New York City and Philadelphia are the two biggest cities on the Eastern Seaboard and separated by only 95 miles (152 kilometers). The two are so close, in fact, that many Philadelphian "super commuters" actually work in Manhattan and make the roundtrip journey every day. The fastest and easiest way to travel between the two cities is by train, although it can be pricey. Taking the bus is the slowest method but also the cheapest, and is much less stressful than driving yourself and dealing with traffic. There are flights between the two cities, but they're expensive and not nearly as convenient as the train.
|Train||1 hour, 10 minutes||from $29||Fast and easy traveling|
|Bus||2 hours||from $1||Getting there on a budget|
|Plane||1 hour, 10 minutes||from $145||Making an airport connection|
|Car||1 hour, 40 minutes||95 miles (152 kilometers)||Freedom to explore|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From New York City to Philadelphia?
With journeys that cost as little as a dollar, the bus is by far the cheapest option for travel from New York to Philly. The trip takes between two and three hours depending on traffic, so it's best to avoid rush hour time on weekday mornings and evenings. All of the major bus services—such as Greyhound, Bolt Bus, and Mega Bus—depart from the Port Authority Bus Terminal more than a dozen times per day, as well as a few other locations throughout Manhattan depending on the company.
The biggest advantage of bus travel is that it's cheap and has frequent departures. Like the train, most of the buses offer WiFi, too. Purchase your bus tickets in advance online to get the best fares, which range from $1 to $30 depending on how far in advance you book your ticket and the company you choose.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From New York City to Philadelphia?
Traveling to Philadelphia by train from New York City is a quick and low-stress option. Trains travel from Penn Station in Manhattan to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station all throughout the day. Amtrak's Acela service takes about an hour and 10 minutes, while other trains can take up to an hour and a half. In any case, most of the train cars feature WiFi, so you can spend your commute surfing social media or catching up on the news like a true New Yorker.
You can purchase tickets in advance online via the Amtrak website or in person at Penn Station. Fares start at $29 when purchased in advance for coach seats, but tickets quickly go up in price as they sell out and can skyrocket to over $100.
Amtrak is the quickest, most direct train option, but more budget-conscious travelers might prefer to take NJ Transit from Penn Station to Trenton, New Jersey. From there, passengers can transfer right across the track to the SEPTA train, which goes to Philadelphia. These tickets don't go up in price like Amtrak tickets, so you'll always pay the set fares (just under $20 for both trains). However, it takes significantly longer and at two and a half hours, it's even slower than the bus.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Driving the route yourself is always an option if you're not too intimidated by the traffic in New York City (and Philly, for that matter). Traffic jams, aggressive drivers, and tolls put many people off from driving in the city, but if you're one who's up for a challenge, the 95-mile (152-kilometer) commute takes between an hour, 40 minutes and two hours, 30 minutes with traffic.
The most direct route will take you through New Jersey on I-95 or via the New Jersey Turnpike. The drive is rather uneventful and parking in either city can be a nightmare, so renting a car is not most people's first choice. However, if you're coming from the airport where rental cars are cheapest and you're traveling in a group, road tripping can be economical and fun.
How Long Is the Flight?
Direct flights do exist between New York City and Philadelphia with American Airlines, and the travel time on the plane is about the same as the train: one hour and 10 minutes. However, once you take into account the time spent getting to and from airports, checking bags, and clearing security, flying takes hours longer than the train. American's flights depart from both JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport, and it can take up to an hour just to get from Manhattan to the airport.
Apart from taking a long time, flights are also expensive, with direct journeys starting at nearly $150. Unless you have a connecting flight in Philadelphia and you want to arrive directly at the airport, taking the train almost always makes more sense.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Philadelphia?
Since the route between New York City and Philadelphia is popular with commuters, avoid rush hour time for easier and less expensive traveling. Mornings and evenings from Monday to Friday are the busiest travel times and also when affordable train tickets are most likely to sell out, so try looking for seats during midday or on the weekend.
The same rules apply for being on the road, whether you're taking a bus or driving yourself. If you're traveling from New York to Philadephia during commuter hours, expect the journey to take significantly longer.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
Passengers who arrive at Philadelphia International Airport can easily reach the city center via the SEPTA train. Direct trains run seven days a week from 5 a.m. to midnight and depart the airport every 30 minutes, with the total journey taking only 25 minutes to downtown Philly. You can purchase tickets directly on the train using only cash and they cost $7–8, depending on if it's peak time or not. When you're traveling from the airport, you can also use a credit card to purchase a ticket from the kiosks inside the station, which also provides a small discount.
Taxis from the airport to the city center have a fixed rate of $28.50, plus $1 for every additional passenger after the first passenger. Ride-sharing apps are also available and rates vary between $25 to $35, based on demand. The airport is relatively close to the city center and the ride should take about 15–20 minutes without traffic.
What Is There to Do in Philadelphia?
While not nearly as big and bustling as New York City, there's plenty for a tourist to see and do in Philadelphia. Some of the main attractions include the historic Liberty Bell, commissioned in 1751; the Museum of Art housing works by Renoir and Van Gogh; the Eastern State Penitentiary, Al Capone's former jailhouse; and the magnificent Philadelphia City Hall, a feat of limestone and granite. American history buffs will also want to visit Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and where, later, the U.S. Constitution was born.
Nobody should visit the City of Brotherly Love without chowing down on a Philly cheesesteak. This city is the birthplace of the popular, cheesy fast-food hoagie and you can find some of the best (i.e., most authentic) in town at John's Roast Pork, Tony Luke's, and the delightfully retro, neon-lit Geno's Steaks, which is open 24 hours a day.