Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) serves the Philadelphia region with 25 airlines offering over 450 daily nonstop departures to 138 destinations in the U.S. and around the world. Once you’re here, it’s about a 25-minute ride on the SEPTA Airport Line or a 20-minute ride in a taxi to Center City. Trains run every 30 minutes on weekdays and operate from 5:07 am to 12:07 am (Airport to Center City). On weekends, they run hourly and operate from 6:07 am to 12:07 am. Stations on the Airport Regional Rail Line include Terminal E/F, Terminal C/D, Terminal B, Terminal A (East), Eastwick, Penn Medicine, 30th Street, Suburban, Jefferson, and Temple. Fare for the Airport Line is $6.75 when you use a SEPTA Key card or a Quick Trip [both of which you can buy from a fare kiosk at the airport] and $8 when you use cash or a credit card. The taxi ride costs a flat rate of $28.50. Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours provides airport shuttles to and from the airport for individuals and groups starting at $30 (one way). At the airport, there are 170+ dining and shopping options available. International travelers will find all they need to know before arriving here.
Megabus offers low-cost express bus routes throughout the Northeast Corridor. New Jersey Transit and Greyhound Terminal located at 10th and Filbert streets.
Arriving car: Interstates 95 and 76, and the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, provide access from all points on the compass. Only 100 miles from New York City and 130 miles from Washington, D.C., we’re not kidding when we say we’re in the center of it all.
Parking: Once you arrive, there are more than 40 parking lots and garages in Center City plus metered street parking (read signs carefully for parking hours). To pay for metered parking, you can use a variety of payment methods (including credit cards) at one of the green kiosks, which will issue a printed ticket for you to place inside your windshield. For more information on parking, visit the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Amtrak trains arrive at historic 30th Street Station which is within a short walk of Center City. Philadelphia is only 1 hour and 20 minutes from New York City and 1 hour and 45 minutes from Washington, D.C., via Acela Express.
Getting oriented with Philadelphia is easy thanks to founder William Penn’s smart and simple grid street design, the heart of the city is easy to navigate. The Schuylkill and Delaware rivers border Center City’s 25 blocks on the west and east.
Pro tip: South of Market Street, streets running east and west are named after trees while north and south streets are numbered.
SEPTA is Philadelphia’s local transit agency, responsible for Regional Rail, subways, buses, and trolleys. SEPTA connects Center City with the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs as far north as Trenton, New Jersey and south as Newark, Delaware.
SEPTA accepts cash for travel on any of its services. Exact fare is required except as noted below.
SEPTA recommends using a SEPTA Key card to obtain best value. SEPTA Key is a reloadable, contactless chip card that offers a host of options for seamless travel and the self-serve flexibility of loading/reloading SEPTA fares to match your travel needs. The card costs $4.95 but when you register the card at SEPTAKey.org – you will get this money back in your Travel Wallet to use for travel or for future purchases [restrictions apply].
The SEPTA Key card can be used on ALL SEPTA modes including: Regional Rail, Buses, Trolleys, Trackless Trolleys, Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line/Broad Ridge Spur, and the Norristown High Speed Line.
Hate standing in line at a sales window? You can reload fares through the SEPTA Key website at station Fare Kiosks, the SEPTA Key Customer Call Center with agents available to assist, 1-855-567-3782, SEPTA Sale Offices, and from over 500 external sales outlets. Visit Buy/Load Locator – SEPTA Key.
Fare Kiosks are located in all Broad Street and Market-Frankford Line Stations, at Bus Loops, at Center City Regional Rail Stations (Temple University, Jefferson Station, Suburban Station, 30th Street Station and Penn Medicine Station and at the Airport. Kiosks accept cash, credit, debit, tokens, Apple Pay, Google Pay, & Samsung Pay.
Right now, you have the option of loading a daily/three day/weekly/monthly pass, and/or Travel Wallet on your SEPTA Key. Travel Wallet allows you to pay as you go versus using a pass. The benefit of the Travel Wallet is that you’ll receive a discount for each ride and when riding Transit (bus, trolley, subway/elevated, and high speed) one free transfer.
The Key card can be set up with auto-load to automatically purchase the SEPTA fare you always use or you can make fare purchases as you need them – it’s your choice.
For SEPTA Key Customer Service, please call the number printed on the back of your card – 1-855-567-3782.
Being a SEPTA Key cardholder comes with Perks from participating businesses and venues.
When traveling on bus, trolley, subway/elevated, and/or the Norristown High Speed Line, simply tap your card on the validator to gain entry and the proper fare will be validated. All fares on these modes are one price, so you can’t go wrong. No card? No problem! Cash is accepted onboard surface vehicles and Quick Trips can be purchased at the Subway/Elevated station kiosks.
Children under the age of 12 ride free with a fare paying adult.
For more Fare Information for Transit and Regional Rail Travel, click here.
SEPTA Regional Rail serves the Philadelphia Metropolitan area. The system has 13 branches and more than 150 active stations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, its suburbs and satellite towns and cities, including a line directly to PHL International Airport. Since fare pricing is distance-based for Regional Rail travel, your card must be tapped at both the origin and destination stations of your trip. Don’t worry, conductors are available on trains to assist. If needed, they can even process cash or credit card payment onboard. Stations within downtown Philadelphia are:
Exact fare is required when paying in cash on SEPTA except on Regional Rail. Operators and Cashiers will not make change. For more information on Cash and Transfers on SEPTA, click here.
Airport Line photo courtesy of SEPTA
First-rate dining, arts and entertainment, famous historic sites and tax-free clothing and shoes shopping are within steps of Center City hotels, so you’ll save on transportation. As you walk, you’ll notice color-coded directional signs that let you know what district you’re in and point you toward area attractions. And look for Center City District’s goodwill ambassadors, dressed in teal uniforms and equipped with maps, who are happy to give directions and answer questions.
Check out Wheel Fun Rentals and Philadelphia Segway Tours for more information, or participate in Philly’s bike share program, Indego. With more than 170 stations located throughout the city, go for a ride and explore Philadelphia, then return your rented bike to any station location.
Philly PHLASH is the city’s seasonal transportation loop that makes it easy and convenient to get around to Philadelphia’s most popular attractions. The bus costs $5 for an all-day pass.
Photo by Philly by Segway – Mural Tour