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Philadelphia is packed with cultural attractions, lots of local flavor, and unique neighborhoods that give the city its character. Where you decide to stay in the city may depend on your travel interests, such as sports, history, food, or the arts. Each place has its own vibe, making it fun to stay in a different part of town than the last time if you’re a returning visitor. To help you narrow down your options, here’s our neighborhood guide for where to stay in Philadelphia.
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If you want to stay in a residential area and get a local’s experience during your trip to Philadelphia, consider staying near the Rittenhouse Square area. This is an upscale neighborhood known for its cute cafes and posh accommodations. It’s also perfect if you’re celebrating something special and want to splurge a bit on your trip to the City of Brotherly Love. Foodies also love staying in Rittenhouse Square because of all the great restaurants here, many of which have patios for outdoor dining. The neighborhood is named after the park that is in the center of the neighborhood, which was one of the very first open spaces ever established in a U.S. city. Come here to browse and shop at high-end stores, treat yourself to upscale restaurants, and have easy access to arts and cultural events going on.
The Old City neighborhood is between the Delaware River and Center City and is a picture-perfect place to be in Philadelphia. Here you’ll find buildings that date back to the Revolutionary War times, allowing you to be among some of the most historic attractions in America. Old City is considered to be the birthplace of America and it’s next to Society Hill, which is filled with museums, monuments, and art galleries. A bonus, if you stay here you’ll be close to Independence Park and the Liberty Bell as well as Independence Seaport Museum and Ben Franklin Bridge. Take scenic walks along the cobblestone streets and enjoy a nice mix of quiet residential areas, tourist attractions, and nightlife options.
Why Stay Here: Cultural heart and soul of Philadelphia with easy museum access.
Top Hotels: The Windsor Suites | The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton
As the name suggests, the Museum District is home to many of Philadelphia’s top museums, which is an attractive area for many tourists. This district is along Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is the cultural heart and soul of the city. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is at the end of the district, and other highlights are the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and the Rodin Museum. Check out the sculpture garden in the Museum District and soak up all the arts and culture you can while staying in this vibrant section of town.
Philadelphia is home to the University of Pennsylvania, a historic institution of higher learning with a beautiful campus. If you are interested in checking out the campus, you can stay in the University City area of Philadelphia, which is west of Rittenhouse Square and the downtown area. Drexel University is also located in this area, as well as the Free Library of Philadelphia. Other local things to see here are the Penn Museum and Penn Park. It’s fun to stay here for a youthful and energetic vibe because of all the college student activity here. You can find some cheap eats and bar specials for happy hour in University City too. Here in West Philly, you can have a ton of fun and be surrounded by people looking to mix and mingle.
If your trip to Philadelphia is a quick one, you might want to stay near the Philadelphia International Airport for easy accessibility and a quick commute. The airport is actually about 20 minutes south of the center of town, so it’s not necessarily a historic place in town. However, sports fans enjoy staying nearby because this area gives you easy access to the stadiums, including where the Phillies play their baseball games. There are a lot of great hotels around the airport for your quick trip, and if you have a little more time, hop in a cab to get to town and see some of the sights around the Old City and Center City.
Just west of Old City, you’ll find Center City in Philadelphia, which is the city’s business district. The historic city hall building is here as well as lots of other high-rise buildings, giving your trip to Philadelphia a true city vibe. This part of town is by City Hall and One Liberty Place. Pretty much all types of travelers will feel at home here because it provides central access to everything you would want to see and do. Climb the famous Rocky Steps from the Rocky movie, see Philadelphia’s Magic Garden, and relax in Spruce Street Harbor Park and Franklin Square. It can be pricey to stay in Center City, but it might be worth it if you want to be in the middle of all the action.
Why Stay Here: Perfect for business travelers and corporate meetings.
Top Hotels: Best Western Plus Philadelphia Convention Center Hotel | Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City – Convention Center
Business travelers often stay in the convention center area of Philadelphia so that they can attend meetings and corporate events without any hassle. This is a convenient place to stay for travelers who have been to Philadelphia before and who aren’t as concerned with being in a historic or picturesque setting. You can find boutique hotels and high-end corporate hotels in this area, which is still in good proximity to Old City and Rittenhouse Square.
A popular place to stay among LGBT travelers is Washington Square West, a diverse and welcoming neighborhood that is home to Philadelphia Pride and other exciting events. This neighborhood is by Center City, so it gives you easy access to many of the other top attractions as well. There are a few budget-friendly hotels in Washington Square West and also some lovely bed and breakfast accommodations that come with higher price tags. There are lots of small, local businesses in Washington Square West, which is great if you enjoy browsing mom-and-pop shops.