Once here, you’ll have no trouble navigating around the region. The best ways to get around Center City (Philadelphia’s downtown) are by foot, taxi or public transportation. If you plan on visiting the surrounding countryside, regional rail and cars are your best bets.
Click here to download printable maps of region.
Year after year, Philadelphia is rated as one of the best walking cities in the country. And it’s no wonder why – the city layout is simple to master and our neighborhood streets are filled with fun and diverse shops, restaurants, museums, parks and people.
The compact Center City boasts founder William Penn’s easy-to-follow grid street design. It spans just 25 blocks between two rivers – the Schuylkill and the Delaware. In between, the north/south streets are numbered and the east/west streets have tree names (e.g., Walnut, Spruce, Pine).
In addition, Center City has five main parks or squares (Franklin, Washington, Rittenhouse, Logan and Center), conveniently spread out so as to serve as perfect rest stops during your day out. Curb cut-outs make the city stroller and wheelchair accessible.
Colorful directional signs called “Walk! Philadelphia” have been added throughout Center City that will help you navigate even better. Center City District, the organization responsible for “Walk! Philadelphia,” also populates the streets with uniformed goodwill ambassadors who act as strolling concierges. These ambassadors answer questions, give directions and stay in radio contact with Philadelphia police to promote public safety.
And when the feet get tired, there are plenty of options for getting around town – some practical, some just plain fun.
By Public Transit
Aside from walking, Philadelphia’s excellent transit system is the best way to get around town. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the nation’s fifth-largest transit system, is the most comprehensive bus/subway/commuter-rail system in the United States. SEPTA’s vast network of bus, subway, and trolley commuter services will get you anywhere you need to go — or at least very close.
If you’re ready to explore the region, the $12 One-Day Independence Pass allows you to travel on any and all SEPTA buses, trolleys, subways and trains, taking you everywhere from Bensalem to the Phillies, from Alden to the Art Museum or Springfield to South Street. Family passes are available for $29, offered to families of up to five where at least one member is 18 years of age. The One-Day Independence Pass may be purchased from the conductor on any Regional Rail train. Passes are also available at SEPTA Ticket and Sales Offices and online at shop.septa.org.
The Broad Street Line is great for going to a game or concert at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, visiting one of South Philadelphia’s famous Italian Restaurants, getting between hotels and cultural attractions on Center City’s impressive Avenue of the Arts or getting to one of the many activities and cultural institutions in the burgeoning neighborhood surrounding Temple University in North Philadelphia.
The Market-Frankford Line and Trolleys quickly connect several highly visited neighborhoods in Philadelphia and is great for traveling between Northern Liberties, Old City, the Historic District, Market East, the Convention Center and Chinatown, City Hall, Rittenhouse Square, University City, West Fairmount Park, Spruce Hill and many more.
And SEPTA Regional Rail connects you with all of the surrounding areas to conveniently take you to popular destinations like East Falls, Manayunk, Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Ardmore’s Suburban Square, Villanova, Swarthmore, Doylestown, Downingtown, etc. In addition, SEPTA’s Airport Line directly connects the airport with Philadelphia’s Center City in under 25 minutes.
PATCO and NJ Transit also provide convenient service between New Jersey and Philadelphia. PATCO, the Port Authority Transit Corporation, also called PATCO Hi-Speedline, is a fast, easy and economical way to travel in Center City Philadelphia and to southern New Jersey. For PATCO travel information or for a New Rider Guide, call 215-922-4600 (in Philadelphia) or call 609-772-6900 (in New Jersey).
The RiverLink Ferry connects Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing to the attractions on the Camden Waterfront. This 12-minute scenic river tour gives you the opportunity to see sensational views of waterfront highlights and the City of Philadelphia’s spectacular skyline, all while floating down the impressive Delaware River.
Taxis can be found all over town and are great ways to get to various destinations throughout the city if you’re in a hurry.
- Olde City Taxi: (215) 338-0838 or 215-AIR-PORT (215) 247-7678 for the Airport
- Capital: (215) 235-2200
- Quaker City Cab: (215) 728-8000
- City Cab: (215) 492-6500
- Liberty Cab: (215) 389-8000
- All City Taxi: (215) 467-6666
- Convention Cab: (215) 462-0200
- Yellow Cab: (267) 672-7391
Car and Limo Service
Friendly Express Limousine: (215) 604-0861
Mention visitphilly.com when you call and receive a special discounted rate.
If you’re renting, all major car rental companies have outlets at the airport or in Center City; New Yorkers in particular will find car rentals a bargain in Philadelphia.
- National Car Rental
- Alamo Rent-A-Car
- Avis Rent A Car
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- SmarTraveler – For up to the minute traffic info
If getting from point “A” to point “B” isn’t the goal, but seeing all points from “A” to “Z” is, then a different mode of transportation is the order of the day.
Boarding a Big Bus, the Double-Decker bus service made famous in London town, is one more way to see the most popular tourist attractions quickly. Passengers can hop on and off at more than 2 0 stops or sit back and enjoy the beauty of the city during the 90-minute tour.
Yet another option is the Philadelphia Trolley Works, taking riders on tours led by clever guides capable of quoting fun historic and contemporary facts. And don’t forget the RiverLink Ferry when traveling between Penn’s Landing and the Camden Waterfront.