Philadelphia Travel Guide for Chinese Visitors

Philadelphia Travel Guide for Chinese Visitors

The historic and vibrant city of Philadelphia is a popular destination for travelers from China visiting the United States of America. 

According to data from 2018, around 82,000 Chinese visitors came to the city—the second-highest number of tourists from a single country to come to Philadelphia.

Affectionately known as “Philly”, “The City of Brotherly Love”, and “America’s Birthplace”, Philadelphia was the location of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence. It once stood as the young nation’s capital after achieving independence from the British Empire, until Washington D.C. was built.

A relatively short journey from New York City, “Philly” is a key destination for travelers from China coming to the East Coast of the United States.

Visiting Philadelphia from China

Although there are no direct flights from China to Philadelphia, there are various options for Chinese travelers to reach the city by plane by changing flights in other US cities.

Philadelphia is served by the following airports:

  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE)

Upon arrival at one of these airports, Chinese citizens will have to present the required documentation at border control to gain entry to the US, including their registration with the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS). Once their entry is approved, they will be permitted to enter the country, reclaim their luggage, pass through customs, and explore Philadelphia.

Travelers who are visiting more than one destination in the United States can alternatively reach Philadelphia by train, bus, or by hiring a car

30th Street Station is the third busiest train station in the USA, with services on the Amtrak, SEPTA, and NJ Transit lines. It is possible to catch a train between Philadelphia and other major cities in the Eastern United States, including New York, Boston, and Washington D.C.

Philadelphia visa requirements for Chinese nationals

In order to enter the US to visit Philadelphia, visitors from China must have 3 important travel documents:

  • Valid passport
  • US visa
  • EVUS

For short-term stays in Philadelphia for the purposes of business and/or tourism, Chinese nationals will need either a US tourist visa (B2), business visa (B1), or a combined B1/B2. These visas can be obtained from an American embassy.

It is also necessary for travelers from China to complete EVUS enrollment to visit Philadelphia. This is a quick process that takes a matter of minutes and is done entirely online.

Chinese citizens must fill in the simple EVUS form online, registering their details in order to keep their travel authorization updated and valid for the duration of its 10-year validity period.

Top Visitor Attractions in Philadelphia

There are many things to see and do in “America’s Birthplace”, from seeing the famous Liberty Bell to the steps from the classic film “Rocky”. Visitors from China can make the most out of their trip to Philly by going to the following landmarks and attractions:

  • Independence National Historical Park
  • The Liberty Bell Center
  • Independence Hall
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • One Liberty Observation Deck
  • The “Rocky” Steps ( leading up to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art)
  • Chinatown Friendship Gate

Philadelphia is home to many fascinating museums, from the impressionist and post-impressionist art collection of the Barnes Foundation to the archaeological wonders of the Penn Museum to the many sites dedicated to early American history, including the Revolutionary War and the founding of the nation.

Some of the city’s best museums include:

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Barnes Foundation
  • Museum of the American Revolution
  • The Penn Museum
  • The Franklin Institute
  • The National Constitution Center
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

There are also various parks, squares, and green spaces in and around Philly, which are ideal for Chinese visitors who enjoy outdoor activities in the sun. Some of these include:

  • Longwood Gardens
  • Franklin Square
  • Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
  • Morris Arboretum

What Is There to Do in Downtown Philadelphia?

The downtown area of Philadelphia is easy to walk around and many of the city’s historic buildings are located here. Visitors from China may choose to take a tour or explore downtown on their own either on foot or by bike.

The Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center, Reading Terminal Market, and many of the city’s museums are among the iconic Philadelphia landmarks located downtown.

Guided tours of downtown Philadelphia come in many shapes and forms. Some include pub crawls, period dinners, and immersive living-history experiences that give Chinese travelers a window into life in the colonial past of the city.

Is Philadelphia Safe for Chinese Tourists?

Much like the majority of destinations in Western countries, the City Center of Philadelphia is generally safe for visitors. Chinese travelers are advised to keep to tourist areas and use common sense.

As in many cities, it is advisable to keep a close eye on belongings and keep valuables out of sight to avoid being targeted by opportunistic pickpockets.

If unsure how to reach a certain location, Chinese visitors in Philadelphia are recommended to take a cab, especially at night.

In general, tourists from China will be perfectly safe exploring and enjoying “The City of Brotherly Love”.

What Is the Best Time to Visit Philadelphia?

Philadelphia is a great place to visit at any time of year.

Spring and fall are often recommended since the temperature is pleasant, but not overbearing. Many visitors from China come in the spring to see the cherry blossoms in bloom, covering the parks, streets, and sidewalks in shades of pink, purple, and white.

Summer is hot, with average temperatures of 30°C (85.5°F), but comes with the attraction of street festivals. 

Chinese visitors to the city in early July might be lucky enough to join in the Independence Day festivities. As an important location in the country’s early history and its road to independence, the 4th July celebrations in Philadelphia are among the biggest in the States.

Winter in Philadelphia is cold, with average temperatures being around -3.6°C (25.5°F). However, like many cities in America, Christmas is a huge occasion, with bright lights and decorations hung throughout the center and neighborhoods of Philadelphia. 

Visitors who want to experience the American Christmas spirit or join in New Year’s Eve parties will enjoy Philly at this time of year.

How Much Does It Cost for Chinese Travelers to Visit Philadelphia?

The price of flights from China to Philadelphia varies depending on factors such as the airline(s), if the passenger chooses to fly First Class, the day and time they fly on, how many changes they have to make, and how much luggage they bring with them.

Once they have arrived in Philadelphia, the amount of money a Chinese visitor will spend depends on the options they choose in terms of accommodation, food, and transport. There are different options available for different budgets.

For example, hiring a car is more expensive than taking public transport. Hotel rooms can vary depending on the level of luxury and food prices can be low or high depending on where the individual chooses to eat.

Average prices per day (in USD) include:

  • $95 per night for a single hotel or hostel room
  • $190 per night for a double room
  • $31 per day for food
  • $14 per day for transport
  • $11 per day for entertainment (admission tickets, day tours, etc.)
  • $10 per day on alcohol

The overall average amount that a Chinese visitor can expect to spend each day in Philadelphia is around $130-160.

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