Philly is known for its cultural and historical landmarks, but it also boasts a surprising amount of green space for a city of its size and history. Enjoy a book and people watching at any of several charming plazas in central Philly - Rittenhouse Square , Swann Memorial Fountain and kid-oasis Sister Cities Park, Dilworth Park, or Washington Square. Or, walk or bike along an elevated, disused train line and viaduct at The Rail Park, one of Philly’s newest and most visionary parks. Take to the skies at nearby Cira Green or find refuge in the trees of The Woodlands, a Victorian rural cemetary and arboretum adjacent to Penn’s campus. While making your way back from The Barnes, we recommend checking out the Schuylkill Banks + Boardwalk for some of the best riverside picnicking, strolling, and skyline views. If you really want to up your Philly cred, duck into one its many secret-ish, pocket parks and gardens; most city denizens won’t have visited more than a few themselves. For those of you with more time, or a hankering to escape the maddening crowd, Philly’s staggering 2000-acre Fairmount Park spans both sides of the Schuylkill River, and endless waterfront and woodland trails. Highlights include incomparable skyline views from Belmont Plateau, the outdoor amphitheater at the Mann Center, Smith Memorial Playground and Please Touch Museum for those of you traveling with kids, and dazzling by night Boathouse Row. Further south, FDR Park has something for everyone: a perfect spot for a picnic and paddle-boating, it also boasts a skate park, excellent bird-watching, the Southeast Asian market, meadow trails, and – who knew? - the American Swedish Historical Museum.
Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk
The Woodlands cemetery
Not content to just sit in the shade of a tree or mosey along a trail? You can get a heavier dose of nature at the Victorian-era, tree-lined Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first. Or you can mix your outdoor dining and boozing with other entertainment at one of the popular Delaware River Waterfront Parks: You can soak up the sunset from a hammock, challenge your colleague to a game of bocce or shuffleboard, or curse the humidity over a beer at the colorful, city-favorite Spruce Street Harbor Park. Do some yoga or catch an outdoor movie at the relaxing Race Street Pier, or check out the work of local artists and artisans at the nearby transformed creative hub, Cherry Street Pier. Did you lose the shuffleboard challenge? How about ice cream and a mini-golf re-match at Franklin Square ?
Cherry Street Pier
Whether you’re talking baseball (the Phillies!), football (the Eagles!), basketball (the Sixers!), hockey (the Flyers!), or soccer (The Union!), Philly residents are fanatical when it comes to their sports teams (Never heard of The Union? OK, well, superfans for at least 4 out of 5 major sports leagues). You can check most of them out at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, or at one of our many sports bars. If you’re more for doing sport than watching, or at least want to seem so on your Instagram account, a run up the Rocky steps and selfie with his Statue is a must-do. Genuine runners might enjoy the Delaware River Trail or the Schuylkill River Trail, though most folks just amble and enjoy the views. Fitting in all of Philly’s attractions is also good reason to take advantage of the Philly bike share, with stations conveniently dotted across the city. Take one to the Delaware River waterfront to enjoy roller skating at Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest, along with boardwalk games, rides, mini-golf, food and drink. Alternatively, head southwest from campus to idyllic Bartram’s Garden, where you can enjoy free boating every Thursday and Saturday and enchanting gardens and bird-watching every day.
Rocky statue and steps
Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest