5 Hidden Parks in Philadelphia
The best of Philly’s parks are well known throughout the city, but there are many more secret spots and grassy knolls that are perfect for grabbing some quick rest and relaxation. Pocket parks have become increasingly popular as vacant lots and other unused spaces have been converted into small green spaces that are accessible to the general public. Their size might not allow for long jogs or football games, but they easily enchant both locals and tourists alike looking for a spot to unwind while wandering through Philadelphia. Here are a few of our favorites!
Liberty Lands Park
This two-acre pocket park is the result of a collective of dedicated citizens in Northern Liberties who dreamed of adding a green space to their neighborhood. With lots of hard work, determination, and a grant from the Philadelphia Urban Resources partnership, this lot has been transformed into a stunning outdoor space complete with a butterfly garden, a children’s playground, picnic tables, as well as community vegetable and herb gardens, not to mention the wooden stage that often features live music and family movie nights. Local artist and park cofounder, Dennis Haugh, added two murals entitled “Cinema Verde” and “Cohocksink” to enshrine the history of the park and the surrounding neighborhood, ensuring that every visitor appreciates the effort that was put into creating such a beautiful community space.
John F. Collins Park
This park is the perfect sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Center City, located right between Chestnut and Ranstead Street. With help from a local foundation, the park’s fountain, benches, landscaping, and lighting were recently restored to their original beauty, and the space also features two stunning iron-wrought gates that depict animals and plants native to the area. The park also boasts a weekend wine garden that runs until the end of October, so be sure to head over there before the winter chill sets in!
Located in the heart of University City, this nine-acre park is a favorite of both students and professionals alike. While it is undeniably a perfect spot for a walk through the fall foliage, the local organization Friends of Clark Park ensure that the area is chock full of activities such as community gardening events, farmers markets, flea markets, and youth soccer tournaments. Food trucks also like to make this park a common stop on their routes, so it’s the ideal outdoor pit stop for a bite to eat if you’re pressed for time.
This might be the smallest green space in Philly, but it is filled to the brim with community spirit! Locals banded together to stop the sale of this land and worked tirelessly to make it into the community hub it is today. Concrete sidewalks were removed and playground equipment and gardens were added to this little space on Catharine Street in the Graduate Hospital area, and now neighbors host free public events year round, celebrating their accomplishment.
Known as one of the best places in Philadelphia for play bocce ball, this pocket park is a hidden gem tucked away in the Bella Vista neighborhood. This striking space is the result of another group of tightly-knit and devoted residents who were determined to make a run-down park into a local hub, and it’s easy to see the fruits of their efforts. Between the renovated bocce court and beautiful flower beds, Bardascino Park is known for both its charm and its never-ending inventory of public events.
Here in Philadelphia, we cherish every aspect of our community, both big and small! Don’t miss out on these pocket parks – they’ve got just as much of our city’s characteristic spirit.