Your Never-Bored Bucket List for Fun in Philly This Summer

Float down a river, drink at the zoo, zip through the trees ... How to make this summer epic.

Philadelphia Union field seats | Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

 If you’re seeking adventure …

Whitewater Rafting: When the dam opens, this river runs fast. Brace yourself for serious rapids, and be ready to get wet. A riverside lunch and free time at the paintball range at headquarters make this a full day of fun. Valley to Summit, 288 North Stagecoach Road, Weatherly, 215-543-6171. 

Windsurfing Lessons: If you’re a thrill junkie, you’ve got to give windsurfing a go. After 90 minutes on the 300,000 watery acres of Lakes Bay (just steps from this West A.C. shop), you’ll leave a pro. (Really — it just takes one lesson!) Extreme Windsurfing, 7079 East Black Horse Pike, West Atlantic City, 609-362-5137.

Zip-Lining Canopy Tours: Descend from the summit of Spring Mountain (about an hour north of Philly) via zip lines (one is 340 feet long!) and over rope bridges, nets and other obstacles. For an even bigger thrill, take the Saturday Heart of Darkness tour and plunge through the canopy at night. Spring Mountain Adventures, 757 Spring Mount Road, Spring Mount, 610-287-7900.

Biking Along the Delaware Canal: For a picturesque bike ride, pedal this 60-mile-long towpath in Bucks County, where mules once pulled loads along the Delaware Canal. We suggest starting at Black Rock Road in Yardley and riding north toward New Hope, where you can refuel with lunch and a beer before the hour-and-a-half ride back.

Delaware River Tubing: Grab your buddies, link up your tubes, and get ready to … float. Bucks County River Country, 2 Walters Lane, Point Pleasant, 215-297-5000.

If you’re into high culture …

Saturday-Morning Bird Walks: These free two-hour excursions are nature walks on steroids. In meadows, through forests and down to the Perkiomen Creek, you’ll see anything from swallows nesting to waterfowl scooping up fish. No registration necessary, and binoculars are provided. Every Saturday at 8 a.m.; John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, 610-666-5593.

Preservation Alliance Architecture Walking Tours: Want to impress your highbrow friends? Take one of these 40 themed tours around the city (think “Frank Furness,” “Skyscrapers Old & New,” “Old City Sacred Sites”) to soak in architecture, tales of the past, and some of the loveliest historic places in Philly. Saturdays and Sundays through October; various locations.

Grounds for Sculpture: At this rolling 42-acre property in Jersey, you’ll literally walk amid art — 270 large-scale sculptures, to be exact. Advance tickets are required. 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, 609-586-0616.

Shakespeare in Clark Park: An annual nod to NYC’s famed Shakespeare in the Park. This year, an all-female troupe tackles Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, and 50 local residents will join in, playing rioting Roman citizens. This West Philly venue is pretty easy on restrictions, so bring a bottle of wine. July 26th to 30th; South 43rd Street and Chester Avenue, West Philly, 215-764-5345.

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair: Come for the horses. Stay for the hats. June 1st to 4th; Devon Fairgrounds, 23 Dorset Road, Devon, 610-688-2554.

If you’re looking to be entertained …

Philadelphia Union Field Seats: The only place you’d rather sit than with the Sons of Ben is in the field-side seats. You’re up close and personal for every moment of the game — plus you get major perks like all-you-can-eat food and drinks (delivered to your seat) and access to players for post-game autographs. Talen Energy Stadium, 1 Stadium Drive, Chester, 877-218-6466.

Longwood Gardens Fireworks & Fountains Shows: Longwood just put $90 million into renovating its 380-plus fountains, so we know this summer’s fountain-firework extravaganzas will be all that. Various dates July through September; 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000.

Schuylkill Banks Movie Nights: The city’s best vibe and view for outdoor movies. These Thursday-night showings range from Rear Window to The Big Lebowski and Jaws. June 1st to August 10th; Walnut Street Bridge, Center City; Wharton Street Esplanade, Point Breeze.

A Phillies Game: Since the Phils are feeling a little meh, the best date to go to CBP is on July 29th, when country music star Hunter Hayes puts on a free post-game concert. Upgrade to a field pass for $20 to be in the infield during the show. Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way, South Philly, 215-463-1000.

Atlantic City Airshow: Sitting on the beach in Atlantic City, a cold beer in hand, while the Thunderbirds break the sound barrier right above you? Priceless. For the best experience — i.e., free food and booze — try to score an invite to one of the sponsor tents. August 23rd.

If you’re a food or beer nerd …

Wyebrook Farm Summer Starlight Series: Visit this restaurant and working farm during one of its Summer Starlight concerts for live music as your meal backdrop. Concerts start at 7 p.m. for $10 a person, and outdoor seating is first-come, first-served. Various dates June through August; 150 Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook, 610-942-7481.

Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Festival: Drinking with the tigers, gorillas and giraffes, and a zoo trip without shrieking children? Sign us up. June 24th; 3400 West Girard Avenue, West Philly, 215-243-1100.

Night Markets: This summer’s street-food fests will have you exploring Spruce Hill and Roxborough — and stuffing yourself with way too much of everything, of course. June 29th, Spruce Hill, 40th and Walnut streets; August 10th, Roxborough, Ridge Avenue and Green Lane.

Brews & Bites at Pennsbury Manor: For Father’s Day, treat Dad to this beer-and-food fest. The estate’s 43-acre lawn backs right up to the Delaware River, so you’ll get million-dollar views while you play lawn games and sample local beer, wine and cider. June 18th; 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road, Morrisville, 215-946-0400.

First published as “Play” in the June 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

» See more from our Ultimate Outdoors Guide to Summer in Philadelphia