Philadelphia visitors will appreciate the wide range of facilities with opportunities for indoor and outdoor recreation, leisure activities, and educational programming. Many of the parks are free to the public and open year-round.
This arboretum in the Awbury Historic District has been open to the public for almost a century. An urban oasis, it has 55 acres of landscaped gardens and unique features including a playground made from natural materials, a wildflower meadow, a wetlands habitat, and a cooperative farming village. The farming village has an education center with a teaching kitchen and garden classroom which are used for programming and special events, as well as facilities and services for community organizations such as the Philly Goat Project and the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild. Admission to the arboretum is free to the public.
1 Awbury Road, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-849-2855
© Bartram’s Garden
More than 50,000 visitors come to Bartram’s Garden each year to see the attractions, participate in the programs, or access the Lower Schuylkill River. With a focus on horticulture, agriculture, sustainability, and education, Bartram’s Garden is a great destination for nature lovers and budding botanists. Guests of the garden can stop by the Welcome Center to pick up a map or schedule a guided tour of the grounds. In addition to innovative garden spaces, tidal wetlands, and open meadows, the property has historic buildings, footpaths for walking and jogging, and a community boathouse and public dock. The gardens are open year-round from dawn to dusk.
5400 Lindbergh Boulevard, PA, Phone: 215-729-5281
3.Benjamin Rush State Park
Northeast Philadelphia is home to Benjamin Rush State Park, which has 315 acres of woodlands, recreation space, and one of the largest community gardens in the country. The park is popular with hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, birdwatchers, environmentalists, and radio-controlled model airplane hobbyists. Pet owners can bring their dogs for a walk or run along the park’s 3.5 miles of loose gravel trails that wind through shady forested areas and along open fields. Day-use visitors will appreciate the comfort stations and informational kiosks available at the trailhead. The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.
15001 Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-639-4538
At the corner of Cottman and Central visitors will find Burholme Park, on the grounds of which lies the Robert W. Ryerss Library and Museum. The park, library, and museum offer local residents and out-of-town guests a place to view the collection of books and artifacts, have a picnic on the lawn, or play a game of baseball, football, or soccer on one of the park’s well-kept fields. A playground is available for young children and older children enjoy using the batting cages at the Burholme Golf & Family Entertainment Center. Golfers can take private lessons from PGA-certified instructors or practice their swing on the center’s driving range.
401 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-685-0060
This 9.1-acre municipal park in West Philadelphia is a community treasure. Visitors to the park come to shop for flowers, fruit, and vegetables at the year-round farmers’ market, watch productions of the Shakespeare in Clark Park theater company, or snap a shot of the sculpture of Charles Dickens. Walkers and joggers use the park’s path for outdoor exercise and many bring their dogs to this pet-friendly park. Other opportunities for exercise include a basketball court for older kids and adults and a playground for the younger set. One unique feature of the park is its pétanque court, a French game that is similar to lawn bowling.
43rd & Baltimore, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-552-8186
6.Cobbs Creek Park
Cobbs Creek Park is a neighborhood park with 851 acres of sports and recreation space. Designated picnic areas, multiple playgrounds, and open fields perfect for tossing a frisbee or playing a game of flag football make it a popular place for birthday parties, family reunions, and other special events and celebrations. Tree-lined trails follow the creek past natural attractions and historic sites and are connected to the trails in Bartram’s Garden via the 58th Street Greenway. The park has numerous sports facilities and fields as well as a recreation center and environmental education center with regularly scheduled programs and events.
1338 South 59th Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-683-3600
The largest city-owned park in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park is divided into two sections by the Schuylkill River, a popular waterway for competitive rowing. Family-friendly attractions include the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, the Philadelphia Zoo, and the Please Touch Museum. Other cultural institutions and educational sites attract art and history buffs, while sports facilities offer places for athletes to hone their skills. Though the park is open year-round, a popular time to visit is in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the welcome center to pick up maps and brochures that list the locations and hours of the park’s many attractions.
1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-988-9334
8.Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park is known for its natural beauty. Scenic wetlands and waterways, landscaped lawns and gardens, and acres of deciduous trees with their color-changing leaves serve as a beautiful backdrop for outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and birdwatching. Their 18-hole golf course is environmentally friendly and offers a challenge for golfers at all levels. Community organizations offer tennis lessons, art classes, and yoga sessions in addition to hosting events such as movie nights and a summer concert series. The American Swedish Historical Museum has artifacts and archives celebrating Swedish and Scandinavian culture and is available to rent for celebrations and special events.
1500 Pattison Avenue & South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-683-3600
9.Glen Foerd on the Delaware
© Glen Foerd on the Delaware
The 18 acres surrounding the Glen Foerd mansion are run by the Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation as a public park. The grounds are home to mature trees, flowering shrubs, a formal rose garden, and a vineyard as well a picture-perfect riverfront pavilion. The mansion is open to the public as a museum and event space. Its collection of art and artifacts of American and European origin can be viewed as part of a guided tour or through self-guided exploration on select Saturdays. Pets are welcome on the ground if kept on a leash, but are not allowed in the mansion.
5001 Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-632-5330
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Hunting Park in North Philadelphia is one of a group of parks that makes up the Fairmount Park complex. Over the past 10 years, the Fairmount Park Conservancy has revitalized Hunting Park making it a community gathering space with amenities and programs focused on healthy lifestyles. Football, soccer, and baseball fields are available for team practices and scrimmages. Handball courts and tennis courts are open for public use. Families with small children are invited to use the playgrounds year-round. Access to a community garden, orchard, and weekly farmer’s market encourages visitors to eat well in addition to being active.
900 West Hunting Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-685-9153
11.Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park is a “can’t miss” destination for history buffs. Known as "America's most historic square mile” for the sheer number of historic buildings and artifacts that can be found within its borders, the park is a national treasure. Visitors can see landmarks such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, City Tavern, museums dedicated to the history of the United States Postal Service and Benjamin Franklin, the National Constitution Center, and the inkstand which was used during the signing of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
143 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-965-2305
Kingsessing Park is a neighborhood park in southwest Philly. Supported by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, it offers indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities, educational programming, and space for community events. The park has a rec center with basketball courts, activity rooms, and an auditorium, and outdoor amenities that include a swimming pool, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, a handball wall, and a playground. The Kingsessing Library is a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia and a Carnegie Library, built with funds from the renowned philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The park is easily accessible via public transportation with bus, trolley, and regional rail stops on or near the grounds.
599 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 800-537-7676
13.Malcolm X Park
Formerly known as Black Oak Park, this 6-acre urban park was renamed in honor of civil rights activist Malcolm X. The park has several play areas, benches for reading or quiet contemplation, and tables where families can enjoy a picnic lunch. A volunteer organization plans programs and events including community theater performances and a popular jazz music series. The park is open year-round and serves the residents of the West Philadelphia neighborhood in the area of Pine and 51st Streets. Recent investments in the park as part of the Green City, Clean Waters initiative have included the addition of environmentally friendly landscaping.
5100 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-686-1776
South Philadelphia’s Marconi Plaza is part of the Fairmount Park complex. The park was built in the style of Roman gardens with tree-lined sidewalks that border the plaza and raised terraces graced with statues of prominent Italian-Americans Guglielmo Marconi and Christopher Columbus. Facilities in this residential park include playgrounds for young children and places for older kids and adults to play bocce, baseball, and basketball. The Friends of Marconi Plaza, a volunteer-run organization, hosts concerts, sports clinics, movie nights, and holiday celebrations for residents and visitors. Dogs are welcome in Marconi Plaza provided they are kept on a leash.
2800 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-988-9334
© Dmitry V. Petrenko/stock.adobe.com
The Morris Arboretum has a significant plant collection representing 2,500 different species from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Guests can visit a free-standing octagonal fernery, Japanese- and English-style gardens and a metal walkway called Out on a Limb where guests can see the trees up-close. In addition to serving as the official arboretum for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the estate on which it sits is also known for its model railroad, decorative fountains and sculptures, and Swan Pond, a small man-made lake. The visitor center has a gift shop and seasonal cafe as well as restrooms for guests of the arboretum.
100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 877-747-8531
Restored and maintained by the Friends of Morris Park, a not-for-profit group of volunteers, this city park is a hidden gem in West Philadelphia. Built on land donated by the prominent Morris family, the park was created on the banks of Indian Creek. Two miles of multi-use trails follow the creek by grassy meadows and through natural woodlands. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are popular activities at Morris Park. The park has areas suitable for romantic picnics for two as well as wide-open space perfect for group gatherings. Past programming has included concerts in the park, seasonal celebrations, and service days.
6900 Sherwood Road, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 877-747-8531
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On warm summer evenings, you’ll often find residents of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood enjoying snacks and drinks on the lawn at Pastorius Park as they listen to concerts that are part of the park’s annual music series. A traveling beer garden known as Parks on Tap added the park to its roster last year and brought its festive energy to the neighborhood. On weekdays, visitors can enjoy the peacefulness of this small park with a walk around the pond where they can see turtles basking in the sun and frogs leaping into the water. Dogs can join their owners in the park if they are kept on a leash.
200 West Hartwell Lane, Philadelphia PA, Phone: 215-683-3600
© Pavel Losevsky/stock.adobe.com
Penn Park is at the corner of Walnut Street and South 31st Street on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. Amenities include a 470-seat stadium, NCAA regulation-size athletic facilities, designated picnic areas, and an urban orchard. Adams Field, Dunning-Cohen Champions Field, and South Green are available for spur-of-the-moment scrimmages when they are not being used by the university. Tree-lined walking and jogging paths along the Schuylkill River are dotted with residents and college athletes. A picnic grove provides shade from the sun and a place to have a bite to eat with friends. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. until midnight.
3000 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-573-2520
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19.Penn Treaty Park
Penn Treaty Park sits on the land where William Penn negotiated a peace treaty with the Lenape Indians. A commemorative statue of Penn placed near the entrance welcomes visitors to this neighborhood park. Family-friendly events like an annual fishing derby, a kite festival, open-air concerts, outdoor movies, and holiday celebrations are hosted by community organizations such as the Friends of Penn Treaty Park and the Fishtown Neighbors Association. The park has designated picnic areas, well-maintained playground equipment, plentiful parking, and trails where dogs and their owners can walk or jog along the banks of the Delaware River.
1301 North, Beach Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-634-5300
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Pennypack Park has 1,600 acres of forests, fields, and wetlands bisected by Pennypack Creek and the Pennypack Trail. Many species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians make their home in the park to the delight of birdwatchers and wildlife aficionados. Historic structures dating from the 17th century can be found on the property including the oldest stone bridge in the United States, a house raided by British troops during the Revolutionary War, and the Pennepack Baptist Church, home to one of the first Baptist congregations in the colonies. Standard park facilities include playgrounds and a multi-use trail for hikers, bikers, joggers, and horseback riders.
8635 Pine Road, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-934-7275
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21.Poquessing Creek Park
Poquessing Creek Park is located in a valley in northeast Philadelphia. Part of the Fairmount Park system, it is a peaceful oasis on the banks of Poquessing Creek. Visitors can fish the creek for bluegill, perch, or largemouth bass; walk or bike the 1.5-mile paved path shaded by ash, sycamore, maple, and elm trees; or book a tee time at the renowned John C. Byrne Golf Course. This challenging golf course features tree-lined fairways, rolling terrain, oversized bunkers, and elevated greens. Part of Audubon International's Cooperative Sanctuary Program, the golf course was designed with the environment in mind.
599 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 800-537-7676
Schuylkill Banks is a riverfront park in central Philadelphia. Active visitors can choose from a number of land-based activities including biking, walking, running, yoga, skateboarding, and fishing, as well as water sports like kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and boating. Artists set up easels or pull out a sketch pad to capture the natural beauty of the park. Sunbathers lay down towels on the grass to catch the summer rays while picnickers stretch out blankets and cover them with food from their baskets. Free and low-cost events are offered throughout the year to members of the community and out-of-town visitors.
2501 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 877-747-8531
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23.Tacony Creek Park
© Tony Mellinger/stock.adobe.com
This historic park and the creek that runs through it are part of an ongoing restoration project of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation and Water departments. Everyone is invited to participate in their planting and cleanup efforts or simply to learn more about the park’s flora and fauna by joining one of their guided nature or bird walks. A multi-day block party is held in the park once a year for the purpose of introducing it to the community. Nature-related games and activities are fun for the entire family and help promote environmental awareness.
4500 Worth Street, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-744-1853
24.Wissahickon Valley Park
Approximately 2,000 acres of parkland in the northwest section of the city make up Wissahickon Valley Park. An inspiration to writer and artists, the scenic park has 57 miles of wooded trails, babbling brooks, open meadows, and historic landmarks. Popular activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and birdwatching. The Friends of the Wissahickon organization has Trail Ambassadors that lead hikes for novice and experienced hikers and point out natural and man-made attractions along the way. Educational opportunities for kids and adults include activities like the City Nature Challenge, historical presentations, wellness lunches, and bird walks led by local birders.
120 West Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-247-0417
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Wissinoming Park is a neighborhood park with more than 40 acres of planned recreational space including tennis and basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and open spaces perfect for playing a game of tag or tossing a ball back and forth. Recent renovations include a new accessible playground, a splash park, environmentally friendly landscaping, and a mural painted by artists from Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. Activities like community picnics, nature walks, and church services have been held at the park and are well-attended by local residents. Wissinoming Park is pet-friendly, but dogs must be kept on a leash.
5877 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-685-1498
25 Best Philadelphia Parks
- Awbury Arboretum, Photo: aquar/stock.adobe.com
- Bartram’s Garden, Photo: Bartram’s Garden
- Benjamin Rush State Park, Photo: spiritofamerica/stock.adobe.com
- Burholme Park, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Clark Park, Photo: fireglo/stock.adobe.com
- Cobbs Creek Park, Photo: tonktiti/stock.adobe.com
- Fairmount Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, Photo: Kasi/stock.adobe.com
- Glen Foerd on the Delaware, Photo: Glen Foerd on the Delaware
- Hunting Park, Photo: madrolly/stock.adobe.com
- Independence National Historical Park, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Kingsessing Park, Photo: jdoms/stock.adobe.com
- Malcolm X Park, Photo: weedezign/stock.adobe.com
- Marconi Plaza, Photo: Daniel/stock.adobe.com
- Morris Arboretum, Photo: Dmitry V. Petrenko/stock.adobe.com
- Morris Park, Photo: GCapture/stock.adobe.com
- Pastorius Park, Photo: gilles lougassi/stock.adobe.com
- Penn Park, Photo: Pavel Losevsky/stock.adobe.com
- Penn Treaty Park, Photo: parntawan1987/stock.adobe.com
- Pennypack Park, Photo: irishasel/stock.adobe.com
- Poquessing Creek Park, Photo: Supitchamcadam/stock.adobe.com
- Schuylkill Banks, Photo: euboss33/stock.adobe.com
- Tacony Creek Park, Photo: Tony Mellinger/stock.adobe.com
- Wissahickon Valley Park, Photo: Kisa_Markiza/stock.adobe.com
- Wissinoming Park, Photo: lily/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com