As we near the big weekend—4th of July, that is—the fact that summer is upon us starts to really sink in. Philadelphia has a number of great parks and outdoor spaces that are totally free and open for public use, and there’s no better time of year to grab a few friends (or significant other) and head outside for a weekend picnic.
Check out this unofficial guide to the Philadelphia picnic, broken down by region of the city, complete with great places to find snacks and treats, as well as the best nearby parks to serve as the venue for your perfect outdoor meal.
University City / West Philadelphia
Anyone who goes to the University of Pennsylvania or the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia will immediately think of Clark Park as the ideal picnicking spot, and for good reason. The park has benches and open fields, plenty of shade but a good deal of sun, and even a large bowl—much loved in the wintertime for its great sledding, but probably best used in the summer for rolling around, acting like a kid again.
On Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, you won’t need to go far to load up on supplies for your picnic—the year-round Clark Park Farmers’ Market takes place along 43rd Street, between Baltimore and Chester Avenues.
At other times of the week, swing by Milk and Honey at 45th and Baltimore Streets for a wide array of local and organic products, including snacks, sweets, and freshly prepared sandwiches.
Also try: Hill Field, between 33rd and 34th Streets, Walnut and Chestnut Streets; College Green at UPenn, 34th to 36th between Walnut and Spruce Streets.
When William Penn laid out his plan for Philadelphia, he intentionally included five squares—Rittenhouse, Fitler, Logan, Franklin, and Washington—for Philadelphians to enjoy some fresh air and sunlight in the midst of their bustling city. Make the state’s namesake proud, and take advantage of the pristine green spaces in Center City.
Rittenhouse and Fitler (19th & Walnut; 23rd & Pine, respectively) are easily accessible from University City (just a short walk or bike ride across the river), and are close to the downtown campuses of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Moore College of Art and Design, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and others. Try stopping by Reading Terminal Market (especially on a Sunday, when they have their outdoor farmer’s market from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M.) for some locally produced breads, sweets, cheese, and much more.
Also try: Benjamin Franklin Parkway/Love Park; Schuykill River Park.
Swing by one of the many grocery stores in Fishtown or the specialty shops in Chestnut Hill if you’re headed north to Fairmount Park’s Wissahickon Recreation area, and pick up your favorite summer picnicking morsels. Fairmount Park, as the largest city park in the U.S., has plenty of great spots to lay out a blanket and enjoy the sun, and you can either ride your bike up along the river to get there, or take the R5 or R7 to get there a little faster.
You can contact Max Hass at email@example.com.
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