While there are plenty of indoor attractions to explore during your stay in Philadelphia — think museums, theater, world-class dining, and more — the City of Brotherly Love shouldn’t be overlooked by outdoor lovers, either. From scenic walks to urban biking, fishing and more, here are a few of our favorite ways to explore the great outdoors in Philadelphia.
On Two Feet
Explore the network of trails along the Schuylkill River, from Laurel Hill Cemetery with its serene views and one-of-a-kind events like walking tours and appropriately spooky book clubs, all the way down to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Of course, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to run up the Rocky Steps at the museum — theme music not included!—and, on the opposite side of the river, the Philadelphia Zoo is a great outdoor choice for young and old alike.
If you find yourself on the eastern side of the city, relax in the sunshine at Spruce Street Harbor Park, with its Delaware River boardwalk. Opt for a hammock along the water, or fuel your competitive spirit with beach games like bocce ball or shuffleboard. Keep the outdoor fun going well into the evening with the park’s free events throughout the summer, including live jazz and dance lessons.
On Two Wheels
Whether you want to catch all the classic city landmarks — hello Liberty Bell, Rocky Steps, and Elfreth’s Alley! — or are hoping for a look at the city’s wealth of murals and public art, you can see the sights and appreciate the outdoors at the same time by pedaling along Philly’s bike-friendly streets. Forget the stress of route-planning by choosing one of the guided tours offered by the Philly Bike Tour Company, and enjoy simply going along for the ride.
If you’re looking for more nature and fewer buildings, rent a bike yourself and hop on one of the many trails around the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a flat and gentle ride or a more challenging workout, there’s a bike path for you. Some of our favorites? The Schuyler River Trail, Boxers’ Trail, and — if you’re looking to get further out of downtown — Pennypack Trail, with its woodland views and creek crossings.
On the Water
You’re not limited to the city itself when it comes to things to do in Philadelphia. On the south side of the city, take in the botanical beauty of Bartram’s Garden before casting off into the calm waters of the Lower Schuylkill. Rowboats and kayaks are available during their seasonal Free Saturday Boating, and experienced rowers are available to handle the work if you’re looking for a more leisurely outing. You can also rent boats at nearby locations, or bring your own.
Hoping to land a big one while you’re there, or just looking to spend some time appreciating the simpler pleasures in life? Bartram’s has rods and tackle for visitors to borrow free of charge, so you can enjoy an afternoon of fishing on the water. Go alone for some solitary recreation, or bring the kids for a memorable family expedition.
Whether you like your outdoors fast or slow, on foot or on the river, by pedal or by oar, we’ve got you covered in Philly.