clock menu more-arrow no yes

Underrated Parks of Philadelphia, Mapped

View as Map

It's officially park season, and everyone has their favorite. The Fresh Prince famously kicked it at the Belmont Plateau, bikini-clad masses crowd Rittenhouse Square on any given moderately balmy afternoon, and the banks of the Schuylkill now see their fair share of bike and foot traffic year-round. There's room for us all, and then some: Philadelphia is home to over 10,000 acres of city parkland —but some of Philadelphia's best park spots don't often get much publicity. Today, we revisit the wide array of Philly area parks. Some are huge public parks, others tiny parcels of land lovingly cared for by their community. There's a park with a "large area devoted to flying radio controlled model airplanes," and one whose history extends back to an elm tree that allegedly provided shade for William Penn and the Leni Lenape during a conversation or two.

Have a park that holds a special place in your heart? Hit us up in the comments or through the tip line and we'd be more than happy to add it. And remember: wear your sunscreen!


· Landmarks in "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince [Curbed Philly]
· 11 Unsung and Underrated Parks of Philadelphia [Curbed Philly]
· Beyoncé, Rinaldi, and Philadelphia's Most Expensive Penthouse [Curbed Philly]

Read More

1. The Secret Gardens of Independence Park

Copy Link
Walnut Street & South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

There are actually a whopping 55 acres of land that make up Independence National Historical Park down in Old City. Down in the shadow of 500 Walnut, what was briefly rumored to be Beyonce and Jay Z's future Philadelphia pied-a-terre, are the so-called "Secret Gardens of Independence Park," a series of rose and magnolia gardens created by the National Park Service. It's a perfect place to get out of the office for a spell, or escape the summer tourist tsunami, to stroll, read, or let your kid tumble down a very tumble-friendly hill next to Carpenter's Hall.

2. The Glendinning Rock Garden

Copy Link
Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19130

This little park used to be the home of the "Spring Garden Water Works,' built in the mid 1840's. The foundation still stands, now overgrown with flora. There are some steps that take you into the woods adjacent to the park, and there is a pond, waterfalls, and probably some of the best secluded picnic spots in all of Philly.

3. Penn Treaty Park

Copy Link
Penn Treaty Park, 1341 North Delaware Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125

This park has quite the backstory. According to legend, Native Americans met William Penn under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, the site of present day Penn Treaty Park, just north of Penn’s Landing. Traditionally, the encounter included words of friendship and maybe the purchase of land. Per the Friends of Penn Treaty website: "While such a “Great Treaty” meeting may never have occurred, it symbolized the desire for peace on the part of both the Delaware (Leni Lenape) Indians and William Penn." Today, this riverfront park hosts a bevy of activities such as "Champagne in the Park" and the seasonal "Fishing Derby," and there's new playground equipment for the kiddos. (Image: Friends of Penn Treaty Park)

4. UPenn's Bio Pond

Copy Link
in Kaskey Park
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Take a trip to the UPenn to check out one of Philly's most unique parks. Located on Hamilton Walk, the Bio Pond is essentially a free urban aquarium/ lush botanical garden. Stop by to read and relax or look for the koi, turtles and various birds that call the Bio Pond home. (Image: uwishunu)

5. Tacony Creek Park

Copy Link
Whitaker Avenue & East Loudon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120

Wander the Tacony Creek Trail as it winds through Northeast Philadelphia and offers a that perfect escape from the city. (Image: Plan Philly)

6. Hunting Park

Copy Link
900 West Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Hunting Park in North Philly is over 80 acres and begs you to get outside! It offers a tremendous rec center, swimming programs, a new baseball field and tennis courts. A Farmers' Market is also held on Sundays and a community garden was established in 2011.

7. Liberty Lands Park

Copy Link
926 North American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Nestled in the densely-packed Northern Liberties, this park has it all - a community garden, awesome events, places to chill, spaces to play and wonderful landscaping. (Image: nlna.org)

8. Roberto Clemente Park

Copy Link
1800 Wallace Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Whether you're looking for an organized rec league, a community garden or an awesome sprayground, there is always something going on at Roberto Clemente Park! (Image: Visit Philly)

9. John F. Collins Park

Copy Link
1707 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

This is the place to go for a quiet lunch/coffee getaway, especially if you work in Center City. It features lovely fountains and beautiful works of public art, highlighted by Christopher T. Ray's amazing Wissahickon Gate that fronts Chestnut Street. (Image: ccdparks.org)

10. Malcom X Park

Copy Link
5100 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143

Deep in West Philly, Malcolm X Park offers plenty of space to relax and play. Take in some free jazz sessions or historical readings during their free summer events! (Image: zoraplays.com)

11. Washington Avenue Green (WAG)

Copy Link
South Christopher Columbus Boulevard & Washington Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147

The entrance is a sliver of bike trail near the US Coast Guard Station. WAG offers a beautifully landscaped environment that pays homage to the wildness of the Delaware River. It's secluded trail is perfect for walking, running or biking and connects to Pier 70. You'll forget you're in the city! (Image: DRWC)

12. Paolone Park

Copy Link
700 Medina Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Here's a cool one. Paolone Park, dedicated in 1989 in the memory of Democratic committeeman Louis P. Paolone Sr., is a triangular sliver of a park in South Philly lined with lush trees and maintained by residents of the block. Be sure to check it out next time you're wandering in South Philly! (Image: Lindsey Scannapieco)

13. Navy Yard Parade Grounds

Copy Link
4700 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19112

Where else could you take a picnic lunch and gaze upon retired Naval ships? Perhaps you'd like to take in some cool events like old-timey baseball, food truck Thursdays and beer festivals? It's the perfect park for a long lunch break. So, grab some lunch at URBN and hang out! (Image: amanlypastime.blogspot.com)

14. Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

Copy Link
8601 Lindbergh Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19153

You've seen the signs as you fly by on I-95 past the airport, but have you ever ventured out of your way to find it? You should, especially if you dig walks through nature, birding, hiking, canoeing and stunning views of urban marshlands. Try and snap a pic of the Great Blue Herron while your there! (Image: Wikipedia)

15. Benjamin Rush State Park

Copy Link
Benjamin Rush State Park
Philadelphia, PA 19154

This 275-acre park runs between the Boulevard and Poquessing Creek in the very far Northeast. It’s a largely undeveloped park, save for a large community garden. It's popular with hikers, bicyclers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts, and there's a large area devoted to flying radio controlled model airplanes. (Image: PA DCNR)

1. The Secret Gardens of Independence Park

Walnut Street & South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

There are actually a whopping 55 acres of land that make up Independence National Historical Park down in Old City. Down in the shadow of 500 Walnut, what was briefly rumored to be Beyonce and Jay Z's future Philadelphia pied-a-terre, are the so-called "Secret Gardens of Independence Park," a series of rose and magnolia gardens created by the National Park Service. It's a perfect place to get out of the office for a spell, or escape the summer tourist tsunami, to stroll, read, or let your kid tumble down a very tumble-friendly hill next to Carpenter's Hall.

Walnut Street & South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

2. The Glendinning Rock Garden

Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19130

This little park used to be the home of the "Spring Garden Water Works,' built in the mid 1840's. The foundation still stands, now overgrown with flora. There are some steps that take you into the woods adjacent to the park, and there is a pond, waterfalls, and probably some of the best secluded picnic spots in all of Philly.

Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19130

3. Penn Treaty Park

Penn Treaty Park, 1341 North Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125

This park has quite the backstory. According to legend, Native Americans met William Penn under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, the site of present day Penn Treaty Park, just north of Penn’s Landing. Traditionally, the encounter included words of friendship and maybe the purchase of land. Per the Friends of Penn Treaty website: "While such a “Great Treaty” meeting may never have occurred, it symbolized the desire for peace on the part of both the Delaware (Leni Lenape) Indians and William Penn." Today, this riverfront park hosts a bevy of activities such as "Champagne in the Park" and the seasonal "Fishing Derby," and there's new playground equipment for the kiddos. (Image: Friends of Penn Treaty Park)

Penn Treaty Park, 1341 North Delaware Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125

4. UPenn's Bio Pond

in Kaskey Park, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Take a trip to the UPenn to check out one of Philly's most unique parks. Located on Hamilton Walk, the Bio Pond is essentially a free urban aquarium/ lush botanical garden. Stop by to read and relax or look for the koi, turtles and various birds that call the Bio Pond home. (Image: uwishunu)

in Kaskey Park
Philadelphia, PA 19104

5. Tacony Creek Park

Whitaker Avenue & East Loudon Street, Philadelphia, PA 19120

Wander the Tacony Creek Trail as it winds through Northeast Philadelphia and offers a that perfect escape from the city. (Image: Plan Philly)

Whitaker Avenue & East Loudon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120

6. Hunting Park

900 West Hunting Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19140

Hunting Park in North Philly is over 80 acres and begs you to get outside! It offers a tremendous rec center, swimming programs, a new baseball field and tennis courts. A Farmers' Market is also held on Sundays and a community garden was established in 2011.

900 West Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140

7. Liberty Lands Park

926 North American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Nestled in the densely-packed Northern Liberties, this park has it all - a community garden, awesome events, places to chill, spaces to play and wonderful landscaping. (Image: nlna.org)

926 North American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

8. Roberto Clemente Park

1800 Wallace Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Whether you're looking for an organized rec league, a community garden or an awesome sprayground, there is always something going on at Roberto Clemente Park! (Image: Visit Philly)

1800 Wallace Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

9. John F. Collins Park

1707 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

This is the place to go for a quiet lunch/coffee getaway, especially if you work in Center City. It features lovely fountains and beautiful works of public art, highlighted by Christopher T. Ray's amazing Wissahickon Gate that fronts Chestnut Street. (Image: ccdparks.org)

1707 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

10. Malcom X Park

5100 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Deep in West Philly, Malcolm X Park offers plenty of space to relax and play. Take in some free jazz sessions or historical readings during their free summer events! (Image: zoraplays.com)

5100 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143

11. Washington Avenue Green (WAG)

South Christopher Columbus Boulevard & Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147

The entrance is a sliver of bike trail near the US Coast Guard Station. WAG offers a beautifully landscaped environment that pays homage to the wildness of the Delaware River. It's secluded trail is perfect for walking, running or biking and connects to Pier 70. You'll forget you're in the city! (Image: DRWC)

South Christopher Columbus Boulevard & Washington Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147

12. Paolone Park

700 Medina Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Here's a cool one. Paolone Park, dedicated in 1989 in the memory of Democratic committeeman Louis P. Paolone Sr., is a triangular sliver of a park in South Philly lined with lush trees and maintained by residents of the block. Be sure to check it out next time you're wandering in South Philly! (Image: Lindsey Scannapieco)

700 Medina Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

13. Navy Yard Parade Grounds

4700 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19112

Where else could you take a picnic lunch and gaze upon retired Naval ships? Perhaps you'd like to take in some cool events like old-timey baseball, food truck Thursdays and beer festivals? It's the perfect park for a long lunch break. So, grab some lunch at URBN and hang out! (Image: amanlypastime.blogspot.com)

4700 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19112

14. Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19153

You've seen the signs as you fly by on I-95 past the airport, but have you ever ventured out of your way to find it? You should, especially if you dig walks through nature, birding, hiking, canoeing and stunning views of urban marshlands. Try and snap a pic of the Great Blue Herron while your there! (Image: Wikipedia)

8601 Lindbergh Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19153

15. Benjamin Rush State Park

Benjamin Rush State Park, Philadelphia, PA 19154

This 275-acre park runs between the Boulevard and Poquessing Creek in the very far Northeast. It’s a largely undeveloped park, save for a large community garden. It's popular with hikers, bicyclers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts, and there's a large area devoted to flying radio controlled model airplanes. (Image: PA DCNR)

Benjamin Rush State Park
Philadelphia, PA 19154