Philadelphia makes the ideal weekend getaway. Scenic public gardens, a rich history and cultural scene, and distinct local food and drink options make the City of Brotherly Love flush with an abundance of things to see and do. When planning your Philly adventure, you are going to need to know how much money to budget. Here is what to expect in costs for your weekend of fun.
Lodging: With only one weekend to discover all of the marvels of Philadelphia, you will want to choose lodging that is located in close proximity to the attractions at the top of your bucket list. For the most convenience to public transportation and the most popular sites, you will want to stay as close as possible to the Center City, but there are great places to stay all over Philadelphia.
Hotel rates in the Center City will average approximately $200 per night, depending on the date that you travel and the level of accommodations that you choose. Expect to pay around this price point for a mid-level hotel with all of the usual amenities. Upscale boutique hotels will run more while the lower level motel accommodations on the outskirts of town will only cost approximately $100 per night.
Transportation: One of the key parts of budgeting your vacation is planning for the transportation costs. Fortunately, Philadelphia is a walkable city, allowing you to get around on foot if you plan your lodging in the main Center City. If you need to rent a car, the cost will largely be dependent on the type of vehicle that you choose. Plan on spending approximately $200 per weekend for a midsize vehicle. Another great option to get around is to rent a bike. Ride Indego is the city’s official bikeshare program, offering daily passes for just $12.
Or try the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) options, providing a vast network of bus and subway routes. Most visitors find the Independence Pass the most useful, giving you unlimited travel on any of the SEPTA buses, trolleys, subways, and trains. One-day passes start at just $13 for an individual or $30 for a family of five traveling together.
Food and Drink: There is no shortage of amazing food and drink offerings sprinkled all throughout the city and its environs. Because of all of this variety, it is easy to devise a meal itinerary that does not break the bank. If you have money to spend on fine food, consider a special meal at Vetri Cucina, featuring authentic Italian food in a cozy and intimate setting. The seasonal multi-course tasting menu is priced at $165 per person and worth every penny.
For something more casual and affordable, try noshing on pizza at Pizzeria Beddia, Tacconelli’s, or Angelo’s. Diners can expect to pay approximately $15-$20 per person at any of these local joints. The Reading Terminal Market is a must-see destination when visiting Philly, delivering a host of delectables at this bustling food hall. Do not miss DiNic’s famous roast pork sandwiches finished with an ice cream cone at Bassetts. You can grab a full meal here for under $20, making it a great value.
You cannot go wrong with a classic Philly cheesesteak when you need a quick and cheap meal on the go. While everyone has a different opinion on who makes the best cheesesteaks, favorites include Geno’s Steaks, Tony Luke’s, and Pat’s King of Steaks. The average sandwich will cost you about $10. McGillin’s Olde Ale House is a great place to grab a pint of beer. Revelers can count on prices at this traditional Irish pub to be in the $5-10 range for a pint.
Attractions: The cornerstone of Philadelphia travel is its famous historical sites. The good news is that these attractions are reasonably priced, making the city an affordable getaway. You cannot visit the City of Brotherly Love without making a stop at the iconic Liberty Bell. The best thing about this legendary bell is that it is free to see.
Other popular attractions and their admission prices include the Philadelphia Zoo ($20 admission and $17 parking), The Franklin Institute science museum ($23 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-11), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art ($25 for adults and free for kids 18 and under). As an alternative, you may want to look into purchasing a CityPASS, giving you access to some of the area’s top attractions at one price. Prices start at $52 for adults for three attractions, $68 for four choices, and $79 for five selections. Child prices are slightly lower.
Shopping enthusiasts will not be disappointed in the options in Philadelphia. For an upscale experience, head to Rittenhouse Row. If you are looking for a bargain, you will want to hit up the Philadelphia Mills Mall, offering the top labels at up to 60% off of retail prices. The Shops at Liberty Place boast a little bit of everything and in every price range in a convenient location.
Like with any vacation, you can customize your trip to fit your budget and personal travel preferences. Knowing what to expect for baseline costs will help you to decide where to funnel the biggest amount of your travel budget so that you can make the most out of your time in Philadelphia.