Philadelphia parks and gardens to enjoy the great outdoors

Go for a run alongside nature and history at Valley Forge National Historic Park. | G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia
G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Think you can’t be at one with nature while living in the city? Think again. The Philadelphia region is known as the “Cradle of American Horticulture” and truly is chock full of green spaces. From Valley Forge National Historic Park to Bartram’s Garden, you have every reason to escape the traffic and concrete and explore the great outdoors this summer. Here are our top picks for Philadelphia’s best parks and gardens.

Fairmount Park
1 Boathouse Row

Fairmount Park is comprised of East Fairmount Park (950 acres) and West Fairmount Park (1,400) — an area rich with woodlands, trees and wildlife, located right here in Philadelphia. Whether you want to go on a hike, go on a picnic or go bike riding over rugged terrain, you can do it all here without leaving the city. You can even go fishing by the pier or spend an afternoon horseback riding.

Washington Square Park
6th and Walnut Streets

No, it’s not the one in New York. Philly has a Washington Square Park too and it’s much cleaner. Located in the peaceful Washington Square neighborhood, it has plenty of trees to keep you shaded in the summertime as well as benches for chatting or reading away the afternoon. The park is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the Revolutionary War.

Bartram’s Garden
5400 Lindbergh Blvd.

This 45-acre National Historic Landmark is the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America. Situated on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, it was started by America’s first botanist, John Bartram, who cultivated plants like magnolias, mountain laurels, azaleas and more. The grounds are free and open to the public year-round for you to explore.

Valley Forge National Historic Park
1400 N. Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia

Made up of 3,600 acres of trails and woodlands, Valley Forge National Historic Park is a short car ride outside of Philadelphia in King of Prussia. It links the Schuylkill River to the Horseshoe Trail as a central hub connecting Philadelphia to the Appalachian Trail. What’s more, this park has major historical significance as the site where 2,000 soldiers died in the fight for independence — without a single shot being fired. Whether you’re a history buff, a runner, cyclist or just in the mood for a picnic, this is your spot.

Where are your favorite parks in the Philadelphia region? Tell us in the comments below.

More from our Sister Sites