There are a lot of options for a PAX Unplugged hotel before the official listing. You can find a hotel room at a lower cost or with more sleeping space easily with everything Philadelphia has to offer. Doing my own hotel research I found several distinct groupings of hotels which, all together, should fit most everyone’s needs.
Check the Cancelation Policy Before You Book
Before we start on the hotels, please be sure to check the cancelation policy before you make any reservations. PAX Unplugged is nine months away and a lot of details haven’t been announced yet, so your decision or ability to go can change between now and then.
The cheapest rate is typically pay in advance, non-refundable. Go for the slighter higher rate with a good cancelation policy ( 1-7 days out with no penalty). Once you do make a reservation create a calendar event to remind you to cancel the reservation, just in case something does change and you forget about your plans.
Official PAX Unplugged Hotels
You can book an official PAX rated hotel here. These hotels are partnered with PAX and the Pennsylvania Convention Center and offer a nice place to stay within walking distance of the con. As they are linked to PAX they will attract a lot of PAX attendees, so their lobbies are bound to be full of fellow tabletop gamers.
Interesting aside, the aLoft can only be booked through PAX. That hotel won’t open until this summer and isn’t taking reservations from the general public yet.
The downside to these hotels is their limited price range and room blocks. They are all within $60/night from each other, most are $239/night. Some of the double bed rooms have already sold out.
Luckily Philadelphia and beyond, thanks to its transit systems, has more hotels to offer a potential inaugural PAX Unplugged attendee working with a tighter budget or needing more sleeping space.
Additional Hotels Near the Convention Center
Pennsylvania Convention Center, the future home of PAX Unplugged, is in Center City of Philadelphia. This area includes the central business district and neighborhoods of Philadelphia and was the original City of Philadelphia before the mid 19th century. It hosted the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention, and the Federal government while Washington, D.C. was being built.
After Midtown Manhattan in New York it is the second-most populated downtown area in the United States. Needless to say, there are significantly more hotel options in the area.
Here is a Google Map showing all hotels near to the convention center.
If you want to pick the shortest distance hotel then keep in mind the entrance for PAX Unplugged will likely be along Arch Street. We won’t know for sure until PAX releases their maps, but the convention center’s map shows that is where most of the street level entrances are located.
For those going as a group two hotels you should check out are Home2 Suites by Hilton Philadelphia – Convention Center and Residence Inn Philadelphia Center City. They offer rooms with two queen beds and a sleeper sofa, not to mention a kitchenette. The hotels are a 1 and 7 minute walk to the convention center, respectively. Many other options can be found in the area, though pricing isn’t much lower than the official PAX hotels.
You can also look beyond hotels to homestay options, such as Airbnb. You’ll find a number of places listed for Center City Philadelphia.
Hotels Along the Subway Line
If you want to look for a cheaper stay within Philadelphia you’ll need to get away from Center City… and you can do that. The convention center is near several stops of the local transit system, SEPTA.
Ideally, try to find a hotel along the Blue Line. That has the stop closest to the convention center, Jefferson Station which is a 4 minute walk.
You can also look for hotels along the Orange Line, and take the train to either Chinatown Station or Race-Vine Station for a 7-8 minute walk.
Be aware SEPTA can suffer from what they call slippery rail season. In short, the falling leaves get crushed on the rails, making it slipper and trains have to slow down. This causes delays in the schedule. Hopefully it’ll be mostly over by mid November, and it’ll depend on weather that weekend. The Blue line is mostly underground so it’ll be the least affected.
Fares are $2.25 each way.
Hotels In New Jersey
That’s right, New Jersey.
In addition to the local transit there is the PATCO, a high speed train between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
From Jersey you can take the train into Philly to the 8th & Market Street Station. Then it is an 11 minute walk through The Gallery, all indoors and past a food court, to the convention center. The Gallery is currently closed for renovations and is scheduled to reopen before PAX Unplugged. If it doesn’t then expect an outdoor walk.
Fares are $1.50 to $3 each way, depending on your destination.
This option opens up a number of nice, sub-$100/night hotels in New Jersey. However, none of them are within comfortable walking distance to a PATCO station. If you’ll have a car, or don’t mind using an Uber/Lyft service twice a day, then this option gives you nice and inexpensive hotels with a fairly easy commute into the city.
Hotels Near Lindenwold Station
Hotels Near Ashland Station
Hotels Near Haddonfield Station
Hotels Near Collingswood Station
Lots of Options = No Need To Rush
As you can see, there are a lot of options available near and convenient to the site of PAX Unplugged. While some of the official hotels may fill up by the time badges go on sale you shouldn’t feel rushed to make a decision about going until more details are revealed. Take the time to do your own research, list a number of hotels that work for you, and then book when you feel ready.