Where to Stay in Philadelphia (Best Places, By a Local)
I’m a Philadelphia local here to help you decide where to stay in Philadelphia. This city is home to many vibrant neighborhoods, all having unique attractions and appeal.
In this guide, I share top-rated hotels and the best Philadelphia attractions in each area. Whether you’re most excited about the city’s history, museums, parks, or food, I’ll help you find the best place to stay in Philadelphia!
Table of Contents
- Best Places to Stay in Philadelphia
- 7 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Philadelphia
- Center City
- West Philadelphia
- East Passyunk/South Philadelphia
- Old City
- Queen Village
- Tips for Staying in Philadelphia
- FAQs About Where to Stay in Philly
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Best Places to Stay in Philadelphia
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Philadelphia? Here are my top picks:
- 🌟 Best Overall Hotel – Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia
- 💎 Best Luxury Hotel – Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center
- 👩👩👦 Best for Families – Sonder at Sixteen Hundred
- 💻 Best for Business – Element Philadelphia Downtown
- 🏨 Best Boutique – La Reserve Bed and Breakfast
- ⛪ Best Near Old City – Thomas Bond House
- 🛏️ Best Budget – Apple Hostels of Philadelphia
Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Philadelphia:
7 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Philadelphia
There are many unique neighborhoods in Philadelphia spread throughout the city. Check out this map of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. If it’s your first trip to the city, I recommend staying in Center City. From there, you can easily get to almost any other neighborhood via public transportation or a short drive.
👉 Best Area For First-Time Visitors | ✨ Best Center City Hotels: Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia • Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center • Sonder the Heid
Center City is Philly’s downtown area. It’s home to Philadelphia City Hall, LOVE park, the famous Reading Terminal Market, and Rittenhouse Square. There’s also a newly-established fashion district. If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Philadelphia as a first-time visitor, this area is a great choice.
You can get to downtown Philadelphia from the Philadelphia National Airport by car or train. The area has attractions for all ages.
Solo travelers, couples, and families will enjoy the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Museum District. Here, you’ll find many museums including the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Rodin museum.
There are endless options for excellent restaurants (don’t forget about happy hour!) within walking distance of City Hall. You’ll also find theaters and music venues such as the Wilma Theater and Kimmel Center.
Pros of Staying in Center City:
- Walkable, central location
- Access to public transportation by City Hall and throughout the area
- Lots of great restaurants and bars
- Close to tourist attractions and many luxury hotels
Con of Staying in Center City:
- Lots of traffic
- Restaurants and bars can be expensive
- Business-oriented area
📚 Center City Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for First-Time Visitors
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – Hyatt Centric Philadelphia • Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center • Sonder the Heid
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Center City
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Vernick Fish ($$$$), Double Knot ($$$), Amma’s ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Graffiti Bar, Franky Bradley’s, Harp and Crown
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Reading Terminal Market, LOVE Park, Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market
👉 Best Area For Park Access and Outdoor Markets | ✨ Best West Philadelphia Hotels: The Inn at Penn • Homewood Suites
West Philadelphia is a large area west of the Schuylkill River. It’s only a short 15-minute drive from the Philadelphia International Airport.
It includes an assortment of smaller neighborhoods, each with its own feel. University City, Spruce Hill, Powelton Village, and Cobbs Creek are a few of those closest to hotels.
The West Philly neighborhood as a whole is a great area for park access. It’s home to Clark Park, Malcolm X Park, the Woodlands Cemetery, and Bartram’s garden to name a few. Clark Park has a farmer’s market and various flea markets throughout the year.
West Philly is a diverse neighborhood with large Black, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities. It’s perfect for travelers seeking to get to know Philly outside of its main tourist attractions. See a bit of nature in the city and eat some excellent Ethiopian food in this great area!
Pros of Staying in West Philadelphia:
- Many parks and outdoor events
- University City includes the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University
- Accessible by public transportation
- Large Black, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ communities in the neighborhood
Con of Staying in West Philadelphia:
- Few hotel options
- Few nightlife options
📚 West Philly Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Park Access and Outdoor Markets
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – The Inn at Penn • Homewood Suites
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in West Philly
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Booker’s ($$$), Haveli Virasat ($$), Pho Saigon ($), Kaffa Crossing ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Dahlak, The Barn, Gojjo
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Bartram’s Garden, Uhuru Festival, Institute of Contemporary Art
East Passyunk/South Philadelphia
👉 Best Area For Excellent Restaurants and Bars | ✨ Best South Philly Hotels: Sonder The Queen • Courtyard by Marriott • The Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista
South Philadelphia is a vast area south of Center City. If you want to know where to stay in Philadelphia and you’re a big foodie, East Passyunk is perfect.
It’s somewhat more difficult to get to South Philly from the airport. But once in the city, you can get there by public transportation. I would not recommend driving in this area if you’re not used to city driving, as parking can be tricky.
Once there, you have endless options. Try upscale Vietnamese, Mexican, and Italian cuisine, or $7 plates of delicious Indonesian food. For fresh pasta and baked goods, make sure to visit the historic Italian Market, a well-preserved site that opened in the late 19th century.
Pros of Staying in East Passyunk/South Philly:
- Lots of delicious food at great restaurants
- Near the famous Italian Market
- Many cute, independent shops
Con of Staying in East Passyunk/South Philly:
- Difficult to park
- Hotel options are spread out
📚 South Philadelphia Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Foodies
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – Sonder The Queen • Courtyard by Marriott • The Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in South Philly/East Passyunk
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Perla ($$$), Gabriella’s Vietnam ($$$), Juana Tamale ($$), Ramayana ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Barcelona Wine Bar, Cantina Los Caballitos, Triangle Tavern
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Mural Walking Tour, Italian Market, East Passyunk shops
👉 Best Area For A Small Neighborhood Feel | ✨ Best Germantown Hotels: Chestnut Hill Hotel • Residence Inn by Marriott
Germantown is a historic neighborhood in Northwest Philly. In addition to historic attractions, it has new, trendy shops and bars, both in Germantown and neighboring Mt. Airy. If you’re deciding where to stay in Philadelphia but want to get away from the busiest areas, Germantown offers a small-town feel.
Neighborhood attractions include the nation’s oldest rose garden at the historic Wyck House. There’s also Wissahickon Valley Park. History lovers won’t want to miss the Johnson House Historic site and the Underground Railroad museum.
Stopping by Uncle Bobbie’s independent bookstore is one of my favorite things to do in Germantown. Also, be sure to visit the resident goats at the Awbury Arboretum farm!
Though there aren’t any hotels right in Germantown, the Chestnut Hill Hotel is a charming boutique hotel just 10 minutes from Germantown.
Pros of Staying in Germantown:
- Small town feel in a big city
- Lots of great restaurants and shops
- A picturesque, historic neighborhood
Con of Staying in Germantown:
- Far from the city center
- Few hotels
- Travel there by car or Regional Rail (Philly’s commuter rail train)
📚 Germantown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for A Small Neighborhood Feel
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – Chestnut Hill Hotel • Residence Inn by Marriott
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Germantown
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – The Nile ($), Malelani Cafe ($), Jansen ($$$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Young American, Attic Brewing
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – The Colored Girls Museum, The Farm at Awbury Arboretum, Wyck House & Rose Garden
👉 Best Area For Historic Attractions | ✨ Best Old City Hotels: Penn’s View Hotel • Independence Park Hotel • Lokal Hotel
Old City is part of Philadelphia’s historic district and is a historic location for the entire nation as well. Lined with cobblestone streets, this beautiful neighborhood features the Independence National Historical Park. The park includes Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted. There’s also the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center.
Old City is an upscale neighborhood with luxury hotels. But you can also find more affordable options if you want to stay in Philadelphia on a smaller budget.
The neighborhood has a wide variety of fantastic restaurants, bars, nightlife options, and museums. There are also outdoor attractions such as Spruce Street Harbor Park along the Delaware River.
Old City is a lively neighborhood easily accessible by public transportation, and there is a lot to do within walking distance. You can walk right from the Liberty Bell to the Betsy Ross House, where the first American flag was sewn. Then continue to neighboring Society Hill and the Ritz Five movie theater, all in a day!
After that, treat yourself to some delicious Chinese food at Han Dynasty’s Old City location.
Pros of Staying in Old City:
- Easy to walk to many attractions
- Lots of great food options at a variety of price ranges
- Excellent area for history buffs of all ages
Con of Staying in Old City:
- Hotels can be pricey
- Noisy at night
- Farther from the Philadelphia airport
📚 Old City Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Historic Attractions
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – Penn’s View Hotel • Independence Park Hotel • Lokal Hotel
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Old City
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Han Dynasty ($$), Tomo Sushi and Ramen ($$), The Olde Bar ($$$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Sassafras Bar, Royal Boucherie, National Mechanics
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Independence National Historical Park (includes the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and more), National Constitution Center, African American Museum, National Museum of Jewish American History
👉 Best Area For Museums | ✨ Best Fairmount Hotels: The Maj Hotel • Sonder at Sixteen Hundred • Sonder the Tidewater
Fairmount is home to both the museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. There’s also the picturesque Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River.
Just north of downtown, Fairmount offers an array of art museums. These include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundations, and the Rodin Museum. There are green spaces throughout Fairmount, some with beer gardens, and many delicious eateries.
For a family with young kids planning where to stay in Philadelphia, Fairmount is a great option. The museum district includes the Franklin Institute, a science museum geared toward children. You’ll also find Philadelphia’s central public library in this area.
The famous Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is in East Fairmount park and is worth a visit for those with young kids. Just across the Schuylkill River is the Philadelphia Zoo, too.
You’ll also find plenty to do as a solo traveler, couple, or out with friends! You can take a walk on the Schuylkill River trail and visit the Barnes Foundation’s eclectic art galleries. See the Fairmount waterworks, and stop to pose with the famous Rocky statue.
Pros of Staying in Fairmount:
- Lots of different activities for travelers of all ages
- Many parks and green spaces
- Great restaurants, cafes, and bars
Con of Staying in Fairmount:
- Easiest to get around by car
- Fewer hotel options
📚 Fairmount Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Museums
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – The Maj Hotel • Sonder at Sixteen Hundred • Sonder the Tidewater
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Fairmount
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Figs ($$$), A Mano ($$$), Tela’s Market and Kitchen ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Bar Hygge, The Bishop’s Collar, Thirsty Dice
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Parkway Museums District, The Franklin Institute, Fairmount Water Works
👉 Best Area For Thrifting and Quirky Shops | ✨ Best Queen Village Hotels: Sonder the Queen • The Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista
Queen Village is a fun place to stay in Philadelphia. Explore the quirky shops and bars along South Street or find fashionable gems on a budget at the massive Philly Aids Thrift. Visiting Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a sprawling maze and museum of mosaic and sculpture is a must-see along South Street as well.
Some of my neighborhood favorites include the Headhouse Square farmer’s market and Dottie’s Donuts (delicious and vegan!). I also love Queen and Rook game cafe where the incredible staff can hand-select a game for your group.
Queen Village is conveniently located between downtown, Old City, and South Philly. This allows you to easily travel to multiple neighborhoods. It’s a great option if you’re figuring out where to stay in Philadelphia and know you want to visit many different areas.
Pros of Staying in Queen Village:
- Right by the lively and weird shops along South Street
- Beautiful streets and architecture
- Centrally located
Con of Staying in Queen Village:
- Far from art museums
- Far from Philadelphia airport
- Few hotels directly in the neighborhood
📚 Queen Village Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Thrifting and Quirky Shops
📍 Google Map
- ✨ Best Hotels – Sonder the Queen • The Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Queen Village
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Little Fish ($$$), Alyan’s ($), Crybaby Pasta ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Queen and Rook Cafe, The Twisted Tail, Tattooed Mom
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Philly Aids Thrift, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Tips for Staying in Philadelphia
Look at a Map of Philadelphia Beforehand
Philadelphia is a geographically massive city and there is a lot to see! Looking at a map can help you plan out which neighborhoods and attractions are closest to where you’re staying, and what’s feasible for your trip.
Identify the Nearest Subway, Trolley, or Bus Station
Staying near a subway or bus station can cut your costs, simplify travel, and facilitate seeing as much as possible while you’re in the city. Center City, West Philly, Old City, and parts of South Philly are all fairly accessible by subway. Other areas may be more accessible by bus.
Consider the Best Time to Visit
Like much of the northeast, Philadelphia is most enjoyable during the spring and fall. Personally, I love the summer as well. Philly has lots to offer during the summer months, but it can be very hot and humid. Spring and fall offer the most pleasant temperatures.
Make a Few Reservations at Philly Restaurants
Philly has a rich food and restaurant culture, which means popular spots often fill up quickly on weekends. Pick out a couple of restaurants you’d like to try before your trip and make reservations ahead of time to ensure you don’t miss out.
Be Safe, But Don’t Believe all the Stereotypes
Like in any large city such as New York, D.C., or Chicago, it can be dangerous to travel alone at night in Philly. Always be aware of your surroundings and consider taking a Lyft or Uber to your hotel at the end of the night. However, don’t let negative stereotypes about the city shape your perception. Philly is a fantastic city and you’re sure to love it!
FAQs About Where to Stay in Philly
What are the best areas to stay in Philadelphia?
The best areas to stay in Philadelphia are Center City and Old City. They’re ideal due to their central locations, nearby attractions, and easy transportation options.
What are the nicest hotels in Philadelphia?
The nicest hotels in Philadelphia are the Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia, the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, and the Sonder at Sixteen Hundred.
What are some good places to stay in Philadelphia on a budget?
Some good places to stay in Philadelphia on a budget include the Apple Hostels of Philadelphia and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Boise ParkCenter.
Thanks for reading my guide on where to stay in Philadelphia. Safe travels and enjoy your visit!
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I enjoyed reading your information. We are planning a quick trip in July to watch a soccer game. I believe it’s at Lincoln field.
We don’t have a lot of free time but want a safe area closer to the game, walk to breakfast and dinner. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you..
I have the same question. We’re going to Lincoln Field to watch the lacrosse tournaments. I found a nice hotel in Rittenhouse Square area but Old Town looks so cool too. Wish I knew which is safer at night and which might be better for a family with a teenager.
Rittenhouse and Old Town are both among the busier areas of Philadelphia. Either should be relatively safe in my experience living nearby for four years. Of course, Philly is a large city, so you still need to keep your wits about you anywhere.