Once the nation's capital and today the most populated city in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is a city with a rich history, some of which is preserved in its 300-year-old parks. Apart from fantastic places to go like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Pavilion, outdoor spaces are in abundance. With over a hundred parks and ten thousand acres of land, it's easy to find a green space in the city where you can enjoy the great outdoors and fill your lungs with fresh air.
And when you find the perfect park to catch your breath after a long day of sightseeing at places like City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art or buying souvenirs in one of the terrific shopping districts, drop off your heavy bags at a bounce storage partner conveniently located across the city. Whether you need a safe place to store your backpack, picnic basket, or ice-skating gear, bounce luggage lockers in Philadelphia are easily found near the best sights and attractions.
Located in the Center City area, near the Old City and Chinatown neighborhoods, Franklin Square is one of the incredible parks in Philadelphia, perfect for family outings, picnics, events and recreation. As one of the five original park spaces founded by William Penn in 1682, Franklin Square has been many residents' favorite relaxation spot for centuries. At just under 5 acres, this versatile park offers a number of special events and fun outdoor enjoyment for the whole family.
The park's highlights include an 18-hole mini golf course, a historic fountain that puts on a spectacular light and dance show every half an hour, and the Parx Liberty Carousel, the perfect ride for the kids and kids at heart. The park is also home to The Living Flame, a memorial dedicated to fallen Police Officers and Firefighters.
When hunger strikes, you don't need to walk far, as SquareBurger is right there, offering some of the most delicious burgers in town. Open daily, Franklin Square is accessible to the public free of charge.
Formerly known as Southeast Square, Washington Square is one of the five original public green spaces designed by Philadelphia founder William Penn. The public land stretches over 6.4 acres of land in Philly's Center City area and although it was once a burial site, today it's one of the most popular parks in Philadelphia, visited by families, active people, history buffs, and nature lovers.
The park's historical landmarks are the Washington Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in honor of the Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the park. Large, picturesque and covered by trees and shaded areas, Washington Square is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Philly, with so much to do and see.
Nearby attractions and historic sites include the Independence Hall, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the Liberty Bell Center. Open 24 hours a day, Washington Square is available to the public all year round.
Nestled along the banks of the Schuylkill River in the heart of the city, Fairmount Park is the perfect escape from the city noise and a breath of fresh air for locals and tourists alike. Spanning over 2,000 acres of land, Fairmount Park is one of the largest landscaped parks in the world and the largest in the United States. Fairmount Park is home to the first zoo in the United States and the 1876 Centennial Exposition, which placed the historic park on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fairmount Park isn't your typical park in Philadelphia, with a few benches and a playground. The park's grounds consist of rolling hills, walking trails, athletic fields, tennis courts, a golf course and picture-perfect waterfront views. The relaxing natural landscape of Fairmount Park is divided into East and West sections by the Schuylkill River.
People come here for many reasons. Whether you want to go fishing, paddling, or sailing on Lake Evans, go horseback riding, have a picnic, or attend a concert, no one does it better than Fairmount Park. Colonial-era mansions and landmarks dot the vast green space of Fairmount Park, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Please Touch Museum, a Rose Garden, Japanese Gardens, the iconic Boathouse Row, and sculptures by artists like Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Randolph Rogers.
Walking and exploring the massive park, you're sure to work up an appetite. Luckily, there are a number of cafes, beer gardens, and places to grab a bite within the park. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, Fairmount Park is free to enter all year round.
Wissahickon Valley Park
Located in Northwest Philadelphia, the park offers 2,000 acres of woodland, cycling and hiking trails, a creek, and a number of stone bridges. Visitors at the Wissahickon Valley Park get to unwind in a tranquil natural landscape away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The park is quite popular and attracts people from all walks of life, but mostly active people looking to work up a sweat in challenging off-road cycling and hiking tracks. Bird lovers get to see an abundance of birds, from owls, cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers to mourning doves, Carolina wrens, and chickadees. So many birds call this place home that it's no wonder the park is designated as an Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society.
Within the park, you'll come across the Valley Green Inn, a historic tavern that's still open to the public for snacks and drinks. Wissahickon Valley Park is open throughout the whole year, so try not to miss it when you visit Philadelphia.
Benjamin Rush State Park
If you need a break from the frenzy in Philly and you also like airplanes and wildlife, this could be just the place for you. Located in the Northeast section of Philadelphia, within a 25-minute drive from Center City, the Benjamin Rush State Park is home to one of the largest community gardens in the world and the Northeast Radio Controlled Airplane Club.
The park stretches across 275 acres of land, mainly undeveloped. But people who come here come to connect with nature in its purest form. About 3.5 miles of hiking trails will help you reach your daily step count and lead you to nearby parks like the Fort Washington State Park, Tyler State Park and Washington Crossing Historical Park for more adventures. Other popular activities at Benjamin Rush include fishing at Poquessing Creek (must have a fishing permit), birdwatching, dog-walking, observing wildlife, or cross-country skiing during the winter months.
When you get the munchies, the park is encircled by several cafes, including Dunkin, American Crab Co, and a Jamaican restaurant. Luckily, there are picnic tables and shaded areas where you can unpack your lunch and call it a picnic. The Benjamin Rush State Park is open every day from 8 am to sunset, free of charge.
If you're looking for a modern park in the city center where you can catch up with friends or show off a few tricks on the ice skating rink during winter, Dilworth Park may fit the bill. Located right next to Philly's City Hall and within a stone's throw of the Liberty Bell Center, Dilworth Park stretches over one-half-acre space and represents one of the newest parks in Philadelphia.
The park offers a wide variety of activities and events depending on the season. During summer, you'll see parents sitting at a bench observing their kids playing at the interactive fountain or people working up a sweat at an outdoor fitness class. Visitors also get to enjoy concerts, dance events, and free movies on the lawn. Come winter, everyone's on the ice skating rink, shopping at the winter market stalls, or strolling through the Wintergarten.
Being centrally located, Dilworth Park is close to plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat. Work up an appetite as you explore all this welcoming park offers.
FDR Park is situated along the Delaware River and, at 348 acres, is the largest park in South Philly. Like most Delaware River waterfront parks, FDR Park offers amazing waterfront views and activities for all ages. Here, you can set up a picnic lunch, kayak, immerse yourself in nature or get into a tennis tournament or a game of baseball.
FDR Park boasts a network of trails, a lagoon, a creek, and seven lakes, and it's the perfect spot for bird-watching, fishing, relaxation, and fun. At FDR Park, you'll also find the American Swedish Museum, a playground for the youngest, and a world-renowned skate park.
Surrounded by the Southeast Asian Market, you won't be left hungry at the FDR Park. On the contrary, it'll be hard to pick from a variety of delicious food.
If you're looking for a riverside park for your morning hike or evening jog, Schuylkill Banks could be just the place for you. Located along the Schuylkill River in Center City, Schuylkill Banks offers some of the best riverfront views for early risers and sunset lovers. Schuylkill Banks is part of the Schuylkill River Trail, which stretches 23 miles from Philadelphia to Valley Forge National Historical Park and connects with many cultural and historical places of interest, like the Philadelphia Art Museum. You can access the Schuylkill Banks River Trail from anywhere along the trail.
As part of the nationally designated Schuylkill River National Heritage Area, the Schuylkill River Trail is home to abundant flora and fauna and provides an excellent escape from the busy city life, despite being in the city. People walk the trail every day, whether to get to work, socialize, walk their pets, cycle, take a stroll, have a picnic, or attend a pop up event, like free movie nights during the warmer months. You can even book a boat tour and enjoy the city view from the river.
A number of cafes and restaurants are lined up along the trail, so it would be easy to grab something to eat on the go. The Schuylkill Banks are accessible year round, making it an ideal spot to enjoy all seasons.
Immerse yourself in nature at some of the best parks in Philadelphia
Among the skyscraper-filled skyline of Philadelphia, you'll find a myriad of relaxing spots and vast green spaces to escape the busy city life and connect with nature. Some of the best parks in Philadelphia are centrally located, making them easily accessible and surrounded by food stalls, markets, and cafes for hungry visitors. Filled with abundant wildlife, creeks, lakes, trails, and sports fields, Philadelphia parks welcome people of all ages and walks of life.
And if you need to add a few more things to your Philly itinerary, check out our guides on the best hikes in Philadelphia and beaches near Philadelphia for a day trip worth taking. Historic Philadelphia is full of surprises you won't want to miss either.