Philadelphia is the sixth-largest city in the United States (and the biggest in Pennsylvania), home to the Phillies and Eagles sports teams, delicious Philly cheesesteaks, museums, music venues and tons of American history. So what's the best way to get around and experience it all?

Travelers have several options to get around this lively city, no matter whether you arrive by bus, train or plane. Despite its size, Philadelphia is fairly easy to navigate, and renting a car isn’t always necessary. Here are the easiest ways to get around Philadelphia.

Walk Philly's streets

If you’re not in a rush and the weather is good, walking is one of the best ways to see Philadelphia and its hidden architectural treasures and public art.

Make time to walk around a few neighborhoods because you never know what you'll find. Some of Philadelphia's best neighborhoods to explore on foot include East Passyunk (a hot spot for foodies that's filled with bakeries, bagel shops and international restaurants), Old City (for Colonial-era attractions and shopping) and University City (for a hip college-town feel).

Local tip: Streets running east to west are named after trees, such as Chestnut St, Walnut St and Spruce St, and north-to-south streets are sequentially numbered.

Best time to visit Philadelphia

A man wearing shorts and a backpack stands on the platform in front of the SEPTA train car in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
SEPTA runs Philadelphia's public transportation © Hannah Beier / Getty Images


Public transportation is the ideal way to get to Philadelphia's museums, attractions and other things to do, especially if time is of the essence.

SEPTA stands for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and it operates Philadelphia's bus, subway and trolley systems. By combining these modes of transportation, you can easily get to any part of the city. Purchase a day pass or a SEPTA Key (a reloadable, contactless card), which gives you access to the public transportation network without having to carry cash. If you do want to pay cash, remember that it’s exact fare only.

Subway trains operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During peak hours (6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday), express trains get you to your destination a little quicker. Most stations have subway maps, or you can get one from a booth attendant or online.

Trains, buses and trolleys operate frequently, with about 15 minutes between departures Monday to Saturday and 20 to 30 minutes on Sundays.

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Rent a bike

Philadelphia is made for cycling. The city has more than 200 miles of bike lanes, and you don’t need to bring your own bike.

Indego is Philadelphia’s bike-share program with more than 130 stations and 1,000 bikes across the city available for rent 24/7. Simply pick up a bike from a self-service docking station and return it to another station near your destination. Prices start at $15 for a 24-hour pass.

Local tip: Purchase an Indego pass in advance on the website or the app.

A PHLASH bus drives past the Please Touch Museum on a cloudy day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
PHLASH offers bus service around Philadelphia © MyLoupe / Getty Images

Staying downtown? Use PHLASH

If you won’t be venturing far from the center of town, the PHLASH buses offer looped service from downtown Philly with stops at popular family-friendly sites like the Philadelphia Zoo and the Please Touch Museum, as well as Center City.

PHLASH runs every day of the week from late April through Labor Day. From September 10 to December 30, the services operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. The bus operates every 15 minutes from 10am to 6pm. The fare is $2, but you can also buy a $5 all-day pass or a two-day pass for $9.

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Grab a taxi or use a ride-hailing app

If you need to get somewhere fast, take a taxi or use a ride-hailing app. Taxis are everywhere, especially near Philadelphia International Airport and 30th Street Station and the Greyhound bus station, and they are available 24 hours a day. Most taxis accept cash and cards, but confirm with your driver before accepting the ride.

Apps such as Uber and Lyft work in Philadelphia.

Try a hop-on hop-off tour

One of the best ways to start your trip to Philadelphia, especially if it's your first time visiting, is to take a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour.

Get to know the city’s layout and top attractions such as Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley and Christ Church Burial Ground. The buses make nearly 30 stops if you want to get off and explore, or sit back and enjoy the full 90-minute tour.

Single-day pass prices begin at $36 for adults and $17 for children. Audio commentary in multiple languages is available.

Accessible transportation in Philadelphia

PHLASH and all SEPTA buses, trains and trolleys in Philadelphia are outfitted with accessible seating for riders in wheelchairs. SEPTA buses offer a kneeling feature that allows easy access on and off the bus. Check Visit Philadephia's website for specific details on getting around using accessible transportation.

Venues and historic sites throughout Philadelphia provide wheelchair rental (on a first-come, first-served basis). Philly Touch Tours offers excursions to historic sites geared toward visitors with vision loss.

For more information on accessible travel, download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide.

This article was first published Oct 6, 2021 and updated Oct 7, 2023.

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