One of the most definitive views in Philadelphia, the Rocky Steps is named after their iconic feature in the film Rocky. What most people do not consider is that during his training montage in the film, Rocky had previously run through South Philadelphia, traveling North and ending at the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. If you want the true Rocky experience, take a long walk or run through the city, ending at this iconic location. There is often something going on at these steps- yoga or Zumba classes, peaceful protests, small shows, and always a few tourists. It is also right next to Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Drive, both of which are perfect for cycling. Currently, Martin Luther King Drive is fully blocked off from automotive traffic so you have the entire road to move. There is easy access to IndeGo bicycles, which can be a great option for anyone who wants to travel from there to other parts of the city.
Lemon Hill Mansion
Lemon Hill Mansion is a multifaceted outdoor area. On one side of the mansion is a beautiful view of the city, including the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is great for the end of a walk, ride, or jog if you are inclined to sit for a bit. On the other side of the mansion is a large gazebo, perfect for socially distanced hangouts with friends. There are grassy areas for stretching or playing with a pup or two. It is very close to Waterworks, which links with the Kelly Drive trail along the river, so it’s a great location for doing both in one go.
If city views and sunshine are your favorite things, this spot is for you. Though far from Center City, this park sits on top of a hill that overlooks the entirety of the Philadelphia skyline. You can do a variety of activities in this open space, including traversing the trails through the trees at the bottom left portion of the hill. You’ll often find Philadelphians relaxing with friends, or playing frisbee.
This spot is on Drexel University’s campus, and it has a wonderful close-up view of the Philadelphia skyline. It’s a smaller park, but you will frequently see dogs of all sorts. Relaxing and well maintained, this park can provide some serenity within the bustle of the city. It also is very close to a location in the local brunch chain, Sabrinas, if you want to get some takeout brunch, sit, and meditate while looking at the skyline and thinking through the ways in which we are all connected in this dense cityscape.
One of the most unique and special spots in Philadelphia, Cira Green is a park that sits on the eleventh story of a parking garage. Simply walk into the parking garage under the small sign indicating Cira Green (next to the OCF Coffee shop, at which you can get some coffee to accompany you to the park), and enter the elevator to your left. There is a large button indicating Cira Green. After exiting, you go up a small flight of stairs and walk out to a rather large green space nestled between two large buildings. There are clear glass panes at the front of the park, which makes for great photographs, as well as an elevated green space for sitting in the grass. Sometimes there is a beer garden, and at times there is a large screen silently playing television shows. Apart from these distractions, this is a lovely spot to get some sun and air in a distinctly urban environment.
The Rail Park
While short, this is Philadelphia’s response to the New York City High Line park. Repurposing an old railway, the Rail Park has a short, elevated walkway with beautiful plants, benches, and swings on which to sit. If your movement is to walk or meditate, this can be a lovely spot to be among people but in a lovely section of Philadelphia. It is very close to a favorite brunch spot, Café Lift, as well as Love City Beer for local beer selections in a large indoor or outdoor space.