Escape city life to an urban oasis
When William Penn first drew up the plans for Philadelphia, he envisioned a “Greene Country Towne,” with five city squares anchoring the City’s neighborhoods. His legacy is still visible today as visitors stroll through Washington Square, picnic at Rittenhouse Square or enjoy Philadelphia’s many other pocket parks and urban oases. In fact, with the largest city-owned urban park system in the world, Philadelphia is the greenest city in America – see for yourself by exploring some of our most beloved parks.
- Fairmount Park: Fairmount Park is one of the nation’s largest urban green spaces—it’s a 10,000 acre park system made up of 63 individual parks that host 200 historic buildings. Fairmount Park also presents more public art than any other city. With stunning trails along the Schuylkill River and Boathouse Row, as well as an abundance of gardens (such as the Azalea Garden), it’s a side of Philadelphia every visitor should enjoy.
- Rittenhouse Square: A lovely gem in the heart of Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Square is a prime spot for relaxing and people-watching – don’t forget to pack a picnic when the weather’s nice. Rittenhouse Row, one of Philadelphia’s premier shopping districts, is located just steps away along Walnut Street.
- Washington Square: Just steps from Independence Hall, get away from the hustle and bustle in relaxed Washington Square. Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, which was erected in 1954 in honor of the many Colonial soldiers buried there. Washington Square is also home to one of Stuart Roosa’s Moon trees, planted from seeds he brought to the moon on the Apollo XIV mission. It is a sycamore tree that marks America’s bicentennial.
- Franklin Square: Another one of Penn’s original five squares, today Franklin Square is home to family entertainment – take a ride on the Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel, putt around the city on the area’s most unique attraction, a Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course, or let the kids play at two state-of-the-art playgrounds!
- Chestnut Park: Chestnut Park is another tiny oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Center City. This haven for businesspeople is hidden on Chestnut Street between 17th and 18th streets behind its beautifully ornate iron gates and is a popular spot for lunch, a game of chess or a quiet spot to read a book under the shade.
- Exploring Further: For more breathtaking nature, take a short drive to explore Valley Forge National Historical Park and observe the remarkable flora at Longwood Gardens. Or, if you want to get some exercise with your fresh air, take a bike ride. Philadelphia has 205 miles of bicycle lanes and it’s easy to rent a bike (along with other fun transportation like Segways) with services like Wheel Fun Rentals and Philadelphia’s bike share program, Indego.