If you’re staying in Philly this summer, chances are you might be a little bit bored by now. Whether it’s summer classes, internships, or jobs that take up the bulk of your week, we all need to unwind in different surroundings every now and then. Here are some excursions that are sure to help you recharge or give you some much needed excitement.
Explore Philly’s Parks
While green space around Penn might be shrinking quickly with the numerous construction projects going on around campus, the greater Philly area has some lush gems. Head out to some of Philly’s beloved municipal parks for a hike, run, bike ride, or leisurely stroll solo or with friends. Some city–wide favorites include FDR Park, Wissahickon Valley Park, and Fairmount Park, among many others. Whether it’s the Shofuso House and Garden—a traditional Japanese house made of imported Japanese materials in the middle of Fairmount Park—or the beloved Devil’s Pool at the Wissahickon, green spaces in Philadelphia are massively overlooked and are a great way to relax and forget the hustle and bustle of the city. All are accessible by SEPTA via bus, trolley, or train. Best of all, they’re completely free to enjoy.
If you’re okay with a little bit of travel and spending some money ($20 with a student ID, to be exact) in exchange for a day at the beautiful Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, then it’s a must–do excursion. With over 1,000 acres of manicured gardens and some beautiful structures like the Norwegian–inspired Canopy Cathedral Treehouse, the Italian Water Garden, the Peirce–du Pont House, the Chimes Tower & Waterfall, and many more. Longwood is also celebrating the Festival of Fountains between now and late September if you’re interested in seeing a light and water show. Longwood is accessible by public transportation, although it takes a bit of planning. From campus, you can take the Amtrak train to the station in Wilmington, Delaware, which is only a 12 minute Uber to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Longwood Gardens also offers a shuttle service when booked 24 hours in advance.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Home to the famed Revolutionary War encampment that housed George Washington and his men, Valley Forge National Historical Park is a great place to relax and take in some history along the way. Whether you’re planning on running, biking, picnicking, or sightseeing, Valley Forge is the place to go. It boasts extensive running and biking trails as well as large swaths of green space perfect for grilling or relaxing. Some historical highlights include Washington’s Headquarters, the Washington Memorial Chapel, and the National Memorial Arch.
Nearby Cities (D.C., Baltimore, NYC)
Here’s the classic option if you’re looking for more excitement than what Philly has to offer. Washington, D.C., New York City, and Baltimore are all conveniently close to Philly and accessible by Amtrak. If you have wanderlust, but can't swing a flight, taking advantage of nearby East Coast cities is cost effective, fun, and easy—it just requires a little bit of planning.
Staying in the city for the summer might mean having to bear the monotony of the work week, but there's no reason to feel stuck over the weekends—especially with the plethora of options for getaways and day trips in and around Philadelphia. Whether it's getting back to nature, immersing yourself in the history of the region, or experiencing the excitement of a different city, the greater Philadelphia area is your oyster.