Advance Planning

Two months before Book hotel reservations as soon as possible – prices increase the closer you get to your arrival date.

Three weeks before If you haven’t done so already, score a table at your top-choice high-end restaurant.

One week before Surf the web and scan blogs and Twitter for the latest restaurant and bar openings, plus upcoming art exhibitions.


Visit Philadelphia ( The city's official marketing site is a great first stop on the web.

Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.

Uwishunu ( Up-to-the-minute resource on what’s happening in and around Philly.

GoPhillyGo ( Mapping website for navigating the city without a car and finding hidden gems along the way.

Hidden City Philadelphia ( Check out under-the-radar, overlooked and sometimes neglected parts of the city.

Curbed Philadelphia ( Real-estate news with many cool features on the best of the city.

Top Tips

  • Invest in a rechargeable Key Card as soon as you arrive at the airport or 30th St Station. It can be used on all SEPTA public transport services including the subway, trolleys and buses.
  • A good way to get around the major sights is on the PHLASH downtown loop bus (day pass $5).
  • In the summer book your visit Independence Hall online (entry is by timed ticket) or arrive early at the Independence Visitor Center to receive one of the limited number of free tickets to the historic hall.
  • Make dinner reservations for midrange and top-end restaurants. Arrive early for hot spots that don't take reservations.

What to Take

  • Good walking shoes – Philadelphia is best seen on foot, so make sure your shoes are super comfy.
  • Dress shoes and a stylish outfit for smart restaurants and bars.
  • If traveling with medications, ensure you bring enough for your trip.
  • Easy-to-carry sweater or sweatshirt. In summer it's sweltering outside but chilly in the air-conditioned museums.

What to Wear

Summers can be hot and humid so pack light, breathable garments. Shorts, T-shirts, summer dresses and skirts are all acceptable day wear, though higher-end restaurants and bars often call for more stylish attire, so bring at least one evening dress or long-sleeved shirt, pair of pants and dress shoes. Fluctuating temperatures in spring and fall call for layers: long pants, jeans or warmer dresses, mixed with cool T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, light sweaters, a smart blazer for men and a jacket for women. Winters can be brutally cold, requiring gloves, scarf, hat, insulated and waterproof jacket and waterproof boots. In the evenings, ‘dress to impress’ remains the rule at many restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Book popular restaurants, shows and accommodations well in advance.
  • Download useful apps for your smart phone or tablet.
  • Check airline baggage restrictions.
  • Inform your credit-/debit-card company of your travels.
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance.
  • If arriving from overseas, ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date and that you meet all ESTA visa requirements.