When William Penn was planning Philadelphia in 1682, he envisaged a “green countrie” town. Little could he have known how integral his series of squares and parks would be to the look and feel of the city more than 330 years later.
Many of his original natural spaces remain, though today they neighbour trendy bistros and glistening skyscrapers rather than the meeting houses and markets that characterised the city in its early years.
Here are the greenest ways to explore Philly’s patchwork of green public spaces.
Make a loop through the city’s central core and hit Penn’s original five open spaces along the way. Rittenhouse Square is perfect for a picnic lunch and people-watching, Washington Square for a rest and a few chapters of a good book, Franklin Square for a jaunt on the carousel or round of historical mini golf, and Logan Circle for a glimpse of one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The trip will circle you around Penn’s fifth space, what is now the home of City Hall, and bring you by countless pieces of outdoor art and sculpture.
Philadelphia is home to 205 miles of bike lanes, enabling cyclists to traverse the city’s many neighbourhoods – river-to-river – with relative ease. Alternatively, Fairmount Park stands as an outdoor oasis in comparison with the rest of the city.
The East and West areas of the park, on either site of the Schuylkill River, have 215 miles of bike-friendly trails. Belmont Plateau offers a skyline view worth pumping up the hills for, while a cruise along Kelly Drive provides a nice riverside cool down.
Hop aboard one of Ride the Ducks all-terrain vehicles for a tour through town and into the water, all in one trip. A dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia is a great way to see Philly’s skyline at night.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
Featured image by Lee Cannon