Philadelphia/Old City

Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia/Old City

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Introduction

Philadelphia's Old City is home to many historical sites, galleries, restaurants, and bars. It is known for its active nightlife and cultural opportunities. Old City Philadelphia, sometimes known as "Olde City", is the most historic square mile in the USA. The streets and most of the buildings are still of the original brick and stone. This vibrant old-world neighborhood is the home to many independently owned boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs. Old City is between Front and Fourth Streets to the east and west, and generally bounded by Race Street to the north and Walnut Street to the south. Philadelphia’s most popular historic attractions — the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, Betsy Ross House, Penn’s Landing — are all just minutes from each other. The area is also near the Pennsylvania Convention Center and several nationally renowned hospitals.

For shopping, visit the 3rd Street Corridor from Chestnut Street to Vine to enjoy art, design and fashion hosted by the Philadelphia region's most exciting independently owned shops and galleries. Highlights include acclaimed boutique Sugarcube, 20th-century furniture design at Mode Moderne, and exhibitions at The Center for Art in Wood. It’s a haven for fashionistas and clothing is tax-free. The area has easy access to all major transportation arteries; it is ten minutes by car from the Philadelphia International Airport and Amtrak’s 30th Street Station.

Old City hosts a lot of nightlife; expect to see a young, professional crowd here on weekends. The club section of the neighborhood consists of restaurants and bars that frequently showcase music while street musicians entertain outside. Just east of Old City is Penn's Landing, which is on the waterfront. You'll find an array of hotels and restaurants. Every New Year's Eve and Independence Day, crowds gather on the Great Plaza to watch the fireworks. Nearby is Festival Pier, where many concerts are held. Penn's Landing is the waterfront area, popular year-round with attractions such as an ice skating rink, concerts, and various city events. There are also many restaurants, hotels, and even a museum.

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Sights and Activities

Independence National Historical Park and Visitor's Center, 6th and Market Sts, ☏ +1 215 965-7676. 8:30AM-5PM daily. This national park, covering several blocks of Old City Philadelphia, includes some of Philadelphia's most famous historic sites, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin's house and grave, and the house in which the Declaration of Independence was written. The park also includes a modern interactive museum, the National Constitution Center. The Independence Visitor's Center, where you must buy tickets to see Independence Hall, offers a wealth of information on historical sites and other attractions in the area. Costumed interpreters at the Visitor's Center are a great source of entertainment for children. The National Park Service provides a helpful map of the historical sites in the park. Free.

Sites within Independence National Historical Park

Independence Hall, Chestnut St between 5th and 6th Sts. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-6PM. The centerpiece of the park and one of the most important buildings of the Revolutionary period. Built as the Pennsylvania State House, this is where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, and where the U.S. Constitution was drafted in 1787, among other momentous historical events. The Independence Hall is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors to the park are encouraged to take a tour of the interior of the building, which is furnished with period pieces, including the exact desk and chair the Declaration of Independence was signed. Timed tour tickets must be reserved in advance online or at the Visitor's Center in order to enter. Tickets reserved online have a $1.50 processing fee, but are free at the Visitor's Center. Free.
Liberty Bell Center, Market St between 5th and 6th Sts. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-6PM. The Liberty Bell once rang out public announcements from above the Pennsylvania state house (now Independence Hall). It became a public symbol of freedom when it toured the country after the Civil War to help mend political and social divisions. Returning to Philadelphia in 1915, it is now housed in the Liberty Bell Center where visitors can get an up close look at the 2000-pound bell and its mysterious crack. Admission to the Liberty Bell is free, so expect extraordinarily long lines during typical tourist hours (during the day on weekdays especially). Free.
National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St, ☏ +1 215 409-6600. M-F 9:30AM-5PM, Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. This museum, which opened its doors in 2003, bills itself as the most interactive history museum in America. A visit to the museum begins with a performance of "Freedom Rising," a multimedia presentation about the major themes and origin of the Constitution. Afterwards, visitors can experience the democratic process first hand and see exhibits like the 42 life-size bronze statues of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Fun for all ages. Upcoming special events and exhibits are posted on the center's website. $12 adults, $11 seniors, $8 children 4-12. Active military personnel and children under 4 enter free.
Carpenter's Hall, 320 Chestnut St (in Carpenters' Court), ☏ +1 215 925-0167. Tu-Su 10AM-4PM. The delegates from the first Continental Congress gathered in this building, built in 1770, and voted to declare independence from Great Britain. Afterwards, the hall housed the first and second banks of the United States and was the site of the first bank robbery in America. Free.
New Hall Military Museum, 320 Chestnut St (in Carpenters' Court). A small museum showcasing the role of the Army, Navy, and Marines in early American history. The building is a reconstruction of one built in the 1790s that housed the office of the first Secretary of War.
Congress Hall, 6th and Chestnut Sts. 9AM-5PM daily. This smaller building to the right of Independence Hall is where the U.S. Congress met from 1790-1800 when Philadelphia served as the nation's capital. The Bill of Rights was ratified here, and it was the site of George Washington's second inauguration. A tour of the interior is a must, since much of the furniture and decoration is original. Free.
Franklin Court, 316-322 Market St (between 3rd and 4th Sts). Printing office open M-F 10AM-3PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM; B. Free Franklin Post Office open M-Sa 9AM-5PM; museum daily 9AM-5PM. This area contains the remnants of Benjamin Franklin's house (torn down 20 years after his death), the first post office (still in operation today), a Postal Service museum, an 18th-century printing office, and a Franklin museum. U.S. Park Rangers conduct printing demonstrations and performances of Franklin's "Glass Armonica." Great for kids. Free (museum costs adults $5, children 4-16 $2).
Declaration House (Graff House), 701 Market St. W-Su 9:30AM-noon. This is a reconstruction of the house built by Jacob Graff in 1775, where, a year after it was built, Thomas Jefferson rented two rooms and wrote the Declaration of Independence. Today, the first floor of the house contains exhibits and a short film about the Declaration, while the second floor where Jefferson lived has been recreated with period furniture. Free.
Christ Church, 20 N American St (corner of 2nd and Market Sts), ☏ +1 215 922-1695. Visiting hours are M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Christ Church, the first parish of the Anglican church in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1695 and is still active today; the building dates from 1744. Many of the founding fathers worshiped here, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Francis Hopkinson and Robert Morris. Visiting the church is free, but a $3 donation is suggested.
Christ Church Burial Ground, 5th and Arch Sts, ☏ +1 215 922-1695. M-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM from March-November. Seven signers of the Declaration of Independence and five signers of the Constitution, including Benjamin Franklin, are buried in this cemetery, affiliated with the church listed above. The earliest grave dates to 1721. Admission onlyː Adults $3, Children (5-12) $1. Guided tourː Adults $8, Children $3.
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, 3rd and Pine Sts, ☏ +1 215 965-2305 (rings up Independence Visitor Center). Sat-Sun noon-4PM, open April-Oct. The house of this little-known freedom fighter and military engineer who designed fortifications for the colonists during the Revolutionary War is now open to the public. Visitors can watch a video of Kosciuszko's career in Poland and the United States, see his bedroom, and view exhibits commemorating his accomplishments. Audio materials are presented in English or Polish. Free.
Second Bank of the United States, 420 Chestnut St (between 4th and 5th Sts). The Second Bank was chartered in 1816, five years after the First Bank lost its charter. Founded a block away in the same building the First Bank was in (see above), it soon relocated to its permanent home. Its charter expired in 1836 and wasn't renewed; it then functioned as an ordinary bank until it went bankrupt in 1841. The building then served as the Philadelphia Custom House from 1845-1935; nowadays it houses a portrait gallery (the People of Independence exhibit) containing artwork depicting various colonial and federal leaders. Free.

Some historic sites in Philadelphia are associated with the Independence National Historic Park but are not within its boundaries or the boundaries of Old City. These include the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church in South Philly, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at the Franklin Institute in Center City West, and the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in North Philly.

Important historical sites outside the park

Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St, ☏ +1 215 686-1252. 10AM-5PM daily Apr-Oct; closed M Oct-Mar. This house, more than 250 years old, was the home of Betsy Ross. In 1777, Ross sewed by hand the first American flag, with its distinctive circle of thirteen stars. Visitors may tour the house independently, or purchase an audio guide for $5, and afterwards "meet" Betsy Ross and other colonial craftsmen in the courtyard of the house. A fun, low-key activity for children. Suggested admission $3 adults, $2 children.
Elfreth’s Alley, off 2nd St, between Arch and Race Sts, ☏ +1 215 574-0560. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM; closed M. Elfreth's Alley is the oldest continually inhabited residential street in the entire United States. The earliest dated house was built in 1702. The Alley comes alive in the summer, when historical reenactments take place regularly. Each house is privately owned, and visitors are not usually allowed to take a tour of the interior, except on "Fete Day" (the first Sunday of June) when most of the houses will be open for public touring. On all other days, however, the museum at numbers 126 and 124 is accessible to the public and offers a look at the lives of the houses' earliest inhabitants. Free; admission to the museum $5; Fete Day admission $25.
Fireman's Hall Museum, 147 N 2nd St, ☏ +1 215 923-1438. Tu-Sa 10AM-4:30PM, first F 10AM-9PM. The restored firehouse was built in 1902 and today is a museum of firefighting owned by the city of Philadelphia. The museum exhibits include firefighting equipment, photographs, uniforms and fire marks from the 18th century to the present. Free.

Other attractions and museums

United States Mint, 151 North Independence Mall East, ☏ +1 215 408-0112. M-F 9AM-3PM; summer hours M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM. Taking a self-guided tour of the first and largest US Mint in America is an interesting but often overlooked activity. The tour allows visitors to see how new money is made, and exhibits describe the history and coinage of the Mint. A gift shop sells commemorative and new coins. Please note that visitors will be asked to show government-issued ID before entering and have to pass through a security checkpoint. Photography inside the building is prohibited. Free.
National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East, ☏ +1 215 923-3811. Near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the National Museum of American Jewish History is dedicated to chronicling the American Jewish experience.
The 'Real World' House, 249 Arch St (at 3rd St). Fans of MTV's "The Real World" will recognize this former bank building, turned living space for the seven cast members of the show's 2005 season. Now the building, which stands next to the Betsy Ross House, is a gallery and wedding hall.
Science History Institute, 315 Chestnut St, ☏ +1 215-925-2222, ✉ info@sciencehistory.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Free museum that has an interesting collection of multimedia with art, scientific instruments, books, photographs and other exhibits that document the history of chemistry, chemical engineering and the life sciences. Free.
The Center for Art in Wood, 141 N 3rd St, ☏ +1 215 923-8000, ✉ info@centerforartinwood.org. Tu-F 11AM-5PM, Sa 11A-6PM.

Penn's Landing

When it was built, I-95 effectively and disastrously cut off the Delaware river waterfront from the rest of the city. However, the walkways connecting Old City with Penn's Landing make it easy to get to the museums and sights on the water on foot. If you do make it over to Penn's Landing, here are some things to check out:

Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S Columbus Blvd (at the end of the Walnut St walkway), ☏ +1 215 413-8655. 10AM-5PM daily. This museum has lots of interesting displays regarding the maritime history of Philadelphia, from colonial times through the days of slave-trading to the Industrial Revolution. Admission to the museum, which has some lively, but rather sparse exhibits, includes tours of the USS Olympia, built in 1892 and the oldest steel warship still afloat, and the submarine Becuna, used in the Pacific Ocean during WWII. Other highlights include a mockup of a navigation room and a place where you can view woodworkers handcrafting rowboats. Children will find touring the ships great fun, and adults may find the museum exhibits and the views of the Delaware River and the Ben Franklin Bridge interesting and relaxing. $12 adults, $10 seniors, $7 children/students/military; Pay-what-you-wish admission on Su 10AM-noon.
Riverlink Ferry, Columbus Blvd and Walnut St, ☏ +1 215 625-0221. Late May-early Sep: M-Th 10AM-6PM, F-Su 10AM-7PM. Relaxing 12-minute ferry ride across the Delaware River to all the waterfront attractions in Camden, New Jersey. Offers a great view of the city from the river as well as the Ben Franklin Bridge. Ferries depart from Philadelphia every hour on the hour, and from Camden at 30 minutes after the hour. Round trip $7 adult, $6 children and seniors, under 3 free.
Race Street Pier (at the foot of Race St, next to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge). 7AM-11PM daily. Pier that juts out into the Delaware River right by the Ben Franklin Bridge, offering great views of both the river and bridge. Includes a spacious lawn and benches. View the schedule of events for nights featuring musicians or outdoor movies. One can also enjoy one of the many fireworks displays on the river during the summer months from the pier.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Subway

The Market-Frankford Line runs under Market Street with two stations serving Old City: 2nd Street and 5th Street.

By Car

You can find parking structures and rates with the PPA Parking Finder. Parking along the streets in Old City is metered, scarce and frequently with a two-hour limit.

By Bus

Numerous SEPTA bus routes serve the Old City, as well as the PHLASH Trolley trolley that operates part of the year.

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Eat

Amada, 217 Chestnut St (at Strawberry), ☏ +1 215 625-2450. Weekday lunch/weekend brunch: 11:30AM-2:30PM daily; dinner: Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F Sa 5PM-11PM. Excellent Spanish tapas cuisine; the standard against which all other tapas bars in the city must measure themselves. A large Spanish wine selection along with an enormous variety of tapas, some in traditional Spanish style. Also has an excellent cheese plate, great service, and is a good place for people-watching. Reservations are basically mandatory. $20-30 for entree.
Buddakan, 325 Chestnut St (between 3rd and 4th Sts), ☏ +1 215 574-9440. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5PM-11PM, F Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 4PM-10PM. One of the more well known restaurants in Philadelphia, it has a fairly good wine list and a focus on Asian food (many varieties). It is often considered one of the top ten to fifteen restaurants in Philadelphia. $25-35 for entree.
Continental, 138 Market St (at 2nd St), ☏ +1 215 923-6069, fax: +1 215 923-8818. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM.
Franklin Fountain, 116 Market St (at Letitia), ☏ +1 215 627-1899, ✉ info@franklinfountain.com. M-F 11AM-midnight, Sa Su 10:30AM-midnight. An early 1900s-style ice cream saloon with tin ceilings, antique soda dispensers, belt-driven ceiling fans, and servers in period attire. Cash only.
La Famiglia Ristorante, 8 S Front St (at Market), ☏ +1 215 922-7803. Lunch: Tu-F noon-2:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM, F Sa 5:30PM-10PM. Philadelphia's best Italian restaurant serving customers since 1976. Enormous wine cellar.
Karma, 114 Chestnut St, ☏ +1 215 925-1444. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM. Excellent Indian cuisine, with a particularly exquisite lunch buffet; dinner specialties include standard Indian dishes as well as some modernized dishes; the focus is on the classics, however. Reservations are recommended for dinner. $10-20 for entrees, buffet is around $10.
Morimoto, 723 Chestnut St (between 7th and 8th Sts), ☏ +1 215 413-9070. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2PM; dinner: Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F Sa 5PM-midnight. Japanese fusion cuisine from Masaharu Morimoto, famous as Iron Chef Japanese on Food Network's Iron Chef America. Reservations are strongly recommended; dress is upscale casual, jackets are not required.
City Tavern, 138 S 2nd St (at Walnut), ☏ +1 215 413-1443. Su-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM. In 1773, the original City Tavern was built and became a prominent meeting place for many leaders of the American Revolution. By the 1790s, however, the tavern was declining as newer places came into favor; it changed hands and uses until its demolition in the mid-1800s. In 1976, in time for the Bicentennial Celebration, a historically accurate replica of the City Tavern was constructed on its original location. The restaurant features recipes by the Founding Fathers; Thomas Jefferson's ale is highly regarded. $7-32.

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Drink

Old City is packed with restaurants, bars and smaller clubs from Front to 3rd Sts. and Race to Chestnut Sts. with the most concentration on 2nd and 3rd Sts. between Chestnut and Market Sts. Well-dressed attractive professionals crowd the sidewalks all night on the weekends, with the occasional celebrity too. Most of the venues are upscale, dressy and comparatively expensive with DJs and without; watch out for door policy and sometimes a line. There are too many to name and they're all right there, just look into the front windows to decide. You can also find more laidback drinking holes like Skinner's, Sugarmom's and Rotten Ralph's. Upstairs At Nick's has bands and special events. For a quieter drink, try Race Cafe or Continental. Cabs are everywhere at 2AM (closing time).

Las Vegas Lounge, 704 Chestnut St (at 7th St), ☏ +1 215 592-9533. 11AM-2AM daily. Daily drink specials and seasonal selection of craft beers on draft. Bar fare menu featuring fish tacos and hand formed burgers.
Customs Coffee House, 211 Chestnut St, ☏ +1 215-351-5170. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9:30AM-7PM, Su 9:30AM-6PM. Free Wi-Fi available. Comfy atmosphere. Great place to get work done, meet friends, play board games or simply grab a cup of coffee. Spacious seating area.
Old City Coffee, 221 Church St (between 2nd and 3rd Sts), ☏ +1 215 629-9292. M-F 6:30AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-7PM, Su 7AM-6PM. For a great (strong) cup of coffee try Old City Coffee; their coffee is roasted on site.

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Sleep

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia (HI-Philadelphia), 32 S Bank St (between Market and Chestnut), ☏ +1 215 922-0222, ✉ philly@applehostels.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Located less than 3 blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, this HI-affiliated hostel has free wireless internet and high-speed internet kiosks, free bed linens, no curfews, no lockouts. Affordable, clean hostel with loads of free activities, friendly & knowledgeable staff and plenty of outside tours you can book at the reception desk that's open 24 hours. All international travellers welcome; guests from the United States will need to provide either a college ID or a HI membership card along with government-issued ID with an address outside of a 100-mile radius from Philadelphia. Beds start at $28.
City House Hostel Old City, 325 Cherry St (at 4th St), ☏ +1 267-318-7062. Small backpackers hostel with free wireless internet, security lockers, 24-hour reception, and laundry facilities. Dorms are either 4-bed or 8-bed and they are all mixed gender. $28-36.
City House Hostel Liberty Bell, 17 N 2nd St (at Church), ☏ +1 267-248-0402. Small backpackers hostel with free wireless internet, security lockers, 24-hour reception, and laundry facilities. Dorms are either 4-bed, 8-bed, or 12-bed and they are all mixed gender. Private rooms also available. $33-41 dorms, $70-100 privates.
The Thomas Bond House, 129 S 2nd St (between Chestnut and Walnut Sts), ☏ +1 215 923-8523, toll-free: +1-800-845-2663, fax: +1 215 923-8504. Check-in: 3-7PM (call hotel if you will arrive later). This house was once home to Thomas Bond, who with Benjamin Franklin co-founded the Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in Colonial America. Now a bed and breakfast, it has been rated one of the top 25 best historic inns by American Historic Inns. It over looks Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park and the Delaware River. It has lovely Colonial furnishings and bountiful breakfast. There is wine and cheese and cookies in the evenings. No children under 10. $105-190.
Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District, 400 Arch St (at 4th St), ☏ +1 215 923-8660, fax: +1 215 923-4633. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. $270+.
Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing, 201 S Columbus Blvd (at Dock), ☏ +1 215 928-1234, fax: +1 215 521-6600. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $200+.
Sheraton Society Hill, 1 Dock St (2nd and Walnut Sts), ☏ +1 215 238-6000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Established in 1986, it takes you back in time to the days of colonial Philadelphia. The hotel is located amidst lush landscaping and cobblestone streets in the most historic square mile in America and just four blocks away from Philadelphia's renowned Independence Hall. $200+.
Omni Hotel at Independence Park, 401 Chestnut St (at 4th St), ☏ +1 215 925-0000, fax: +1 215 925-1263, ✉ reservations@omnihotels.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. This hotel overlooks the Independence National Historic Park and is within walking distance of the Liberty Bell, U.S. Mint, Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin House. $270+.

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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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This is version 3. Last edited at 11:24 on Sep 30, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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