Philadelphia is one of America’s most underrated cities. With its rich history, diverse culture, and awesome nightlife scene, it is without a doubt one of America’s best-kept secrets.

The city is one of the best places to dive into the USA’s rich history. The city’s main attractions tell the story of the past in a way that no other place can. The Old City is known as “America’s most historic square mile”. You can walk the streets and explore the same buildings as America’s Founding Fathers.

Philadelphia is one of those big cities with a small-town feel. The city is full of green spaces and parks where you can escape the hustle and bustle and relax. 

Although the city has a small-town vibe, it is still a big city with loads of neighborhoods to choose from. Each area offers something slightly different to travellers, so knowing where to stay to suit your travel style can be difficult.

That’s where I come in! I’ve explored this wonderful city and compiled the best areas to stay in this where to stay in Philadelphia guide. Whether you’ve got a big budget or small, I’ll help you to find the best place to stay for your trip to Philadelphia. 

So, let’s dive right in!

City skyline in Philadelphia at sunset
My favourite time of day in the city.

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Where Is the Best Place to Stay in Philadelphia?

Heading to Philadelphia during your travels in the USA? You’re in for a treat. Philly is an epic city to visit and tells the American story like no other place can. With its rich American past, history buffs will be in heaven in Philadelphia.

I’m going to dive into the best areas to stay in Philadelphia and what makes each so great. But if you’re short on time, these are my top picks for the best hotel, hostel and Airbnb in Philadelphia.

Penn’s View Hotel Philadelphia | Best Hotel in Philadelphia

Penn's View Hotel Philadelphia

This elegant four-star hotel is my top pick for hotels in Philadelphia. Amenities include an onsite fitness room and spa, as well as spacious guestrooms. Located at the heart of the Old City neighborhood, this hotel is close to Philadelphia’s most famous sightseeing attractions.

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia | Best Hostel in Philadelphia

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia

Located on a quiet street in Old City, this hostel is close to top landmarks, restaurants, bars, and museums. It has comfortable beds, outfitted with a reading light, electrical outlets, and a USB charging port. It’s my favourite hostel in downtown Philadelphia, thanks to its convenient location and amenities.

Spacious Home In Heart of Fishtown | Best Apartment in Philadelphia

Spacious Home In Heart of Fishtown

Sleeping up to five guests, this bright and airy loft in Fishtown is ideal for families. It’s situated a short walk from shops, restaurants, and cafes, and free parking is provided. With comfy furnishings and plenty of natural light, this is the perfect spot to relax after a day of exploring Philadelphia. You cannot go wrong with this Airbnb in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Philadelphia

FIRST TIME IN PHILADELPHIA
Old City, Philadelphia
FIRST TIME IN PHILADELPHIA

Old City

Old City is our recommendation for where to stay if you’re visiting Philadelphia for the first time. The city’s historic quarter, this is the neighbourhood where the seeds of American Independence were sown

ON A BUDGET
Center City, Philadelphia
ON A BUDGET

Center City

Center City is set at the heart of Philadelphia. The city’s central business district, this neighbourhood is the second most inhabited downtown in the USA

NIGHTLIFE
Ritthenhouse Square, Philadelphia
NIGHTLIFE

Rittenhouse Square

If you’re someone who loves to stay at the centre of the action, then Rittenhouse Square is for you!

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Fishtown and Northern Liberties, Philadelphia
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Fishtown & Northern Liberties

Set north of the city centre are the neighbouring district of Fishtown and Northern Liberties. Once an ignored area of the city, these two districts have risen the ranks over the last couple of decades to become the coolest neighbourhoods

FOR FAMILIES
Midtown Village, Philadelphia
FOR FAMILIES

Midtown Village

Stretching across central Philadelphia is Midtown Village and Washington Square West. These side-by-side neighbourhoods are home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, shops, museums, and historic landmarks

Philadelphia is a city bursting with history. The one-time capital of the United States, this massive Pennsylvanian metropolis played a major role in the development of America as a nation.

It’s where the Declaration of Independence was signed in the 18th century, and history rings out throughout the city to this day. Independence Hall and Independence National Historical Park are important places to visit in Philadelphia to discover more about this time in history.

Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the USA. It is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, as well as an impressive selection of nightlife, dining and entertainment offerings.

If it’s your first time travelling to Philadelphia, I recommend staying in Old City. One of the oldest neighborhoods in the entire nation, it’s full of historic landmarks, art museums, upscale boutiques, and nightlife.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia
Dive into Philly’s rich history at the Independence Hall.

If you’re travelling to Philadelphia on a budget, you’ll find a lot of great accommodations in Center City. It’s the city’s CBD and is packed with things to do at reasonable prices.

Rittenhouse Square is an upscale neighborhood, home to some of the best of Philadelphia’s nightlife. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s as busy at night as it is during the day, then this is your best option.

Continuing to north Philadelphia you’ll pass through Northern Liberties and Fishtown. One of the coolest areas of the city, these adjacent districts are home to vintage shops, trendy eateries, and plenty of hip hangouts. There are heaps of unique things to do in Philadelphia in Fishtown.

Boasting a delightful mix of residential dwellings, Midtown is a friendly area ideal for families staying in Philadelphia. There are plenty of shops, and restaurants, home to some of the best food in the city.

There are also loads of places nearby that you can adventure to on day trips from Philadelphia. Oh, the exploring to be had!

Still not sure where to stay in Philadelphia? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Philadelphia’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the five best neighborhoods to stay in Philadelphia. Each one is suited to different travel styles, but they’re all well-connected so you can explore each area during your stay.

1. Old City – Where to Stay in Philadelphia on your First Time

Located next to the Delaware River, this downtown district is home to Philadelphia’s historical landmarks. From the Liberty Bell to Independence National Historical Park you can explore all the sites that played a key role in the birth of the nation.

Old City in Philadelphia
Old City is the birthplace of American Independence

But there’s more to Old City than history. Old City is also where you’ll find a great selection of contemporary art galleries, interesting museums, upscale shopping, and incredible nightlife. There’s so much to discover here, making it the best place to stay if you’re just getting to know the city.

Penn’s View Hotel Philadelphia | Best Hotel in Old City

Penn's View Hotel Philadelphia

This elegant and stylish four-star hotel is my top recommendation for where to stay in Old City. It’s one of the nicest luxury hotels in Philadelphia. Located at the heart of the neighborhood, this hotel is close to downtown Philadelphia’s most famous attractions.

It has a fitness room, an in-house spa, and spacious guestrooms. In other words, it’s pretty much the best spot to stay in the city!

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia | Best Hostel in Old City

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia

Located on a quiet street in Old City, this hostel is close to top landmarks, as well as restaurants, bars, and museums. It has comfortable beds, outfitted with a reading light, electrical outlets, and a USB charging port. Its proximity to everything means you can save money on transport too!

A hostel is a great option for solo travellers looking to meet travel buddies to explore with.

Cobblestone Delight | Best Airbnb in Old City

Cobblestone Delight

Located on a small cobblestone street, this stunning contemporary house is ideal for families or groups visiting Philadelphia for the first time. The interiors are light and spacious, with high ceilings and exposed brick in each room. The house has two double bedrooms and large bathrooms, as well as a fully equipped industrial kitchen.

Things to See and Do in Old City:

  1. See the Liberty Bell and its mysterious crack.
  2. Visit Independence Hall and Independence National Historical Park, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776.
  3. Browse the exhibits at The National Constitution Center.
  4. Tour the Betsy Ross House, where the first American flag was sewn.
  5. Explore Penn’s Landing.
  6. Marvel at the artwork in the Museum of Art.
  7. Shop until you drop on the 3rd Street Corridor.
  8. Wander along Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continually inhabited residential street in the US.
  9. Take a tour of the US Mint.
  10. Discover Philadephia’s past on a Revolution and The Founders History Tour
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2. Center City – Where to Stay in Philadelphia on a Budget

Center City is set at the heart of downtown Philadelphia. The city’s central business district, this neighborhood is the second most inhabited downtown in the USA. It is where you can enjoy a great mix of historical and contemporary attractions, as well as incredible dining, shopping and nightlife options.

Center City skyline in Philadelphia

This neighborhood is also where you’ll find a wide selection of budget hostels and cost-conscious hotels in Philadelphia. If your goal is to save a little money while visiting downtown Philadelphia, this is the place to stay. You’ll get to enjoy all the perks of the city centre without the hefty price tag.

Thomas Bond House | Best Bed & Breakfast in Centre City

Thomas Bond House

Each guest room in this purpose-built bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania comes with an ensuite bathroom and free Wi-Fi. Set in a classic building, rooms have traditional and comfortable furnishings complete with a desk space. This accommodation is suitable for anyone from solo travellers to large families and is situated close to numerous parks and museums.

Morris House Hotel | Best Hotel in Midtown Village

Morris House Hotel

The Morris House Hotel is a charming and cosy three-star property in central Philadelphia. It’s close to a variety of well-known attractions, bars, restaurants, and shops. Rooms are full of convenient amenities, and there’s an awesome onsite restaurant.

Double Suite in Philly Downtown | Best Airbnb in Center City

Double Suite in Philly Downtown

This private suite is ideal for a small family, two friends or couples looking for budget accommodation in Philadelphia. The flat has one bedroom with two double beds and EPIC views.

You get access to ergonomic workspaces and fast Wi-Fi which is great for those rockin’ the digital nomad lifestyle. You’ll also get access to a 24/7 gym so you can keep fit while you travel.

Things to See and Do in Center City:

  1. Take a relaxing stroll through Fairmount Park.
  2. Run up the Art Museum Steps and do your best Rocky impression.
  3. See the largest collection of Rodin’s works outside of Paris at the Rodin Museum.
  4. Sip an awesome craft brew at the Prohibition Tap Room.
  5. Grab a pint at Con Murphy’s Irish Pub.
  6. Indulge in a delicious cappuccino at Café Lift.
  7. See incredible performances from emerging artists at Underground Arts.
  8. For those Rocky lovers, you can do a half-day private Rocky movie locations tour.

3. Rittenhouse Square – Best Area in Philadelphia for Nightlife

If you’re someone who loves to stay at the centre of the action, then Rittenhouse Square is for you!

This downtown district is one of the most upscale in the city. The area consists of a lush and manicured park, surrounded by expensive condos and shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Four margarita cocktails cheersing on a night out.
Don’t mind if I do.
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

Rittenhouse Square is also my pick for where to stay for nightlife, as it’s home to the best bars, clubs and cocktail lounges in Philadelphia. Whether you’re looking to dance until dawn, enjoy panoramic views, or sip sophisticated cocktails in a hip speakeasy, this neighborhood has something for everyone.

La Reserve Bed and Breakfast | Best Bed and Breakfast in Rittenhouse Square

La Reserve Bed and Breakfast

This charming and cosy bed and breakfast is located close to Rittenhouse Square’s top bars and attractions. It has comfortable rooms with en-suites, as well as a desk area and free Wi-Fi. They also make a bangin’ breakfast!

The Windsor Suites Philadelphia | Best Hotel in Rittenhouse Square

The Windsor Suites Philadelphia

This modern hotel is a great pick for where to stay in Rittenhouse Square. It sits at the heart of the district and is surrounded by attractions, boutiques, and wining and dining options. Onsite, you’ll find a rooftop swimming pool, a contemporary fitness centre, and two restaurants.

Central Rittenhouse apartment near public transit | Best Airbnb in Rittenhouse Square

Central Rittenhouse apartment near public transit

Location baby! This awesome Philadelphia Airbnb is in an epic location right across the street from Rittenhouse Square. You’ll be close to restaurants, bars and shopping – you won’t be short of delicious food and drinks at this spot.

The apartment has everything you need for a comfy stay; a fully equipped kitchen, washing machine & dryer and a TV. It’s the perfect place to come home to after a day of exploring.

Things to See and Do in Rittenhouse Square:

  1. Enjoy a walk in one of the largest parks in Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square.
  2. Visit the cheese cave at Di Bruno Bros.
  3. Check out the Church of the Holy Trinity.
  4. Discover the incredible food scene in Rittenhouse Square.
  5. Tour the Rosenbach museum, library and garden.
  6. Go to Philadelphia’s magic garden
  7. Join a Flavors of Philly Food Tour and eat your way around town.
  8. Sip cocktails at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co, a popular prohibition-style speakeasy.
  9. Shop the upscale boutiques along Walnut and Chestnut streets
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4. Fishtown & Northern Liberties – Coolest Place to Stay in Philadelphia

Set north of the city centre are the neighboring districts of Fishtown and Northern Liberties. These two areas have risen the ranks over the last couple of decades, filling up with trendy establishments and the best eateries in the city. From the best bagels in town to hip bistros, you’ll be eating well here that’s for sure.

A bagel in the USA
Did I eat bagels for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yes, of course I did.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

It’s the home of food, art and music. You’ll love Fishtown for its creative, vibrant, hipster vibe that has developed here.

Unfortunately, Northern Liberties is not the safest neighborhood in Philadelphia. There’s relatively low risk when you’re exploring throughout the day, but do take extra caution when out at night. Stick to the main streets to stay safe.

Lokal Hotel Fishtown | Best Hotel in Fishtown

Lokal Hotel Fishtown

Each room in this stylish hotel comes with a full kitchen, private bathrooms and a dining area, so your family can enjoy all the comforts of home. Furnishings are modern and comfortable, and free Wi-Fi is available in each room.

This place is ideal for families or those travelling as a couple heading to Philadelphia, with plenty of top attractions within walking distance. It’s easily one of the best hotels in Philadelphia.

Sonder – Frankford Flats | Best Apartment in Fishtown

Sonder - Franford Flats

With the largest rooms sleeping up to six guests, this hotel is perfect for families. Each unit contains a kitchen and private bathroom, and free Wi-Fi is also available. The best part of this hotel has to be its rooftop area, where you can catch stunning views over the city. Not bloody bad if you ask me!

Spacious Home In Heart of Fishtown | Best Apartment in Fishtown

Spacious Home In Heart of Fishtown

Sleeping up to five guests, this bright and airy loft in Fishtown is ideal for families. It’s situated a short walk from shops, restaurants, and cafes, and FREE parking is provided. With comfy furnishings and plenty of natural light, this is the perfect spot to relax after a day of exploring Philadelphia.

Things to See and Do in Fishtown & Northern Liberties:

  1. See live acts at Johnny Brenda’s.
  2. Satisfy your appetite with a delicious lox sandwich at Philly Style Bagels.
  3. Shop for secondhand and vintage pieces at Two Percent Gory and Urban Exchange.
  4. Take a stroll through Penn Treaty Park.
  5. Down a pint at Yard’s Brewery.
  6. Grab a slice at Pizza Brain.
  7. Visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site where the author lived and worked.
  8. Sample your way through Frankford Hall, a traditional German beer garden with a modern twist.

5. Midtown Village – Best Area in Philadelphia for Families

Midtown Village and Washington Square West stretch across the middle of Philadelphia. These side-by-side neighborhoods are home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, shops, museums, and historic landmarks.

Midtown Village, Philadelphia
You’ll never run out of things to do here!

Midtown is my pick for the best neighborhood in Philadelphia for families. Not only is it located within walking distance of the city’s top historic and tourist attractions, but within Midtown Village’s streets, you’ll find a number of some of the best things to explore in the city.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia | Best Hotel in Midtown Village

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

This stylish four-star hotel is equipped with family rooms. It’s one of the better hotels in Philadelphia for those travelling with kids. Located near the Liberty Bell and City Hall, this modern hotel is close to restaurants, bars, and popular attractions. Onsite, you can enjoy a restaurant, bar and a rooftop terrace.

ROOST East Market | Best Apartment in Midtown Village

ROOST East Market

ROOST East Market is a charming and cosy apartment in central Philadelphia. Compared to a hotel, you get SO much more space with an entire apartment to yourself. You get a fully equipped kitchen and access to a barbecue, outdoor fireplace and sun terrace. It’s close to a variety of well-known attractions, bars, restaurants, and shops.

Large Bi-Level Flat | Best Airbnb in Midtown Village

Large Bi-Level Flat

Who needs luxury hotels in Philadelphia when you can get a whole apartment to yourself? With space for up to ten guests, this large bi-level apartment is ideal for a family trip to Philadelphia!

The unit comes with a full kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as free Wi-Fi for a convenient stay. It’s centrally located close to Philadelphia’s top attractions and public transport services, so you can really make the most of your time in the city.

Things to See and Do in Midtown Village:

  1. Spend an afternoon people-watching in Washington Square Park.
  2. Tour Philadelphia City Hall and marvel at the statue of William Penn that tops the city hall building.
  3. Explore and eat your way through the streets of Chinatown.
  4. Visit the Wells Fargo History Museum.
  5. Admire the architecture on Spruce Street.
  6. Visit the funky South Street known for its delicious food, bars and all-around edgey-ness.
  7. Head to the Italian Market on 9th Street and let your taste buds enjoy.
  8. See a world-class performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra.
  9. Wander through Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and admire a collection of murals and mosaic art.
  10. For you arty travellers, check out this South Philly Art Walking Tour.
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FAQs about Finding a Place to Stay in Philadelphia

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Philadelphia and where to stay.

What To Pack For Philadelphia

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
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Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
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Hanging Laundry Bag

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Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
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Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a gem of a city, bursting with history, culture, and great food. Whether you’re a history buff, a fearless foodie or a party animal – there’s something for everyone in this city and it’s well worth a visit.

If you’re still unsure where to stay, I’d lock in my top pick for the best hotel in town: Penn’s View Hotel Philadelphia. With its central location, fitness centre and comfy rooms it’s the ideal place to stay. There are loads of hotels in Philadelphia but this one takes the cake for me.

However, if you’re on a budget or solo travelling, you can’t go wrong with the Apple Hostels of Philadelphia. Set in Old City, this hostel is a short walk from tourist attractions, bars, restaurants, shops, and museums.

Wherever you decide to stay in Philadelphia, I’m sure you’ll have an epic time exploring the food, the history and the nightlife. Have fun!

View over the river and green space in Philadelphia with the city skyline in the background
Soak in the big city light and those lush green spaces.