How to Get from NYC to Philadelphia

Updated: November 8, 2023

So, you need to go or are considering a trip to Philadelphia from New York City.

Well, this post covers the options that you have and weighs the pros and cons of each.

We are a walking tour company offering tours in both cities, so our tour guides are regularly making the trip between Philly and NYC.

Here we share our collective wisdom on how to get to Philadelphia by four modes of transport. Plus, we mention some bus tour options.

We also considered some of the suggestions from the members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group.

How to Get to Philadelphia from NYC

Engage with locals, like our tour guides, expats, veteran visitors, as well as newbies to NYC (after you read this post, of course).


But first, the quick answers.

First, the cheapest option - the bus - which can take 2 hours in duration on average.

You can get $1 fares if you book a month in advance, but you'll probably pay $10 to $15 each way (plus booking fees).

The second, and faster option, is taking a train, which should take you between 70 - 90 minutes depending on the type of train.

Coach class fares run between $19 and $130 depending on the date and time of day, but expect to pay at least $80 outside of inconvenient departure times.

And lastly, you could go by plane, but why would you put yourself through that?

Okay, without further ado, on with the post.


By Train

Our favorite way to travel to Philly from NYC is by train with Amtrak.

The pros of taking the train are that the ride is both comfortable and fast at about 90 minutes, or just over 70 minutes if you take an Amtrak Acela train (see below).

Plus, the fares can be as low as $19.

When the weather is bad, trains are more reliable than being on the road on a bus or in a car.

The cons are that lower fares aren't always available and coach class (the cheapest) sells out sometimes.


Amtrak Regional Trains

Amtrak trains depart from the Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan (map) and stop at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia (map).

Trains have comfortable seats with a good amount of legroom.

You can buy food from the snack car, and take advantage of the free (but somewhat unreliable) WiFi on trains that have this service.

Luggage allowances are generous. You can bring two personal items, two carry-on items, and two checked bags.

The feature we love most about taking Amtrak is the option to sit in the Quiet Car where cellphones are not allowed to be used and conversation must be kept to a minimum. 

This is great for a solo traveler - or anyone who wants to read a book or sleep!

Departures start as early as 4:20 a.m. and the last train is 10:00 p.m.

There are as many as 40 departures a day because many train routes stop at both NYC and Philly (read more below).

Coach class fares run between $19 and $130 depending on the date and time of day.

A few trains that depart before 7 a.m. cost just $10. 

The cheaper fares are Saver Fares. They are non-refundable and a cancel/change fee may apply.

To find the lowest fare, try to purchase your tickets at least 21 days in advance. You can buy tickets either online or at the station. 

See schedules and book train tickets here.


TIP:

The train routes are named and originate in different cities. This can affect how crowded your train may be.

Trains that begin in New York City will be empty when you board.

The Pennsylvanian originates in NYC daily and departs at 10:51 a.m. Therefore, the train will be empty when you board.

Routes that begin in other cities (Northeast Regional, Cardinal, Carolinian, Keystone, and Palmetto) will have passengers on the train when you board.

This is the case with trains from NY to Philadelphia and vice versa.


Amtrak Acela Express Service

If you have very limited time and a fat wallet, Amtrak's Acela trains take about 70 minutes. 

Only business Class is offered and one-way tickets range from $90-$200. However, the 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. trains are $45 each way.

We never take the Acela Express train to Philadelphia from NYC as the cost is way too much and spending a little bit more time on the train is not a big deal. 

After all, we’re on vacation, not a business trip!

See schedules and book train tickets here.


By Bus

If saving money is your main goal, traveling from New York to Philadelphia by bus is the way to go.

The pros of taking the bus are that they can be dirt cheap!

Depending on which company you use, and what date and time you travel, fares can range from as low as $1!

The cons are that they aren't as comfortable as the train, traffic and bad weather can slow down the journey.

Also, there are no stops for food. And frankly, the restroom situation isn't as smooth as on the train!


How to Buy Tickets

The easiest way to buy your ticket is online or via a company’s app.

Some companies sell tickets you can pick up in person at third-party resellers like stores. 

With Greyhound, you can buy your tickets at the bus terminal.

In some cases you can buy your ticket from the bus driver, but only if there is an empty seat for you.

Almost always, tickets are non-refundable but read the fine print before buying your tickets if you think there is a possibility you might have to cancel.


Amenities on Buses

If you are bringing luggage, there is under-the-bus storage, but space on the bus is limited and can only fit a backpack or large purse.

Buses have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a restroom. Bring snacks for the ride as there are no rest stops.

Some bus companies have onboard entertainment like movies and power outlets by each seat.


Bus Companies

Megabus

This bus line departs from 34th St between 11th and 12th Aves in Midtown Manhattan (map) and arrives at the Northeast Corner of Schuylkill Ave and Walnut Street (map).

There are bus departures just about every hour 24 hours a day.

If you book a month in advance, you may find fares as low as $1, but most likely you will pay between $10 and $15 each way (not including the $3.99 booking fee per ticket).

Having taken Megabus before, we can say that service is okay, and the prices can't be beat if you can snag a $1 deal.

Nevertheless, we prefer FlixBus described next.

See schedules and book tickets here.


FlixBus and Greyhound

These bus lines are slightly more expensive than Megabus, with tickets costing on average $16 plus the $3.99 booking fee.

Because FlixBus partners with Greyhound, buses depart frequently with at least one departure every hour.

The earliest bus is 4:30 a.m. and the last bus is 1:30 a.m.

FlixBus departs outside Penn Station at 31st Street and 8th Ave (map) and arrives at 6th and Market in Philadelphia (map).

Greyhound buses depart from Port Authority Bus Terminal at 625 8th Ave. in Midtown Manhattan (map) and arrive at the Philadelphia Bus Station at 1001 Filbert Street (map).

See schedules and book tickets here.


Peter Pan Bus Lines

Peter Pan has tickets as low as $10, though with fewer departures each day.

There are only 11 buses each day. The first bus departs at 7 a.m. and the last at 8 p.m.

They depart from the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 625 8th Ave. in Midtown Manhattan (map) and arrive in Philadelphia at the Peter Pan Terminal at 618 Market Street.

See schedules and book tickets here.


By Car

This is the most flexible way to travel from NYC to Philly.

You aren't locked into any schedule, can make stops along the way if you want, and blast the radio without bothering others! 

Driving takes approximately two hours unless you hit traffic in which case you can lose a few hours from your trip.

Once you cross into New Jersey through either the Lincoln Tunnel or Holland Tunnel, it’s a straight route on I-95 (NJ Turnpike) into Philly. 

Use this link to Google Maps to find exact directions.

A few things to keep in mind: the trip isn't exactly free as you will be paying for gas. The tunnels have tolls as does I-95.

Then there is the cost and possible headache of finding parking. Learn about parking in Philadelphia.


By Plane

Flying from New York City to Philadelphia is by far the fastest mode of transport at just one hour each way.

But this does not take into account the time it takes to get to and from airports. 

Normal fares are about $200 and up, but when there are sales, you can find cheap flights for around $150, making this cost comparable to some of the highest round-trip train fares.

You can get direct flights from New York City to Philadelphia International Airport from John F. Kennedy (JFK), Newark (EWR), and LaGuardia (LGA) airports.

There really is no upside to flying unless you are staying near the airports or if you have more frequent flyer points than you could ever spend!

If you do decide to fly, look at flights and fares here.

Check out our posts on how to get to and from these NYC airports: John F. Kennedy, LaGuardiaund Newark.


Bustouren

Taking a bus tour from NYC to Philadelphia kills two birds with one stone.

Your transport is taken care of and you have a guide to show you the town!

This Philadelphia and Amish Country Day Trip includes a professional tour guide, sightseeing in Philadelphia, an authentic Amish buggy ride, and a visit to an Amish market.

It’s $169 per person.

If you are short on time but want to see both Philadelphia and Washington DC, this highly rated Washington and Philadelphia Guided One Day Tour is a great choice!

It’s $167 per person.


Top Things To Do in Philadelphia

As New Yorkers who love history, Philly is high on our list of destinations every few years.

Here are some of the best sights. Just click on the links to find out more!

Check out our Philadelphia Attractions Guide for many more suggestions and to find out about our pay-what-you-wish Philadelphia walking tours!


Related Posts

About The Author

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: November 8th, 2023
Back to Top
cross