The easiest way to travel from Pennsylvania to New York City depends on several factors, among them personal preferences, your budget and the number of people and volume of luggage you have. The key consideration, though, is the Pennsylvania locale from which you will depart. Eastern Pennsylvania cities, which include Philadelphia, Allentown and Scranton, average around 100 miles from New York City, whereas those in Western Pennsylvania, such as Pittsburgh and Erie, are up to 400 miles away. Overall, the easiest way to travel for most is by train, via Amtrak's comprehensive services connecting stations throughout Pennsylvania with New York City's famous Penn Station. For others, several alternatives can be quite straightforward, too.

Choose Train Travel for Simplicity

Amtrak operates several train lines connecting stations throughout Pennsylvania with New York City. The advantages of taking a train are speed, simplicity and ease of arrival at Penn Station in the heart of New York City, where you can connect quickly to other public transportation systems or walk to key destinations in the city. A minor drawback if you're starting at a distance from a Pennsylvania train station is having to arrange additional transportation to the station.

Amtrak's Pennsylvanian line is the most comprehensive Pennsylvania-to-New York City service, starting in Pittsburgh, ending at Penn Station and stopping along the way at over a dozen stations throughout the state. These include major metropolitan areas and rural stops alike, including Philadelphia, Lancaster, Elizabethtown, Harrisburg, Huntingdon, Latrobe and others. The train ride from Pittsburgh to New York City takes 9 hours and 20 minutes. The Acela Express is a high-speed service connecting New York and Philadelphia, a 1 hour, 15-minute journey. Other Amtrak services connecting Pennsylvania with New York City include Northeast Regional, Keystone Service and Vermonter.

Hit the Road for Low Cost and Convenience 

In certain circumstances, driving can be preferable to train travel. Driving can be convenient if your starting point is at a distance from a train station, you have easy access to a car (either your own or a rental), and you can make arrangements for parking or rental car drop-off while in New York. It's also a more affordable option when you're traveling with others or you have a large amount of luggage to bring. Another advantage of driving is that you can have a fully flexible schedule for leaving and arriving.

Journeys from Eastern Pennsylvania take about 2 hours without stopping and without heavy traffic. From Philadelphia to Midtown Manhattan is approximately 100 miles, and a 2-hour journey; Allentown is a similar distance. From Harrisburg, the distance is 170 miles, and from Lancaster it's a 160-mile drive, which takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. Driving from Pittsburgh to Midtown, a 373-mile trip, takes around 6 hours, and Erie to Midtown, which totals 400 miles, takes 7 hours. Some routes include toll roads, which generally shorten the journey but can be avoided if you wish.

Take a Flight for the Fastest Journey

Flights from Central and Western Pennsylvania get you to one of the New York City airports—John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) or Newark Liberty (EWR)—in an average of 1.5 hours. However you need to factor in additional transportation from the airport to your final destination in New York. At the time of publication, Pittsburgh to New York City flights are offered by American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue and United airlines. Nonstop flights range in duration from 1 hour, 22 minutes to 1 hour, 49 minutes. You can also fly on United from Lehigh Valley International Airport (formerly Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton) (ABE) to Newark, a 1.5-hour flight.