By Brenna Luczyszyn

Who says you have to escape the city to experience nature? Philadelphia is full of places to experience the great outdoors—while also discovering the art, culture, and cuisine that the city is known for. As the summer begins to heat up, locals and visitors alike will find places to visit that are sure to satisfy all ages. From waterfront piers to historic gardens, you won’t be disappointed with the summer landscape in Philly.

BEBOT, a 33-foot tall, 13,000-pound robot statue from Burning Man that was flown in special for Piazza Pod Park. (Photo by Kory Aversa)

Piazza Pod Park

1075 Germantown Avenue

7 a.m. to midnight

This brand-new community destination features 35,000 square feet of outdoor space with dining, art, civic space, kids and fitness components, as well as regular entertainment and events. Piazza Pod Park captures the artistic and design-centric character of the Northern Liberties neighborhood that surrounds it. It boasts retail spaces made entirely of recycled shipping containers, two mega-scale installations from internationally acclaimed artists, and a local artists-in-residence program with regular classes. Nearly a dozen dining offerings from locally and nationally recognized restaurateurs include: empanadas, Asian, Italian ice, artisan French toast bites, a Jewish bakery, and more. Piazza Pod Park is a fun place for the whole family. There will be an inclusive toy store, a playground, and a nursing pod just for moms and babies, so be sure to bring the kids for a unique outdoor experience.


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Spruce Street Harbor Park

Columbus Avenue and Spruce Street

Summer Hours of Operation (please note that different businesses may vary): Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Located in Penn’s Landing, the Spruce Street Harbor Park is one of the premier summer destinations in Philadelphia, popular among both locals and visitors. Guests can rent one of 50 colorful hammocks and float above the water. Enjoy the beach-like atmosphere as you relax on the Delaware waterfront, on one of three landscaped barges known as The Oasis. If you desire more action, take a walk on the ADA-compliant boardwalk, which is lined with swings, hammocks, and bocce ball. Be sure to visit the arcade at the southern end, featuring vintage skeeball, Ms. Pacman, and racing games. Food vendor choices at the park include several offerings from world-renowned Garces Group, Philadelphia staple Chickie’s and Pete’s, and the Franklin Fountain. The over-21 crowd will enjoy the award-winning beer garden, featuring 3 bars serving over 15 beers.

Dilworth Plaza (Photo by Michelle Reese)

Dilworth Park

1 S. 15th St (West Side of City Hall)

6 a.m. to 1 a.m., 7 days a week

Dilworth Park is Center City’s sustainable, green public space featuring fountains, beautiful lawns, and a one-of-a-kind café, where you can grab a meal or snack with friends. The park features 120,557 square feet of usable public space, located right above the Broad and Market Street subway lines. For the health-minded, Dilworth Park offers a robust schedule of free fitness classes, led by the talented trainers at Optimal Sports Health Club. You will also find beautiful tree groves featuring city-conducive species, artwork on display, and short videos, and backlit panels explaining the history of the park going back to William Penn’s time.

Dilworth hosts events all summer-long such as an All-American Cookout and Fine Arts & Crafts Fair, plus ongoing festivities including SIPS on Wednesday nights and live music during weekday lunches and Friday nights

Cherry Street Pier

121 N. Columbus Boulevard

Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Cherry Street Pier is another special way to enjoy the beauty of the Delaware River Waterfront in Philadelphia. The pier is a 55,000 square foot indoor-outdoor community space, performance venue, and marketplace. It was recently repurposed to preserve and celebrate the original construction’s place in the waterfront’s industrial history. With 14 different shipping containers turned into art studios, and multiple eating options housed in upcycled Philadelphia trolley cars, Cherry Street Pier is sure to please the locals and those checking out Philly for the food and art scenes. The pier is open year-round, but summer is the perfect time to enjoy the stunning urban gardens that complement the space and peruse the open-air market with local vendors and artists.


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Bartram’s Garden

5400 Lindbergh Blvd.

Dawn to Dusk

Welcome center hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends

Bartram Garden is the oldest botanic garden in the United States. Explore and connect to nature by walking the gardens or accessing the Lower Schuylkill River for boating, fishing, and exploring. Rent a paddle or row boat on Saturdays now through October 19 plus Tuesdays from July 9 to August 13. (Hint: It’s free!) If you own your own boat, you can launch it from the free public dock any time. You may also choose to take a cruise from Center City to the garden, or visit the four-acre Sanofka Community Farm at Bartram Gardens. (The farmstand is open Thursdays from 3:30-5:30).


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