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Parks & Leisure: Where to Enjoy Nature in Philly

The history of greenery in Philadelphia dates back to the early days of the city. Upon its founding, William Penn famously shared his plan for the future: a ‘greene countrie towne.’ Nearly three and a half centuries later, his vision still rings true.

Along with five gorgeous public squares, today’s Philadelphia is teeming with verdant parks and blooming gardens. On days when nothing but the silence and tranquility of nature will do, Philly has what you need to calm your soul.

Victorian Bliss

Created as an enduring devotion to the Victorian ideals of beauty and knowledge, Morris Arboretum offers 92 acres of splendid English style landscape. The official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, thousands of species of trees from around the world grace the grounds, including some of the state’s oldest and most revered specimens.

Stroll for a romantic walk along winding paths and babbling brooks or soak in the sophistication of a formal 19th century rose garden. Plan a trip on a late summer afternoon for a pleasant evening of live jazz on the lawn.

Morris Arboretum - 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

Relax Along the Delaware

Unwind to the lapping of the tides at the two-tiered Race Street Pier. Running along the shadow of the famed Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the pier is a quiet retreat in the heart of the city. A place where the modernity of the day is balanced by your proximity to the waters of the Delaware.

The upper deck grand sky promenade is paved with Trex, a synthetic decking material ideal for long walks or a light jog. The lower deck offers charming seating to give in to the river and let her steal your time away.

Race Street Pier - Delaware River Waterfront

A Cup of Tea

Located within Philadelphia’s largest municipal park (Fairmont), Shofuso pays homage to Japanese gardening culture. Japanese style gardens have graced the location since 1876.

Three types of traditional gardens can be explored:

  • Hill-and-pond: Meant to be viewed from the veranda.
  • Tsubo-niwa: 17th century Kyoto courtyard garden.
  • Roji: Rustic tea garden.

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden - Lansdowne Dr. & Horticultural Dr.

America’s First Garden

An oasis of serene fields and historic 18th century farm buildings, Bartram’s Garden has been crowned the birthplace of gardening in America. Appointed as the King’s botanist in 1765, John Bartram collected hundreds of species of plants and cultivated them. Seeds from the gardens were dispersed throughout the colonies and across the Atlantic to Europe.

Boat enthusiasts often put in here at the lower Schuylkill and the River Walk offers a bevy of birding opportunities for both the novice and advanced ornithologist.

Bartram’s Garden - 54th Street & Lindbergh Boulevard

Celebrate Spring with Blooms a Plenty

An idyllic Sunday drive ends at the glorious botanical gardens of Longwood. Explore acre after acre of rolling blooms, fountains and wildflowers. A visit during the spring is truly enchanting as over 200,000 tulips culminate together into a sea of magnificence. The Flower Garden Walk features more than two full football fields of colorful bounty.

Longwood Gardens - 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA