Philadelphia, or “Philly” for short, is the City of Brotherly Love in Pennsylvania. It’s a must-see city with tons to do year-round. But you’ll have the most memorable trip when you know the best time to visit Philadelphia!
Whether you’re a culture vulture, love the great outdoors, or have kids in tow, Philadelphia has something to make everyone’s trip amazing.
We’ll share the best, cheapest, least crowded, and worst times to visit Philly in this guide. Plus, we’ll highlight important travel tips and top recommendations for what to see and do to have the best time in Philly!
Why You Should Visit Philadelphia
Before we get into the best and worst times to visit Philadelphia, you may wonder why – or if – it’s worth visiting in the first place.
Philadelphia is the perfect balance of modern city vibes and historical significance. Stroll through vibrant neighborhoods, explore the iconic sights and sounds downtown, or take a bite out of an iconically delicious Philly cheesesteak.
Here’s a look at why you should visit Philadelphia and what not to miss on your trip!
Culture and Arts
If you love culture, Philadelphia offers world-class museums, galleries, and performing arts venues to check out. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-see.
Take a stroll through Chinatown or explore the unique street art around town to ground yourself in Philly’s unique blend of cultures!
Philadelphia is home to some of America’s most important and iconic historical sites. The city is home to some iconic symbols and monuments from U.S. history, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
Visit the National Constitution Center to learn all about America’s founding documents, or explore Franklin Square, a public park serving as Philadelphia’s birthplace.
Head outdoors and explore some of Philly’s great outdoor spaces, like Fairmount Park or Valley Forge National Historical Park.
The city is right on the Schuylkill River, which frames the city with natural beauty. The Schuylkill River Trail is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll or bike ride. Don’t forget to visit the famous Love Park while you’re here!
No visit to Philadelphia is complete without exploring the city’s vibrant, energetic nightlife scene. From local dive bars to chic rooftop lounges, there’s something for every nightlife lover.
Be sure to check out Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and South Street for some of the best nightlife spots in Philly.
Overall Best Time to Visit Philadelphia
The overall best time to visit Philadelphia for most travelers is springtime from March to May.
The weather during the spring months is very pleasant in Philadelphia, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s. It’s mild, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the city is waking up after a low-key winter season.
You’ll notice fewer crowds than in the warmer months and still have plenty of sunny days. It’s the perfect time to explore the city by foot.
If you come in spring, you’ll be in town to see the cherry blossoms bloom. Cherry blossoms are an attractive appeal for tourists and locals alike, making them one of the most Instagrammable experiences in Philadelphia.
If you visit during April or May, you can also catch one of Philadelphia’s beloved outdoor festivals and activities, like the Philadelphia Flower Show or Pride Celebration.
Hotel room rates are good in the spring with slight price dips if you visit before June. This is definitely the best time of year to come!
Cheapest Time to Visit Philadelphia
The cheapest time to visit Philadelphia is early fall (September to October) or winter (January to February).
In September and October, Philly’s summer crowds have died down quite a bit and the weather has also started to cool down. That makes it a great time to explore the city without breaking the bank.
Prices for hotels, flights, and some attractions will be much lower during these months. You’ll also get to experience the scenic beauty of fall foliage in the city – a great bonus for thrifty travelers!
January and February are also great months to visit Philadelphia if you’re looking for a budget-friendly trip.
January and February are the coldest times of year in the city, but there are still plenty of indoor things to do and explore. Consider checking out some of the nearby museums, educational sites, galleries, and indoor performances during the cheaper, cooler periods.
Least Busy Time to Visit Philadelphia
January to March is the least busy time to visit Philadelphia since fewer visitors arrive while it’s cold outside.
Since January and February are the coldest months for Philly, many people avoid visiting during this time. The temperatures range from the low 20s to the mid-40s, making it more difficult to explore the outdoors comfortably.
However, if you don’t mind the chillier temperatures and potentially blustery conditions, this time of year can be perfect for you. You won’t have to worry about large crowds and can explore the city at your own pace.
Since it’s less busy during the winter and early spring, you’ll get moderately low prices on flights and hotels. In March, the temperatures start to rise with an average high of 53 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re serious about avoiding crowds, it might be worth bundling up to explore the city with fewer people around and take advantage of discounts!
Worst Time to Visit Philadelphia
The worst time to visit Philadelphia is generally the summer months from June to August.
The city’s summer temperatures can be very hot, sometimes reaching close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not a dry heat, but a humid heat that makes the air feel muggy and sticky.
If you’re not cut out for all this humidity, city exploration and outdoor adventures can be almost unbearable in 90 degree heat!
Summer is also the peak season for tourists in Philadelphia, making it one of the busiest times to visit. Prices for flights and hotels will be much higher, and the competition to book them will be stiff.
Plus, you’ll have to deal with big crowds of people and lines everywhere you go. If you don’t mind the heat and crowds, then this could be a good time to visit.
Many festivals and events take place during the summer, such as The Roots Picnic and Made in America. If you can hang in the heat, you’ll be able to take advantage of the variety of restaurants and gardens that are open during this time.
Things to Consider
We’ve covered the best time to visit Philadelphia, but what else should you know? Here are some helpful tips and considerations to make planning your trip a little easier.
- Transportation. Philadelphia is a very large city, and it’s always a wise idea to familiarize yourself with the public transport options available. You can take busses, a subway, or the trolley system around town. Driving a car is a convenient way to explore, but you may get stuck in traffic or have to pay parking fees throughout the trip.
- Budget. Make sure to plan a budget for your trip and keep tabs on how much you’re spending while you’re there. Budgeting can help ensure that you won’t overspend and have enough money to cover your expenses. Leave some room for unexpected expenses and souvenirs you just have to grab!
- Weather. Consider the time of year before your visit and plan accordingly. If you’re going during the summer, pack light, warm-weather clothes that dry quickly, plenty of sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes. If you’re going during the fall or winter, pack warm, layered clothing and warm boots to make brisk walks around the city a little more pleasant.
- Accommodations. Make sure to book your hotel in advance so you can secure the best prices and have a place to stay when you arrive. You can also check for internet deals or discounts available so you don’t overspend your budget! Book earlier if you’re going during the peak summer season.
- Dining. Philly is an amazing destination for tasty food and drinks. Beyond the famous Philly cheesesteaks, the city is home to some really delicious restaurants, bars, and pubs. Make sure to check out some of the top eateries while you’re in town.
- Safety. Philadelphia is a relatively safe city with medium crime risk. It has a lower crime rate than most large U.S. cities, but you should still make sure to stay aware of your surroundings while you’re exploring, take necessary precautions, and avoid crime-heavy neighborhoods.
Things to Do in Philadelphia
What kinds of things can you do in Philadelphia? There are lots of activities to take advantage of while you’re here! Here are some of the most-recommended things to do in Philly.
- Museums and historical sites
- Drinks and dining
- Nightlife and clubs
- Art shows and galleries
- Hiking and biking
- Exploring downtown
- Sports games
- Outdoor recreation and parks
Attractions to Consider in Philadelphia
While you’re hanging around Philadelphia, make sure you leave a little time to stop by these iconic attractions and sites!
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, home to impressionist paintings and other great works
- Independence National Historical Park, a beautiful building holding the historic Liberty Bell
- Fishtown, a vibrant neighborhood full of great restaurants, bars, and stores
- Reading Terminal Market, a historical market with delicious food and drinks
- Ben Franklin Parkway, a beautiful area with ample walking trails and lush gardens
- The Franklin Institute, a science museum where you can learn about Benjamin Franklin
- Love Park, a romantic spot with beautiful sculptures and great views of the city
- Philadelphia Zoo, a fantastic zoo with over 1300 animals from all around the world
- The Schuylkill River Trail, a scenic bike and running trail along the Schuylkill River
- Valley Forge National Historical Park, a place to learn about America’s history
- Fairmount Park, a spacious, beautiful park by the river, great for walking and playing
- National Constitution Center, an educational museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution
These are just a few of the top attractions to consider while visiting Philadelphia. There are plenty more to discover while you’re there, so keep your eyes open!
Frequently Asked Questions
Philadelphia is best when you know what to look for and the best time to go. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help you find the answers you need before your visit!
How many days do I need to see Philadelphia?
How many days you should spend in Philadelphia depends on your type of travel and how much time you have. Generally, we recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Philadelphia to get a well-rounded feel of the city.
What is the best month to visit Pennsylvania?
April and May are the best months to visit Pennsylvania for optimal springtime weather. Although it's spring, these months aren't as rainy as the summer months, especially July.
Is Philadelphia worth visiting?
Absolutely! Philadelphia has an incredible history, delicious food, and fun activities to explore. Plus, it's close enough for day trips if you live in the Northeast.
Is October a good time to visit Philadelphia?
October is a great time to visit Philadelphia. The city's foliage will be reaching its peak color and the temperatures will be mild and comfortable.
You may also get discounts on flights, hotels, and more since it's during the shoulder season.
What's the best part of Philadelphia to stay in?
Most visitors like to stay in Old City, Center City, or Rittenhouse. These areas offer the greatest number of attractions while also being safe for tourists.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Philadelphia?
The best time to visit Philadelphia overall is during the late spring to early summer months, from March to May. This period has mild weather, moderate prices, and tons to do for visitors.
If you’re planning a budget-friendly trip, try visiting during the early fall, from September to October, or in winter from January to February. These periods see fewer visitors and prices on hotels and flights dip in response.
January to March see the fewest visitors of the year, so it’s nice if you’re avoiding big crowds. Try to avoid visiting during the summer months – June through August – when it’s much hotter, more humid, and packed with crowds.
Overall, Philadelphia has a lot to offer visitors, and the best time to visit will depend on which aspect you want to prioritize – budget, weather, or crowds.
No matter when you choose to visit, Philadelphia is a vibrant city with a lot to explore. Choose the best time for you and start planning your dream trip to Philly!