Although we had the use of the car, we left it at the hotel during the few days we were in Philadelphia. Philadelphia, particularly the downtown core and the touristy areas, are not big. Even the layout of the city is simple and is clustered along two streets – Market St and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Philadelphia is pretty flat and is a very walkable city. There are signs all around the city with maps and indication of walking times in the surrounding areas. It is pretty neat and have never seen this simple idea in any other cities I had been to. Vancouver could implement this easily.
The areas are color coded too. That makes it easy for us to quickly pinpoint our location.
There are also clearly marked directional signs. You can NEVER ever get lost in Philadelphia. Generally, almost everything is located either to the west or to the east.
The distance from the eastern part of the city to the western part is about 2.5 miles. We normally take the Phlash buses when we want to go beyond a few blocks. There are numerous stops along the loop in which it travels and is clearly marked with the colorful Plash sign.
The Phlash travels along a loop from the Art Museum on the west (south in the picture above) all the way to the eastern side where it meets the Delaware River. At most of the stops there are these very useful maps. For this trip, we did not even once fish out our maps to get our bearings. As long was we know the name of the attraction we are going to, it’s on the map.
The Phlash trolleys are purplish. We never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for them. We just had to stand in front of the Plash sign and they’ll stop to pick you up.
The All Day Passes costs $5 which is pretty cheap especially when you are out for the whole day. They also have single trip tickets for $2.
The buses were never too full. It is a tourist bus and as such the drivers were really helpful and friendly. We pay as we get on the bus.
We also tried travelling on their subway. It is called SEPTA … funny name as it keeps on reminding me of the word Septic! It is confusing travelling here and could not understand the fare system. We had to buy tokens to ride.
There were hardly anyone using the Septa when we used it. It was virtually deserted although the whole place were very well lit. We kind of felt unsafe — maybe because we can’t see anyone in many places.
The cars were also empty. Weird. Maybe it was because it was very early.
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I was there with 2 other females and we did not feel safe walking around during the night at all! Even during the day we sometimes felt unsafe…and we were there in July which I would imagine is prime-time for visitors. It’s a shame it feels that way because otherwise, it does have some beautiful architecture and it is so full of history.