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Where to Stay in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is comprised of dozens of neighborhoods that sprawl out toward the suburbs, but the majority of the city’s hotels are located in the downtown area of Center City. Center City is itself a collection of smaller, distinctive neighborhoods, and you’ll find excellent Philadelphia hotel deals in all of them.
On the west side of Center City, the well-manicured park of Rittenhouse Square is the centerpiece of the neighborhood of the same name. The park’s borders are surrounded by luxury hotels, with more affordable yet still elegant options found primarily to the north and east. Middle City, just north of Rittenhouse Square, features more hotels and attractions like the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial and The Academy of Natural Sciences.
Slightly to the east is Chinatown, one of the fastest growing hotel districts and a popular late-night destination for dining, drinking and entertainment. If you keep going east to the banks of the Delaware River, you’ll hit the neighborhoods of Old City on the north side and Society Hill on the south side. These are the most historic neighborhoods, and while most of the hotels here are modern throughout, they’re also largely outfitted with classic or colonial décor.
Philadelphia Hotel Tips
Philadelphia boasts a diverse variety of hotels, B&Bs and even a few hostels, though the average accommodations in the city are skewed a bit toward the more expensive end of the rate scale. Several of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels are located in City Center West, including a few notable boutique properties in Rittenhouse Square. A cluster of the finer mid-range hotels can be found around City Hall and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, just a few blocks south of Chinatown. Old City is where you’ll find some of the more economical chain hotels, and as you move south from there toward Society Hill, you’ll start noticing more historic B&Bs and older hotels.
Philadelphia Hotel Recommendations
If you figure you might as well splurge on your hotel as long as you’re in Philly, there are plenty of places to do it. The Four Seasons in the in-demand Logan Square neighborhood offers rooms with great city views, many with balconies, and all outfitted with the finest furnishings and latest electronics. In addition to its fantastic spa, its Fountain Restaurant is one of the best in town. Other luxurious favorites include the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, well-recognized for its impeccable service and impressive domed lobby, and the Rittenhouse Hotel, an all-suite AAA Five Diamond Award winner overlooking the park at Rittenhouse Square.
Also near Rittenhouse Square is the Rittenhouse 1715, a top boutique hotel with slightly more competitive rates, spacious accommodations and scrumptious daily pastry breakfasts. When staying across City Center, near the Historic District, consider Penn’s View Hotel, an Old City inn with an incredible wine bar.
After you book your flights to Philadelphia, you’ll have some decisions to make about how you’ll get around once you arrive. The whole of City Center is less than three square miles and very pedestrian friendly, so if you expect to spend the majority of your stay in that area, you can easily pass on renting a car at the airport and laboring through Philly’s traffic. If you tire of walking the city, tour companies offer open-air trolley rides through much of City Center, and efficient mass transit is available through the SEPTA system of subways, buses and trolleys. Check the SEPTA website or pick up a system map at any of the stations to find out how far you can go without driving.
Wherever walking and SEPTA doesn’t get you, you can get there by calling any of Philadelphia’s cab companies 24 hours a day. Hailing a cab is often easy in busy hotel and nightlife districts.
If you do decide to rent a car for your stay, the easiest place to do that is at the airport. If you’d like to leave the airport by other means, consider the on-site SEPTA stops if you’re traveling light, otherwise take advantage of the $25 flat rate via taxi to most City Center locations.