We don’t need to tell you how invaluable Philly parks are come summertime: Most of us basically live at our local playgrounds and pop-ups and squares (not to mention Fairmount) all summer. But what you might not know or remember (what I didn’t know/remember, anyway) is all of the amazing stuff — from movies to sports to boating — that happens in so many parks this summer. (And a lot of it is even FREE!!) Bookmark this list, people — so many hours of outdoor fun for your family here.
Details: We’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: You can catch any number of free films at parks all around the summer.
Where and When: Pretty much everywhere, all summer. Check the schedule.
Details: Philadelphia Freedoms Pop-Up Tennis Clinics — team tennis lessons for boys and girls
Where and When: The Oval, July 30 at 2 p.m. and Franklin Square, July 31 at 2 p.m.
Details: Though Wheel Fun boat rentals at FDR Park you can rent pedal boats and kayaks to take around the park’s natural lake. You can also rent kayaks and foot-pedal swan boats at Penn’s Landing, quite near Spruce Street Harbor Park. And if you have older kids (8 and up), you can kayak the Schuylkill with a tour guide.
Where and When: FDR Park, every day starting mid-June; Penn’s Landing, through summer’s end; Schuylkill River through September 16.
Details: Through Wheel Fun bike rentals, you can rent those bikes, surreys, choppers and tandems you always see zipping down Boathouse row.
Where and When: Bike rental is available at both Boathouse Row (at Lloyd Hall) and FDR Park daily starting at 10 a.m., and going until sunset.
What: Playdates for kids!
Details: The Kids@Play Series at Gold Star Park features all sorts of programs for young kids built around things like nature, martial arts and dance. There’s also kids’ night at Jefferson Square — basically a playdate for the neighborhood kids.
Where and When: Gold Star’s is the third Saturday of the month, April through September, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Jefferson Square’s is Wednesday nights from 6 to 8 p.m.
What: Live music!
Details: There are lots of concerts (jazz, classical, Irish, rock, bluegrass and more) in lots of parks all summer long — perfect for tossing down a blanket, unwrapping some sandwiches and soaking it in with the kids.
When and Where: Check out the schedule here.
What: Mobile beer gardens!
Details: The Parks on Tap program — a partnership between Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Avram Hornik of FCM Hospitality — will bring beer, wine, drinks, snacks, sandwiches and salads to parks across the city (Schuylkill Banks! Lemon Hill! Clark Park!) from June 29 to October 2.
When and Where: The pop-up beer gardens will move around all summer; you can see the schedule here.
Photo credit: Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®