Best Local Parks to Visit in Philadelphia

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Did you know that the city of Philadelphia was voted a top 10 city in the world for parks by Frommer’s?

So just what are those parks that helped Philadelphia make the list.

Below are some of our top park picks in all of Philadelphia.

  1. Fairmount Park – We can’t talk about parks in Philadelphia without mentioning Fairmount. At over 10,000 acres, Fairmount Park (run by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, who works in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation) is the largest municipal park in Philadelphia.
  2. Franklin Square – For a playful getaway with the kids in Center City, head over to the historic Franklin Square. The park is centered around a historic 1838 fountain, with mini golf, a carousel, a playground and SquareBurger. You can also visit the Living Flame Memorial dedicated to fallen police officers and firefighters.
  3. Washington Square – Less than a mile away from Franklin Square and past the Liberty Bell in Center City, is Washington Square. If you are looking to take a stroll or simply relax on a bench or picnic, Washington Square is an oasis in the middle of Center City. You can also visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution there.
  4. Rittenhouse Square – The expansive square in Rittenhouse, home to sculptures, greenery, benches, and fountains. Along the perimeter are some of Philly’s finest restaurants and often farmer’s markets and events.
  5. PennyPack Park – Located in Northeast Philadelphia, this park extends from the Delaware River to the border of Montgomery County. There is lots to do here from walking, jogging, and rollerblading. The park also has ample scenery and places to picnic.
  6. Tacony Creek Park – Tacony Creek Park is a 302-acre park near the edge of Northeast Philadelphia, and is made up of the Juniata Golf Course, Ferko Playground, Recreation Center, and more. It also has 2.5 miles of creek-side trails.
  7. Wissahickon Valley Park – There are several trails that make up Wissahickon Park covering 1,400 acres, in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, this park is perhaps one of the most famous parks in all of Philadelphia. Enjoy the famous Forbidden Drive Trail (mostly flat so good for walking and comparatively a wide trail in most parts), and then head for brunch, lunch, or dinner at the Valley Green Inn, grab a snack at Cedar House Cafe, or hike, climb, or check out the Wissahickon Environmental Center. There is so much to do at this breath-taking park.
  8. East & West Fairmount Park – These expansive parks extend along the Schuylkill River and feature a host of different historic houses, landscapes, activities, and paths for biking, walking, or jogging. On the east side, you’ll find the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and famous Rocky Steps), Boathouse Row, and “Charms of Fairmount Park” (historic villas throughout Fairmount Park dating back to the American Revolution time). On the west side is the Philadelphia Zoo, Horticulture Center, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Hall, and Japanese House and Garden. Yes, you might need a few days to see all the major attractions of East & West Fairmount Park. Learn more about Fairmount Park System and get maps on this guide (note: per Fairmount Park Conservancy, this guide has outdated contact information). Here is an online interactive map that Fairmount Park System says is under construction.
  9. FDR Park – Located in South Philly, also known as “The Lakes,” FDR park offers athletic fields, golf course, tennis courts, playground, trails and a famous skate park.
  10. Dilworth Park – In 2014, Dilworth Park underwent a $55 million transformation. Thanks to Center City District Parks (CCD) and other great supporters, it now has a café, foundation, benches and hosts cultural events throughout the year.
  11. Independence Park – A large expansive green area across from the liberty bell. This area has expansive green lawn and also a beautiful set up of benches and shade in the corner closest to 5th street.
  12. Independence Square – Directly behind Independence Hall (where the Constitution was signed), and stretching several expansive blocks is a quiet expansive shaded area mixed with greenery and beautiful original cobblestones. If you are looking for a little history and a relaxing afternoon, this area is among the locals favorite.
  13. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania – In Chestnut Hill in Northwest Philly, near Wissahickon Valley Park, this 92-acre Victorian style grounds has a rose garden, majestic trees and over 12,000 labeled plants from around the world.
  14. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge – Near the Philadelphia Airport lies this massive 1,000 acre wildlife refuge featuring several trails, open space, boardwalk lookout for wildlife and more. It is a great place for those looking for a relaxing visit with nature, and among birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.
  15. Longwood Gardens – Although not a park and not in Philadelphia, this 1,000+ acre attraction is worth mentioning. Located about 35 miles outside center city, Longwood features an open-air theatre, Italian water garden, cascade garden, hillside garden and lots more. Although largely outdoors, they do have an indoor section as well.

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