There’s a Pop-Up Beach Coming to North Broad for Philly Free Streets

Look for sand and hammocks near Broad and Master streets — plus everything else you can expect at this year's Philly Free Streets on August 11th.

philly free streets

Philly Free Streets 2017 | ©VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Anyone who was already looking forward to Philly Free Streets on August 11th (including me) now has another reason to get excited: The event will include a pop-up beach on North Broad Street.

It’s one of the many features you’ll find along the Free Streets route, which stretches four miles along historical North Broad Street, all the way from City Hall to Butler Street, just north of Germantown Avenue. Between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., the city will shut down the road to cars and open it up for walkers, cyclists, and joggers looking to get some air and exercise — all while learning a little bit about the neighborhoods along the route.

Mayor Jim Kenney joined other city officials and members of North Broad Renaissance on Thursday to announce details about this year’s Philly Free Streets, including the pop-up beach on the lawn of the Leon H. Sullivan Human Services Center, as well as all-day free admission to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, performances by The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, a scavenger hunt to learn about African-American history on North Broad, and creative activities with the team from Mural Arts.

Details on the beach at Broad and Master are still unfolding. An employee with North Broad Renaissance said participants can expect to see actual sand — in the form of a sandbox — as well as tons of hammocks, chairs, and family-friendly activities. The best part? It’s completely free to the public, and will remain open on Sunday, as well as on August 18th and 19th.

Of course, Kenney will be at Philly Free Streets, getting his steps in like everyone else during his annual power walk. He’ll join residents from all over the city: Data from prior years shows that people from at least 42 of Philadelphia’s 48 zip codes attended the event in 2016 and 2017, and officials are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.

If you’re attending Philly Free Streets for the first time this year, know that there’s no formal start and stop along the route — you can join at any point you wish, any time. The event, which is led by the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, is simply meant to highlight active transportation options along with neighborhood walkability and its positive impacts on public health, the environment, businesses and communities.

Here are some route highlights via Philly Free Streets. Stretching along North Broad Street from south to north, you’ll find:

At the intersection with John F. Kennedy Boulevard:

  • Philly Free Streets ribbon cutting will take place at 8 a.m.
  • Mayor Jim Kenney will begin his annual power walk heading north at 9 a.m.
  • The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will offer free admission to the museum all day.

South of Vine Street:

  • Drexel Medicine will provide health education materials, and children can make crafts from medical supplies.

Wood Street:

  • The School of Pennsylvania Ballet will host “Dance Me a Story!” where kids will learn how to tell a story with dance.

Callowhill to Spring Garden streets:

  • A Philly Free Streets rest area.
  • John Butler, a Philadelphia-born author, will read his children’s book Chase Does It All on Callowhill, just west of North Broad.
  • A scavenger hunt to learn about African-American history on North Broad, including civil rights activism, jazz, and more. Organized by the North Central Philadelphia Community Development Corporation, in partnership with Leon H. Sullivan Trust, Joe Frazier Scholarship Fund, Uptown Theater, and more.
  • North of Spring Garden Street, in front of Franklin High School, the Mural Arts Philadelphia team will showcase murals by Don Gensler.

Fairmount Avenue:

  • Mural Arts Philadelphia will host “Murals on the Move,” with family-friendly make-and-take art activities.

Poplar Street:

  • Philly Free Streets rest area.

North of Girard Avenue:

  • The Mural Arts Philadelphia team will teach participants about the “North Philadelphia Heroes” mural by Cliff Eubanks.

Master Street:

  • The Goldenberg Group and North Broad Renaissance will host a beach on the lawn of the Leon H. Sullivan Human Services Center. The beach will remain open the following Sunday, as well as on August 18th and 19th.

Cecil B. Moore Street:

  • Help Mural Arts Philadelphia make a jazz-themed median between Oxford Street and Cecil B. Moore Ave. The finished median mural will invite the public to join “Jazz on the Ave.” on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, beginning at noon.

Uptown Theater, between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin Street:

  • Register to take a tour of the historic Uptown Theater during Philly Free Streets. Tours are $10 and will be offered at 10 a.m. and noon. Free tours for North Central Philadelphia residents with ID.

Huntingdon Street:

  • Philly Free Streets rest area featuring the Philadelphia Office of Human Resources offering information about employment opportunities with the city.

South of Lehigh Avenue:

  • Mural Arts Philadelphia will offer information about the “Wall of Rugs” mural by Kathryn Pennypacker.

3500 N. Broad Street, between Tioga and Venango:

  • Yoga & More on North Broad: In front of Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Yoga & More on North Broad will host fitness classes at 9 a.m, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

North Broad Street & Germantown Avenue:

  • Neighborhood Bike Works will offer a mobile bike shop.
  • Girls Jump Philly will jump rope between 10 a.m. and noon.

For more information on Philly Free Streets, visit