Solo travel in Philadelphia (Muslim-friendly guide)

By Farihah
22 Min Read
Solo Travel in Philadelphia Muslim-Friendly guide

Disclaimer: We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you purchase on the links we provide, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Embarking on solo travel in Philadelphia is always a good idea. Enriched with American history contributions, multicultural flair, all while giving a ‘homey & small city’ type of feeling, it is easy to see why the city was listed in one of “The Best Destinations in the World: The 2021 Gold List”.

It may not be as big as the other cities in the USA, but there are still a lot of things to do and experience alone in Philadelphia that make it an attractive place to visit.

In this article, we have rounded up some inspiration for your solo trip to Philadelphia. From historic tours to seeking art spaces, where to get the ultimate Halal Philly cheesesteak, and masjid for your praying convenience, just read on!

Related Solo Travel articles:

Planning for your Solo trip to Philadelphia

Planning for a solo Philadelphia trip is way easier than going to big cities like New York, or the capital in Washington D.C.

As the fifth-largest city in the United States, the city feels rather intimate that most of Philadelphia’s best attractions can be explored on foot. This makes the city a great destination for a solo traveler.

How to Get to Philadelphia

If you’re going to Philadelphia from New York City as I did, be sure to get your bus tickets from Wanderu. This is a bus-comparison site that shows a lot of cheap fares from various bus and train services like Peterpan, Greyhound, Amtrak, and Megabus. If you book early, you can get tickets priced as low as USD 12.99.

The buses come with charging sockets and Wi-Fi too.

Getting around Philadelphia, PA

There are many ways on how to get around the City of Brotherly Love.

Getting around Philadelphia Solo Travel

Septa

The first way to get around Philadelphia is definitely through The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

SEPTA is the nation’s sixth-largest public transit system. It encompasses rides in the subway, train, trolley, and bus lines that go around Philadelphia, and surrounding counties of Bucks, Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery. The intervals are available frequently within few minutes.

Septa Key Muslim Solo Travel Philadelphia

Fare payment is via:

  • Septa Key Cards (functions like a debit card), which can be loaded:
    • Weekly ($25.50) / Monthly ($96) / One Day Convenience Pass ($9) & etc
  • SEPTA Key Quick Trip
  • Cash (require exact fare)
  • Contactless via SEPTAKey.org, SEPTA Key App

Real-time service status.

Location of kiosks and ticket offices that sell SEPTA key cards

Phlash @ Downtown Loop

Ride the Philly Phlash for an easy, affordable, and convenient way of getting around Philadelphia’s historic attractions and cultural institutions.

This is a daily service with 15 minutes intervals to each stop. Make sure your stop has a ‘Phlash’ sign on the pole.

  • Operating hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.
  • $2/person per ride
  • $5/person for a one-day pass
  • $9/person for a two-day pass
  • FREE rides: SEPTA pass holders, Children 4 and under, and seniors
  • Buy passes here or at City Hall Visitor Center & Independence Visitor Center

Real-time Schedule | Stops & attractions

Philly Bike Share – Ride Indego

City-wide bike rental service with more than 1,000 bikes and 100 stations.

Pass (minus tax):

  • 24-hour access: $12
  • 30-day pass: $17

Buy passes here

Map of Indego stations

Taxi

You can hail cabs and taxis the old-fashioned way on busy Philadelphia city streets. They’re most easily found at transport hubs like Philadelphia International Airport and William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.

However, they’re expensive for a solo traveler so only use one if you really need it.

Car rental options

If you’re in Philadelphia for the long term, it’s worth checking out car rental companies like ZipCar.

E-hailing: Uber & Lyft

For e-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, just download the apps and you’re good to go!

Visitor Information Centers in Philadelphia

Needing some information to assist your solo travel to Pennsylvania? Head on to any of these visitor centers for brochures, maps, tour information, and first-hand information from staff:

  • City Hall Visitor, Penn Square
  • Independence Visitor Center
  • Love Park Visitor Center

Things to do by Yourself in Philadelphia – Muslim Solo Travel Guide

Check out Reading Terminal Market

Your Solo travel in Philadelphia is incomplete without a trip to the Reading Terminal Market. The public market, located just across Pennsylvania Convention Center has endured over a century and is dubbed as one of America’s oldest markets.

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Muslim Solo Travel
Photo by Dan Mall on Unsplash

Today, the market doesn’t only remain as a popular hometown attraction to the local folks, but also tourists alike.

It offers a little bit of something for everyone: housewares, groceries, flowers, sweet treats, baked goods, books, crafts, clothing, and unique specialties that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

  • Address: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
  • Opening hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm daily
  • Phone: +1 215-922-2317

Stroll at Penn’s Landing

Looking for some entertainment in Philadelphia? Head on over to Penn’s Landing along the Delaware River waterfront.

This public space is always busy and exciting with all sorts of seasonal events and activities throughout the year. So, you can expect to see art exhibitions, farmer’s markets, historic warships, outdoor live performances, roller skating, yoga, and just about anything going on in Penn’s Landing.

Before you have fun, be sure to snap a memorable photo with the Benjamin Franklin bridge with tall colorful ships in the background.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge Solo Travel in Philadelphia
Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

Pro-tip: There’s literally a lot of things going on in Penn’s Landing so check their website so you can plan ahead.

Trivia: Did you know that this waterfront area is named in honor of Willam Penn’s historic landing in Philadelphia in 1682?

  • Address: 101 N. Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19106
  • Phone: (215) 922-2FUN

Hop on a Trolley Tour of The City

Hopping onto a trolley is a sure way to enrich your solo travel Pennsylvania trip!

Plus, it gives you a quick, crash course of how the city forged the nation in a nostalgic, old-vibe experience!

Passes:

Tour departs from SW Corner of 6th & Market Streets.

Spend time at Independence National Historical Park – Independence Hall & Liberty Bell

An important site to check out in your Solo Philadelphia trip is the Independence National Historical Park. It is associated with the founding of the United States and the American Revolution.

Liberty Bell Philadelphia

In this park, you’ll get to see explore the museums, and iconic sites such as:

The First White House Solo Trip to Philadelphia

Tickets information:

  • Independence Hall. Entrance by timed entry tickets and with a tour. Tour lasts for 20 minutes.
  • Liberty Bell Center (no tickets required. First-come, first-served basis with security screening at entrance.)

Eat Philadelphia Soft Pretzels

Have a bite of the soft pretzel in the city where it is made! Yup, that’s right, Philadelphia invented soft pretzels if you didn’t know!

Besides Cheesesteak, soft pretzels are Philadelphia’s version of New York hot dogs. The crisp-crust with pull apart knots makes eating the baked treats an important piece in Philly’s food experience.

Center City Pretzel‘s garage-based bakery should be on your Solo Travel in Philadelphia radar. It is dubbed as the ‘best soft pretzel’ by locals for the past 4 decades, so imagine that!

Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Solo Travel in the US
  • Halal status: Not certified, however, it uses only 3 all-natural ingredients (flour, yeast, and water) besides being dairy-free and nut-free. Eat at your own discretion.
  • Address: 816 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
  • Phone: 215-463-5664
  • Opening hours: 6:00 am – 11 am (Mon – Fri)

Visit the Spooky Eastern State Penitentiary

If you like thrill vibes, check out Eastern State Penitentiary, once the most famous and expensive prison.

This jail is where America’s notorious lawbreakers and inmates were once held in. One of them was Al Capone, an American gangster, and businessman known as Scarface.

Eastern State Penitentiary Al Capone
Photo by Kevin Jarrett on Unsplash

Officially Closed in 1971 after 142 use of operations, the towering blocks and gothic-like architecture structure ooze a haunting vibe, and will send shivers down your spine. But if you’re up for the thrill, head on over here for a little tour around the penitentiary exhibits, and learn about escape stories. It’s not every day that you’ll get to tour in a prison right?

  • Tickets:
    • $17/adult
    • $13/child
    • $15/senior 62+ above
  • Operating hours:
    • Wednesday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Address: 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130, United States
  • Phone: +1 215-236-3300

Climb up the Rocky Steps @ Philadelphia Museum of Arts

The Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps are easily on any solo traveler’s Philadelphia bucket list. It is, after all, the city’s most famous tourist attraction, after the Liberty Bell.

You might be thinking, just how famous it is?

…so famous that ever since Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone) ran up the grand stairways of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the first Rocky 1976 film, The Rocky Steps and the Rocky statue at the bottom have been getting a handful of visitors daily!

The Rocky Steps Philadelphia

Pro-tip: Come here early in the morning, when the visitors are fewer.

Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, United States

Marvel at the City Hall

In the middle of Philadelphia’s City Center, at Center Square is City Hall, the largest municipal building in the country.

What’s cool about this building is its elaborate architecture, and the 37-foot-tall statue of Willian Penn erected on top, at 548 feet overlooking the city.

William Penn City Hall Things to do by Yourself in Philadelphia

Trivia: Did you know that the City Hall was the tallest building in the city until One Liberty Place was built in 1986?

During winter, Dilworth Park located on the western side of City Hall transforms into an ice-skating rink!

Explore Mural Mile Philadelphia

Philadelphia is not only a historical place, it is also brimming with creative arts plastered around the blocks. Hence, earning itself international recognition as the City of Murals,

And doesn’t matter if you are an artist, art enthusiast, or not, you can’t miss out on exploring the world’s largest art outdoor gallery: the Mural Mile.

Learn the stories of the city, people, and culture behind the artworks in Mural Mile, via a tour. Depending on the tours you choose, there are a walking tour and a trolley tour.

Pro-tip: The tours will happen rain or shine. Plan accordingly.

Try out a Halal Cheesesteak

One of the unique things to do in Philadelphia is none other than getting the city’s signature sandwich: the no-frills cheesesteak from walk-up counter spots.

In Philadelphia, get your Halal Cheesesteak from Saad’s Halal Restaurant.

Halal Cheesesteak Philadelphia
Photo by Saad’s Halal Restaurant.

According to the locals, its cheesesteak, is so huge that it can be enough for two peoples’ portion when you couple it with fries on the side.

  • Halal status: Halal, Muslim-owned
  • Cuisine: Philadelphian, & Middle Eastern
  • Address: 4500 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19139, United States
  • Opening hours:
    • Monday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
    • Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Phone: +1 215-222-7223

See Mosaic Art at Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Another artsy thing to do on your solo travel to Philadelphia trip is seeing the mosaic-covered art space at Philadelphia Magic Gardens!

Curated by Isaiah Zagar, the gallery-meets-outdoor sculpture garden on South Street covers half a city block with bottles, bicycle wheels, mirror fragments, and handmade tiles.

Unique Things to do in Philadelphia Magic Gardens Mosaic
Photo by Chang Ye on Unsplash

According to the public art exhibition, the work of art here “includes originality, community and supporting others.” What’s cool about the Magic Gardens is that there are all types of tours you can try.

Self-Guided Walking Tour is FREE.

Guided Tours:

Opening hours:

  • Monday – Thursday, Sunday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Things to do in Center City Philadelphia – According to Neighborhoods

When in Philly, you can’t go wrong with just hanging out in the Center City District, otherwise known as downtown.

It is where most of the city’s most historic neighborhoods and attractions are concentrated. Here are some of the things to do in Downtown Philadelphia, according to its famous neighborhoods:

Old City

This is where most iconic historic sites are located at. Known as “America’s most historic square mile”, Old City is also home to world-class museums, art galleries, major institutions, and theaters.

Philadelphia Old City

But its more famous attraction goes to the Independence National Historical Park.

Society Hill

Society Hill is where the green spaces, theme parks, and alfresco dining are situated at. It is where Delaware Riverfront and Spruce Street Harbor Park are located at.

The park is an awesome place for outdoor recreation. At night, it becomes a spectacle with hundreds of colorful LED lights adorning the trees.

Spruce Street Harbor Park Philadelphia
Photo by Delaware River Waterfront

Chinatown

Chinatown is famous for Philly’s ornamental Friendship Gate. The neighborhood is filled with shops and cafes that represent Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Taiwanese, Thai, and Burmese cuisine.

Chinatown Friendship Gate Philadelphia
Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

Come during seasonal events, when the neighborhood celebrates the region’s Asian-American population.

Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia’s most popular town square is the heart of Center City’s most exclusive neighborhood. Originally a residential area dating back to the 1800s, today the green-surrounded plaza features the finest of restaurants and shopping in Philadelphia.

Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia Solo Travel
Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

Mosques in Philadelphia, PA

There are several mosques in Philadelphia. So if you are looking for a masjid near me in Philly, here are some that you can stop over for daily prayer or Friday prayers.

Bensalem Township: Faith Unity Islamic Center

Firehouse turned Islamic Center, this is the first recognized Islamic presence in the township. The mosque offers daily and Friday prayers.

  • Address: 5961 Bensalem Blvd, Bensalem, PA 19020, United States

Olde Kensington: Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, Philadelphia PA

Established in 1989, Al-Aqsa Islamic Society is a prominent mosque in Philadelphia. Its bluish-white-brown mosaic exterior, known as “Doorways to Peace” is reminiscent of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s color scheme in Palestine.

Al-Aqsa Islamic Society Philadelphia
Photo by Al-Aqsa Islamic Society

The Mosque also houses Al Aqsa Islamic Academy, one of the best Islamic schools in Philadelphia!

Halal meat and poultry are also available for purchase at the Al-Almana Store. On top of that, they also have falafel, shawarma, gyro, baba ghanouj, and hummus!

  • Address: Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, 1501 N Germantown Avenue, PA 19122
  • Phone: 215-765-2743
  • Facebook

North Central Philadelphia: Makkah Masjid

This masjid is convenient if you happen to be around the Temple University area in North Central Philadelphia.

Mosques in Philadelphia Muslim Solo Travel
Photo by English House Gazette
  • Address: 1319 W Susquehanna Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19122, United States
  • Phone: +1 267-595-7324

Center City: Center City Musolla (Friday Prayers Only)

While there is no permanent prayer space that can provide 5 daily prayers in the center city, this mosque is on the mission to do so. Currently, it can accommodate Friday prayers right at the Center City.

To locate Center City Musolla Philadelphia Address, head on to Clover street, it is located behind Lowe’s Hotel.

Address: 1215 Clover St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States

Spruce Hill: Masjid Al-Jamia

Founded in 1988 by the students of the University of Pennsylvania, the mosque occupies the location of the former Commodore Theatre. The architecture reflects the edifice of the Spanish Revival or Moorish-style that was popular in the 1920s.

Philadelphia Masjid Al-Jamia Muslim Solo Travel
Photo by Masjid Al Jamia

Conclusion

And there you have it, your Solo travel in Philadelphia (Muslim-friendly) guide! Do share with another fellow Solo Muslim Traveler that you know who is going to Philly soon 😀

Related Solo Travel articles:

Follow Muslim Solo Travel on all its social media at:

Instagram | YouTube | Facebook

Leave a comment