Where to get your loungin’ on: a guide to Philly’s best city parks!

Fact: back in 1683, when William Penn was mapping out the design of Philadelphia, his goal was to create a “Green Country Town” that would attract settlers from across the Atlantic. The basis of his design? Five public squares across the city – one in each quadrant of [what was then] the main part of the city, and one right in the center.

Those integral public spaces are now Rittenhouse, Logan, Washington, and Franklin Squares, and Dilworth Park – just some among many of our favorite parks in the city for relaxing, picnicking, people watching, and reading on a park bench this summer.

Get outside this summer and spend some time in Philadelphia’s parks! Below are our some of our favorites:

Rittenhouse Square: there’s always something to do in Rittenhouse Square, whether it’s watching street performers, shopping at a craft fair, visiting the farmer’s market, or simply reading a book on a park bench while people watching. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful park all summer long.

Logan Square: stroll along the Ben Franklin Parkway to Logan Square – you’ll spot the impressive Swann Memorial Fountain sculpture from a distance. With the Free Library a block away, it’s impossible not to want to grab a book and spend the day reading in the park, with a nice mist from the fountain cooling you off on a hot day. Check out Sister Cities Park, for more greenspace, fountains and a café, just across the street as well.

Schuylkill Banks: Philly’s most popular biking, walking and running trail, a part of the larger Schuylkill River Trail and the Circuit Trails – stretching from the Art Museum down to South Street – the Banks hosts movie nights in the summer as well as kayak and riverboat tours. Check out the boardwalk over the river and the neighborhood dog park nearby 25th and Spruce.

Washington Square: smack dab in the middle of Center City and Old City, Washington Square’s tree-lined park (a.k.a., plenty of shaded areas!) is right around the corner from historic Independence Hall, and makes for the perfect resting spot in between a day of exploring all over Philly. See if you can find the tree in the park that has taken a trip to the moon. Yes, seriously!

Spruce Street Harbor Park: the Delaware River deserves just as much credit as it’s western neighbor, the Schuylkill, especially now that this park has become the go-to spot for daytime and nighttime activities, alike. With Philly’s top eateries like Hip City Veg, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Franklin Fountain and more setting up shop along the boardwalk, there’s always a reason to hang out here in the summer. Lounge in a hammock, sit above the river in a suspended net, or watch a live band on the weekend. Oh, and did we mention there’s an arcade AND giant Jenga?

Wissahickon Valley Park: when you’re in the Wissahickon (or “the Wiss” as many call it), you’ll forget that there’s a bustling city just 4 miles away. With more than 50 miles of trails for every skill level, a wide gravel path called Forbidden Drive to bike or walk on, and scenic views along the creek, it’s easy to stay here for hours. The paths are mostly shaded, too, so it’s a perfect escape from the sunny city in the summer.

Franklin Square: between miniature golf, snacks and burgers, a carousel, and year-round events at the park, the historical Franklin Square is the perfect respite from the busy city. It’s a few blocks north of Market Street, and super accessible by public transportation. Stay up to date on their website to find out about the current events happening there.

Dilworth Park: the expansive park surrounding Philadelphia’s City Hall, Dilworth Park, just keeps getting better each year. There’s food at Dilworth Park Café and Air Grille, plenty of seating for lunch breaks and picnics, fountains, gardens, and even free fitness throughout the week. There’s also a subway station directly in the middle of the park, so getting there is a breeze!

Clark Park: if you’re in the University City / West Philly area, or just want an excuse to take the Market-Frankford line to a park you’ve never visited before, make sure to visit Clark Park. There’s 9 acres of greenery (it’s huge!) filled with more than 300 trees, and there’s always an event going on – farmer’s markets, movies in the park, concerts, performances, and so much more. Learn more here!

Fairmount Park: to classify this as just one “park” is slightly crazy, since the 9,200 acres of trails, bike paths, hills, and wooded areas make this one of the world’s largest municipal park systems. Bike, run, or walk along Kelly Drive for the best views of the Schuylkill, explore Fairmount Park’s historic mansions, or enjoy car-free streets on Martin Luther King Drive every weekend from April to October!

Belmont Plateau: here’s a fun fact to impress your friends – DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Summertime” music video was filmed right here on the Plateau. When you’re looking at photos with the city skyline in the distance, it looks like it’s miles away, but this huge park on a hill, filled with picnic areas, endless fields, kite fliers, mountain bikers, and kids running around, is only four miles from Center City. You can take SEPTA right to the park (the 38 bus stop is a half-mile away)!

The best thing about Philly is that for such a large city, everything is so close. These parks are easily accessible by public transportation, a pleasant bike ride along the river, or by car. We’re planning to visit all of them this summer (as should you!) – stay up to date on our adventures and follow us on Instagram!

Evaluating Black Representation and the Black Imagination in ​Séancers

A special message from our partner, FringeArts:

By: Kyle O’Kane 


This May, FringeArts presents Séancers, an innovative production created by Bessie Award nominated Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. His performance, to be presented from May 10-12 on the FringeArts stage, centers around one main theme: blackness. With recent blockbusters delivering representation, especially Marvel’s recent hit Black Panther, Séancers hopes to add on to the conversation to examine the American racialized body in a beautiful way. By incorporating various styles of art including lyrical poetry, movement forms, and discursive performance, the audience observes how loss and oppression can ultimately shapeshift into black beauty.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is the driving force behind Séancers, a piece focusing on the body through psychic, spiritual, and theoretical strategies. Kosoko’s previous work includes #negrophobia, described as a kind of séance. After touring throughout Europe over the past couple years for #negrophobia, Séancers came naturally to Kosoko as a progression of themes like paranormal activity, loss, and resurrection. The performance takes the audience on a journey through the surreal and fantastical states of the black imagination. When discussing the themes explored in the piece, Kosoko states, “There are 4 pieces of creative works by Black Women in particular that serve as inspirations and/or thematic musings for Séancers. [They include] ”Power” by Audre Lorde, Howardena Pindell’s Free, White, and 21, Rudy Sales’s incredible speech as part of an interview with Krista Tippett, “Where Does It Hurt?” [and] Christina Sharpe’s 2016 release In the Wake: On Blackness and Being.” He treats these works as pillars that function as the foundation for Séancers.

When asked how Séancers contributes to discussions about black representation like Black Panther, he notes, “Similarly, my work is concerned with Black Feminism, Black Study, Black Life, and Black Survival.” He values the visibility of the black individual, wishing for it to continue in coming years. Kosoko also wishes to raise awareness for other marginalized groups, who may not see themselves represented in media and art either. He says, “It’s also important to me that I center and support People of Color, queer, women, and gender variant individuals within my creative practice.” By supporting, and even more importantly, centering on these groups, Kosoko is inviting them to finally get their time in the spotlight as well. From a personal perspective, Jaamil recounts, “I’m also thinking a lot about Black theory, which has been incredibly healing and informative for me as a way to come to terms with personal and societal trauma.”

When it comes to discussing race in an academic setting, Kosoko believes his production has a lot to offer to university students and the conversation on race as a whole. He argues, “I think young people need to become more comfortable discussing race so that it may be dismantled with brave care and sensitivity. But this takes practice like most things…I think there’s a lot that we can learn from the visuality of Blackness, (past, present, and future). This is what Black performance allows us to begin to reckon with and decode.”

This thought-provoking performance runs from May 10 – May 12 at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.). Tickets cost $15 for students and are available by phone at 215-413-1318 or online at FringeArts.com.

CREDITS

Séancers by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Written by: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Directed by: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Sound artist: Jeremy Troussaint-Baptiste

Video installation: Andrew Amorim

Performers/Creators: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Tara Sheena

Major support for Séancers has been provided to Jaamil Olawale Kosoko by Abrons Arts Center and Danspace Project with additional funding support from MAP Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Princeton Arts Fellowship, and the Jerome Foundation.

When School’s Out, Philly Summer is IN!

The semester may be almost over, but the best time to be in Philly is just getting started. With perfect temperatures for walking around, trees in bloom, and al fresco dining in its peak season, the spring and summer months are the best of the year.

Whether you have family in town visiting for graduation, or have posted so many impressive photos of Philly throughout the year that your friends couldn’t stay away, the five spots below will help you show your friends and family around the city you call home. Trust us on this one – they’re going to recognize you as the expert on the must-see, must-experience sites in downtown Philly.

1. Start off the day with a panoramic view of the entire city and the ‘burbs, 57 floors up, with the Philly from the Top tour at One Liberty Observation Deck. Take a selfie with the best view in the city as your backdrop – there’s 360° of Instagram-worthy shots ready for you to snap and share.Guided tours are free after admission during scheduled tour times (11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.). Bonus: admission is just $10 per person for groups of 15 or more!

2. After you’ve scoped out your favorite neighborhoods from the top of the city, head down to the street level and grab a bagel at Chestnut Street Bagels, just down the block. Go for the Rainbow Brite specialty sandwich: birthday cake cream cheese on a tie-dye colored bagel. Trust on this one – it’s delicious.

3. Our favorite way to explore a new neighborhood is by walking around, people watching, and visiting local shops and cafes. Rittenhouse Row (from Broad to 21st Streets, between Spruce and Market) is filled with more than 200 dining, retail and cultural establishments, but the best spot to explore is Walnut Street.Sip on a cold brew iced coffee or a fruit smoothie from Saxby’s on the corner of 20th and stroll eastward down Walnut Street to visit high-end stores mixed in with local shops. Sit on a bench in Rittenhouse Square and people watch in the sunshine. Admire the baroque-style architecture of the Academy of Music and snap a photo of the iconic City Hall before crossing Broad Street (also known as the Avenue of the Arts).

4. Philadelphia is the birthplace of America, and the spot where it all went down is just a short walk or ride away. Marvel at the historic significance of Independence Hall, visit the National Constitution Center and check out their educational exhibits, and tour the Betsy Ross House.

5. After a busy day of trekking across the city, relax at one of Old City District’s many restaurants. Ranging in cuisine from Latin to Italian to American to almost anything you can imagine, there’s something for everyone, and most places have outdoor seating for optimal people watching.

Bonus: for one last Instagram-worthy snapshot of your day in Philly, head back to Observation Deck to see a panoramic view of the city against the sunset sky. Observation Deck offers a specialSun and Stars” admission ticket, and if you plan ahead, you can purchase this in advance for a special deal for two total Observation Deck visits in 48 hours. After all, an experience like Observation Deck deserves an encore.

We want to share in your Philly experience! Post your photos from the Observation Deck, or any of your favorite spots throughout your incredible day in Philly, to Instagram and tag @CampusPhilly. We’ll share your photos throughout the summer!

Want more insider tips on how to make the most of your time in Philly? Subscribe to our Student Newsletter to learn about upcoming events, Campus Philly opportunities, and the best ways to spend your summer in Philly.

Three Ways College Students Can Use Self-Storage to Get Organized and Save Money

A special message from our partner:


Many college students begin to realize a common problem when they move away from home and begin a life of their own: living space is expensive. If you want your own private room or apartment, this often costs much more than a shared dorm room. While you save money in one place, you sacrifice space in the other. It may seem like there is no way to accommodate all of your belongings in a particular space, but there is another option students can take advantage of which they do not always consider. College students in Philadelphia often don’t realize they can rent a self-storage unit and enjoy all the benefits of extra space without needing to pay extra for housing. If you are a student currently attending college in the city, you can greatly benefit from what self-storage Philadelphia has to offer.

1. Rent a Smaller Living Space

Whether you live in a college dorm room, rent a studio apartment, or even live in a house with a group of other roommates, you are likely short on space. In any of these living situations, there are not very many places where you can store your previous semesters’ textbooks, personal items from home, bikes, instruments, sports equipment, or anything else. A lot of students have realized that they are able to rent a self-storage unit to keep a lot of these items instead so that their dorm or apartment is only filled with the things they need the most. Renting self-storage allows you access to your belongings any time you might need them without needing to keep them in your limited living space. You also save money because you will not need to sacrifice more money for a large place to live. Pro tip: consider sharing your storage unit with a roommate you trust. It can also cut down the monthly cost of your storage unit.

2. Keep Only Essential Items in Your Living Space

As a college student in Philadelphia, you have a lot going on. From taking classes to working and balancing a social life, organizing your belongings may not be at the top of your priority list. Keeping your books, notes, and living space organized, however, is key to a successful college career, and a storage unit can help with this. When you rent a unit from a storage facility, you reduce clutter and distractions so you can focus on your studies. Self-storage allows you to keep non-essential items organized and safe while you go about your daily routine.

3. Solve the Summer Storage Problem

One dilemma that Philadelphia college students often face is what they will do with all of their personal items and furniture when they move back home for the summer or take a long summer trip or internship. Moving all of your items back home is a hassle and often impractical, but college students often feel this is the only way they can keep their belongings safe while you are gone, but self-storage eliminates the problems usually associated with moving during the summer. Consider storing your books, furniture, childhood memorabilia, movie collection, binders, and notes in your own storage unit so you don’t have to worry about what will happen to them while you are gone. This will help you enjoy your summer without the added stress moving often entails.

If you’re ready to get organized, create more space in your already small living area, or enjoy your semesters off without the stress of moving, self-storage can help. You don’t need to sacrifice your money for space. Getting a storage unit in Philadelphia may be the best investment you could make during your college years.

Exploring identity in ¡BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! or WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE!

A special message from our partner, FringeArts:

By: Kyle O’Kane 


This April, FringeArts and Team Sunshine Performance Corporation present
¡ BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! OR WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE!, a world premiere
collaboration between the Philadelphia-based theater company and Cuban theater artists. The play tackles pressing contemporary issues like economic oppression, race, and embargoes, and it’s a show that sprung from questions of identity. In Bienvenidos Blancos, identity is fractured, as individuals struggle to reconcile their Latinx identity with their American one.

Cuban-American director and Team Sunshine co-founder Alex Torra is the lead artist behind Bienvenidos Blancos ’ magic. When asked in an interview about the title, he replied, “Back in 2015, I had an opportunity to travel to Cuba for the first time. I was really taken aback by how many of my interactions were tourism-based…focused on getting white tourists to have a great time and spend money. It’s for the sake of survival, for sure, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable.” On his experience in America, Torra shares, “ A big complication for me is my white Latinoness. I present white…but I’m part of a Latinx minority group. Along the way, I deleted my Miami accent, and I worked hard to fit and succeed. I ‘whitened’.” With Bienvenidos Blancos, he hopes to go back to his roots and dig deep into what it means to be Cuban-American.

A term relevant to the themes of identity in Bienvenidos Blancos is “double-consciousness,” coined by W.E.B DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk . With it, DuBois touches on the idea of the fractured identity, when you contain more than one social identity and it becomes difficult to develop a sense of self. Torra definitely feels this double-consciousness in his life, reflecting, “ I find myself in Anglo spaces and find myself not quite fitting in…[and] when I go to Miami or Havana, I don’t quite fit in anymore in Cuban spaces. I feel a little stuck.” It’s a challenging place to be in, and in a society that focuses heavily on putting us into a single category, how do we as people maintain an identity that ticks multiple boxes?

Bienvenidos Blancos is the latest game-changing production from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation. Past productions include The Sincerity Project (2014 and 2016)—an anti-play ritual where the same ensemble comes back every 2 years to discuss the memories and lives they’ve made— Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine (2014), and JapanAmerica Wonderwave (2011). Bienvenidos Blancos is their most ambitious work yet, bringing together artists from Cuba with Cuban-Americans and white Americans. Torra is specifically excited to show this to university students, stating, “Our audience has always skewed young, and because the piece is rooted in my particular questions, in a 1 st generation Latino encountering his ‘home’ culture, that felt like an experience that a lot of young Latinx individuals could relate to.”

This performance runs from April 18 – April 28 at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.) and will feature local Afro-Cuban Rumba performers each night of the run. Tickets cost $15 for students and are available by phone online at FringeArts.com . College Night with Campus Philly is April 19th, where the first 50 Open Arts members to register can see the production for free.

Going Down SOUTH (on N. Broad Street)

Going Down SOUTH (on N. Broad Street)

Last week Campus Philly invited a few students out to SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor to experience fine southern cuisine and incredible jazz music. Along with promoting Jazz Appreciation Month, the Bynum Brothers (who also own Warmdaddy’s, Relish, and Green Soul) are looking to spread the love of jazz music to the young and young at heart alike. Below are two quotes from Bryant and Zakiyy who were in attendance. Make sure you also check out SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor every Wednesday night in April to receive deals and discounts like half-off tickets for the second set!

Any questions, feel free to email me cory@campusphilly.org

Peace!


Students should listen to jazz more because it is the mother of the music we listen to today. I’m new to jazz, but in my most recent outings I have heard live jazz music. After each time I’ve left feeling better than when I entered the room. And on top of that, I’ve been able to pick up hints of jazz in modern day music. Many artists today build their beats and tones from jazz music, but if you don’t know where those sounds come from how can you truly appreciate it? Listening to jazz has helped me appreciate my music more.

If college students truly appreciated music, they would know more about jazz. In life you can never truly value something if you don’t know where it comes from or what it means. Students should listen to jazz in order to learn more about the history and true art of music.

Bryant O. Washington
Temple University, ‘18


Jazz is a music and lifestyle that stems from African American culture that has weaved its way through several other popular genres of music, such as R&B, hip hop, pop, and some forms of rock. Last week, I attended a nice dinner at SOUTH with Cory from Campus Philly and a few other students. The atmosphere upon entering was automatically a great vibe. The interior décor really complimented the theme of southern cooking and as an artist I enjoyed the visuals. This was my second time having dinner there and I will definitely be back. The jazz side of the restaurant is separated for the reason I guess to be so the sound and ambiance of the live sounds can be amplified.

The food at SOUTH was very delicious and embodied what a southern menu should exemplify. I had the seafood gumbo, which left me beyond satisfied. The taste of the food was blended harmoniously and I also loved the presentation of the food. Overall, a great experience!

Zakiyy Williams
La Salle University, ‘21

Think Summer! Become a Philly Lifeguard

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Spring semester is zipping by, and before you know it, summer will be here! Philadelphia Parks & Recreation wants to remind you that the city has got plenty of summer job options for you—400+ jobs, to be more specific. Lifeguards work at 70 outdoor pools across Philadelphia, earning $13.65 per hour while they do so.

But who’s a typical Parks & Rec lifeguard? There’s no one profile that fits the bill, but a sizeable portion of the lifeguard force is composed of high school and college students, many of whom return year after year for the leadership opportunities, decent salary, and chance to enjoy the summer sunshine. Take, for example, Kyree Westbrooks.

Kyree is a Parks & Rec lifeguard who has worked with us for seven years, beginning when he was in high school. He is currently an education major at the Community College of Philadelphia. Kyree likes the lifeguard job over the typical summer job young people get because of the good pay and the seriousness of the job.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching young people from ages 6 to 16 how to swim in just a few weeks in the summer,” said Kyree. “I also appreciate that I am responsible for protecting the lives of hundreds of people each summer.”

Kyree became a lifeguard after being encouraged by Marty Jackson, a staffer at Ziehler Playground in the Olney section of the city. Kyree was a mainstay at the pool, and Marty figured that he might make a good lifeguard. Although Kyree was a good swimmer because of his many visits to Ziehler pool, he did not initially pass the first lifeguard screening test, but he did not give up. He took advantage of our remedial lifeguard classes, which enhanced his swimming technique and helped him build his endurance, and was able to pass the screening easily on his second attempt.

“I always recommend the lifeguard jobs to my friends since they always inquire about my high-paying summer job,” said Kyree. “I tell them, ‘Don’t sweat it if you are not a strong swimmer, the Parks & Rec staff is always willing to help potential lifeguards become stronger swimmers.’”

Join Kyree on the pool deck as a lifeguard this summer. Lifeguard screenings are taking place now, so it’s not too early to get swimming. Learn more at www.phila.gov/lifeguards.

Nine reasons why you should make summer plans with Penn

Sponsored Article


It’s never too early to start making plans for your summer, and the University of Pennsylvania is the perfect place to start. With Ivy League academics, an expansive global network and a convenient location right in the heart of University City, there are plenty of reasons to explore all that Penn has to offer this summer – enroll in courses online, on campus and abroad to get ahead on credits and expand your academic horizons.

  1. You can enroll through open admissions
    If you want to take classes online or on campus, there’s no need to worry about completing a formal academic application. Admissions for summer courses are open for visiting undergraduates.
  2. You can earn all the credits in nearly half the time
    Summer at Penn is designed with flexibility in mind. You can receive college credit in 11 weeks or in just five-and-a-half weeks during one of the accelerated sessions.
  3. You can make the poolside your classroom
    Online classes provide you the opportunity to experience the Ivy League from anywhere in the world, including your own backyard.
  4. You can actually get a seat in the library
    When you take summer classes on campus at Penn, you can enjoy historic libraries, state-of-the-art laboratories and modern study spaces—with leg room to spare.
  5. You can travel across the globe and earn credit while doing it
    Did you know that applications for Penn Summer Abroad are open to students outside of Penn? From Havana and Buenos Aires to London and Madrid, Penn takes you on thrilling academic journeys. Many of the programs take place over a span of weeks, so you have plenty of time to soak up summer at home.
  6. You can still sleep in as late as you want
    Evening and online courses mean you can catch up on z’s. The flexibility of summer offerings provides room in your schedule for a summer job, internship, road trip and the all-important TV-watching marathon.
  7. You can experience a lush urban oasis
    With thousands of trees along Penn’s sprawling green campus, the University is an accredited arboretum. Lounge on College Green, play soccer in Penn Park and cycle through University City’s protected bike lines while studying at one of the nation’s top institutions.
  8. You can dive into fascinating and out-of-the-ordinary topics
    There are more than 300 courses available on campus and online, so there is something for everyone at Penn in the summer. From visual neuroscience and Beyoncé to witchcraft and human evolution, you can get ahead on your degree requirements and explore what excites you.
  9. You can enjoy your favorite lunch truck without the wait
    Last, but certainly not least, summer is the perfect time to finally figure out who really serves West Philly’s best burrito. Without the crowds, you can indulge in global fare from the famous food trucks that line almost every block of Penn’s campus.

Visit the Penn Summer website to learn more about online, on-campus and abroad programs.

Live in the Philly Moment!

What an exciting time to be a student in Philadelphia! The Eagles are Super Bowl bound, The Franklin Institute has a special student discount to see the famed Terracotta Warriors and there are cool upcoming events happening all over the city, PLUS Open Arts Membership Week and Wired:Philly, our recruiting event for science and tech majors.  Below are our weekend picks!

P.S. Take this quick survey for your chance to win a free dinner in the city.

Deal Alert! The Franklin Institute is offering a student discount (only $10!) for a special Evening with The Terracotta Warriors on Thursday, February 8. Create an Open Arts account (FREE!) to access this deal.

 

 

Now’s Your Chance to Become a Member of Open Arts Philly

January 14 – 21 is Open Arts Membership Week!  Sign-up at openartsphilly.com/activate. Members get access to awesome discounts, free tickets and the ability to be part of our Open Arts College Nights, all for FREE.