Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive / West River Drive

Martin Luther King, Jr Drive, formally known as West River Drive, runs along the Schuylkill river. The drive is apart of Schuylkill River Trail that wraps around to Kelly Drive, the East Falls bridge, and back to Philadelphia's Art Museum. The drive trail is filled with trees, park benches, parking lots, bike paths, and geese!

If you enjoy biking...

  • The drive is closed to automobiles on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 5 pm, from April to October. The plus side of the drive is that it's not as crowded as it's counterpart Kelly Drive.
  • There are two lanes on the trail that allows bikers and pedestrians to keep out of each other's way.
  • The loop between MLK Jr Drive, Kelly Drive, East Falls bridge, and the Art Museum is 8 miles long. The Schuylkill Banks website provides detailed instructions on the path here

 If you would like to experience Schuylkill river...

  • On the MLK Jr drive, you can get great views of Boat House row, the East Falls bridge, and the Waterworks area leading up to the Art Museum.
  • From my opinion, you can take in the river in a more relaxing setting because there aren't as many people around. 
  • You can also catch the local college crew races during the spring time. 

 If you like culture, arts, and design... 

  • The drive includes up close views of the bridges surrounding the area. You can walk or bike under the Girard bridge, Strawberry Mansion bridge, and go across the Falls bridge (as pictured above).
  •  The drive is also surrounded by a variety of arts and cultural attractions. Some include:

If you need a location for large gatherings...

  • Because the drive is not as crowded as Kelly, there is massive amount of space for large gatherings. 
  • The drive provides benches along the pathways. It also has a great amount of parking spaces for certain areas of the drive.

You can check out other Yelp reviews here!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pastorious Park

Pastorious Park is a 16-acre green space located within the Chestnuthill neighborhood of Philadelphia. The park was built in 1915 and was named in honor of Francis Pastorius, who was the leader of early German immigrants to the area. The park is located two blocks west of Germantown Avenue and is maintained by the Fairmount Park Commission.

If you like the outdoors...

  • The pond is located in the middle of the park. During my visit, it was frozen and I did not want to test the frozen waters. Also according to the Yelp reviews from park-goers, the pond is more of a water source for their dogs. 
  • This park is also great for kids to play outdoors because of the large amount of space.

If you own a dog... 

  • This is your park. When I visited on a Sunday afternoon, I could have sworn this was a dog park. It's known to the locals as an "unofficial dog park."
  • Be aware! Because this isn't an official dog park, make sure to bring bags and clean up after the dogs!

 If you love music...

  • The park includes an ampitheater and holds summer concerts every year. In 2013, they held their 65th annual Pastorious Park free summer concert series. The free concert series is held by the Chestnut Hill Community Organization.
  • You can check out some of the concert recordings here on Youtube.

  If you like to picnic...

  • Chestnuthill has great food shops located on Germantown Avenue. If you like to dine outdoors, you can buy food from one of their many local shops and enjoy a picnic with friends. 
  • You can click here to find out what delicious food is located close to the park! 

Click here if you would like to read more reviews on the park on Yelp.  

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blue Bell Park

Blue Bell Park is located off of Walnut Lane within the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. There isn't much history to find on the park. It's located right off of Walnut Lane Bridge and is next to the Walnut Lane Golf Club. The park gates (for parking) close at 6:00 p.m. through the months of November to March and close at 9:00 p.m. from April to October.

If you own a dog/s or like them...

  • A lot of dog owners come here, especially at certain hours. When I visited during a Saturday afternoon, the park was packed with dogs. However, each dog had large amount of space to run around and didn't feel too crowded.

 If you like to hike, bike, and exercise....

  • Blue Bell park includes multiple trails that connect to other local trails around the area. I did not have my hiking boots on to test out the trails. However, one reviewer from Yelp includes more detailed information on them.
  • The park is has enough space for you to run through and not get to close to other joggers. 
  • There is one ballfield near the back of the space that usually hosts neighborhood softball and baseball games. 


 If you need a group gathering location...

  • The space includes 5 picnic areas where people can hold reunions, birthday parties, holiday gatherings, etc. 
  • During the warmer weather, people are able to bring their own barbeque pits and enjoy the food and warm weather!

You can check out other Yelp reviews here! 


Friday, December 27, 2013

Fluehr Park

Fluehr Park is located within the Northeast section of Philadelphia. The 62-acre park was first owned by Captain John Barry during the 18th century. In 1847, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart purchased the land and renamed the location "Eden Hall." The Academy of Sacred Heart built its education facilities around the area and included a church, cemetery, athletic fields, and a living quarters. Most of these structures were destroyed in an accidental fire in 1979. Joseph C. Fluehr purchased the land in 1976 and the park was rebuilt. 

If you like to exercise...

  • The massive park has two ball fields and sports fields. The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation site mentions that the fields are available for permitting. 
  • In 2007, a multi-use trail was added and is mostly use for running, walking your dog, and even bike riding. 

If you like to explore...

  • Just like other parks in the Northeast, the location was too large to walk all of it. Therefore, if you enjoy exploring open green spaces, this is a great spot
  • One reviewer from Foursquare mentioned that this park is great for birdwatching. 
  • In a small corner of the park there is a pond, but it was difficult to locate in the snow. 

If you do not live in the neighborhood...

  • The park is surrounded by neighborhood houses, their backyards are the park. 
  • The location of the park is also surrounded by catholic schools including Nazareth Academy High School and Grade School, Holy Family University, and St. Katherine of Siena Grade School.
  • The Torresdale train station is right next to the park as well. 
 If you want to see other reviews about Fluehr park, you view Foursquare here!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Penn Treaty Park

Penn Treaty Park is a seven acre Philadelphia historic landmark that has been transformed into a public green space. It is located off of the western area of the Delaware river within the Fishtown neighborhood. According to the Friends of Penn Treaty Park, the legend of the location is where Native Americans met with William Penn in order to establish a "Great Treaty." Now, the green space acts as a local park for neighborhood residents and visitors. 

If you enjoy history...

  • When you enter the park, you will be greeted by a statue of William Penn. The statue is to honor Penn who met with Native Americans in order to establish peace with the chief of the Lenape Turtle Clan named Tamenend under an elm tree.
  • The elm tree is also honored within the park by an obelisk and a memorial by the Penn Society in 1827.
  • You can click here to view historical photos of the park that were posted by the Friends of Penn Treaty.  

 If you have children... 

  • The park includes a jungle gym set and swings for children to play. There is also a large field to run around. However, careful of the boundaries of the park because it is located off of the river! 
  • The Friends of Penn Treaty park host special events geared towards families. Some events include a Halloween party and Christmas caroling in the park. You can click here to see there previous events. 

Speaking of events...

  • They hold events for all ages. The Friends of the park do functions such as 'Champagne in the Park" and local concerts. 
  • Every year the park is the venue spot for Annual Shadfest, which celebrates the historical significance of the Fishtown neighborhood, Delaware River, and the park. 
  • Click here to view the Events page. 

  If you love spectacular views....

  • The park allows you to sit on the jetty of rocks and take in the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Philadelphia skyline, or the Delaware River. 
  •  I have also noticed (during the warmer weather) that locals come with fishing poles and sit by the river. 

If you love being outside...

  • This park space is perfect for taking your dog out for a walk. Everytime I visit the park, there is at least two dogs running around the large open space. 
  • There is enough room for running through the park, going on picnics, or even sitting on the variety of park benches and taking in the view. 

You can click here to visit the Penn Treaty Park's Twitter 
page to keep up with their latest news!  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Race Street Pier

Click here for Race Street Pier's website.

Located on Columbus Boulevard off of the central part of the Delaware River, Race Street Pier is a recent addition to Philadelphia's green public space. It was opened on May 12, 2011 and was created by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC). According to the DRWC's website, the pier was formally known as Municipal Pier 11 and was originally built in 1896. The pier juts out along the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and allows the viewer to take in the waterfront location. 

If you enjoy a quiet location...

  • This is your place! The pier is open from 7 am to 11 pm and includes multiple places to sit down and relax.
  • Whenever I visit, there is at most only 3 to 5 people on the pier. It's not a loud place because most of the people who are on the pier are keeping to themselves and are enjoying the quiet waterfront location. 

If you love the water...

  • The pier was designed to connect the urban pedestrian to the water. The pier includes park benches and grass so one can sit and enjoy the water.
  • If you sit on the benches at the end of the pier, you will get views of Philadelphia's ships and boats drifting along the Delaware River. 

If you're a nature-buff....

  • The pier includes 37 large caliper Swamp White Oak trees that were originally meant for the World Trade Center Memorial at Ground Zero in New York City. 
  • There is also about 10,250 individual 4 inch pots of shade tolerant grasses and perennials planted within the pier. The website mentions that it's meant "to increase diversity and add texture, color, and seasonal interest."

 If you like to take in spectacular views and design...

  • The design of the pier was partly centered around the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. When you are on the upper deck of the pier, you can take in the truss, deck, and cables that make up the bridge. 
  •  The upper deck of the pier is also made out of a material called Trex, which is sustainable material that is made out of plastic and wood. 
  • The pier was constructed by creating an upper deck and a lower deck and were created for different reasons. The upper deck is meant for beautiful views of the waterfront and the lower deck was created for social gathering and recreational purposes. 

 If food is your main concern...

  • The pier is in walking distance to Dave and Busters and Morgan's Pier, which is a bar restaurant. However, Morgan's Pier is open according to seasons, and is rarely open during the winter. 
  • Other restaurants are close, but you might want to take a cab or drive. The popular places for food are located between Market Street and Chestnut Street. You can click here to see what places are nearby
If you would like to keep up with Delaware Waterfront events, you can click here for their Twitter account! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Row Website

Rittenhouse Square is a part of the original five open green spaces that were designed by William Penn during the 17th century. The park is located between 18th and 19th along Walnut Street. Since the 18th century, it was highly ranked and surrounded by those within a higher economic class. High-rise buildings, popular restaurants, residential mansions, two hotels, and luxury apartment complexes now surround the park.  Today, Rittenhouse Square is one of the more predominant parks within the heart of center city Philadelphia. 

If you’re a nature-buff...

  • According to Philadelphian design firm Maskar Design, the park includes sycamore, chestnut, maple, oak, elm, magnolia, locust, catalpa, basswood, ginko, ash, and hawthorn trees. You can see their reinterpretation of the park’s tree here
  • The square includes a lot of benches that line up with the pathways. Besides the hustle and bustle surrounding the location, you can almost believe that you’re not even in a city. 
  • You are also able to lay down with a blanket because of the large areas of grass within the park. 

If you’re into art...

  • The park has six sculptures that range from 1830 to 1988.  The two main sculptures are in the center of the park. They include the 1830 Lion Crushing a Serpent and the 1911 Duck Girl, who is standing within a fountain pool. The other three small sculptures are two small children surrounding a sunflower-shaped sundial, a giant granite frog, a bronzed billy goat, and two small stone dogs. 
  • The location is used to hold cultural and art events. Some popular events include:
o   Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Show: The country’s longest running outdoor art exhibit that showcases local artists
o   And even a small tree lighting event in December!

If you love to eat...

  • The park is known for being surrounded by high profile restaurants that include:
o   Parc
o   Rouge

  If you enjoy people-watching... 

  • Because the park is within an urban neighborhood, people-watching is highly recommended. The people range from businessperson, to college student, to families and children, to tourists, and anything in between.  

If you’re active… 

  • You can come here to do your daily workout (I have seen people at 6 am come to park to do their workout rituals). However, I do not recommend it. The park is still an urban place, so there is not much room to run around. It’s not a very large place, so the chances of you running into someone is likely (especially around the peak hours). People do run through the park on their daily jogs or come to throw a frisbee, but people who are attempting to relax from the chaotic center city mostly use the park.
  • Many locals come to the park to walk their dogs through the paths within the green space. I brought my dog for the walk! 

You can follow the Friends of Rittenhouse Square twitter for upcoming events!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gorgas Park

Gorgas Park Community Website

Gorgas park is located within the Philadelphia neighborhood of Roxborough. The park is named after the Gorgas family, who were one of the first settlers during the 17th century. According to Susan Gorgas' will, the park was given to the city of Philadelphia to be utilized as a public space in 1882. The five acre park was revitalized during the 1990's and now includes a gazebo, a playground, a war memorial, and a baseball field near the bottom of the hill. The Friends of Gorgas park help gather volunteers to keep the park clean and hold a variety of events within the location. 

If you enjoy family time...

  • The playground includes a swing set, jungle gym, and a large amount of space for running around.
  • The Friends of Gorgas park hold a variety of events that are geared towards families. Events include:
    • Christmas Caroling
    • Summer Concerts series
    • Fireworks display
    • Harvest Festival

 If you appreciate the environment....

  • The Friends of Gorgas hold volunteer events for keeping the park clean. The events include gardening and cleaning up the park on a weekly basis. 
  • The park contains trees and space that is based on an incline.  

If you love beautiful scenery... 

  • The park includes a World War I memorial and pays homage to soldiers who have died in battle. There are also names inscribed of Roxborough natives that died in WWI, WWII, Korean, and Vietnam wars. 
  • There is a large gazebo within the middle of the park. It is located near the top of the hill, so it overlook a good percentage of the park. 


Follow Gorgas park on Twitter to keep up with their local events.