I was lucky enough recently to get to spend a week in Philly. Unfortunately it was in March. And it was cold; in the 30s and raining almost the entire time.
Regardless, my trip was going to be a walking trip. I had the company car, this monstrous SUV, and I was not about to try to worry about parking that beast. So, during my 7 night stay, I used my car exactly once. Philly is an excellent place for a walking vacation. There is so much “stuff” so close together! I never went out of a 3 mile radius of my hotel and didn’t get to see everything in that radius.
And, even though I’m female and traveled alone, I was comfortable walking around. Mostly. There was only once or twice that I felt unsafe. Once was completely my fault, I acknowledged a panhandler who then got really aggressive. He started following me and recruited a fellow panhandler to start insulting me. I stayed calm and simply began looking around for an open restaurant/store/etc. that I could run in to. I also looked for cops. But the men gave up before I had to take any action. The worst part of Philly is that there are loads of homeless people and panhandlers, everywhere. The Center City’s subway terminal was all sleeping bags. There was no chance you could get me to explore the subway after seeing that.
And all the beautiful squares and park space downtown seem to exist almost exclusively to contain the homeless. In the middle of the day, I saw a young-ish couple laying on a blanket and covered with many more blankets. They were surrounded by bags of their belongings. If it wasn’t so cold – and raining – one could have imagined they were having a picnic.
Anyway, I didn’t do anything crazy, so I felt safe. I didn’t walk around much after dark. And I didn’t go in certain areas. It was easy to see which sections were sketchy. So I walked around them. And I certainly didn’t go out alone after drinking. Especially since drinking was pretty pricey. Happy hour specials were things like “$5 for Blue Moon on tap. $5 for Bud Light on tap”. That was a happy hour special. I could almost buy a six pack of yucky Bud Light for $5. As I said though, that was pretty typical pricing for downtown Philly. And most places didn’t have much other than Bud Light and Blue Moon.