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Transportation question

RIchmond VA
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Transportation question

My Mom and I will be vacationing in Philadelphia in the spring of next year. We are thinking about staying in a rental flat in Bryn Mawr and using public transportation to see the sights in the city.

Let me state, I grew up in Detroit so I am quite aware of being cautious, alert and knowing the area when I am out and about. If potential visitors asked me about Detroit I would tell them that they should avoid public transport like the plague. Everyone drives in Detroit, public transport is dirty and downright dangerous. I regularly use the Metro in the D.C. area so I know that there are many large cities with dependable and safe public transit. But, I am unfamiliar with the Philadelphia area and most travel information doesn’t really state the specifics on public safety.

I certainly don’t want to offend the people who love the city of Philadelphia, but how safe it is to use public transportation? Especially two women.

I would be grateful for any advice from localsor from those who have visiting!

Bucks County...
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for Philadelphia, Train Travel, Bucks County
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1. Re: Transportation question

You would be taking the SEPTA R5 regional rail into downtown. The line and stations are perfectly safe, though the downtown stations are several blocks from the sites. However, unless you have some other reason to stay in the suburbs, it is much more convenient to stay downtown. Downtown Philadelphia is a vibrant, mixed use area- not like downtown Detroit in any way at all.

Dearborn, Michigan
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2. Re: Transportation question

I am originally from the Philadelphia suburbs and now live in Dearborn, MI. You will not have any safety concerns with the commuter train (R5 regional rail) but, unless you have family or business reasons to stay in Bryn Mawr--or if there is a very significant cost difference, all things considered, I would take Owlyn's advice and stay downtown. There are all-suites hotels in good downtown locations if you are concerned about space.

Trip Advisor's Destination Experts for Philadelphia are outstanding and I know they can give you great advice about your itinerary, accommodations and restaurants (including some neat BYOBs, brew pubs and just about everything else). I watch 8 other TA forums (fora) and the Philly DE's are the most unfailingly polite and helpful f the 8, at least in my opinion.

Cherry Hill, NJ
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3. Re: Transportation question

In reality, you are probably safer staying in the city than commuting each day, while their are sporadic incidents, the 'tourist' area is quite safe. Add in the time and hassle factor, and there is no real benefit to staying outside the city..

Philadelphia
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4. Re: Transportation question

I agree with all of the above (I commute to the city on the R5 daily). That said, if you are planning to return to Bryn Mawr after the rush hour crowds are gone (say 7pm or later) you may find some of the stations a little desolate, and when the commuter crowds are gone, the homeless and other stray characters predominate.

RIchmond VA
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5. Re: Transportation question

Thanks for all the responses. We are driving from Virginia to Philadelphia and planning on seeing sites around the city as well, (New Hope, Winterthur Estates) so I'm trying to find a place to stay that's kind of centrally located. Also there's the matter of parking, won't most places in the city charge for parking?

Bucks County...
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6. Re: Transportation question

Yes, hotels charge for parking, but the cost of parking will be less than the cost of commuting in from the suburbs (especially for two or more people), not to mention the difference in convenience.

Cherry Hill, NJ
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7. Re: Transportation question

The average cost for parking at a hotel is around $25 per day with in/out privileges. You can spend less if you park at a garage and don't need to go in/out more than once per day. Also, depending on promotions at the time you come, some hotels offer free parking.

Depending on the stations, a ticket on regional rail will run about $5 ($4.25 off peak) each way per person, or $20 per day. Add in 30 minutes on the train each way plus waiting time...

Now also, depending on how long you will be staying, and what your plans are, you may not need a car at all. Inside the city, you can use taxis and walk, and not worry about the parking cost, for an extended stay and just take Amtrak up if you don't want to drive (this only works out for cost for a 2 week or more trip).

Philadelphia
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8. Re: Transportation question

Can I suggest that since you are driving up from VA it makes good sense to stop nearby Winterthur first. Stay overnight at a nearby B&B. I also recommend a stop at the Brandywine River Museum.

Not sure where you are going after Philly but if it involves further drive north you may want to do New Hope on your way out of town. That's another town where you can find B&Bs to stay in.

With those exceptions, for your visit to Philadelphia I would recommend a Center City hotel. Yes, you will pay up to $40 per day for parking. As Loonbeam mentions, you can cut down this cost if you seek out a parking garage nearby your hotel. Check out or FAQ on parking for more on this.

Staying in Center City will mean that you won't have to waste time and money on commuting. You can also go back to your hotel and rest during the day, then plan a nice evening activity and/or nice dinner. The restaurant selections in Center City are much more diverse and interesting than in the suburbs. Trust me on this!

RIchmond VA
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9. Re: Transportation question

Thanks for all the responses, you've talked me into staying in Center City - it just makes more sense with so much to do and see in this area. We'll just stay a day or two in the Brandywine area, see Philly, then visit New Hope for a day on the way home.

Now, off to look at B&B's in Center City - lost my interest in hotels long ago!

Thanks again!

Philadelphia...
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10. Re: Transportation question

It's not technically a B&B, but more of an inn - check out the Penn's View Inn, right in Old City. Really nice.

Suzanne