadelphia. Facilities include an infinity pool and fitness centre (on the 57th floor), several restaurants and a spa.

Opens in August 2019

Penn’s View Hotel

Just a short walk from the historic sights of the old city, and with views over the Delaware River, Penn’s View is one of Philly’s most underrated overnight gems. The rooms are designed in a traditional style, with exposed brick walls and warming fireplaces. Stump up a little extra for a whirlpool bath, ideal for winding down before hitting the excellent Il Bar downstairs or the Panorama Wine Bar upstairs.

Hyatt at the Bellevue

Crowning the top seven floors of the landmark 1904 Bellevue Building, the Hyatt ranks among the most elegant hotels in Philadelphia. Opulent retailers (like Tiffany & Co) are set among the marble and mosaic-filled ground floor. From there an elevator whisks you to the glitzy, domed lobby on the 19th floor. Rooms are decorated in classic old-world style with all the modern luxuries, including goose-down duvets, Wi-Fi access and handsome marble bathrooms.

Rittenhouse 1715

Set on a leafy street near the Rittenhouse Square, this charming, painstakingly renovated 1911 carriage house is a paragon of unrivalled elegance. With just 23 guest rooms, the Rittenhouse 1715 has a boutique feel and aims for European-style luxury in its beautiful interior design. The rooms feature cream-coloured Berber carpets, with a mix of antiques and reproduction Chippendale or Louis XIV furniture. The breakfast room looks like a Parisian cafe and a European breakfast is served on china.

The Gables Bed and Breakfast

Built in 1889, The Gables is the former home of a prominent doctor from the turn of the century. Today, this large Victorian mansion is set in a leafy, tree-lined suburb with a bus stop conveniently located outside the front door. Restoration of the home in 1993 by innkeepers Don Caskey and Warren Cederholm, turned this Victorian home into one of Philadelphia’s best bed & breakfasts. This 10-room inn may be vintage but the amenities are modern including Wi-Fi, private phones, cable TV, bathrobes and a bounteous breakfast.

Thomas Bond House

The charming Thomas Bond House is a cosy alternative to high-rise hotels. This bed and breakfast is set in a converted Georgian style home that dates back to 1769, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 12 guest rooms are handsomely furnished with period antiques, and two of the rooms have fireplaces and Jacuzzis.