Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is a Top 10 Airport for flights to all major cities in North America, many in Europe and the Caribbean. It features plenty of restaurants, lounges, gift shops and traveler amenities. PHL-Downtown Rail Connection: from Center City, the SEPTA R1 Train leaves every 30 minutes from Market East Station, Suburban Station, and 30th Street Station to PHL Airport. PHL Airport Terminal Map
Car Rentals: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz and National provide service. Remember that some agencies require 72 hours notice for special arrangements. To reach downtown, exit PHL airport via signage that leads you to I-95 Freeway, north. Taxis: Diamond and Yellow taxis are plentiful at the ground transportation level. PHL to downtown costs a flat fee of $20. Shuttle service by Super Shuttle (800-258-3826) is also available.
30th Street Station is a Neo-Classical, high-ceiling marble palace that features Pennsylvania and New Jersey commuter rail, heavy rail subways, light rail, buses and Philly’s largest taxi depot. Hosting 20,000 commuters daily, its a great place to people-watch and enjoy the food court and shops from 7a-8p, but trains arrive 24/7. Located a few minutes west of Center City, this multi-modal transportation center is a station for these Amtrak train routes:
Northeast Regional: Newport News-DC-Baltimore-Philadelphia-NYC-Boston
Crescent: New Orleans-Atlanta-DC-Baltimore-Philadelphia-NYC-Boston
Vermonter: St Albans-Montpelier-NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC
Amtrak’s Acela and Northeast Regional trains run between New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington every 20-30 minutes. Acela & Northeast Regional trains going north of NYC to New Haven, Providence, and Boston leave about every hour from NYC. Business travelers catch Amtrak Acela Express from NYC to Washington in 2 hours 56 minutes. Going from Philly to NYC or Washington takes half that trip time.
People with less than Acela Express budgets take the regional train which runs a half-hour longer.
Though delayed by the pandemic, Nextgen Acela trains to feature speeds up to 160 mph begin service in 2024. They will run more frequently, produce shorter trip times, and include more amenities for an exceptional passenger experience. See Amtrak Acela journey towards world-class service.
SEPTA (South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), using 30th Street Station as a base, provides 108 miles of subway and elevated trains, 69 miles of light rail and an extensive commuter rail system. One of the oldest rail transit systems in America, it covers more of the metro area than freeways is one of the most utilized transit systems in America.
For people-watching, check out SEPTA’s Airport, Metro-Market, 30th Street, University City and Eastwick stations. SEPTA’s website features printable rail transit map for these transit lines: SEPTA RAIL SYSTEM MAP
New Jersey Transit trains to Camden are frequent and relatively inexpensive. Trains to Atlantic City depart several times daily from 30th Street Station.
PATCO Speedline features daily commuter rail service from South Philly and Market Street in Center City to Camden and Lindenwold, NJ.
African American Heritage: Freedom’s Trail
DESCRIPTION: Retrace the trail of Black soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Underground Railroad via a self-guided, auto tour; sponsored by Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau
ADDRESS: 1000 First Avenue – Suite 101, King of Prussia, PA
DESCRIPTION: Zip between hotels, shops and restaurants, historic sites and museums via a convenient downtown shuttle to many popular visitor destinations: Art Museum, The Gallery, Old City, South Street, Penn’s Landing, Chinatown, Independence National Park and Philadelphia Zoo; Ride all day for $4
ADDRESS: Route travels from the waterfront west on Market Street, then around City Hall and up Ben Franklin Parkway to Philadelphia Museum of Art and then on to the Please Touch Museum
Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour
DESCRIPTION: Self–guided tour book is free; call for trolley tour availability; special prices for commissioned guided tours; with more than 2,000 wall paintings, Philadelphia claims to be the mural capital of the United States
ADDRESS: tour begins at 1515 Arch Street
DESCRIPTION: Ferry provides a 12-minute picturesque view of the Philadelphia skyline and colorful attractions in Camden; relaxing transportation across the Delaware River from Penn’s Landing to New Jersey State Aquarium; adults $4, children $3 for round trip.
DAYS & HOURS: daily from March 23 through November 30 from 9a-5:40p
ADDRESS: Penn’s Landing, Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street
DESCRIPTION: The Cruise Terminal is located on Pier 1at the end of Broad Street in the Naval Business Center; Norwegian Majesty cruises to Bermuda, Canada and New England from here; the terminal building is 44,000 square feet with 30 check-in booths for cruise days and a lounge that seats up to 300 passengers; Taxis are popular whenever a ship is comes to port.
ADDRESS: 5100 South Broad Street, Building #3
PARKING: $15 per car
Philadelphia Freeway Network has newer segments that are well designed, but Schuykill Expressway has too many sharp curves. Signage on the freeways often leave much to be desired. As a result, many drivers unnecessarily take slower boulevards to cover long distances or have difficulty finding entry ramps to freeways. But narrow streets cause many back-ups entering Center City. HOV lanes have been added to more freeways and bridge tolls across the Delaware River are reasonable for the distance covered. Note that I-295 New Jersey Turnpike is a Tollway.