If you’re looking for an iconic American travel destination, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a fantastic choice! Steeped in history, the City of Brotherly Love is a mosaic of fascinating neighborhoods. With each of its unique areas offering a unique vibe and appeal, choosing where to stay in Philadelphia is one of the most entertaining parts of planning a trip to the “Birthplace of America.”
Philadelphia’s 135 square miles are densely packed with culture, history, and dozens of diverse areas, districts, and neighborhoods to explore. The best hotels in Philadelphia are scattered throughout the city. No matter where you choose to lay your head, you’ll be close to everything from historic landmarks to upscale shopping to a vibrant cultural scene.
If you want to max out your visit, finding the “just right” accommodations is key. No worries: Just grab this guide to the best places to stay in Philadelphia, PA—and you’re good to go!
Best places to stay in Philadelphia, PA
A short trek from many major US urban centers, Philadelphia makes the perfect destination for a quick getaway. Central Philly may be small, but its diverse districts are fully packed with excitement.
Whether you want to soak up the historic sites of the Old City or browse the museums and galleries of Logan Square, you’ll find plenty to please in Philly’s neighborhoods.
Philadelphia has loads of great places to stay. Most accommodations are in the city center and conveniently located a short walk or drive from the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia.
If you’re a first-time visitor—and especially if you’re a history buff and only have 24 hours in Philadelphia—plan to stay in the Old City. One of the oldest neighborhoods in the entire nation, it features historic landmarks like Independence Hall, as well as art museums, upscale boutiques, and lively nightlife.
Outside the Old City, other areas like Logan Square, South Philadelphia, and Rittenhouse Square are great alternatives with their own unique personalities – all part of the full-on Philly experience!
The best areas to stay in Philadelphia, PA, are:
✓ Best place to stay in Philadelphia for first-time visitors & history buffs
Visiting Philadelphia for the first time? History buffs in particular will want to set their sights on Old City, the oldest neighborhood in America. This is where William Penn’s City of Brotherly Love was established in the 17th century and where Founding Fathers like Benjamin Franklin paced the cobblestone streets while setting the course for American history.
Truly the heart of Philadelphia, Old City is home to top historic attractions, including the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall, and many other sites associated with the American Revolution.
One of the city’s most beautiful districts, this historic neighborhood is bordered by the Delaware Waterfront, Center City, and the Italian Market. Old City is the perfect base for exploring the entirety of Philly.
But there’s more to this area than historic sights. With its upscale boutiques, vibrant art galleries, and diverse culinary scene, Old City packs a powerful 21st-century punch.
There’s a good range of accommodation options in Old City, but be sure to book well in advance: This is Philadelphia’s most popular tourist destination, after all!
Located on a quiet street in Old City, the affordable and comfy Apple Hostels of Philadelphia is close to restaurants, bars, museums, and top landmarks like the Museum of the American Revolution and Independence National Historical Park. The hostel offers free WiFi access, computer stations, pool tables, a shared kitchen, and a TV area.
As its name suggests, Penn’s View Hotel Philadelphia offers great views of Ben Franklin’s former stomping grounds in Old City. Work out those sightseeing kinks at the fitness center – then treat yourself to something from the on-site wine cellar, and enjoy a selection from the a la carte restaurant.
If you’re in an upscale mood, spend your nights at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia. This charming boutique hotel offers perks like in-room spas, evening wine hours, in-room dining, and a fitness center where you can burn off those carbs! Kids get complimentary use of scooters, and pooches are welcome.
✓ Best area to stay in Philadelphia for the downtown experience
As its name suggests, Center City is set smack-dab in the middle of Philadelphia. As the city’s bustling business hub, the area’s central location guarantees easy access to all the city’s neighborhoods and points of interest by foot or public transport.
Center City’s focal point is the beautiful 121-year-old Philadelphia City Hall at the junction of Market Street and Broad Street. Standing to its west are the city’s two tallest structures, Comcast Technology Center and Comcast Center.
Stroll to the eastern end of Philadephia’s Center City, and you’ll hit Chinatown and Reading Terminal Market, where you can browse food stalls crammed with fresh produce. Head up to One Liberty Observation Deck for panoramic city views, or visit the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to view its treasure trove of Old Masters.
After dark, hit the streets to experience Center City’s vibrant nightlife. And foodies will be spoiled for choice; this area boasts more cafes, restaurants, and bars than any other part of Philly. Enjoy!
Looking for an oasis away from the hurly-burly? Settle in at the Morris House Hotel. This national historic landmark, renovated into a luxury boutique hotel, exudes coziness and 18th-century charm. Enjoy captivating views of the city and the hotel’s private garden and easy access to Philadelphia’s main attractions.
Relax in modern comfort at the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City. Set in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, this hotel is just minutes away from Philly’s major tourist sites. Just two blocks from the 13th St. Trolley Station, it’s a perfect starting point for sightseeing. After a day out, unwind at the fitness center, then enjoy a bite at the on-site restaurant.
The sleek Lowes Philadelphia Hotel is a true original. As one of America’s first modern skyscrapers, it’s an architectural landmark. Set in the city’s heart, the hotel features an on-site restaurant, market, and spa. It’s within easy walking distance of major attractions like Reading Terminal Market, Independence Hall, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Bask in an unbeatable mix of modern luxury and historic charm at The Notary Hotel, Autograph Collection. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this landmark downtown hotel combines 1920s décor with modern amenities. Work up a sweat in the gym, fuel up with delicious tapas at the on-site restaurant, then head out to explore the many nearby attractions, including City Hall and the Liberty Bell.
✓ Top neighborhood to stay in Philadelphia for high-end shopping & cultural venues
If high-end shopping, luxury hotels, and cultural venues are high on your priority list, make Rittenhouse Square your base. This “square” was laid out back in 1682 by Founding Father William Penn.
Today, Rittenhouse is a leafy, upscale neighborhood studded with five-star hotels and cultural attractions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and the Mutter Museum.
Set just south of Center City, Rittenhouse Square is also one of Philly’s prime shopping destinations. Walnut and Chestnut streets are home to major national chains ranging from Anthropologie to Apple. But they’re also the setting for intriguing indie shops like Bauman Rare Books, David Michie Violins, Frankinstien Bike Worx, and many more.
When you’re ready for a break from browsing, take a seat at one of the district’s chic alfresco cafes and watch the world bustle by.
In this upscale neighborhood, you can count on lofty accommodations—and prices to match!
If you’re looking for a truly unique place to stay in Rittenhouse Square, you can’t do better than La Reserve Bed and Breakfast. This historic B & B exudes the charm of a plush 19th-century home. Relax in the parlor – complete with grand piano and decorative fireplace – as you plan your foray to nearby shops and restaurants.
Looking for modern comfort and convenience? You’ll find it at Motto by Hilton Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square. Have a workout at the fitness center, then treat yourself to a cocktail at the bar, or refuel at the on-site restaurant. Stroll the terrace for great views of the city.
You’ll be where the action is at the Element by Westin Philadelphia Downtown in Rittenhouse Square. Lounge and socialize in the airy Sky Lobby as you map out your day. Rev yourself up in the Motion Fitness Center, grab a nutritious snack from the Restore Pantry, hop on a complimentary bike, and head out to experience the vibrant downtown scene.
If you’re looking for a sumptuous blend of American sleek and French chic, you’ll find it at Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square. This stylish, award-winning destination offers an array of amenities, including a fitness area, spa marble bathrooms, pet-friendly rooms, and valet parking. Relax fireside in the Liberte Lounge, and savor artisanal cocktails and delicious French-inspired food.
✓ Best neighborhood in Philadelphia for culture vultures & museum lovers
For culture vultures and museum lovers, Logan Square is the place to stay. Wedged between Philadelphia’s Broad Street on the east and the Schuylkill River on the west, the neighborhood is an intriguing mix of luxury high-rises, ample green spaces, and historic houses.
Logan Square also happens to be home to Philadelphia’s premier art museums. Head along the green stretch of Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Square northwest to the Schuylkill River. Stop along the way to explore world-class art displays at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where you can tip your hat to the celebrated statue of the beloved “Rocky” movie character).
If you’ve got kids in your crew, the Philadelphia Zoo is a must. America’s first zoo is home to over 1,300 animals, and it’s the region’s most popular family tourism destination. You’ll also want to stop off and check out the fabulous interactive science exhibits at the Franklin Institute.
You’ll find a range of accommodations nestled around the southern end of the Parkway and a thriving culinary scene just to the north in the Fairmount district.
If you want to come and go without the in-between hassles, book a spot at Stay at Luna on Callowhill. These comfy, affordable apartments in Logan Square are fully furnished and come complete with stocked kitchens. Eat what and when you want, and enjoy contactless check-in and check-out, high-speed WiFi, Smart TV, and 24/7 tech support. Very 21st-century!
Blending modern comfort with proximity to Logan Square’s local attractions, The Windsor Suites Philadelphia is an all-suite lifestyle hotel. Set on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it offers easy access to world-famous cultural sites. Savor spacious suites with skyline views. Enjoy amenities including a rooftop deck and infinity pool, a fitness center, a well-stocked fridge, a lively pub, and pet-friendly rooms.
Looking for a room with a truly spectacular view? Enjoy it at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center. Housed in one of Philly’s two tallest standing structures, this top-rated luxury hotel earned a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Hotel rating. Enjoy rejuvenating spa treatments, and float above the city in the hotel’s 57th-floor infinity pool. Savor world-class fine dining by the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef.
✓ Recommended area for budget-conscious travelers & Ivy League Fans
The focal point of University City is – you guessed it! – universities. This West Philly neighborhood is home to Drexel University, the University of the Sciences, and the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1749 by Ben Franklin himself, UPenn is America’s oldest university.
University City definitely caters to the college crowd, but you don’t have to be an aspiring grad to get into the groove. Just across the Schuylkill River from Center City, the district is home to a great range of bars and tempting eateries on Chestnut and Walnut streets.
You’ll also find several attractions on the venerable UPenn campus, including the Penn Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Catch some b-ball at the legendary Palestra (the “Cathedral of College Basketball”), check out a show at World Café Live, or hit the farmers’ market for picnic goodies.
And good news: Since this neighborhood isn’t centrally located (it’s about a 40-minute walk from Center City), you’ll find plenty of affordable accommodation options here.
Just a couple of minutes walking distance from the highly-revered University of Pennsylvania, the Homewood Suites University City Philadelphia offers a fitness center, an indoor pool, complimentary dinner on selected nights, and a free shuttle to the University City district.
If you’re looking for cozy with a capital “C,” you’ll rest easy under a down comforter at The Gables Bed and Breakfast Philadelphia. Nestled in an eclectic neighborhood of historic buildings, this beautifully restored mansion exudes Victorian charm while offering modern amenities, including free WiFi and cable TV. Center City is just minutes away by public transport.
For a stay that offers all the fixin’s, check out The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel. This premium accommodation offers a fully equipped fitness center, 24-hour desk service, satellite TV, WiFi, and minibar. Work up a sweat in the gym, then treat yourself to a meal at award-winning Louie Louie for a delicious sampling of American French fusion fare.
✓ Top neighborhood in Philly for foodies
If a mind-boggling array of eateries set in a vibrant neighborhood sounds good to you, sink your teeth into South Philadelphia. A favorite with residents and visitors alike, this district brims with life, including boutique shops, restaurants, bars, and music venues.
Strut your stuff along East Passyhunk or famed South Street – both South Philadelphia anchors – and soak up the local flavor.
South Philly is home to colorful murals and street art, quirky bars, and generations-old mom-and-pop shops. The star attraction, of course, is the beloved Philly cheesesteak. Check out spots like neighborhood fav Jim’s Steaks to see what makes these meaty morsels so popular.
You’ll also find loads of great traditional Italian restaurants, along with relative newcomers offering a bevy of ethnic cuisines. And be sure to carve out time for South Philly’s iconic 9th St Italian Market. This foodie extravaganza is jam-packed with fine food shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and fresh produce vendors.
This neighborhood’s southern end is mostly residential and a 30-minute commute to downtown. If you’re looking to combine food-tasting with sightseeing, check out the north for convenient, affordable accommodation.
Set in the colorful Bella Vista neighborhood just off South Street, Sonder the Queen features cutting-edge condos in a beautifully renovated building. Exposed brick, massive beams, and superb natural lighting reflect the building’s historic roots. Grab a bite in the restaurant, then head up to the roof to savor a cocktail and take in amazing views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
If watching or wagering on sports is your thing, Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is a sure thing. Just steps from the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and 76ers, this upscale hotel features top-flight dining and entertainment, along with hundreds of slots and electronic and live table games. Bonus: it’s just a 15-minute commute by public transit to downtown Philly.
Set just off the southern end of South Philly north of the Delaware River, Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia South at The Navy Yard is the perfect place to stay if you want to check out the local sports action. Close to all of Philly’s main stadiums, this spot offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, free WiFi, flat-screen TV, and an on-site bistro.