GETTING THERE: Philadelphia is about three hours north of Washington via I-95. Amtrak regional and Acela trains (800- 872-7245, www.amtrak.com) travel between D.C.'s Union Station and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station in less than two hours several times daily; one-way fares range from $40 to $123.

SEEING MURALS: The city's Mural Arts Program (1729 Mount Vernon St., 215-685-0754, www.muralarts.org) provides free maps of walking and driving tours of artwork. Download them online or pick them up at MAP's office or the Independence Visitor Center (Sixth and Market streets). The latter is also the departure point for two-hour trolley tours Wednesdays and Saturdays through Oct. 29, starting at 11 a.m. Prices: $18 adults, $15 students and seniors 65 and older; $10 children ages 5 to 12; children under 5 free. Each week of the month features a different neighborhood. October is Mural Arts Month, with mural dedications, a poetry reading, a "community paint day" and other events. Reservations are recommended for Wednesday and Saturday tours and are required for special tours and events.

STAYING AND EATING THERE: We slept in the Old City at the comfortable, Euro-chic Penn's View Hotel (Front and Market streets, 800-331-7634, www.pennsviewhotel.com; $129 to $255 weekends), in a rehabbed 19th-century warehouse building. Many rooms offer balconies and views of the Delaware River. Continental breakfast, served in the mural-filled Ristorante Panorama, is included. Panorama serves worthy Italian (saffron pasta with shrimp and artichokes, a garlicky veal chop), while its clubby wine bar pours 120 wines by the glass. (Entrees $18 to $26.95.) Devon Seafood Grill (225 S. 18th St., 215-546-5940; dinner entrees $16-$39.95) on Rittenhouse Square serves good crab cakes, big salads and fresh fish in rooms with barrel-vaulted brick ceilings.

INFO: Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800-225-5745, www.pcvb.org.