Philadelphia: safety questions

Old Apr 16th, 2008, 04:59 PM
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Philadelphia: safety questions

Have some questions about safety in Philadelphia, as I can't find much recent in this forum on the subject.

Everything I've read about Philly suggests that as long as you stay within the central area where the tourist attractions are (bordered roughly by Spring Garden Street to the north, South Street to the south, and the water on either side) you're unlikely to encounter safety problems. True or no?

I did see in one guide book that public transportation anywhere in Philly can become a little worrisome anywhere after about 7 PM. True or no?

How problematic safety-wise would things be traveling to/from visits in the evening to the Philly Museum of Art, Free Library, and Rosenbach Museum and Library to a hotel in the Center City, either on foot or bus? They each have evening hours, closing anywhere from 8 PM to 9 PM on some nights.

Coming back from a Phillies game in the evening, one guidebook suggests taking the bus back, not the subway, as the latter is safer in the evening from there to Center City. True or no?

How safe is Fairmount Park, southern part? Note that I don't intend to try and see it after dark, which I suspect would be unwise on many levels. Is it OK early mornings after sunrise? Late afternoons, say 5-7 PM, before sunset? How about for Penn's Landing or the Benjamin Franklin Parkway?

I'm guessing taking the bus from Center City to the Geno's and Pat's area in South Philly at night is unwise. True or no?

Many thanks for the help.
bachslunch is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2008, 05:19 PM
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Are you traveling by yourself or with someone?

I walked with my husband from the Art Museum to the Four Seasons at night and felt safe.

I think, as in any city, you have to be aware of your surroundings. I don't think you can apply a blanket safety level to the area within the borders you describe. There are blocks outside that area that I would feel much safer in than blocks within the area.

I think you will be fine in the areas that are most frequented by tourists. I wouldn't cross any of the squares at night but would feel fine walking past them along the street. Use common sense and you should be fine. I can't give you any insight into the safety of the public transportation, though.
Birdie is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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Not too sure about safety, but I suspect it's like anywhere else: use your head and listen to your gut. I went there with my wife and two kids and did a lot of walking. We had a great time, and can't wait to go back.

See our write up at http://familyroadtrippers.blogspot.c...illy-trip.html

Have fun!
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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(1) True. Pretty much anywhere tourists would have reason to go is safe just about any time of the day. There are places in Philly I don't like to drive through in daylight, but tourists wouldn't go there.

(2)&(4) Both false. I have ridden the subway for almost nine years at all hours and have never encountered any problem at any time.

(3) Nobody can guarantee safety anywhere. But, if you use standard safety precautions, the Parkway back to Center City should be no problem.

(5) I have hiked and biked alone through Fairmont Park many times, and have never seen any reason to fear doing so during daylight.

(6) The area of South Philly around PatGenos is safe at all hours. Both operate 24 hours and the area is well lit. Riding the bus would be safer than driving a car.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Would largely agree with PaulRabe, except, I can find Penn's Landing at night a little creepy and would avoid walking alone, also some parts of the loop in Fairmount can seem pretty deserted and I might approach them with caution, but the more populated parts in the daytime are perfectly fine, and there have been significant subway problems in recent weeks, and I always feel more comfortable on the bus. I ride at night, even quite late, although I'm a bit fussier about the neighborhoods I transfer in at night. Now, I'm a small woman, and I'm assuming Paul is a man, and that would more than account for the difference in comfort levels. Also, while I spend a fair amount of time in Philadelphia, and a LOT of time riding public transportation through it (vagaries of SEPTA), I actually live in the 'burbs, and probably have a slightly different perspective.
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 02:41 AM
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We were in Philadelphia for four days last September.

We walked everywhere during the day and took the bus several times (never the subway - for no real reason).

I never felt threatened. We walked thru the historic areas, downtown (Center City) up to the Library and further to the Museum. Then past Boathouse Row and into Fairmount Park for one of the mansions.

We then walked back to the Museum and took the bus back to our hotel.

The only thing we did at night other than walk around Market Street near the hotel was walk thru Society Hill to and from Jim's. While I was a bit leery, there were only a few people that we saw and never felt threatened.
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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I lived in Center City (not the suburbs) Philadelphia for nearly 20 years.

Philadelphia, overall, is a very safe walkable city for tourists as just about everything you want to see is in a good area. The public transportation (subway, regional rail, buses) is perfectly fine for the hours you will likely want to use it.

Regarding your questions:

1) There is no reason you will want to travel north of Spring Garden Street for tourist sights. The Northern Liberties section is perfectly fine and great for restaurants and bars, but if you go here after dark, take a taxi.

2) You can walk safely beyond South Street on certain streets, though the only thing you might be interested in seeing as a tourist is the Italian Market area. 9th Street (where the Italian Market is located) is absolutely fine and safe to walk on.

3) Penn's Landing and the waterfront is completely safe during the day and early evening. If you are there in the summer, there are a number of nightclubs along the river that draw a lot of people, but are only open for a short season (usually late May to mid September). If you go to one of these clubs, take a taxi back to your hotel late at night. During the rest of the year, Penn's Landing can be fairly desolate after 8:00 PM unless there is a big event (fireworks, etc.).

4) Do not take a bus from Citizen's Ball Park after a Phillies game. The Broad Street Line of the subway (SEPTA) is very safe on game nights as many people take it to/from the game. There is zero reason to stay in the vicinity of the stadium once the game is over, so you will be heading back on the subway with many people and the SEPTA police are out in full force on game nights. You could be standing on the sidewalk waiting for a bus for a very long time as it tries to fight through the traffic jams once everyone leaves the game.

5) Fairmount Park is fine during the daytime hours up until sunset. In years past, there have been a few isolated incidents of lone female joggers/walkers being raped in the very early morning hours - use common sense.

6) Unless you are going to see the plaque in the ground where "Rocky" stood, skip eating at Pat's and Geno's. While the rivalry between them is interesting, they actually are both lousy. If you want a good cheesesteak (even late at night), try Jim's Steaks at 4th & South Streets.

7) Walking or taking a bus from the Parkway (Art Museum/Library) is fine at 8:00 or 9:00PM. Much later than that, take a taxi as (except for the car traffic) it is fairly desolate and the homeless tend to sleep in the area.

8) With the exception of the Broad Street line after a game, I probably would not take a subway much past 10:00 PM on some lines and would opt for a SEPTA bus or a taxi. As you are a tourist, I don't imagine you are staying outside of the city and a taxi from river to river doesn't cost more than $10.
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