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Secrets of the City: Philly

Revealing all the untold stories of Philly. From all the best local spots to our love for a good parade, check out the stories that make the City of Brotherly Love unique!

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Experience Fairmount Park

Spring has sprung in Philadelphia! This means it’s warm but not yet too humid (like the bowels of hell), so it’s the perfect time to get outside and explore Fairmount Park!

This sprawling, 2,000+ acre destination is a green oasis in the heart of Philadelphia. It boasts a diverse range of attractions, from historical landmarks and stunning gardens to cultural institutions and family-friendly outdoor activities.

Fairmount Park offers miles of trails for all levels of hikers and bikers. You can explore wooded areas, scenic overlooks, and hidden gardens. In Fairmount Park, you can get up close and personal with nature without ever leaving the city!

Here’s a glimpse into what Fairmount Park has to offer:

a path with trees on the side of a roadNatural and Historic Sights

Enjoy a trip along the river on the Schuylkill Banks scenic walkway. Hop on the path in Center City and take in the city skyline as you stroll or bike along the riverbank, while you make your way to Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and all the treasures of Fairmount Park.

Once you reach Kelly Drive, you can explore the colorful Victorian-era boathouses that line the Schuylkill River. Or rent a kayak or paddleboat and take it in from a different perspective!

Step back in time and tour the grand 1798 Federal-style Sedgley Mansion. Admire the elegant architecture and period furnishings, and learn about the lives of the wealthy families who once resided there. When you’re done, explore the 18th-century Georgian-style Lemon Hill Mansion, the former home of Henry Laurens, a Founding Father and President of the Continental Congress.

Outdoor Activities and Family Fun

Nestled in Fairmount Park is America’s first zoo! Come see a diverse range of animals from around the world. Exhibits cater to all ages, with opportunities for interactive learning and animal encounters. The sprawling Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is another haven for children. Let them loose on the swings, climbing structures, and the giant wooden slide while you enjoy a picnic or relax in the surrounding gardens.a stone building that has a bridge over a river

Show off your frisbee skills with a challenging and fun round of disc golf! Established in 1977, Sedgley Woods is one of the oldest permanent disc golf pole hole courses in the world.

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with a visit to Shofuso Japanese Tea House and Garden. Explore the serene landscape, admire the traditional architecture, and experience a tea ceremony (offered on select days).

Lastly, check out the Discovery Center, a century-old abandoned reservoir that has become a unique wildlife sanctuary and an important stopover location for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.

Tips for Visiting Fairmount Park

The park is vast, so consider using a map or planning your visit in advance based on your interests. Public transportation options are available for reaching the park, or you can drive and park at designated parking lots.

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain, especially if you plan to explore the trails. Bring sunscreen, water, and a hat if visiting during sunny weather. Food options abound. Many visitors pack a picnic lunch, while others enjoy food from vendors located throughout the park.

Fairmount Park offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking historical sites, cultural experiences, family adventures, or outdoor recreation, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this sprawling urban paradise.

Check the park website for upcoming happenings or download the Fairmount Park Digital Guide for all you need to know about the best city park in the US of A!

Written by Jenna, a local expert guide for Philly Crawling. A recent escapee from the corporate world, she enjoys volunteering and spending time with family. She’s a pet lover, self-proclaimed beer geek, travel enthusiast, and aspiring foodie. Join Jenna for history and beer on Philly Crawling’s Liberty Pub Crawl.

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