Where to Get Outside in Philly This Spring
It’s hard to go wrong with the views along the Schuylkill, but the riverfront isn’t the only place in Philly to see some green. Take in a little nature and stay socially distant by visiting some of the city’s more off-the-beaten-path locales. These hidden gems located throughout Philly have plenty of space to get active and avoid the crowds.
The Trolley Trails
Fairmount Park Conservancy’s restoration of this wooded paradise continues, with gorgeous pathways stretching over bridges and through tunnels along the former route of the Fairmount Park Trolley. What once was a scenic ride for early 20th-century park goers is now a multi-use trail for walkers, runners, equestrians and bikers. After a setback in construction due to COVID-19, the full 4.5-mile loop will open for use this year.
Down by the Navy Yard, this urban oasis has seven lakes for fishing, canoeing and kayaking, not to mention picnic groves, a paved bike line and tennis courts. Designed by the Olmstead brothers—the same landscape architects behind the Great Smoky Mountains and Acadia National Parks—more than a century ago, FDR Park continues to change with the times. A year ago, the former golf course became a natural meadow with trails for birdwatching, running and walking.
Benjamin Rush State Park
The only state park within city limits, Benjamin Rush State Park has more than just walking and biking opportunities—although there’s 3.5 miles for that. It’s home to one the area’s largest community gardens for exercising your green thumb, plus a dedicated area for flying model airplanes. Bring your binoculars to explore the meadows, gardens and woodlands.
The Rail Park
The Rail Park is one of Philly’s newest recreation spaces located on a former elevated trainline. Future development will extend the public greenway for three miles from Chinatown to Brewerytown. Once completed, it’ll be twice the length and twice the width of New York City’s High Line. Check out the first phase of the project with open entrances at Broad and Noble and Callowhill between 11th and 12th Streets.
Tucked into the northeast corner of the city, this 1,400-acre paradise has miles of paved and unpaved trails, plus one of the oldest stone bridges in the country. The name comes from the Lenape word for slow-moving water, a fitting descriptor for the 9 mile-creek that the rambling park surrounds.
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