Fairmount Park

Philadelphia, PA

Submitted by: Jeremy Burger

Fairmount Park's 9,200 acres are broken up into five distinct areas: Cobbs Creek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, West Fairmount, East Fairmount, Pennypack, Wissahickon Valley, and Tacony Creek.

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Why It Works

Fairmount Park in historic Philadelphia is unlike any other in the world due to its diversity, history, and sheer vastness. Within the 9,200 acres of the park are more than 200 statues, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, eight restored 18th & 19th century mansions, the classic Tudor structures of Boat House Row, the Philadelphia Zoo (America's first), a horticultral center, the Japanese Tea House, an azalea garden, the Mann Music Center (an outdoor amphitheater), picnic areas, tennis courts and miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

All told, Fairmount Park comprises:

  • 10% of the land in Philadelphia
  • 5,600 acres of natural areas (e.g. woodlands, wetlands, meadows)
  • 62 neighborhood and regional parks
  • Logan, Franklin, Washington, and Rittenhouse Squares, JFK Plaza (a.k.a. LOVE Park), Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • The largest collection of historic properties in Pennsylvania
  • Over 215 miles of recreational trails

More than 85 friends groups and 90,000 volunteers work to support the Park.

What Makes Fairmount Park a Great Place?

Although the Philadelphia metro area is massive, all parts of the park are easily accesible by bike, car or bus from center city (downtown) and a short trip (depending on where you are staying) by the same methods from the cities edges.

The Fairmount Park Commission has gone to great lengths to make all of Fairmount Park a place where families can feel comfortable and safe. The park is clean for the most part, well lit and busy along the river, but not overly crowded.

Fairmount Park really does provide something for everyone. It's common to find hundreds of runners, rollerbladers, bikers and walkers enjoying the scenic, tree- and statue-lined 8.4-mile loop of Kelly & Martin Luther King Drives anytime of year. During warmer days, family picnics, rowing events, fishing and sun-bathing are common activities. To escape the heat, Wissahickon Valley provides a cool canopy of trees and miles of trails to leave behind the noise of the city. On a cooler day, one can visit the Philadephia Zoo, the Museum of Art, or tour the restored mansions that were once "country" retreats to Philadelphia's well-to-do.

No matter what part of the park one visits, you generally find friendly, active Philadelphians who are more than willing to give directions, talk city politics, or complain about our four professional sports franchises. Although Philly is known as a tough, blue-collar town, we are also known as the 'City of Brotherly Love' for a reason.

History & Background

Fairmount Park was home to the Centennial Exposition of 1876, gave inspiration to great minds such as Benjamin Franklin, William Penn and painter Thomas Eakins, and still provides a means of escape from busy city life to thousands of residents and visitors each year.

Contact Info:

Fairmount Park Commission: 215-683-0200

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