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Philadelphia is one of America’s most historic cities with countless sights to see. Find out what to wear in Philadelphia no matter what time of year you visit so you can look stylish and feel comfortable.
What to Wear in Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love is home to America’s famous Liberty Bell and boasts some of the best art museums on the east coast. Philadelphia has a lot to offer for history-lovers, art-lovers, and cheese-lovers.
Philadelphia Clothing Style
With its proximity to the very chic New York City (only an hour by train), Philadelphia’s style is similar to the Big Apple. If you take the metro, you’ll see people wearing everything from scrubs to three-piece suits, but the style overall is a blend of urban and trendy fashion.
The extreme changes in weather mean that each season will require a very different wardrobe, impacting your decisions for what to wear in Philadelphia. Hot and humid summers and bone-chilling winters mean that depending on when you’re going, you’ll want to ensure you packed right for the season.
What to Wear in Philadelphia in Spring
The saying, “in like a lion and out like a lamb” is almost always true with spring in Philadelphia. In the beginning of spring, you can expect rainy cloudy days, with the strong possibility of snow.
The end of spring brings more sunshine and breezy weather. Spring here will never mean tube tops, but you may be able to break out some cute sandals. When deciding what to wear in Philadelphia during spring, don’t bring too summery of clothing and expect some cooler days.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:
- Feminine Clothing Trends for Spring
- How to Layer a Summer Dress for Spring
- Spring Basic Travel Wardrobe
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Philadelphia Packing List for Spring
A rain jacket with some insulation would be an ideal piece to bring in the spring when choosing what to wear in Philadelphia. If you only have a rain jacket, consider bringing a wool base layer or a merino wool sweater for warmth on cold and rainy spring days.
If you want to wear fun floral spring prints, feel free to do so, but bring leggings or thick tights to wear underneath, as it’s really not that warm until the end of May.
A flowy top, your most stylish jeans, and ankle boots are a perfect outfit for spring. If you want to wear a hat, consider a beanie, because sometimes the wind will be strong enough to take off with your fedora.
Take a look at these stylish and Insta-friendly travel raincoats for women!
What to Wear in Philadelphia in Summer
Summers in Philadelphia can be very hot and humid. Spending a day sightseeing in July may mean some shirts drenched with sweat, so keep this in mind when planning what to wear in Philadelphia.
July is one of Philadelphia’s most popular times of the year with tourists gathering to celebrate Independence Day at Independence Hall. The city tends to go all out, so it’s a great time to visit. Just be prepared to sweat.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- Cute Summer Dresses
- Beach Sandals for Hot Weather Vacations
- 3-Day Weekend Getaway Outfits for Summer
Philadelphia Packing List for Summer
Although it’s very hot, you’re still in a downtown city, so beachwear is a no-go when choosing what to wear in Philadelphia. A pair of good walking sandals with arch-support and an ankle strap is recommended. Darker dresses and a pair of stylish sunglasses make for a perfect outfit for this city: stylish and functional while keeping you somewhat cool.
Darker jeans may be too hot, so consider jeggings or cotton skinny pants with a flowy t-shirt. If you’re eating downtown at night, don’t forget your little black dress, wedge sandals, and a statement necklace.
Read these tips on how to avoid boring all-black outfits when you travel!
What to Wear in Philadelphia in Fall
Fall is arguably the best season to visit Philadelphia weather-wise. The hot, humid summer has come and gone, and the harshness of the winter hasn’t set in yet, which means you can have fun with your wardrobe when choosing what to wear in Philadelphia.
The fall boasts the beauty of changing leaves and weather is breezy, and typically only partly-cloudy. It’s the most comfortable weather of the year and you can get away with wearing a jacket at night and a t-shirt during the day.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for autumn travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer Clothes
- Use a Summer Dress to Pack Light in Fall
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Philadelphia Packing List for Fall
Go ahead and picture the Basic Girl wardrobe when choosing what to wear in Philadelphia: flannel shirt, jeans, ankle boots, fall jacket, and beanie. The classic fall look will fit perfectly in this city.
For early fall weather you’ll want t-shirts, jeans and boots with a lightweight jacket. Later in the fall, you’ll need jeans and long button-downs with a sweater, jacket, hat, and gloves.
It starts to get pretty cold in November, so bring a base layer to ensure you are prepared for the dropping temperatures.
Ankle boots are so versatile, you can’t go wrong with them! Here are the best ankle boots for fall!
What to Wear in Philadelphia in Winter
Winters in Philadelphia can be brutal: very cold, windy weather and, at times, lots of snow. Around the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve), the city is filled with lights and can be a beautiful time to visit, but you’ll want to come ready to bear through the freezing temperatures when choosing what to wear in Philadelphia.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Philadelphia Packing List for Winter
It’s time to bundle up! When choosing what to wear in Philadelphia in winter, you’ll want to bring the warmest winter coat you have made from wool or down. A warm hat, gloves, scarf, and base layer pants are also essential. For the rest of your travel wardrobe, you’ll want to include boots with thick wool socks, sweaters, thermal shirts and flannel shirts.
If you are taking a cab to a nice dinner, you could get away with a nice dress and wool tights, but if you have to walk, you’ll want very tall boots to bock the wind, as well as a wool dress and leggings. It’s just too cold to not have everything covered.
Find out why thermals are a must for traveling light (and staying warm) in winter!
The most popular shopping destination in Philadelphia has to be King of Prussia Mall. This mall is the largest in the United States (yes, larger than the Mall of America!).
Although it’s not in the downtown area, it’s a destination in and of itself that requires a 45 minute train ride from the downtown area. You will be hard-pressed to come up with a store this place doesn’t have.
Hotels are pricey in the downtown area, so I recommend checking out some of the quirky rental apartments through Airbnb. You can get a rooftop apartment for less than $50 a night.
It’s an inexpensive way to stay in the heart of the city. Hotels tend to me more affordable around the airport, or on some of the side streets with a bit of a walk to the city. If you don’t mind walking, you can get a decent deal on a hotel.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
For hostels, Travel Fashion Girl recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.
Are hostels safe? Here are our tips for women staying in hostels!
Philadelphia is easy to get around through a combination of walking and SEPTA. SEPTA has high-speed rails, buses, trolleys and commuter rails.
Punching your destination into Google Maps and using the public transportation feature will help you see whether you should just walk or walk to a station and take a line.
If it’s very late at night when you’re downtown, I would recommend using Uber. Uber can be a safer and faster way to get across the city (not during rush hour of course!).
What To Do in Philadelphia
Philadelphia has historic sites galore: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Eastern State Penitentiary. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best art museums on the east coast with world-class collections.
If you’re itching for Paris, the Rodin Museum is a great alternative to see some of Rodin’s wonderful sculptures.
Philadelphia Safety Tips
As with any major city, you need to be aware of yourself and your surroundings. If riding the metro (especially at night or near nightclubs), keep your phone, money, and wallet safely tucked away. Add items like the Secret Stash Bra Pocket and Underwear with Pockets to your Philadelphia packing list.
Crowded metros on a Saturday night mean lots of people close to you, so you want to make sure you aren’t flashing anything that someone might be tempted to take. For extra security, check out the “theft-proof” bags featured in this post about crossbody purses.
These are articles with other suggested anti-theft products:
- Money Belts and Anti-theft Accessories
- Best Anti-theft Bags for Women
- 6 Tools to Protect You From Pickpockets
What are your tips on what to wear in Philadelphia? Share your tips below!
For more North America packing lists, please read:
- What to Wear in Los Angeles
- Cape Cod Style: 4 Perfect Outfits
- USA Road Trip Packing LIst
- What to Wear in New York
Suggested travel resources:
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Author Bio: A travel lover and freelance writer from the United States Midwest. Traveling mostly as a couple with her husband, she is constantly looking for a beautiful view and a good adventure. For more practical travel tips and ideas from a Central Ohio Girl, check out her website: travelingwithnina.com or follow her on Twitter.