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Philadelphia’s Pop-Up Parks

May 25, 2021

Philadelphia’s variety and abundance of green spaces come alive from spring to fall with seasonal beer gardens and attractions that turn parks, streets and other lots into entertainment zones.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Floating barges at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Photo by M. Stanley.

Spruce Street Harbor Park is a one-of-a-kind urban oasis located on Penn’s Landing along the Delaware River waterfront. This seasonal, family-friendly park offers countless ways to unwind during the summer.

This pop-up has over 50 colorful hammocks hung throughout, providing plenty of shaded areas to relax along the waterfront. Games like shuffleboard, beanbag toss, and life-sized chess line the boardwalk, as do several food and drink vendors such as French Toast Bites, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Philly Taco and Dre’s Water Ice and Ice Cream. For beer or cocktails, check out the floating beer garden, where you can cool off with a beverage while or suspended over the Delaware River on strong net lounges. The park takes on a magical vibe in the evening thanks to hundreds of multicolor LED lights strung on the branches of trees. Enjoy the attractions in the park annually, May through September.

TIP: Four riverside lounges — complete with their own set of hammocks — and the Barge Oasis are available to rent for groups.

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. Photo by M. Stanley.

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest is Philadelphia’s premier outdoor skating rink, located just north of Spruce Street Harbor Park along the Delaware River waterfront. In addition to skating, the park offers games, amusement rides, and mini golf. Entrance to the park is free, and the rides and attractions are pay-as-you-go. The large Lodge offers ample indoor dining space and is home to several local food vendors, such as Chickie’s and Pete’s, as well as a station serving local craft beer and cocktails. In the winter months, the space is transformed into Winterfest – a waterfront wonderland outfitted with fire pits, cozy cabins, and a large ice-skating rink.

The Garden at Cherry Street Pier

The Garden at Cherry Street Pier. Photo courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

The pop-up experiences along the Delaware River continue north to Cherry Street Pier — a former municipal pier that has been transformed into a year-round riverside destination, featuring artist studios, pop-up markets, rotating exhibitions, live performances, and other events. At the eastern end of the pier is The Garden pop-up dining room, set beneath the open-air roof of the pier and looking out onto the river with breathtaking views of the nearby Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Operated by FCM Hospitality, the pop-up features a menu of snacks, salads, sandwiches and sweets, with cocktails and draft beer on tap, as well as can beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverage options. Advance reservations are required.

Parks on Tap

Parks on Tap. Photo by A. Yee.

Parks on Tap is a traveling beer garden that occupies different park spaces throughout Philadelphia in the spring, summer and fall. In addition to craft beers, this family-friendly park party features wine, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks — plus comfy chairs, hammocks, and games like Jenga and corn hole. Sit back and relax while enjoying the natural beauty offered by the over 10,000 acres of green space found throughout Philadelphia. The program rotates between dozens of locations around the city, such as FDR Park in South Philadelphia and the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park. A portion of the proceeds from Parks on Tap benefits the city’s parks.

For a list of upcoming Parks on Tap locations and dates, click here.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Gardens

PHS Pop-Up Garden Manayunk. Photo by R. Wisniewski, courtesy of PHS.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s two Pop-Up Gardens transform vacant lots in different Philadelphia neighborhoods into lush outdoor dining and drinking spaces filled with blooming flowers, plants and trees. The PHS Pop-Up Garden at South Street can be found at the corner of 15th and South streets in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood and features a beautiful pergola in the center, with food and drink vendors off to each side and plenty of seating throughout. The new PHS Pop-Up Garden at Manayunk fills a spacious parcel of land just off of Main Street with over 2,200 varieties of plants and trees – including a decades-old olive tree that was featured in 2020’s Philadelphia Flower Show – a working garden filled with vegetables and herbs, and an ample amount of outdoor seating. At both gardens, expect botanical-themed cocktails and a rotating selection of food from local restaurants, such as Cantina Los Caballitos and Khyber Pass Pub.

Terrace on Tap at The Liberty View

Terrace on Tap, Fall 2020. Photo by R. Rabena for Visit Philadelphia.

Presented by Visit Philadelphia, the seasonal Terrace on Tap pop-up dining experience at the Liberty View Terrace at Independence Visitor Center allows you to enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views of Independence Mall while enjoying local beer, cocktails, snacks, and more. This all-ages pop-up features food from Brûlée Catering – including nachos, burritos, hot dogs, paninis, and more – and craft beer from local breweries such as Wissahickon Brewing Company and Workhorse Brewing Company. Kids can enjoy free, seasonal activities and adults can sip on specialty cocktails while admiring Philadelphia’s historic district in the open air. Advance reservations are required.

Oval+ On the Parkway

The Oval+. Photo by A. Yee.

The Oval+, or what’s also referred to as the “Park on the Parkway,” occupies eight acres of public space along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, providing outdoor fun for all-ages in the summer. The Oval+ has a seasonal beer garden that serves up cold beers and wine under a canopy of trees and festive lanterns. Plus, there is a rotating roster of food trucks so you’ll want to come hungry. During the day you can enjoy mini golf, outdoor yoga and a buzzing schedule of fun, family-friendly events.

Cover photo by M. Stanley.

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