Seize the Day — Warm Weather Fun Guide for 2024

Spring fever? Here’s two dozen sunny game plans for your next “sick” day. 

Laurel Hill Cemetery, East

Spring is the best time of year to explore the city, when all the year’s attractions open but before summer’s heat and crowds. The season’s weather can be fickle, but when it’s nice out it’s practically impossible to stay inside. In this spirit, we’ve put together a list of (mostly) FREE ways to enjoy these beautiful days ahead in Philadelphia’s great public spaces, where unique local experiences await.

🙌🌎👀 TOP OF THE WORLD | Hit the heights for world-class views and fresh perspectives

Comcast’s Great Glass Elevator – The best free ride in the city. From the lobby of the Four Seasons in the Comcast Center to the SkyHigh rooftop bar on the 60th floor, passengers shoot up the outside of the glass-and-steel tower, as a panorama of streets, landmarks, and rivers keeps getting wider, and wider, and wider. It’s breathtaking. Technically you can descend without stopping for a cocktail, but it’s a good excuse to settle in and enjoy one of the sweetest seats in the city.

Go ahead and explore the Comcast Center while you’re here, too, it’s a fascinating public space that celebrates the city with art, history, and commercial spaces, including an artisanal pizza shop that’s hard to find but worth the bother. (One North 19th Street @ComcastCenter)

Span a Famous Landmark –The iconic Ben Franklin Bridge to Camden has seven lanes of traffic, a high-speed rail line, and a well-kept pedestrian walkway high above it all, offering the most incredible views over the Delaware River, with the Philly skyline glittering in the background. It’s 1.5 miles long, with several benches and overlooks, even some art and a public toilet. Open 24/7, a thrilling experience anytime (and a bit of a workout tbh).  Entrance at 5th and Race Streets

Stretch Out with SkyscrapersCira Green is a free rooftop park 12 floors up over apartments by 30th Street Station, surrounded by towering buildings that are so close you can literally catch the eye of random residents and office workers. There’s a great grassy hill where you can chill out on a blanket, far above the hum of traffic. Open 7 days a week, from 6am to 10pm (May thru September) and 7am to 8pm in the off-season (weather permitting). Their bar/restaurant, Sunset Social, opens April 15th.  (129 S 30th Street, elevator within Center South garage)

Rule the School  —  Bok Building was built in 1936 as technical high school — closed in 2013 – whose halls are now filled with 200+ artists and entrepreneurs, many with welcoming shops and showrooms to explore. There’s also a hair salon, tattoo parlor, diner, coffee shop, French bakery, and other local services. Bok’s lovable rooftop bar opens April 11th, and there’s fine dining here year-round at Iriwn’s, an award-winning restaurant featuring modern Sicilian menu with natural wines. At 8 stories high, Bok rises far above the South Philly rowhomes around it, with a stunning view straight to the river.  (1901 S. 9th Street)

SkyHigh Bar and Cira Green

🍴😋 LET’S EAT | Epic foodie adventures in local, global deliciousness

South of the Border, Philly-StylePuebladelphia” is a nickname for the vibrant Latino culture, shopping, and incredible cuisine that enlivens the Italian Market. Since the 1990’s, immigrants from Mexico and other South/Central American countries (+ the Caribbean) have been helping revitalize the area: a full 50% of the businesses here are Latino-owned.

Some are famous! You might recognize Alma del Mar on South 9th from Season 5 of “Queer Eye” (the team helped with the restaurant design). There’s also a James Beard Award winning chef here, serving authentic dishes from Capulhuac, Mexico. Pop by Tortilleria San Roman for fresh warm tortillas to go, grab a house popsicle at La Guerrerensend, discover your own local spots for a casual meal and/or pitcher of margaritas.

Don’t forget souvenirs: a gift shop called ChocoArte has one-of-a-kind finds for every budget (including WRESTLEMANIA masks!). Date un gusto.   (9th St between Washington & Federal)

Phnom Nom Nom FDR Park’s Southeast Asian Market offers a dizzying array of vendors – many from Philadelphia’s immigrant community – cooking up the most amazing, authentic, affordable street foods. Almost everything is grilled and served on a stick (the stuffed chicken wings are an art!) but there’s also noodles, veggies, and papaya salad that’ll light up even the dullest palate. Fresh produce too plus desserts, boba tea, smoothies, Vietnamese coffee… You can even buy a giant stick of sugar cane to chomp on, if you want.

And it’s not just a food market, you’ll also find plants, toys, clothing, crafts, housewares and more. Great browsing and people watching, in one of the city’s most scenic green spaces among man-made lakes reclaimed 100+ years ago from marshland. Open Sat-Sun, April – October  (1500 Pattison Ave & South Broad) Opening Day 2024 Saturday May 4th, follow @SEAMarketFDRPark for updates

Strolling for Snacks SUN APR 21   Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival (11am – 5pm) Main Street Manayunk turns into a pedestrian promenade with music at both ends and great energy throughout. Free to attend, pay as you go. So many food trucks! Special deals, too, at neighborhood restaurants. 50+ gourmet options, everything from BBQ to fro-yo to local wine and craft beer. Bike, bus, and regional rail access. (4312 Main Street)

Pig-Out, Passyunk  SUN APR 28   Flavors on the Avenue (11am – 5pm ) This South Philly food festival features the Avenue’s best restaurants, with an enormous outdoor market of 100+ local shops and makers, live music, kids activities, craft beer, seasonal cocktails and more. If you liked STREAT Fest, you’ll love this. (1800 E. Passyunk Ave)

FDR Park
SE Asian Market stall and Manayunk STREAT Fest
Forbidden Drive, Chestnut Hill trailhead

🌳🌲🥾LOSE YOURSELF | Ramble round Philly’s vast and verdant expanses.

Wooded Wonderland  Forbidden Drive provides 5.35 paved, shaded miles of breathtaking scenery following the Wissahickon Creek from Germantown to Chestnut Hill. Natural beauty surrounds picnic nooks, fishing spots, and tree-top vistas, with historic sites and ruins mixed in. Lots of great bridges, too, – including a red covered one that looks straight from a painting.

Lovely in all seasons, but especially magical in spring. 🌷💚✨Pro Tip: plan a stop at Valley Green Inn to sip a beverage and watch the swans (or byob at handy public outdoor seating). This trail is so popular it can get crowded – if so, veer off onto one of the many side paths leading deeper into the green. Access Forbidden Drive at Ten Box parking lot, off Lincoln Drive near Wissahickon Avenue; the trail ends at Northwestern Ave, where you can either turn around or take a train back from Chestnut Hill, which btw has great food & window shopping.

Roam in Peace  Laurel Hill Cemetery – East or West, take your pick, you can’t go wrong with either. “East” is a sprawling historic necropolis over Kelly Drive, with its mad jumble of monuments dating back to the 1830’s, and stunning views of the Schuylkill river. Three miles away in Bala Cynwyd, “West” is a bigger, greener, horticultural wonder featuring 200+ carefully landscaped acres of rare & native trees, flowers, and plants.

They’re both criss-crossed with paths, dotted with sculpture, and full of famous local families and celebrities. East connects to the Schuylkill River Trail, West to the Cynwyd Heritage Trail, which rolls to Manayunk over an impressive bridge. Both spaces welcome bikes, dog-walkers, picnickers, and lookie-loos of all kinds. Plan ahead – they regularly schedule public events and tours (heads up Titanic fans, there’s a special event featuring both locations Sunday April 14th). @laurelhillphl 🪦🏛

On Golden Pond   The Discovery Center has reclaimed a huge de-commissioned water reservoir in the wilds of Fairmount Park. Abandoned and cut off from the neighborhood for decades, today it’s a nature sanctuary, teaming with wildlife. A woodchipped, 3/4th-mile trail loops the reservoir along the waterline, offering skyline views and some of the best birding in the whole Delaware Valley – the Visitor’s Center will even loan you binoculars!

Open from 10am to 5pm daily except Monday (after April 15, open till 7pm on weekdays). Lots of free community events, too: tours, workshops, outdoor fitness classes, canoeing, rock climbing, and more. Winner of the PA Environmental Council’s “Special Places Award” for 2023. @discoveryphila   (3401 Reservoir Drive)

Wissahickon Park
Laurel Hill Cemetery, West and The Discovery Center

Pastoral Paradise  Awbury Arboretum is a sylvan time machine in the heart of Germantown, with 56 acres of historical landscape in the “English Picturesque” style, with meadows, wetlands, rolling hills, and open vistas framed by groves of naturalized trees and shrubs. You’ll also find walking trails, historic homes, an agricultural village, and even a Secret Garden.

Open to the public from dusk till dawn 365 days a year. FREE. Entrance is directly across from the Washington Lane Station on the Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail (with several bus routes nearby). Pro Tip: Download a map from and brush up on its stand-out specimens with Dan Sardaro’s Year of Trees series on  (1 Awbury Road)

Look Ma, No Hills! 🛤 Rail Trails are long, flat, multi-use paths repurposed from defunct old train lines – and our area has a lot of them. Most follow rivers and canals through forests, residential neighborhoods, and historic old railroad towns. Our favorite is the Schuylkill River Trail, which you can catch downtown and take all the way out to Valley Forge, if you want. Take care on the brief unprotected stretch from East Falls to Manayunk’s Canal Towpath, or avoid it altogether by parking at the bottom of Leverington Ave and hopping on the trail there. Walk, bike, or skate the boardwalk over quiet water alive with turtles, geese, kingfishers and blue herons.

Points of Interest intersecting the trail: Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (8480 Hagy’s Mill Road) offers free paths, visitor center, art gallery, public restrooms, etc (Mon – Sat 9am – 5pm), and Conshohocken Brewing Company (230 Bridge Street), which greets travelers with free water, abundant bike racks, and even a little repair station. Of course there’s also beer! Valley Forge National Historic Park comes up in another six miles or so; grounds open daily 7am to sunset (Visitor Center daily 9am – 5pm). If you’re feeling up to it, there’s a very interesting 5.6 mile loop through the park, but it definitely has some hills. Much easier to keep going on the SRT, and you’ll soon come to another great route, the Perkiomen Rail Trail. It’s amazing how far you can go when there’s practically zero grade!  🛼🚲🛹🏃

Fun in Numbers  Social bikes rides are nothing like exercise. Find out for yourself on one of these free regular events in the city. Spring is a great time to get in on the fun of rolling en masse through lively neighborhoods with new friends @WedsNightRides meets up every other Wednesday evening, generally at the Art Museum but you’ll need to follow for specs. @PhillieBikeparte also meets at the Art Museum, featuring slow-cruisin’ rolls with monthly themes and party/potty stops. @PhillyFullMoonBiukeRide takes to the streets from here, too, every full moon they ride until they “find a howlin’ good time” 🐺🎶🌕.

Rodin sculpture garden and Race Street Pier (from Cherry Street Pier beer garden)
Cherry Street Pier beer garden

⚓🛍️🍺 ACCIDENTAL TOURIST 🍷🎨🧑‍🎨 |  Random escapes and adventures

Garden Oasis  The Rodin Museum‘s heavenly outdoor sculpture garden is free to enjoy, and features eight prominent works, including The Thinker, Adam, Eve, and others that invite a lingering gaze. Out front, the big steps on the Parkway are one of the best places for people-watching with a sandwich (and perhaps a discreet adult beverage). Summertime, there’s a great little pop-up bar here that’s surprisingly affordable. Kid & dog-friendly.  (2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) PS the museum itself is small but lovely, and admission is “pay as you wish” ($15 suggested)

Old City Art Hop  First Fridays are a full-on art fix on the First Friday of every month, in the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia’s 18th Century commercial district. 30+ galleries open their new exhibits, and a gazillion art lovers and people-watchers come out to stroll through them to admire the art and maybe find some free wine and cheese. Shops stay open late, bars and restaurants are jumping, the cobblestone streets practically hum with creative energy and pop-up enterprise. (3rd & Chestnut, 6pm on)

Penn’s Landing Pier-Crawl  The Delaware Riverfront has really grown up over the years – there are now a series of attractions that get you right out there on the water. Cherry Street Pier is a favorite with art studios, special events and markets, and a spacious open-air beer garden with riverside views, and reliable food + drink options. It’s right next to Race Street Pier, a multi-level park jutting dramatically out over the river so close to the Ben Franklin bridge you can practically touch it. A ways down, Spruce Street Harbor Park is an “urban beach” with boardwalk, beer garden, arcade games, and inviting hammocks that rent for $75/90 mins).

Travel Back in Time  April/May officially starts Tour Season for Historic Germantown, when 18 extraordinary homes, museums, and destinations open their doors for special tours, exhibits, and programming. From Early American landmarks to Underground Railroad stops, plus formal gardens, living history – even a 17th century school house! Full calendar of hours, dates, and listings, check Historic Germantown’s calendar (each location may have additional info on its website). Admission is free for many but not all, see individual sites for details. 

Community Makers Market WEDS – SUN (12 – 5pm) West Philly Container Village features 20+ local vendors with great deals on unique jewelry, fashion, home décor, and more at a fun, new shopping venue made from repurposed shipping containers. Best part is, this innovative collaborative model (the city’s first of its kind) supports the neighborhood’s economy from within. Events feature food, music, resources. @containervillagephl  (4862 -70 Parkside Ave)

Blooming Brilliant SAT/SUN APR 12 – 14  Sakura Weekend is free, two-day cherry blossom festival, celebrating Japanese culture with music, dancing, family activities, workshops, local food vendors, a beer garden and over 1,600 blooming cherry trees from their original 1926 plantings. Centered around Fairmount Park’s Horticultural Center and the Centennial Arboretum. Free Admission, pay as you go. (Horticultural and Lansdowne Drives) 🌸🌸🌸  Part of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival which runs thru April 27 and features a variety of special tours, presentations, and events.

Daffy Daytrip APR 12 – MAY 19  Best of the Nest is a great excuse to drive an hour to the quaint town of New Hope on the Delaware River, a famous art hub known for great shopping, restaurants, and throwback Pennsylvania charm. This FREE event showcases dozens of hand-made birdhouses competing for ribbons in several categories: traditional, whimsical, natural habitat, and local landmark. Vote for your favorites! There are also birdhouse-making workshops, bird scavenger hunts and even a bird-themed brunch. Come celebrate nature, feathered friends, and human creativity. 🪹🐦🌈 (100 Peddlers Village, Lahaska PA)

🙌💰🏷️BONUS: 3 Splurges Worth the Price Tag

Cannonball Run 💣💣💣   Fort Mifflin  is a fascinating place to explore – one of America’s oldest intact battlefields and the only fort in Philly, overlooking the Delaware River at the mouth of the Schuylkill River. The British bombed the heck out of it in the Revolution, firing more than 10,000 cannonballs, leaving pocks and dings still visible in its ramparts today. There’s also old weaponry on view, and a gift shop that sells replicas and Colonial-era treats. PRO TIP: Ask how you can fire a signal cannon for $20!

With nature trails and riverfront picnic areas, no wonder Fort Mifflin is often touted as one of the city’s best kept secrets. It’s even dog-friendly, just be sure to check their Events Page for cannon/musket demos that may frighten skittish pets. Also, it’s right by the PHL airport, so there’s that noise too (if you’re into planes, though, you’ll love how close they come by). Open Weds – Sat (10am – 4pm); admission $10 with discounts for kids, seniors, veterans. Full calendar of unique events, including a pop-up colonial tavern April 6th, and a Prohibition-era speakeasy April 27th

Swing, Batter! April is the first full month of Phillies at Citizens Park. What a great time when the season just starts — every team is in contention, and anything can happen! It’s super easy to buy tix, including just walking right up to the window. Choose your own adventure inside, with exciting food and drink options, and lots of fun spots to tuck in and catch the action. There’s nothing quite like a home game in Philly – and it’s affordable, too, you can find tix as low as $8! Heads up: they’ve got a new bag policy (leave your backpack at home). @Phillies ⚾❤️🤍

On Your Mark  THU/FRI/SAT APR 25 – 27  The Penn Relays are the oldest and most widely recognized track and field meet in the country. An annual tradition since 1895, a massive three day festival brings 15,000+ athletes to compete in 300+ events with 110,000+ spectators. Carnival Village of music, parties, and vendors selling food, drink, merch and more. Historic Franklin Field at U of P, just blocks from 30th Street Station. Tix start at $26, with various discounts and packages available @pennrelays 👟🏅

🚐⚡BUDGET TRAVEL HACK: Philly Phlash provides quick service to city hotspots every 15 mins from 10am to 6pm (Fridays until 9pm). Just $2 per ride, or $5 for an all-day pass. Seniors, Septa pass/key card holders, and kids under 4 ride FREE. 🚏Stops near Penn’s Landing, the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Perelman Building, and more, download the app @ridephillyphlash or view map at

🙌🚲PEDAL PERFECT: No wheels? No problem! Indego Bike Share offers classic and e-bikes from over 200 stations around the city, 24/7, 365 days a year. Touch-screen access at most kiosks works seamlessly with mobile app or with your Indego key — unlock the bike of your choice and get rolling. When you reach your destination, simply drop it off at any Idego station until you need a ride again. Passes available for 24-hour, 30-day, and yearly access.

✅ NEXT, PLEASE: More fun ideas in Redfin’s Ultimate Philly Bucket List, compiled by dozens of vetted local experts for special Philly thrills you won’t find in any other city! Includes drool-worthy list of “Must Eats” at Reading Terminal Market. 🤤🐖🥒🍨🧀🥖

How’d we do? Did we miss anything? Please leave your favorite spots — and best feedback — in the Comments below for other readers to discover. Have a great spring, everyone! 🙌😎💚🌸🌷☀️

Cira Green from Schuylkill River Trail

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