If you find yourself with a little bit of time to spare in Philadelphia due to a layover or delayed flight, you’re in luck. This bustling city is extremely walkable, has easy public transportation, and the airport is close to the action, so hop on a train to Center City and start exploring.
If you have three hours…
Hop on SEPTA’s Regional Rail Airport line into Center City and get off at Jefferson Station, where you can quickly take the Market-Frankford line (also known as the “El”) into Old City. Wander through the historic sites, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, rest for a while in one of the lovely parks that dot Old City’s landscape, and if you have a minute, grab an ice cream cone at Franklin Fountain or a super-fresh sandwich at United by Blue before you take the El and the Airport line back to PHL.
If you have five hours….
Get off at Jefferson Station and, instead of taking the El, take yourself on a food tour of Center City. Stop in at the Reading Terminal Market and explore the stalls, but don’t fill up there, because just a few blocks away, Midtown Village is full of great restaurants serving everything from vegan tacos and wood-fired pizzas to traditional Spanish tapas. If you’re in the mood, you can also check out tons of specialty wine, beer, and cocktail bars. Before you get back on the train, be sure to walk by Philadelphia’s beautiful City Hall and Dilworth Plaza.
If you have seven hours…
Take the train to the Suburban Station stop and head west to Rittenhouse, which is full of amazing restaurants and stores, as well as Philadelphia’s famous Rittenhouse Square. From there, retrace your steps to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, inspired architecturally by the Champs Elysees, and walk through Logan Circle and Eakins Oval to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Even if you don’t have time to explore the whole museum, which is massive, you can still appreciate the structure and maybe even climb the steps like Rocky before heading back to Suburban Station.