Updated on June 27, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

The first World Heritage City in the U.S., Philadelphia is home to American history, chef-driven cuisine, abundant outdoor space, and unparalleled art and culture community. These qualities have elevated Philadelphia as a destination worthy of the world’s attention, recently receiving recognition from National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and TIME.

The city typically attracts tourism demand throughout the year because of Philadelphia’s historic importance as the nation’s original capital, as well as the popular sporting events held at Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wells Fargo Center. 

Philadelphia has long drawn in tourists and residents with its culture, nightlife, history and relative affordability compared with other East Coast Cities like New York.

Here are some of the city’s fast facts, trends, and statistics.


  • Philadelphia’s urban park system, including Fairmount Park, is 10,200 acres with 63 individual parks, over 270 hiking trails, and 200 historic buildings.
  • Named one of the world’s 10 best cities for parks by Frommer’s.
  • Philadelphia has more public art than any other U.S. city. Nearly 4,000 massive murals grace the walls and communicate the essence of neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
  • Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia is one of the top most visited monuments in America.
  • Philadelphia was the 1st capital of the United States (see where the Declaration of Independence was written and the Constitution was signed all in Independence National Historical Park).
  • Philadelphia is well-known for its rich LGBT history, and the Gayborhood. LGBT events such as Equality Forum, Pride Day, and Out Fest happen annually.
  • Philadelphia is the hub of regional tourism activity, accounting for the majority of visitor spending. This activity creates more job opportunities for Philadelphia residents within the tourism industry, making it the city’s fastest growing employment sector.
  • Most visitors to the region come from inside the United States.
  • Philadelphia Region Sets a Record in 2019 with 46 Million Visitors. The 10th year in a row of tourism growth.
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) also contributed to the industry’s growth, reporting an all-time high of 33.02 million airplane passengers in 2019.
  • An increase in overnight visitation contributed to additional tourism industry records: $7.64 billion in direct visitor spending, which directly supported 105,460 jobs across various industries.
  • Direct spending is primarily concentrated in five sectors of the economy, with food and beverage and lodging purchases accounting for slightly more than half of total visitor spending.
  • Visits to Greater Philadelphia tourist attractions dropped almost 60% in 2020 amid the pandemic.
  • In 2021, 36.2 million people visited the five-county Greater Philadelphia region in 2021, a 21% increase from 2020 and proof that the industry’s recovery from COVID-19 is well underway.
  • While the tourism sector saw increases in all key metrics (visitation, spending, economic impact, tax revenue and jobs) over 2020, a full recovery is not expected until 2023.
  • In 2021, Visitors spent $5.2 billion—a 26% increase over 2020 and 32 percent below 2019. 
  • Saturday night remained the busiest night of the week for hotels, with average occupancy at 88.1% in 2019.
  • Top tourist international visitors to Philadelphia include the United Kingdom, China, Germany, India, France, South Korea, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, and Spain.


  • Many of the visitors to Independence National Historical Park line up to see the Liberty Bell, one of the park’s — and the country’s — most iconic attractions. In 2018, the famously fractured bronze bell drew over 2.1 million visitors.
  • Many trips include visits to more than one county, whether both the city and suburban counties or multiple counties within the suburbs.
  • Leisure travelers make up the vast majority of visitors to Greater Philadelphia and contribute the majority (70%) of visitor spending.
  • Leisure visitors are more likely to visit museums and historic sites, enjoy the dining scene and attend a local festival or concert.
  • Domestic visitors to the region come from New York, Maryland, and Pittsburg.
  • Visitation is strongest in the middle of the year, with more than 13 million visitors each in the second quarter (April-June) and third quarter (July-September).
  • Visitors from overseas countries spend the most per person, and Canada generates the most visitors of any international country.
  • Most overseas visitors travel to the region for leisure, while a significant number also travel for business or a convention.
  • The United Kingdom has consistently represented the largest origin market over the 2009-2018 period.
  • Leisure travel to the region is strongest on the weekends and in the summer months when travelers have more free time.
  • Leisure travelers are typically considered price-sensitive, leading to a lower average room rate than the group and business segments.
  • Business travel is strongest during the middle of the week. Hotels tend to achieve relatively high rates for this segment, which may be less price-sensitive.


  • In 2021, 2 million room nights were sold in Philadelphia, with full recovery expected in 2023.
  • Of the 2 million rooms consumed, demand was greatest among leisure visitors, who were projected to lead the travel industry’s recovery: leisure (45.2%), business (32.1%), and group (18.8%). Contract business (primarily flight crews and long-term stays) accounted for 3.9% of the mix.
  • Shopping destination Peddler’s Village was the only attraction that did not report a drop in visits, welcoming 2.25 million shoppers in 2020 despite the pandemic.
  • While proof of vaccination and mask-wearing are no longer required in Philadelphia, individual businesses in Philadelphia and the Countryside may require them, and the City of Philadelphia strongly recommends mask-wearing.
  • Some area tourist attractions introduced virtual tours in 2020 to continue welcoming guests in some capacity during the shutdown.
  • Regional domestic visitation totaled 36.2 million in 2021. This represented a 21% increase from 30 million person-trips in 2020 but remained 19% below 44.4 million visitors in 2019.
  • The regional economic impact from visitor activity totaled $8.6 billion in 2021. This represented a 26% increase from $6.8 billion in 2020 but remained 30% below the $12.3 billion in economic impact in 2019.
  • Philadelphia is the #1 Most Sports-Crazed City in the U.S. according to Travel + Leisure.
  • Philadelphia’s global competitiveness, when measured by 43 aggregated benchmarks, is now on par or catching up with other New World Cities such as Vancouver, Oslo, and Dublin (for more Dublin days out, check out our guide here).
  • Visit Philadelphia has drilled down on working to attract diverse travelers to the city with its summer marketing efforts, including LGBTQ and Black tourists.