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Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the 6th most populous city in the United States. While the city itself has well over 1.5 million people the total metropolitan area has over 6 million inhabitants.
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods and most attractions, eating establishments, and bars are divided into sections of the city by neighborhood. For historical sites like Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell, stroll the streets of Old City and Society Hill where Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams once walked. Old City is also a haven for byob's (bring your own bottle dining), restaurants, bars, and galleries well within easy walking distance of one another. On "First Friday", named for obvious reasons, Old City hosts the openings of new displays in its many art galleries.
China Town offers an Asian flair to the city. You will find all styles of Asian dining and shopping in this section of the city. In the Art Museum area, some of the cities largest museums are located. The Franklin Institute, Please Touch Museum, Rodin Museum, and the soon-to-be-built Barnes Museum can all be found along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway within a mile of each other. Many of the cities festivals take place along the parkway, including the start and finish of the Philadelphia Marathon and the Manayunk Bike Race.
Just a little further to the North, the Fairmount area hosts numerous bars and restaurants. Try Northern Liberties for more byobs and bars. Into high society and high ticket shopping? Then the Rittenhouse Square area is for you! You will find what you're looking for on Walnut Street, Philly's Rodeo Drive, whether it be the latest Diesel jeans or jewels from Cartier. Several of Philly's highest rated restaurants can be found here.
On the other end of the dining scale, visit South Philly to partake in Philadelphia's most famous export, the Philly Cheese Steak. Philadelphia's alternative youth hang out on South Street where you can pretty much buy anything! Once a year the professional bike circuit makes its way to Philadelphia for the annual Manayunk Bike Race. Manayunk, once a center of large mills & immigrant workers, now hosts the toughest portion of the race: the dreaded Manayunk "wall". Many people come for the race and stay for the party as Manayunk's Main Street hosts over 15 bars and restaurants along with all sorts of shopping.
Finally, if you are a student at one of the multitude of universities, you will most likely find yourself in University City and West Philadelphia, which butt up against one another. University City extends between Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. But you don't have to be a student to enjoy the area! It is also home to many of Philadelphia's newer immigrants with African, Indian, and Middle Eastern restaurants popping up all over.
Summers last from June to September and are nice and warm, between 25 °C and 30 °C during the day and between 15 °C and 20 °C at night. Expect a great deal of humidity since Philadelphia is surrounded by two rivers. Winters last from December to March with average daytime temperatures slightly above 0 °C. Nights can get below zero during this time, however typically not for an extended period of time. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, with a couple of snowfalls in winter. Snowfall occasionally exceeds 8 to 10 centimetres, and it is not uncommon to experience no snow at all. During summer, heavy showers can occur, especially after periods of hot weather.
|Avg Max||3.3 °C||5 °C||10.9 °C||17 °C||22.8 °C||27.6 °C||30.1 °C||29.2 °C||25.3 °C||19.1 °C||12.8 °C||6.3 °C|
|Avg Min||-5.1 °C||-4 °C||0.7 °C||5.6 °C||11.5 °C||16.6 °C||19.6 °C||19.1 °C||14.8 °C||8 °C||3.1 °C||-2.2 °C|
|Rainfall||81.5 mm||70.9 mm||87.9 mm||91.9 mm||95.3 mm||95 mm||108.7 mm||96.5 mm||86.9 mm||66.5 mm||84.8 mm||85.9 mm|
Philadelphia International Airport (IATA: PHL, ICAO: KPHL) receives many domestic as well as international flights and is one of the busiest airports in the world regarding aircraft movements.
To/from the airport
Philadelphia can be reached by both National and Regional Rail. Amtrak stops in Philly along the east coast, north/south and west while Regional rail extends throughout the metro area. Amtraks rail lines all run through the historic 30th Street Station while Regional Rail can be reached at all three of Philadelphia's train stations: Suburban Station/Market East in Center City and at 30th St. Station. The following Amtrak trains operate to and from Philadelphia:
For information on Regional Rail, see SEPTA (South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority).
The main highways into and out of Philadelphia are Interstate 76 from the west and Internstate 95 from the north/south. Rt 30 is the old highway into and out of the city heading Southeast towards Lancaster whereas Rt 1 extends down into Maryland. Route 309 enters the city from the northwest.
Most national bus companies head in and out of Philadelphia at the Greyhound Bus Terminal at 1001 Filbert Street in Center City. The terminal is centrally located between the neighborhoods of Old City and China Town. You can reach both regional rail and the city subway system, located at the Suburban Station, a block away. Check Greyhound for more information about schedules and prices to a number of cities throughout the northeast of the USA.
There is a ferry that connects Philadelphia to the Camden Waterfront.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operates buses, trains, rapid transit, trolleys, and trackless trolleys throughout Philadelphia, the four Pennsylvania suburban counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, in addition to service to Mercer County, New Jersey and New Castle County, Delaware.
PATCO provides rapid transit service to Camden, Collingswood, Westmont, Haddonfield, Woodcrest (Cherry Hill), Ashland (Voorhees), and Lindenwold, New Jersey, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.
|Apple Hostels of Philadelphia||32 Bank Street Philadelphia, PA 19106||Hostel||86|
|Hostelling International - Chamounix Mansion||3250 Chamounix Drive West Fairmount Park||Hostel||77|
|The Quality Inn Gloucester City||1200 Crescent Boulevard Route 130 and Market Street||Hotel||68|
|America Best Value Inn Cherry Hill||2389 Route 70 West, Cherry Hill, NJ Cherry Hill||Hotel||71|
|Super 8 - Philadelphia||341 South Black Horse Pike||Hotel||-|
|Quality Hotel Philadelphia International Airport||45 Industrial Highway Essington||Hotel||-|
|Red Roof Inn Trevor / Philadelphia||3100 Lincoln Highway US Route 1 Trevose||Hotel||-|
|Knights Inn Trevose||2707 Lincoln Highway Trevose||Hotel||-|
|Days Inn & Suites||525 Rte-38 East Rte-38 and Cuthbert Blvd||Hotel||-|
|Motel 6 Philadelphia - King of Prussia||815 West Dekalb Pike I-76 W at W Dekalb Pike, Exit Exit #326 King of Prussia||HOTEL||-|
|The Philadelphia House||325 Cherry Street||HOSTEL||86|
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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