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4 of Philly’s Best Hidden Parks
Philly

4 of Philly’s Best Hidden Parks

Philadelphia has a lot of really great parks. From the large (Fairmount) to the smaller (Rittenhouse Square), they all have something special to offer.

Highlighted below are four the of best ‘hidden gems’  of parks based on quaintness, urban development, location, and all-around pleasantness.

4 of Philly’s Best Hidden Park Gems:

McMichael Resized

  1. McMichael

Where: East Falls

Why?

This quaint little park is quietly nestled among the streets of East Falls, recently highlighted as one of Philadelphia’s best neighborhoods. Fairly large in size, for a small park, you will regularly see neighborhood residents playing with their dogs on the large grassy lawn.

This park inspires dreams of pickup baseball games and lazy afternoon picnics. It’s a great spot to spend a few hours just doing nothing. With plenty of space, shade, and benches for sitting the lawn is undisturbed by walking paths. Only a singular walkway surrounds the perimeter.

Named after the first President of the Farmount Park Commission, Morton McMichael, this small park may be in a small corner of the city but that doesn’t diminish the deep ties it has to the cities history.

Pretzel Park Resized
Photo: Friends of Pretzel Park
  1. Pretzel Park

Where: Manayunk

Why?

No one really knows how this park got its name. It could have possibly come from a vendor who used to sell pretzels or from the wonky layout of the paths. The playground makes it an exceptional spot to bring the kids for an afternoon of play or to play a game of fetch with Fido.

Dotted with benches and great big trees, Pretzel Park is the perfect spot to rest and relax with a cup of coffee, perhaps from the local Volo Coffee House. What this park lacks for in size it makes up for by its proximity to Main St. Manayunk.

Just on the other side of the Regional Rail tracks, you’ll find great window-shopping, excellent bars and restaurants, and access to the beautiful Schuylkill River Trail. The newly opened Manayunk Bridge Trail is a must-see addition to the vibrant community that is Manayunk.

Penn Treaty Resized
Photo: Friends of Penn Treaty Park
  1. Penn Treaty Park

Where: Fishtown

Why?

Penn Treaty Park is packed with history. The myth suggests that William Penn sat under an elm tree where he peacefully negotiated with the local Native Americans. An obelisk now stands where the famed ‘Treaty Elm’ once grew.

This park really stands out from all other Philly parks because it’s in an area that defines what Philly is. The rise and fall of industry in the city can be seen through the lens of the old PECO station right next door. Along with the city skyline peaking over the trees and being in the epicenter of the Delaware River Waterfront redevelopment efforts.

The wider neighborhood of Fishtown resembles this even further. This park represents the revival and renewal of Philadelphia while incorporating its colorful history.

Photo: Pier 68 resized
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
  1. Pier 68

Where: Pennsport

Why?

This park may only be a half-acre in size but it offers a big punch. Opening on October 1st, this park is the latest edition to Philadelphia’s Park System. A large chunk of the pier has been removed to serve as a window into the tidal world of the Delaware River.

Planted with entirely native plants this riparian zone serves as an educational tool teaching the community about the invasive species and the changing marine environment. Throughout the park, you’ll find modern look benches (see photo above), perfect for relaxing along the waterfront.

Recreational fishing is allowed at the end of the pier. This park is a prime example of the ever-changing city of Philadelphia and the sustainable future the city is seeking.

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9 thoughts on “4 of Philly’s Best Hidden Parks

  1. I was particularly inspired by the vivid imagery in the pretzel park entry, and the emotions of pickup baseball brought back tearful recollections of my childhood disappointments.

  2. You forgot 23 Berks Street, a true Philly landmark that doesn’t get nearly enough respect. #fym

  3. Do you perhaps have the recipe to the pretzel on display in pretzel park? I’m a pretzel aficionado and this is the final type I have knot tried within the city. (Get it? Knot.)

  4. I do. You need half a ton of concrete and a mold. Insert the former into the latter, wait a few days. Enjoy!

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