Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, is the place where you could say the United States was born. In 1776 representatives from the 13 original American Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence in Independence Hall and the rest is history. The city was founded by William Penn, a Quaker, in the 1600s. It mostly consisted of the area from the Delaware river to city hall in these earlier times. That area forms the historical district today and the area where visitors to the city focus most of their attention.
Philadelphia is welcoming to dogs. It is not the most dog-friendly city, but it is not anywhere near the least dog-friendly as well. Philadelphia's most pet-friendly hotel is probably the Loews Philadelphia where you can dine with your dog, get doggie room service and get a dog bed and a doggie basket on arrival. Other pet-friendly hotels include the Palomar Philadelphia, The Rittenhouse Hotel and a number of Sheratons and the Westin Philadelphia. If you are planning a longer stay in the city, then an extended stay hotel such as the Residence Inn City Center or an Extended Stay America near the airport may be for you.
Dogs like to walk and you can walk around the historical city center of Philadelphia. You can also walk out over the Delaware River on the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway for great panoramic scenes of the city. You can walk with your dog throughout the outside areas of Independence National Historical Park which is where Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell reside. This gives you great views of Independence Hall and a not too great view of the Liberty Bell through the not too transparent glass. To see the Liberty Bell up close, one person in your party will have to wait outside with your pet while you go on the line through to the bell. The same problem if you want to take the tour of Independence Hall. But you can have a good time at the Historical Park with your dog. Most carriage drivers will take dogs along for the ride in Philadelphia. Also open to visit is the grave of Ben Franklin at 5th and Arch Streets.
For dining with your dog and shopping with your dog you can visit the South Street District at South Street near 2nd Avenue. There are a number of dog-friendly eateries and stores in this area. For a doggie menu, try the Taver 17 Restaurant at 220 S 17th Street. What is a trip to Philadelphia without a Phily Cheesesteak? Try Pat's King of Steaks at 1237 East Passyunk Avenue. They have a take out window and tables for dining. The White Dog Cafe at 3420 Sansom Street near the University of Pennsylvania is also inviting.
If you have a car with you your dog will want to take you out of town to visit Valley Forge in King of Prussia. This park has a self-guided driving tour or you can take your dog's advise and walk it. Dogs can go to all outdoor areas which includes most of the park except the Visitor's Center.
The biggest city park in Philadelphia is Fairmount Park which follows the Schuylkill River and Expressway. The famous Philadelphia Zoo is located in the park but is off-limits to dogs. Most of the rest of the park is open to pets. Another scenic walk is along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Square to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There are a number of off-leash dog parks in the city depending on which area you are located in.
Near Philadelphia in the suburbs is a dog-friendly area that consists of Chadds Ford and West Chester and the surrounding area. We have a separate dog-friendly guide to this area. For shopping with your dog try the Glen Eagle Square Shopping Area. Kennett Square Inn, Four Dogs Tavern and the Brickside Grill are available for doggy dining. For people looking for an RV Park to use as a base while touring Philadelphia the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA is located in this area. There is dog-friendly canoeing and a visit to Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site in Chadds Ford would be rewarding. For overnight stays with your pet in this area you can try the Hamanassett B&B and Carriage House or a number of small inns and hotels.
Philadelphia is centrally located in the Northeast Corrider and as such has many short trips to other places to visit. Forty miles up the Delaware River is Washington's Crossing. You can visit Washington Crossing Historical Park, walk the towpath at New Hope and spend some time around New Hope Pennsylvania. Some dog-friendly choices are the Pocono Mountains, Cape May New Jersey and of course, New York City and Washington DC.
Many visitors to Philadelphia get to town via Amtrak, which is unfortunately not an option for travelers with dogs. Most visitors with dogs will thus have to drive if visiting from the Northeast Corridor or you can fly into Philadelphia International Airport with your dog. Pet dogs are generally not allowed on the SEPTA trains and buses except in a carrier that is carried at all times.