Best Time to Visit Philadelphia for Weather, Prices, and Crowds

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A city skyline illuminated by the sun
Philadelphia is a great city to visit almost any time of year

Philadelphia, located in the state of Pennsylvania, is one of the most historical cities in the United States. It's also a popular tourist destination, with much to offer, from Independence Hall, where the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed, to the Philadelphia Zoo, the nation's first zoo.

With so many great attractions, it's no surprise that tourists flock to the city, sometimes in almost overwhelming numbers. But some parts of the year are better with fewer crowds, more pleasant weather, and lower prices. Therefore, carefully choosing the best time to visit Philadelphia can make a big difference in the quality of your vacation.

In this guide, you'll get the answers to the most crucial vacation booking questions and a season-by-season breakdown of what to expect when you visit Philadelphia. Keep reading to find out all you need to know to plan your trip.

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Best Time to Go to Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Vacation Planning Questions

An aerial photo of a road junction with a park in the middle and buildings behind
The best time to visit Philadelphia depends on many factors, like crowd levels
Jose Luis Stephens/
A horse-drawn carriage with buildings in the background
Taking a tour in Philadelphia is highly recommended, especially during fall or spring

When is the best time to visit Philadelphia

The best time to visit Philadelphia is from April to May in the spring and from September to October in the fall. This is because the crowds are thinner, and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities, like taking a walking tour of Old City Philadelphia.

The summer months (June to September) are the city's busiest as the weather is pleasant, with most days below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. But more dense crowds and high hotel rates steer some travelers towards the off-season months.

The winter (December to March) is by far the cheapest time to visit Philadelphia, although chilly temperatures limit outdoor activities during these months.

A building with a clock tower in the middle next to a path and a tree
You can save on your trip to Philadelphia by traveling in late winter or early spring

When is the cheapest time to go to Philadelphia?

The cheapest time to go to Philadelphia is during the winter (December to March) low season after the holidays have ended. Visitors will find the most affordable hotel rates in January and February.

Savvy travelers can find good deals at top Philadelphia hotels in March. Do note that the beginning of the month can be pricey while the Philadelphia Flower Show is running.

By April, however, tourism begins to pick up and will continue until the peak season ends in September. October is another cheap time to visit Philadelphia once the summer (June to September) crowds have left.

Valerio Pucci/
The best time to visit Philadelphia, if flying, is during the winter as rates are low
The nearest airport to the city center is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

What are the airports close to Philadelphia?

The only major airport near Philadelphia is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), which limits the choices for those wanting to fly. Philadelphia International Airport sits around eight miles south of the city center, and it takes approximately 20 minutes to get between the airport and Downtown Philadelphia by car.

Philadelphia is less than an hour and a half from New York City using the air train, so some international tourists visiting both cities may consider flying through John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

A building and a courtyard with a large compass design on it on a winter day
Landmarks like City Hall are still scenic in winter when flights are cheap

When is the cheapest time to fly to Philadelphia?

The cheapest time to fly to Philadelphia is in January or February. These months are the slowest for travel, with the frigid winter temperatures keeping most tourists at bay. You'll find cheap flights and great rates at the city's top-rated hotels.

But even if the beginning of the year is cheaper, March is the best month to visit Philadelphia on a budget. Winter weather is usually on its way out by the second half of the month, and prices only rise once the spring crowds arrive in April.

Popova Valeriya/
A maroon bus with animals and a "Philadelphia Zoo" sign
Taking a Philadelphia Zoo Loop Shuttle is convenient if you have a tight schedule

When is the best time to visit Philadelphia Zoo?

The best time to visit the Philadelphia Zoo is from April to May in the spring and from September to October in autumn. During these times, visitors can enjoy pleasant weather and fewer crowds. However, you will probably encounter school groups on most weekdays.

No matter when you visit, plan an early start, as the animals are most active in the morning. This is especially true during the summer months of July and August, when daily temperatures peak.

A colorful mural of a woman surrounded by plants and flowers
The popular Philadelphia Flower Show kicks off every March

When is the best time to visit Philadelphia Flower Show?

The Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest horticultural event in the United States, is an eight-day show held every March at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

If you're attending, get an early start to take in as much as possible. The best day to visit the Philadelphia Flower Show will depend on the events, exhibits, and presentations which interest you the most.

A word to the wise: make your reservations early if you're traveling for the Philadelphia Flower Show. Hotel rooms can fill up fast, with around 250,000 people attending the event.

A building with stairs and a pavement covered with fall leaves
Paths leading to Rittenhouse Square are strewn with fallen leaves during October

When is the best time for fall foliage in Philadelphia?

If you're planning your vacation around the changing of the leaves, October is the best time of year to visit Philadelphia. The many multi-colored trees are a sight for sore eyes this month, but you should aim for the second half to be truly dazzled!

Fairmount Park and Wissahickon Valley Park are some of the top places to see the fall color change. Franklin Square and the Independence Hall area are worth checking out within the city center as well.

If you want to see more fall foliage, also consider going on a day trip to Amish Country in Lancaster County. The changing leaves in this area are breathtaking, and you'll get to explore an Amish farm and village.

A city block with tall buildings and stoplights under a cloudy sky
Most travelers stay in the city center as there are many hotels near top attractions

What are the cheapest hotels in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia is a large city with quality yet inexpensive hotels throughout the many neighborhoods, but the city center is the ideal spot for most travelers to make their base. Notably, Downtown Philadelphia is where historical landmarks, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, are located.

Your best bet at getting a good deal at one of the less pricey hotels in Philadelphia is to check out the Le Meridien Philadelphia. Situated in a historical building in the center of the city's downtown, the Le Meridien Philadelphia provides the ideal blend of convenience, luxury, and price.

A road surrounded by a few trees and some old buildings in the background
You can find motels near landmarks like Old City Hall and Independence Hall

What are the cheapest motels in Philadelphia?

Thanks to one of the best public transportation systems in the country, reaching popular tourist destinations is a breeze from motels in all areas of Philadelphia. But with reasonable motel prices downtown near the historical sites, most visitors choose convenience and stay in the city center.

You can snag one of Philadelphia's top-rated yet cheaper motels by booking a room at the Hampton Inn Philadelphia City Center-Convention Center. Often considered one of the most affordable motels in the area, the Hampton Inn sits directly across from the Philadelphia Convention Center and is only minutes away from Independence Hall.

A building with a sign that says "30th Street Station"
The 30th Street Station is Metro Philadelphia's main railroad station

What is the cheapest way to get to Philadelphia?

For most travelers, the cheapest way to get to Philadelphia will be to fly into Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). It is the only major airport in the area and the city's primary transportation hub for tourists.

For visitors coming by air, the cheapest and best time to travel to Philadelphia will be after the start of the year in January or February, when flight rates are at their lowest.

If you're coming from the mid-Atlantic or Northeastern regions of the United States, you'll likely find the cheapest fares by train. Amtrak offers routes to and from New York City and Washington D.C. in under two hours.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Philadelphia

A pavement leading to a fountain with trees and buildings in the background
All seasons offer something different and unique in Philadelphia

Winter in Philadelphia

Winter (December to March) is the slowest tourist season in Philadelphia, and the high temperature stays under 50 degrees Fahrenheit most days, and the evenings usually dip below freezing. That's why most tourist itineraries focus on indoor activities during these months.

However, there are still things to do outdoors, like going to Philadelphia Winterfest at Penn's Landing, which draws the locals and tourists with its riverfront ice skating rink and fire pits.

Expect higher prices during the holiday travel season at the beginning of winter, but you'll find fewer crowds and cheaper hotel rates after the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations are over.

Spring in Philadelphia

The spring months of March through June are perfect for visiting Philadelphia. The city is coming back to life after hibernating for the winter.

Cherry blossoms bloom in April, and most evenings will be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit by May. It's the best weather of the year for activities like taking a nighttime double-decker bus tour of Philadelphia.

You'll also find an abundance of exciting events in spring in Philadelphia. For example, in June, Philly Beer Week attracts beer enthusiasts with tastings, block parties, and a seemingly endless supply of unique brews.

Summer in Philadelphia

If you are choosing when to visit Philadelphia based on the weather, it's tough to beat summer (June to September). Daytime highs typically sit around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows just below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throughout the summer, Penn's Landing transforms into the family favorite Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest with a Ferris wheel, roller-skating rink, and other unique events.

Expect crowds from June through August, as school and college summer breaks mean it's the busiest time for families to visit Philadelphia. If you're not traveling with kids and are looking for an adult experience, check out the dark side of Philly night tour and learn about the city's more sordid history.

Fall in Philadelphia

Fall (September to December) is the off-season for tourism in Philadelphia, so you'll find better prices and shorter waits to get into attractions. Late September and October are good times to travel, especially if you want to see the leaves changing color.

The cold temperatures roll in by November, and prominent events like the Thanksgiving Day Parade attract huge crowds. Prices will be higher in December as holiday travel brings more visitors to Philadelphia.

Although you'll find slightly more favorable weather in the spring (March to June), fall is one of the best times to visit Philadelphia to see some of the most famous landmarks in Pennsylvania like the Liberty Bell and Independence National Historical Park .

In Summary

Philadelphia is a great city to visit in any season, but you'll probably have the best experience in the spring (March to June) or fall (September to November). Those periods are the off-season when you'll find fewer crowds and better rates at hotels and motels across the city.

The weather is best in the summer (June to September), although highs around 85 degrees Fahrenheit can be warm for travelers coming from colder climates. Philadelphia is busiest from June through August, so expect higher prices and good hotels to book up in advance.

During the winter (December to March), you'll find the lowest prices but also the coldest weather. Plan to spend most of your vacation indoors if you're traveling over these months.

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Written by Jonathan Davis

JDavis WRITER Jonathan is a Florida-based travel writer who can't seem to stay in one place for long. With more than two decades of trips under his belt, Jonathan has a wealth of information to share about travel within the United States and abroad.

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