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Philly’s best parks to BBQ and picnic

These 13 parks are the best spaces to get out, grill, picnic, and relax with family and friends.

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One of the best parts of living in Philly is the city’s many outdoor spaces. There’s the beloved (and giant) Fairmount Park, of course, but the city has so much more to offer—and all of it is pretty easily accessible. No matter where you are, a green space is likely just a short bus ride away.

So, just ahead of Labor Day, we’ve put together a list of the best spots to enjoy the outdoors with a picnic or a cookout. Bring family and friends for the holiday weekend, or just take in some good outdoor eats before the end of summer.

If you’re organizing a special event (think big birthdays, weddings, and sports) or a gathering of over 50 people, you’ll likely need a permit. Otherwise, a lot of these spaces are fair game for you and a handful of your closest friends to just lay out a blanket and enjoy the summer breeze.

Note: This article was last published in the spring of 2019 and has been updated with the newest information.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park

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This large park in South Philly is a popular picnic spot for those willing to head all the way down South Broad Street. Designed by the Olmstead Brothers, FDR features lots of green space, natural lagoons and ponds, and yes, grills. The park could be seeing some upgrades soon, as the Philly-based firm WRT Design is currently in the process of developing a master plan to tun it into an “urban oasis.”

If you’re looking to host a special event, you’ll need to pay for a permit.

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Liberty Lands Park

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There are a few grills here in this pocket park in Northern Liberties. Or you can reserve some space here via their calendar for a bigger bash. Note: It's surrounded by residential properties on all four sides, so do be mindful of that.

A post shared by Chris Marks (@chris__marks) on

Penn Treaty Park

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Over in Fishtown, Penn Treaty Park offers great views back toward Philly and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, plus plenty of space to picnic. Families often bring their own grills to this park.

Clark Park

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Historic Clark Park is a classic summer destination in Philly. Apart from popular activities like Shakespeare in The Park and bocce, there are grills, picnic tables, a playground, and the infamous huge green bowl where you can hang out all day. Note: Permits are required if you’re bringing 25 of your friends to grill or picnic.

Photo by Melissa Romero

Wissahickon Valley Park

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Head over to Wissahickon Valley Park, where there are various grills and picnic tables scattered throughout the park (Friends of the Wissahickon notes on their website: “You can identify these areas by the grills and picnic benches that are already there. However, grilling or starting campfires anywhere else in the park is extremely dangerous and not permitted.”) Your best bet is to park at one of the lots along Forbidden Drive and snag a spot early in the a.m.

Cira Green

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The city's first public roof top park is a picture-perfect picnic spot. Sandwiched between two high rises, Cira Green features plenty of green space, including a hill where you can sit and enjoy the great views of the city.

Photo by Melissa Romero

Fairmount Park

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You can pretty much rely on being able to find a picnic spot (for free, with a small group) in this massive park. If you want to reserve a pavilion, you'll have to request a permit. But otherwise, there are plenty of areas to grill, set up a blanket, and lounge all day.

The exterior of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. The house is surrounded by colorful flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass. Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Schuylkill River Trail

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Right off the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk you'll often find folks lounging their days away along the banks of the river. You might even take a trip out on the river or take a jog along the trail.

A post shared by Chuck Pedro (@rotterdamn8) on

Grays Ferry Crescent

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If the Schuylkill Banks is a bit too crowded for you, head over to the quieter Grays Ferry Crescent. No, you can't grill, but you can picnic all you want right along the river.

A post shared by Dustin Rodgers (@dgrodgers) on

Bartram's Mile

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The popular trail on the west banks of the Schuylkill River is worth a visit. Hang out and picnic at the new 56th Street Plaza, which offers Center City skyline views right on the river, or take a walk along the mile and through Bartram’s Garden.

A view of Bartram’s Mile looking toward Center City skyline in Philadelphia. Photo by Melissa Romero

Pennypack Park

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If you really want to get out of Center City for the weekend, make the trek up to Northeast Philly to Pennypack Park. This 1,600-acre oasis has plenty of trails to meander, meadows and wetlands, and a big lawn that’s perfect for a picnic.

Drexel Park

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This park on the edge of Drexel’s campus is where you’ll find the majority of the neighborhood hanging out on a nice day. The park is essentially a large hill, with lots of trees for shade coverage and views of Center City.

Gorgas Park

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For a bit of quiet and relaxation, head out to Gorgas Park in Roxborough. The quiet, neighborhood park has a regular concert series on weekend evenings (always a solid date night idea). Bring some snacks and enjoy the cozy atmosphere a little outside of the city.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park

Wikimedia Commons

This large park in South Philly is a popular picnic spot for those willing to head all the way down South Broad Street. Designed by the Olmstead Brothers, FDR features lots of green space, natural lagoons and ponds, and yes, grills. The park could be seeing some upgrades soon, as the Philly-based firm WRT Design is currently in the process of developing a master plan to tun it into an “urban oasis.”

If you’re looking to host a special event, you’ll need to pay for a permit.

Wikimedia Commons

Liberty Lands Park

There are a few grills here in this pocket park in Northern Liberties. Or you can reserve some space here via their calendar for a bigger bash. Note: It's surrounded by residential properties on all four sides, so do be mindful of that.

A post shared by Chris Marks (@chris__marks) on

Penn Treaty Park

Over in Fishtown, Penn Treaty Park offers great views back toward Philly and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, plus plenty of space to picnic. Families often bring their own grills to this park.

Clark Park

Photo by Melissa Romero

Historic Clark Park is a classic summer destination in Philly. Apart from popular activities like Shakespeare in The Park and bocce, there are grills, picnic tables, a playground, and the infamous huge green bowl where you can hang out all day. Note: Permits are required if you’re bringing 25 of your friends to grill or picnic.

Photo by Melissa Romero

Wissahickon Valley Park

Head over to Wissahickon Valley Park, where there are various grills and picnic tables scattered throughout the park (Friends of the Wissahickon notes on their website: “You can identify these areas by the grills and picnic benches that are already there. However, grilling or starting campfires anywhere else in the park is extremely dangerous and not permitted.”) Your best bet is to park at one of the lots along Forbidden Drive and snag a spot early in the a.m.

Cira Green

Photo by Melissa Romero

The city's first public roof top park is a picture-perfect picnic spot. Sandwiched between two high rises, Cira Green features plenty of green space, including a hill where you can sit and enjoy the great views of the city.

Photo by Melissa Romero

Fairmount Park

The exterior of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. The house is surrounded by colorful flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass. Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

You can pretty much rely on being able to find a picnic spot (for free, with a small group) in this massive park. If you want to reserve a pavilion, you'll have to request a permit. But otherwise, there are plenty of areas to grill, set up a blanket, and lounge all day.

The exterior of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. The house is surrounded by colorful flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass. Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Schuylkill River Trail

Right off the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk you'll often find folks lounging their days away along the banks of the river. You might even take a trip out on the river or take a jog along the trail.

A post shared by Chuck Pedro (@rotterdamn8) on

Grays Ferry Crescent

If the Schuylkill Banks is a bit too crowded for you, head over to the quieter Grays Ferry Crescent. No, you can't grill, but you can picnic all you want right along the river.

A post shared by Dustin Rodgers (@dgrodgers) on

Bartram's Mile

A view of Bartram’s Mile looking toward Center City skyline in Philadelphia. Photo by Melissa Romero

The popular trail on the west banks of the Schuylkill River is worth a visit. Hang out and picnic at the new 56th Street Plaza, which offers Center City skyline views right on the river, or take a walk along the mile and through Bartram’s Garden.

A view of Bartram’s Mile looking toward Center City skyline in Philadelphia. Photo by Melissa Romero

Pennypack Park

If you really want to get out of Center City for the weekend, make the trek up to Northeast Philly to Pennypack Park. This 1,600-acre oasis has plenty of trails to meander, meadows and wetlands, and a big lawn that’s perfect for a picnic.

Drexel Park

This park on the edge of Drexel’s campus is where you’ll find the majority of the neighborhood hanging out on a nice day. The park is essentially a large hill, with lots of trees for shade coverage and views of Center City.

Gorgas Park

For a bit of quiet and relaxation, head out to Gorgas Park in Roxborough. The quiet, neighborhood park has a regular concert series on weekend evenings (always a solid date night idea). Bring some snacks and enjoy the cozy atmosphere a little outside of the city.