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15 Scenic Picnic Spots in Philly
Our top picks for where to post up on a blanket for hours on end.
Picnics are good for many things: soaking up some sun; avoiding a sad-desk-lunch situation; crafting a barefoot, blanket’s-eye-view Instagram post, just to name a few. And, on top of all those very valid reasons to post up on a picnic blanket, studies show that getting out into a green areas is good for the brain. So pack a basket (or pick up some takeout) and head to one of our top picks for picnic spots in the city.
Azalea Garden, Fairmount
If you’re a flower fan, consider this lovely four-acre garden behind the Art Museum your new home away from home. Or at least your new favorite lunchtime picnic spot. It’s filled with over 150 species of azaleas and rhododendrons.
Bartram’s Garden, Southwest Philly
This 45-acre garden is “America’s oldest living botanical garden,” dating back to the 18th century. It sits on the West Bank of the Schuylkill River and offers up an escape from the city — complete with great Center City views! — within the city. They have three designated picnic areas with tables: at the foot of Eastwick Hill by the river, by the garden’s business office, and in the North Meadow.
Belmont Plateau, West Philly
As the song says, “a place called the Plateau is where everybody goes.” Wide, open space? Check. Instagram-worthy skyline views? Also check. The Fresh Prince knew what he was talking about. In addition to one of the best Philly views, you’ll find grills and tables down the hill in the park if you need to prepare your spread.
Clark Park, West Philly
This oh-so-green — and large! — West Philly park offers plenty of room to spread out, along with giant trees for shade, making it the perfect place to post up. Plus, there’s a giant year-round farmers’ market at the park every Saturday, which means you can grab farm-fresh picnic fare just a few feet away from your blanket.
FDR Park, South Philly
Tucked away down by the stadiums, this South Philly gem enjoyed a pandemic-fueled renaissance. Its giant, lake-filled footprint offers plenty of spots to picnic, including 21 formal picnic sites — each with three tables and a trashcan — that can be reserved for $35 a day (BYO grill). Or, just bring a blanket and time your visit to coincide with the Southeast Asian Market, featuring vendors from Lao, Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian communities (plus produce and handmade goods). The market is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October.
Glen Foerd, Northeast Philly
The grounds of this grand riverfront estate contain 18 acres of trees, Delaware River views and a rose garden.
Navy Yard, South Philly
There are giant boats and ascending planes to gawk at, and plenty of green space for all your picnicking needs. Plus, Central Green has a hammock grove and bocce courts! If you don’t feel like packing a picnic, you can find food trucks on Tuesdays and Thursdays on the Marine Parade Grounds, and on Wednesdays on Kitty Hawk. (They post the lineup on their Instagram each week.)
Pastorius Park, Chestnut Hill
Green space, a pond with turtles, free summertime concerts … what more can you ask for? This 16-acre Chestnut Hill park dates back to the 1930s, when it was developed as a WPA project; local landscape architect Frederick W. G. Peck designed it with quiet reflection and recreation in mind, and it’s definitely a peaceful respite from the city. The nearby main corridor of Germantown Avenue feels a world apart, though you can stop there first for some picnic takeout.
Penn Treaty Park, Fishtown
The park sits right on the Delaware river, so you get river views plus a breeze, and there’s always plenty of open grass to spread a blanket on, not to mention the many hammock-friendly trees. Last year’s development of the Delaware River Trail makes it easier than ever to hike, run or bike there from other Waterfront locations.
Pennypack on the Delaware, Northeast Philly
The 1,300 acres of Pennypack Park contain trails, wetlands, meadows and plenty of activities for nature lovers. Spread out a blanket, or snag a designated picnic area (some even have grills you can use) for an idyllic meal in the great outdoors.
Race Street Pier, Old City
You have your choice of grass, concrete or wooden benches when it comes to hanging out on this pier on the Delaware River. Wherever you choose, you’ll have great views of the river ahead of you and the Ben Franklin Bridge above you. And you’re right next to Cherry Street Pier for some prime art-viewing (and French Toast Bites to add to your picnic).
Rittenhouse Square, Rittenhouse
Okay, okay, so Rittenhouse might be an obvious pick and, sure, you sometimes have to fight for a patch of grass, but there is simply no denying the fact that this Center City park is a great spot to plop down and enjoy some prime people- (and dog-) watching, including a variety of performers (respect for the musician who brings a whole vibraphone). It’s also great if you’re not into planning ahead; you can skip packing a basket and pick up lunch at one of the countless restaurants flocking the square, or grab goodies from the farmers’ market on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Pro tip: Parc sells their freshly baked baguettes and butter to-go at the bar.
Schuylkill Banks, Fitler Square
Looking for a never-ending stream of fitness motivation? Set up on one of the grassy stretches along the Schuylkill Banks and watch runners, cyclists, and speed-walkers pass you by in droves. Or, if watching people sweat buckets isn’t your thing, turn toward the Schuylkill for a different kind of view.
Washington Square, Washington Square West
Consider this square the quieter Rittenhouse. You get the same city-park vibe minus all the noise — and minus all the competition for grass real estate. Plus, Talula’s Daily is right there, so you can grab some bread and fancy cheese for a proper picnic meal, easy.
Wissahickon Valley Park, Northwest Philly
With 1,800 glorious acres, the Wiss has so much to offer, including hiking, biking, and nature exploration. And they’ve also got plenty of picnic areas, including grills and picnic benches. (Note: Grilling or starting campfires anywhere else in the park is prohibited.) If you need ideas for what to do — or prefer to grab takeout en route to your picnic — check out our ultimate guide to the park.