Philadelphia Travel Tips for First-Timers: Exploring the City of Brotherly Love

If you’re planning your first trip to the City of Brotherly Love, you may arrive with a pre-planned list of things to do and see. To help you get the most out of your visit, here are some Philadelphia travel tips.

Thanks to a prime East Coast location, Philadelphia is easily accessible to tourists by airplane, train, or car. If you’re planning your first trip to the City of Brotherly Love, you may arrive with a pre-planned list of things to do and see. To ensure that you get the most out of your visit, here are some Philadelphia travel tips to help you navigate the city.

Choose Your Method of Transportation

First, you must choose a mode of travel between tourist destinations. Traveling by car in Philadelphia certainly isn’t the only option, and depending on where you’re going, it may not be the best option. If you plan to take in the historic sites centered around Independence Mall, a walking tour is your best bet. Posted street maps displayed prominently throughout the historic district highlight popular tourist stops. For faster Philadelphia travel, try a bus tour, like the PHLASH bus. You can also Uber around town by downloading the Uber app on your smart device; the app relies on your GPS coordinates and to send the nearest available vehicle to you. In addition to Uber, traditional Taxis are available, as are SEPTA buses, trains, and subways.

Plan to Attend Seasonal Events

Each season brings unique events to Philadelphia, so be sure to find out what’s going on around town before your visit. Here’s a short list of seasonal highlights.

  • Spring: In spring, the annual Flower Show is hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
  • Summer: Summer brings a week of Welcome America festivities celebrating the Fourth of July holiday with fireworks, concerts, parades, and other family entertainment.
  • Fall: During the autumn months, check out one of many fall festivals hosted by individual neighborhoods or suburban towns. Also, take note of the spectacular foliage in and around the city this time of year.
  • Winter: After the leaves have dropped, the city hosts many cold-weather festivals like WinterFest, with pop-up ice skating rinks, holiday light shows, and entertainment.

Enjoy Philadelphia’s Free Attractions

If you’re traveling on a budget, the many free attractions you’ll find in Philadelphia will help you to get the most value from your visit. Independence Hall offers free guided tours with timed tickets you can pick up at the Visitor’s Center right across the street. Also located in Independence National Historic Park is the Liberty Bell Center, which also offers free admission. While you’re in the historic area, pass through the security gates of the United States Mint to commence a self-guided tour where you can observe money being transformed from sheets of metal to actual coins.

Immerse Yourself in Philadelphia’s Famous Traditions

Most visitors to Philadelphia don’t want to leave without partaking in the local traditions that have made Philadelphia famous. Try a cheesesteak at one of the local dining establishments offering this world-famous sandwich, along with other well-known Philly foods like water ice, pizza, and soft pretzels. Visit the Italian Market or the Reading Terminal Market for the freshest and best local foods. Afterward, work off the calories with a run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (aka the “Rocky Steps”). Before you leave, don’t forget to snap a photo of yourself next to the Rocky Balboa statue.

Whether you’re planning a quick trip or you’re planning to make Philadelphia your new home, you’ll find more than enough history, dining, art, and culture to make your first trip to the City of Brotherly Love a memorable one.

Image Source: Flickr/Jennifer Boyer


Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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