Friday, Oct 20th

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How to get Around Philly

"We drove across country and stayed in a RV park in West Chester.
Our first visit to Philadelphia was a tour of the Historic District arranged
by the RV Park owners. It was a great way to see Philadelphia for the
first time!” University of Philadelphia Graduate Student


Once you arrive in Philadelphia, you’ll have no trouble navigating around the region. Thanks to William Penn and the layout he designed, the Center City District is laid out in a simple grid pattern. Heading from east to west, the numeric street names grow in value. Market Street is the main east- west artery and streets named after trees are found to the south. 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.

The best ways to get around Center City (Philadelphia’s downtown) are by foot, bicycle, taxi or public transportation. If you plan on visiting the surrounding countryside, regional rail and cars are your best bets.

There are several fun ways to explore and get an introduction to Philadelphia while searching for your “perfect” apartment.
•    Walking tours
•    Bus tours
•    Bicycle rentals and tours

Walking tours (guided, self-guided, paid and free)


“When I first moved to Philly, to continue my education, I had never lived
in a “big city” before. Once I found my apartment, I spent a couple of weeks
just walking around Philadelphia.” Resident Westminster Arch Apartments
since 1995

The Center City District consists of 25 blocks between two rivers – the Schuylkill and the Delaware. Colorful directional signs called “Walk! Philadelphia” have been added throughout Center City that will help you navigate even better.

 

 

 

 

There are a variety of walking tours available, free and fee based. Here is a short list:

The Constitutional Walking tour : http://www.theconstitutional.com/
Free tours by Foot http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/philadelphia/
7 Walking tours of Historic Philadelphia http://www.ushistory.org/districts/index.html
Philly fun Guide – tours http://www.phillyfunguide.com/categories/index/31/0
Philly tours – various paid walking tours http://www.phillytours.us/?event=offer.type&productType=WALKING&mpt=1029
Philadelphia Guided Walking tours http://www.philadelphia.worldweb.com/ToursActivities/GuidedWalkingTours/
Spirits of ’76 Ghost tour http://www.spiritsof76.com/
Architectural walking tours – Visit Philly http://www.visitphilly.com/tours/philadelphia/architectural-walking-tours-of-philadelphia/
Philadelphian Urban Adventures http://www.philadelphiaurbanadventures.com/

 

 

Bus Tours

“I had been living in Philadelphia for several years, but didn’t really know
exactly where places where. I went on the Big Bus tour with a date and
had a blast! Got to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, South Street, Penn’s Landing
and more. I recommend the Big Bus Tour as a great introduction to Philly.”



Philadelphia Trolley Works
- tours http://www.phillytour.com/products-tours.php takes riders on tours led by guides capable of quoting fun historic and contemporary facts.

 

 



Philly tours http://www.phillytours.us/ features a variety of tours to show you the great sights of Philadelphia, which is famous as the birthplace of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Big Bus tours http://www.bigbustours.com/eng/philadelphia/default.aspx 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.

 

Bicycle Tours

Many apartment dwellers get around Philadelphia on their bikes, utilizing the bikes lanes, dodging traffic and enjoying trails and group rides.

According to a recent report from the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition, Philly is now the bike-commutingest big city in the U.S., with the most people riding to work per capita of any of the nation’s ten largest cities. Per capita, Philadelphia has twice as many commuters who travel by bike than any other large U.S. city (Chicago is next-best)

For the more information about biking in Philadelphia, check the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia website http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/. The Coalition was founded in 1972 and is a nonprofit group that serves not only Philadelphia, but also Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery counties as well as South Jersey and state of Delaware. Their mission is to make bicycling better through advocacy and education by promoting biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation.

Here is some information and organizations that promote riding bicycles in Philadelphia, including the update on what laws apply to bicycle riders

VisitPhilly.com – bicycle tours http://www.visitphilly.com/tours/philadelphia/philadelphia-bike-tours/
Philadelphia Bike and Moped tours http://philadelphiabiketour.com/home.php
Philadelphia Bicycle club http://phillybikeclub.org/newbcp/more/bikerental
Wheel fun Rentals http://www.wheelfunrentals.com/listlocations/176
Schuylkill River Bike tour http://www.schuylkillriver.org/biking.aspx
Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia – bike rentals http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/content/bike-rental

For more about riding bicycles in Philadelphia, check out this blog submission: Bicycle Riding in Philadelphia

Books
e-books Look Up Philadelphia series (available for Nook and Kindle)
A Walking Tour of Philadelphia-Old City, Pennsylvania
•    A Walking Tour of Philadelphia-Center City, Pennsylvania
•    A Walking Tour of Philadelphia-Society Hill, Pennsylvania
•    A Walking Tour of Philadelphia-Rittenhouse Square, Pennsylvania
•    A Walking Tour of Philadelphia-Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Pennsylvania


Where to Bike Philadelphia: Best Biking in City and Suburbs (also available as e-book)

Short Bike Rides in and around Philadelphia, 3rd (soft cover only)

E-books as tour books are great. If you have an e-reader, then download and off you go. You can also download e-books to your smart phones.

Maps

Click here to download printable maps of region.- visitPhilly.com

City Center map  http://c526532.r32.cf0.rackcdn.com/philadelphia-downtown-map.pdf

SEPTA http://www.septa.org/maps/pdf/click-map.pdf

Walkers Delight http://c0526532.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/walkersdelighmap.pdf

Historic Areas http://c0526532.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/Philadelphia-Historical-Park-Area-Map-2009.pdf

Using Public Transit (SEPTA, PATCO, NJ Transit)

Aside from walking, Philadelphia’s transit system is a great way to get around town. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), 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 $11 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 Sports complex, from Alden to the Art Museum or Springfield to South Street. Family passes are available for $28, 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 or visiting one of South Philadelphia’s famous Italian Restaurants. One can also travel 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.

SEPTA Regional Rail connects with all of the surrounding areas 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.

The three main Regional Rail stations are-

Market East Station - located at 11th and Market Streets, the closest one to the historic Philadelphia attractions.

Suburban Station - located at 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, the closest one to the many Benjamin Franklin Parkway attractions.

30th Street Station - which also serves as the primary Amtrak station in the region.

Getting Around Philadelphia Via the Purple Phlash Trolley

The purple Phlash Trolley is awesome. Even if you're from Philadelphia, we'd recommend it for seeing the attractions. And if you're not from Philadelphia, our recommendation of the purple bus is even higher. The Phlash is easier to use, safer, less expensive and cumbersome, runs more frequently, and more easily serves virtually all of the major Philadelphia attractions than SEPTA. You can click on our dedicated Phlash page link at the top of the paragraph, to learn more.

That having been said - there are two major flaws to the Phlash. One is that it only runs from May 1 through Halloween; the other is that it doesn't run at night- it generally ceases operation, between 5:30 and 6 PM, depending on the stop. So if you are here during the other six months, and/or at night, you won't have access to it.
Also - although this is not a flaw, as it's designed as a bus for visitors - but it doesn't go everywhere in the city, only Center City and parts of Fairmount Park - and it doesn't even go everywhere in the tourist areas, either. So, you have to rely on SEPTA for those Philadelphia attractions.

Download SEPTA’s Visitors on the Go Brochure

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).

 

RiverLink Ferry

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.

 

 

By Taxi

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. If you are traveling around Philadelphia's compact downtown, a cab will do nicely, as they won't be very expensive. In bad weather, or if it's late, and/or the Phlash and SEPTA have stopped running, they are particularly welcome.

 

 

 

•    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

By Car

If you’re renting, all major car rental companies have outlets at the airport, 30th Street Station or in Center City..
•    National Car Rental
•    Alamo Rent-A-Car
•    Avis Rent A Car
•    Enterprise Rent-A-Car
•    Hertz
•    Thrifty


Philadelphia might be one of the easiest cities to drive into, but from any direction, plan on a crawl during rush hour. From Interstate 76 ("the Schuylkill"), your best bet is to exit the freeway at 30th Street and head east on Market Street to get to Center City.

Rules of the road: Once you're in the city, don't forget that with few exceptions -- the Parkway, Vine Street, Broad Street, and lower Market Street -- every street is one way. Philadelphia's easy grid layout will minimize your confusion, but a street map, available free from the visitors center at 3rd and Chestnut streets, will be a handy reference for your entire trip.

If you are visiting from out of town, and are staying in Center City, odds are that your car will be more of a hassle than it's worth. Philadelphia's downtown is very compact - two square miles - and it's set up on an easy-to-navigate grid patterns, with numbered streets going north/south and tree/named streets going east/west.

However, if you want to venture out to many of the outlying neighborhoods, or to the many attractions in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs, a car is necessary.

The three main interstate highways that run through Philadelphia are Interstate 95 (I-95), Interstate-76 (I-76 - the Schuylkill Expressway), and Interstate-676 (I-676 - the Vine Street Expressway).

In the suburbs, there are also I-276 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike) and I-476 - which is universally, although unofficially, referred to as the "Blue Route". It isn't blue. The reason was that it was long planned, but never opened, and in the interim, it was represented by a blue line on the planning map - hence "Blue Route".

Philadelphia, one of the country’s most walkable cities, is incredibly easy to navigate either by foot or by public transportation. This just leaves the question: where to park the car?

Garages vs. On-Street Parking

Philadelphia has more than 7,000 metered spots throughout the city, perfect if you only plan to park for an hour or two. Meters in the downtown area cost $2/hour. If you plan to spend the day wandering, finding a reasonably priced garage will save you from over-spending on meters — not to mention getting a parking ticket or/and being featured on “A&E”S Parking Wars”.

 

Parking Locator

Looking for a place to stash your car for the duration of your visit? Check out this handy parking locator from the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA).

Buy Smart Cards Online

If you’ve decided to go the street-parking route, buy yourself a Smart Card, which allows you to feed the meter without a pocket full of quarters. The cards are available in $10, $20 and $50 denominations.

Parking Deals

Looking for a place to park that won’t break the vacation budget? Check out our Parking Deals page. It is an exhaustive list of every parking discount and deal in the city (you’ll even find some free lots on that list!).

Hotel Packages With Free Hotel Parking

Staying overnight? We have a number of hotel packages that come with free hotel parking, including the Philly Overnight Hotel Package. Click here for more info on the Philly Overnight Hotel Package. Or click here to see a list of all hotel packages that come with free hotel parking.

New Meters

The PPA is in the process of eliminating coin-operated meters and moving to a kiosk system. These kiosks accept a variety of payment methods (including credit cards) and issue a printed ticket you place inside your windshield. Some neighborhoods have already switched over, so make sure to read the signs carefully prior to leaving your car.

 

 

Parking for Scooters and Motorcycles

In the central part of the city, from Twelfth to Twentieth streets and from Parkway to Locust Streets, there are specific, metered parking spaces allotted for scooters and motorcycles. They are placed at the end the blocks and clearly painted to line up on an angle.

Outside of this zone, scooters are permitted to be chained to the bicycle racks, but may not be chained to parking meters or sign poles. For example, they must be within the area between the wall and where the steps reach the sidewalk.

Neighborhood Parking

Some Philly neighborhoods offer permit parking for area residents. Visitors are allowed to park on these streets for up to two hours but will be ticketed if they go longer than that. Please read the street signs carefully before leaving your car.

 

 

 

 

Whether you walk, pedal, ride or drive, Philly is the place to be. Any of the activities described above can be done at any time. So explore Philly while looking for that perfect apartment. Once you have moved in and settled, expand your travels in and around the city and out into the suburbs. Take advantage of everything Philly has to offer. Check out the "Bargains in Philly" website for more deals in traveling in and around Philadelphia.

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