Along with all the standard chain hotels you’d expect in a major city, Philadelphia  offers independent and boutique hotels. And even some of the chains have taken up residence in unique, historic buildings—offering more character than their big names might suggest. Intimate bed-and-breakfasts and lively youth hostels round out the diverse mix.
Whether you’re working with an unlimited expense account or you can barely scrape together change for a cheesesteak, there is a place for you to lay your head here.
The bulk of hotels are located in or just outside of Center City—convenient considering this is where most people spend the majority of their time. You won’t be more than a 10-minute drive or a 30-minute walk from the city’s major sights, dining, and nightlife anywhere in Center City. The most expensive places are located here—especially along and near the Avenue of the Arts.
If money is no object, stay at one of Philadelphia’s  drop-dead gorgeous, world-class hotels: The Four Seasons , The Ritz-Carlton , or the independent and award-winning Rittenhouse Hotel . Even if you can’t afford to stay in one of these luxury hotels, you should stop in to check out the elegant lobbies, eat or drink at one of their swank restaurants or bars—or to use some of the nicest bathrooms you’ve ever seen.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, budget travelers and students have several options, including the Bank Street Hostel  in Old City, the restored Chamounix Mansion  hostel in Fairmount Park, and the International House  in University City. In the mid-range, there are plenty of chain and independent hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and rooms in private homes.
It is wise to reserve a room well in advance when visiting at peak times, including summer, festivals, and holidays. The Independence Day celebration is a huge event in Philadelphia , so if you plan to be here for the weeklong festivities, you’d better have a friend in town, a huge wad of money, or a reservation months in advance.
Since chain hotels are so easily found with a few clicks of a mouse, the majority of this section is devoted to the lesser-known, unique Philadelphia establishments. Chains are, however, included when there are limited options in a particular area or in some cases because the chains are distinctive or just too beautiful or convenient to leave out. All rates are listed based on double-occupancy in summer (high season). Most hotels offer parking at a daily cost on-site or in a nearby lot, usually for around $20 a day.
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation (www.gophila.org ) is an excellent resource for additional listings, descriptions, links for reservations, and great discounts, including their Philly Overnight Hotel Package. The package includes hotel accommodations, parking, and a free gift and coupon book upon check-in.
Bed and Breakfast Connections of Philadelphia (800/448-3619, www.bnbphiladelphia.com ) has additional offerings.