Philadelphia, PA - Center City District spearheads much of the park work in the core of the city, with solid contributions from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, to ensure that recreational opportunities abound in parks and pockets all over downtown Philly.
Center City Parks and Green Spaces
- Cira Green – This elevated park, which debuted in 2015, perches 95 feet above the street and wows guests with skyline views and cool breezes. Atop the Cira Centre South parking garage, the site employs green roof and storm water management techniques to reduce impact on the environment and sewer system. This summer, the venue’s Friday happy hours have been a hit. An onsite restaurant is planned for later in the year. Entrance on 30th Street between Chestnut & Walnut Streets, ciragreen.com
- Dilworth Park – In 2014, City Hall’s western-facing front yard transformed from a concrete sweep to a $55 million multi-use park, complete with tree groves, benches, a cafe and areas for outdoor events and performances. A large programmable fountain offers children a place to romp and splash in warm weather. During the winter, an ice rink brings skaters to the park. The site’s Greenfield Lawn provides a place to relax, and sloping glass roofs lead to the major transit hub below the park. 15th & Market Streets, (215) 440-5500, dilworthpark.org
- The Oval – Benjamin Franklin: Philadelphia’s favorite Founding Father surely would have appreciated this eight-acre pop-up park, which occupies Eakins Oval, a little-used parking lot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Food trucks, movies, a beer garden, free health and fitness classes, theme days and a ground mural designed by PORT Urbanism and painted by Mural Arts Philadelphia bring the space to life for one summer month. The park, open for its fifth year in 2017, is imagined and executed by Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. July 20-August 20, 2017. 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, theovalphl.org
- PHS Pop Up Gardens - The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is bringing two versions of its popular greening projects (called “horticultural interventions” by staffers) to underused lots in 2017. The South Street Pop Up returns with a new design that romances the garden, while the first-time uCity Square location transforms a vacant lot into an urban orchard of sustainable practices and repurposed materials. Both feature curated food and beer menus, with proceeds supporting PHS programs that address challenges such as healthy eating, food accessibility, environmental sustainability and urban livability. Open through October 2017. 15th & South Streets & 36th & Filbert Streets, (215) 988-8800, phsonline.org
- Rail Park – Work has commenced to transform a three-mile section of an abandoned elevated Reading Rail line north of Callowhill Street into a leafy green space with room to walk, sit and admire the Center City view. Phase One, slated to be completed in spring 2018, is an industrial, four-block section. During construction, passersby can learn more about the vision for the park through Friends of the Rail Park board member-led, street-level walking tours along the site. Along Noble Street between 11th & Broad Streets, therailpark.org
- Sister Cities Park – Kids especially adore this landscaped urban discovery tucked along the Parkway. The site stars a Children’s Discovery Garden, pebble-bottomed boat pond, the Logan Square Café, an eco-smart branch of the Independence Visitor Center, a pint-sized hill that evokes the Wissahickon Valley and a programmed fountain that pays tribute to Philadelphia’s 11 sister cities. On warm Thursday nights, music lovers bring their own bottles and snacks for picnics and performances. Center City District maintains and programs the park. 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 440-5500, sistercitiespark.org