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About Philadelphia

Located in south-eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (nicknamed “Philly”) is the fifth-most populous city in the United States. It is populated by over 1.5 million residents and is home to a thriving economy, comprised of I.T., manufacturing, health care and tourism services. As the founding city of American independence, major attractions in the city include Independence Hall and Liberty Bell.

Explore the city’s vast history and rich arts scene with cheap flights to Philadelphia! Philadelphia is home to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), a 15-minute drive from the city centre. PHL serves many airlines, including Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines. Direct flights are unavailable from South Africa, but popular connecting flights depart from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Flight duration from Johannesburg to Philadelphia is approximately 20 hours, 15 minutes.

Why visit Philadelphia

american history

American History

With its legacy in the American Revolutionary War, Philadelphia’s role in the history and formation of American life is highlighted at Independence National Historical Park, Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Pavilion.

arts and culture

Arts and Culture

Philly’s bristling arts scene comes alive in its theatres, music bars and art exhibitions. Art fanatics should not miss the Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the fascinating exhibits in Rittenhouse Square.

stately architecture

Stately Architecture

Society Hill District houses a blend of 18th century buildings, colonial homes and restored warehouses; while the city centre is home to architectural delights like its Gothic tower, Georgian structures and impressive skyscrapers.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country United States of America
Currency US Dollar ($)
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.77 $
Language English
Hub Airport Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
Airline American Airlines
Time Zone GMT – 05:00
Travel Adaptor Type A / B

Best time to visit Philadelphia

Peak season in Philly is during the summer, between June and August. There are wonderful festivals and summer concerts to be enjoyed; just be aware that the large crowds drive up hotel rates, making it an expensive time to visit the city. The optimal time to visit “The city of Brothers” is between March and May, when the brisk spring air brings a warm glow to the city, the perfect weather for hiking and exploring the surrounding parks. You’ll also be treated to fewer crowds and reasonable accommodation rates. The icy winter months of November to February are not a popular time to visit, unless you’re after a snow-filled vacation. Although this is the cheapest time of the year to visit, some outdoor tours may be closed for the season.

Weather & Climate in Philadelphia

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C -4°C -4°C 1°C 6°C 12°C 17°C 20°C 19°C 14°C 8°C 3°C -2°C
High °C 4°C 6°C 11°C 17°C 23°C 28°C 30°C 29°C 25°C 19°C 13°C 7°C
Rainfall (mm) 83 73 95 95 101 95 113 108 95 75 91 89

Overview

Despite Philadelphia being the fifth-most populous city in the United States, its charming streets feel as cosy and walkable as a small town, and its citizens are just as friendly.

Often referred to as the “Birthplace of America”, Philadelphia saw the penning of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution. It played capital to the nation before Washington D.C. took over, and remains an economic power, an artistic centre and a truly fascinating city to visit.

Embark on an historic journey through time at the remarkable museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Eastern State Penitentiary, Independence Hall and the Penn Museum showcasing exquisite artefacts. If you’re staying for a few days, the CityPass gives you access to many landmarks, including the Franklin Institute, the Adventure Aquarium, the Academy of Natural Sciences and the National Constitution Centre.

Home to a vibrant arts scene, you’ll find a variety of live performances happening around Philly including live theatre, music and dance. Grab a famous Philly cheesesteak as you peruse the historic Reading Terminal Market for some handmade crafts.

After a busy day of sightseeing, relax in the beautiful gardens in Fairmount Park, boasting a driving range, horse and biking trails, a Japanese tea house and endless summer concerts.

Compare several airlines, and book your cheap flights to Philadelphia online at Travelstart!

Visa & Customs

A United States Tourist Visa is required for South Africans travelling anywhere within the United States. You’ll need to ensure that your SA passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your return and that there are at least 2 pages free for stamps. Visa processing can take a few months, so leave plenty of time and ensure you have all the required documents.

For further information, see the Embassy website @ [https://za.usembassy.gov/visas/]

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates are located in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Health & Safety

Philadelphia is a very safe city to explore. Most crime is concentrated in the northern and western parts of the city, but tourists should feel perfectly safe exploring the attractions within Centre City, Old City and South Philly. Exercise the usual safety precautions and do not leave valuable items visible in unattended cars.

It is always recommended to take out travel insurance, in the event of unforeseeable theft and medical expenses.

Cost of Living

ITEM CAPE TOWN JOHANNESBURG PHILADELPHIA
Meal, inexpensive restaurant R 90 R 100 R 196
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R 22 R 20 R 52
Cappuccino R 19 R 20 R 48
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R 10 R 12 R 19
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 35 R 35 R 118
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