18 Super-Scenic Spots to Propose Around Philadelphia
Local photographers share their favorite parks, buildings, rooftops and more for popping the question.
Philly is a damn beautiful city. We all know this, and we’re all proud of it — even if our reputation has always been more, well, Gritty, than picturesque. There are so many pretty and unique places to take advantage of here. And, for folks getting engaged in the city they love, it’s only natural that they would want to find the perfect place to do it. To help spur some ideas for our local lovebirds, we reached out to a few of the region’s most talented engagement and wedding photographers to find out the most scenic Philadelphia proposal spots. (And, in case you didn’t hear, we’re celebrating Proposal Season here at Philadelphia Wedding. For all of our fun coverage, go here.) Below, find our list of recommended locations where you can pop the question in style — and take a great snap in the process.
“Cira Green offers a great open area where you can see 360-degree views of the Philly skyline, so it is quite impressive in photos,” says Jessica Manns of Jessica Manns Photography.
On One of Philly’s (Many!) Rooftops
“With a lot of our couples meeting and falling in love in Philadelphia, it’s no surprise that a rooftop proposal can be one of the best ways to capture the place where everything started,” says Colin Coleman of Moon Honey Photography about such panoramic places as the Bok Bar.
Race Street Pier
“The Ben Franklin Bridge is an iconic structure,” says Coleman. “One of the best and closest views of the bridge is from Race Street Pier, where I’ve found myself on several occasions with couples I’ve photographed. Here, you’re out over the water, and the bridge towers above you with its passing cars and trains and the twinkle of lights that line it.”
On the Ben Franklin Bridge
“My favorite proposal [took place] on the Ben Franklin Bridge,” says Cathie Berrey of BeauMonde Originals. “What’s NOT to love?”
RCA Pier on the Camden Waterfront
“This is a hidden gem just across the river,” says Berrey. “It is not crowded, so you have a lot of privacy with a fantastic view of Philadelphia or the Ben Franklin Bridge. This makes for a great shot — especially at sunrise or sunset.”
“We love Magic Gardens because it is so unique and unusual,” says Lori Smargiassi of RingShot Photography. “The proposals can be somewhat private — especially when coordinated with the staff prior to the event.”
Totally Philly Murals
“There’s one thing you can be sure to find all over the city, and I’m not talking about cheesesteaks or football fans,” says Coleman. “Mural art is a long-standing tradition in Philadelphia, and luckily for photographers, these gems make incredible backdrops for any photo session. The key is finding one that speaks to the couple and represents them in a massive and colorful way, contributing to the story that they are creating for themselves.”
The Art Museum Steps
“One of the things that I love about the Art Museum steps is that aside from the instant recognition in photos of the steps, it’s also a great way to showcase a formal outfit, and display and commemorate the city that you met and fell in love in,” says Tiana UBara of UBara Weddings. “The steps symbolize so much, and for those couples who have triumphed over adversity and setbacks — especially in these uncertain times — the steps also represent that fight and victory.”
Behind the Art Museum
“The PMA is a popular proposal spot, but I think the real romantic place is behind the museum,” says Manns. “There is a walking path behind the museum with two gondolas that you can stand at and take in the view of Boathouse Row. What a romantic spot to propose — especially at night with the lights winking and reflecting off of the water.”
“Philadelphia has some great spots that can accommodate really dressy outfits and casual outfits at the same time — I think Kelly Drive can be a great backdrop for both sartorial pursuits, depending on your needs,” says UBara.
“At this point, Addison Street is a Philadelphia proposal tradition,” says Martin Reardon of Martin Reardon Photography. “It’s popular because of the year-round sparkling lights, which make for a very dramatic background for a nighttime proposal. It also has classical, historic old Rittenhouse architecture, and it’s a relatively private street that doesn’t allow parking, so there aren’t a lot of cars in the background.”
Merchants’ Exchange Building
“We have recently taken proposal photos here,” says Smargiassi. “It’s a beautiful backdrop and location. We enjoy being able to incorporate Philadelphia architecture whenever possible, and this building is so unique with many photo opportunities.”
The Carousel at Franklin Square
“I love the carousel at Franklin Square,” says Manns. “The ride, while lit up and spinning, has so much whimsy and romanticism while also being fun and charming.”
Grounds for Sculpture
“Visiting the Grounds for Sculpture makes you feel like you’re being invited into a secret world that is tucked away in Hamilton, N.J.,” says Shannon Collins of Shannon Collins Photography. “So many of the sculptures beg to be interacted with, which is why it’s a perfect place for a proposal. There’s no shortage of backdrops to explore as a photographer inside this sculpture park, which has 42 acres of property — not to mention awesome peacocks.”
Paxson Hill Farm
“Paxson Hill Farm is inspiring with its expansive landscapes and sprawling scenery,” says Collins. “There’s everything you could possibly need for a proposal session, from a picturesque bridge over a swamp to a hobbit house and amphitheater. For clients looking to get engaged, there are so many options to explore to make the experience personal.”
Your Favorite Local Park
“My favorite proposal spots feature a natural backdrop and some privacy,” says Julie Melton of Sweetwater Portraits. “Local neighborhood parks [like John F. Collins Park, pictured here], Bartram’s Garden and the Wissahickon are all great places to propose because they offer a serene, calm setting so that you can savor the moment. My husband proposed on a mountain top with no cell service, no cameras, and no surprise engagement party afterward. For me, it was perfect. What is most important is considering what is best for just the two of you. You will always have time to celebrate with friends and family later.”
Your Own Home
“Planning a proposal in your home or outdoor space can add a special element and be very personal,” says Smargiassi. “Home proposals can be decorated in ways that may not be possible in a public location. They tend to be more private too!”
Somewhere Sentimental to Your Relationship
“A sentimental place holds a memory or value to you both already, so it feels special when you remember your engagement anniversary and where you were,” says Manns, who photographed the couple above when he proposed in front of their first apartment together. “It also shows your partner how much care and attention you put into the proposal by remembering something important or special in your relationship. And since it’s already special in some way to you both, it’ll be a sweet place to continue visiting each year for your engaged anniversary.” Berrey agrees: “I always say to do a proposal somewhere that has meaning to you. Maybe your local neighborhood, your favorite pub, your favorite park — those kinds of things.”
For more Proposal Season content, go here.
These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.