12 days in New York City, Philadelphia & Washington DC Itinerary

12 days in New York City, Philadelphia & Washington DC Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in New York City, Philadelphia & Washington DC Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + bus:  8​h 45​min
1
New York City
— 4 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
2
Philadelphia
— 3 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
3
Washington DC
— 4 nights
Fly:  7​h
End: San Francisco

4
nights
New York City

New York City ©
Writer Pearl Buck once called New York City “a place apart,” and this giant urban center remains unlike any other in the world.
Museum-lovers will get to explore 9/11 Memorial and Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ground Zero Museum Workshop. The adventure continues: explore the world behind art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, take in the architecture and atmosphere at St. Patrick's Cathedral, take in the spiritual surroundings of St. Thomas Church, and take in the pleasant sights at Times Square.

For other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the New York City tour builder .

San Francisco to New York City is an approximately 9-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also fly; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 3 hours traveling from San Francisco to New York City. Traveling from San Francisco in December, things will get slightly colder in New York City: highs are around 48°F and lows about 36°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) to allow enough time to take a train to Philadelphia.

Things to do in New York City

Museums Historic Sites Outdoors

Side Trips

Hyde Park, Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Highlights from your plan
9/11 Memorial ©
9/11 Memorial
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt ©
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt

3
nights
Philadelphia

Philadelphia ©
Steeped in cultural and historical heritage, Philadelphia is known as the birthplace of U.S.
You'll explore and learn at Philadelphia Museum of Art and Eastern State Penitentiary. Get some cultural insight at Independence National Historical Park and Barnes Foundation. Get out of town with these interesting Philadelphia side-trips: Valley Forge National Historical Park (in Valley Forge) and Brandywine River Museum of Art (in Chadds Ford). The adventure continues: steep yourself in history at Independence Hall, appreciate the history behind Liberty Bell Center, and admire the masterpieces at Rodin Museum.

For other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, use the Philadelphia vacation app .

You can take a train from New York City to Philadelphia in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Philadelphia are 48°F, while nighttime lows are 35°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) early enough to catch the train to Washington DC.

Things to do in Philadelphia

Museums Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Brandywine River Museum of Art, Valley Forge National Historical Park
Highlights from your plan
Independence National Historical Park ©
Valley Forge National Historical Park ©
Philadelphia Museum of Art ©
Philadelphia Museum of Art

4
nights
Washington DC

Washington DC ©
The capital of the United States, the District of Columbia contains the lion's share of the country's most treasured monuments, memorials, and public museums.
You'll explore and learn at National Gallery of Art and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Get a sense of the local culture at Arlington National Cemetery and Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. Change things up with these side-trips from Washington DC: Gettysburg National Military Park (in Gettysburg) and National Museum of the Marine Corps (in Triangle). There's lots more to do: get to know the fascinating history of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, explore the world behind art at National Portrait Gallery, take an in-depth tour of Smithsonian American Art Museum, and take in nature's colorful creations at United States Botanic Garden.

For photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Washington DC online road trip planner .

You can take a train from Philadelphia to Washington DC in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Washington DC are 51°F, while nighttime lows are 37°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Washington DC

Museums Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Arlington, Gettysburg, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, National Museum of the Marine Corps
Highlights from your plan
Arlington National Cemetery ©
Arlington National Cemetery
National Museum of the Marine Corps ©
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center ©
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

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