Philadelphia

Philadelphia, also known as “Philly”, is the largest city in Pennsylvania and is located in the northeast of the United States; next to New Jersey and Delaware. Philadelphia was once the capital city of the United States, and as such, it plays an a big role in the American history. You can still admire its colonial architecture, and its universities, museums, businesses and laboratories are renowned. In the past years, Philly has also become an important artistic and cultural hub worth exploring. Don’t forget to visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. You’ll also find many attractions honoring Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia’s ambassador, like The Franklin Institute Science Museum. You will probably need a break from all the history in this beautiful city, so be sure to try the classic Philly cheese steak sandwich! It is important, however, to take precautions to fully enjoy your stay in Philadelphia. Below, you will find what you need to know when visiting the city.

SAFETY INDEX

As any other major city, there are some areas that are best to be avoided due to its crime rate. Center City and its proximate neighbourhoods have low crime rates. Other safe neighbourhoods are Rittenhouse Square, Old City and Society Hill, as well as most central areas like the Art Museum Area, Chinatown, the Parkway, Northern Liberties/Fishtown and Bella Vista. There are some reports of break-ins, muggings, burglary, and assault, but they are rare. There are zones that have some crime issues, but these are mostly in the north central, west, and southwest areas of the city. We recommend that you do not wander off too far off Broad St. in northern Philly, around the Temple University area.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : LOW

Philly is overall a safe city. However, we recommend you take normal safety precautions and exercise common sense as you would in any other major city. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : LOW

Muggings are not common in Philly. However, avoid isolated areas and use common sense; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : LOW

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you. Homeless people can be aggressive towards you if you don’t hand them money. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Philadelphia is one of the best walking cities in the United States, but it also counts with a safe and convenient public transports like the Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop, which is the best way to see 22 of the city’s main attractions. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is the fifth-largest and most inclusive transit system in the nation. For more information, check out visitphilly.com

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

There can be some occasional floods, fires, winter storms, tropical storms, tornadoes, windstorms, earthquakes, and landslides.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorist attacks are unlikely. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Many women travel safely without any issues.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

China Town

Here you’ll find all styles of Asian restaurants and boutiques. You will also find some of Philly’s largest museums in the Art Museum area. Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, you can see The Franklin Institute, Please Touch Museum, Rodin Museum, and the Barnes. This is also where many of the festivals take place like the start and finish of the Philadelphia Marathon and the Manayunk Bike Race.

South Philly

This district is home to the famous Philly Cheese Steak. Most of the young population spend their time on South Street where you can buy anything you can think of. Once a year, the Manayunk Bike Race takes place in the city. Manayunk, was once the center of large mills & immigrant workers, but now it hosts the hardest part of the race: the Manayunk "wall." Most people come for the race and stay for the party as Manayunk's Main Street has over 15 bars and restaurants and all kinds of shopping.

Center City West

The Center City West is home to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Academy of Natural Sciences, Franklin Institute Science Museum, Barnes Foundation, Mutter Museum, Rosenbach Museum & Library and Rodin Museum. You’ll find the National Museum of American Jewish History and Independence Seaport Museum in the Old City.

Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application. Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information. Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city. The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation. A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page