Things to Do in Philadelphia: Outdoor Adventures

Philly may be the fourth biggest city in the country but with close proximity to the Delaware River and Pennsylvania state parks—not to mention the many green spaces inside the city itself—it can sometimes feel more like an outdoor oasis.

Whether you are looking for some fresh air and a stroll through the city, want to get more active and hike a trail or ride bikes, or just want open space for a picnic, Philadelphia has areas and attractions that will keep you out of the hotels and enclosed museums and into the sunlight. 

Rittenhouse Square Park

In the center of bustling Rittenhouse Row sits Rittenhouse Square Park, a public green space with equal views of skyscrapers and sky-high trees. Sit on a bench and people watch, stroll through the pathways or have a picnic on the lawn before shopping at the nearby Walnut Street retail spots. 

Valley Forge

History abounds in the lovely Valley Forge area, about 25 minutes outside the city. Here, the big attractions are the 3,500-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Valley Forge Casino Resort.

Fairmount Park

Comprising 63 parks and totaling 9,200 acres, Fairmount Park is a year-round treasure with trails for walking, horseback riding and biking. The system also includes the Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River Trail in addition to many small parks dotting the city.

Franklin Square

This historic park is one of the city’s five original squares—as designed by William Penn—and features Philly-themed mini-golf, playgrounds, the SquareBurger snack shack and the Parx liberty carousel, plus a renovated fountain with shows. Philly mini-golf: $10, children (ages 3-12) $8, under 3 free.

Longwood Gardens

This horticultural paradise has 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows and 20 indoor gardens, plus an extraordinary “Nature's Castles” tree house exhibit. Frequent live musical performances. $12-$23. Daily 9 am-5 pm.

Philadelphia Bike Tours

Founded in 2005, this tour company is known for “pedaling history” on both bicycles and mopeds. Bikes are brought to you with guided outings (lasting three to four hours) available year round, weather permitting. Forty-eight hours advanced booking recommended. $68 for three-hour bicycle tour; $56 for two-hour moped tour.

Linvilla Orchards

It’s worth a trip to Media, Pennsylvania, to visit this beautiful 300-acre farm where visitors are invited to pick their own fruits and vegetables straight from the vine or purchase a delicacy from Linvilla’s bakery.

Race Street Pier

Stroll through this serene public space on the Delaware River for sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the waterfront. Open M-Su 7 am-11 pm.

Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tours

The eight-mile stretch of the Schuylkill River that passes through downtown Philadelphia has become a burgeoning destination for kayaking fans. Beginner tours and moonlight tours are offered on select days of the week, June through September. Visit the website for specific dates and prices.

Philadelphia Zoo

America's first zoo is a Victorian-landscaped, 42-acre area housing more than 1,300 animals in naturalistic habitats. Attractions include the WildWorks Ropes Course, a children's zoo, a butterfly habitat and more. $19.95-$24.95. Open daily (hours vary by season).