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June 15, 2015

BYOL: 11 outdoor spots to eat your lunch in Philadelphia

There's no reason to eat at your desk all summer

Lifestyle Lunches
DilworthLady Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Lana Brown, a senior in Temple University's Advertising program works on a logo design while waiting for a friend to finish a yoga class nearby.

There is certainly no shortage of places to buy a nice lunch in Philadelphia. Each neighborhood seems to have that one place where everyone goes to eat. But those who bring their lunch to work or school or what-have-you shouldn't be chained up in cubicle jail during their lunch hour. 

Check out the list below for nice places to sit and eat your lunch when the weather is nice. But be warned: birds and squirrels come with the territory. 

William Penn's Original Five Squares

Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square at 18th and Walnut Streets. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

When Pennsylvania founder William Penn laid out his big plans for Philadelphia, he included five open public parks for his "greene country towne." Those five parks, of course, are Franklin Square, Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, Logan Circle and Center Square. Though City Hall currently lies on top of Center Square, when Dilworth Park is substituted in, the five parks make for great lunchtime hangouts. 


LOVE Park at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

Sure it needs a makeover and we're all excited it's finally getting one, but for now Love Park makes for a nice place to relax. If you can stand the skateboarders and don't mind park frequent guest Philly Jesus then sit on down. Plus, they have a rotating selection of food trucks in case you're extra hungry. 

Schuylkill Banks

Schuylkill River Park
The view of the Schuylkill Banks from 24th and Market Streets. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

If you're near the handy entrance to the Schuylkill Banks at Market and 24th Streets, take a stroll down the trail if your lunch is particularly mobile. If not, find a bench or picnic in the grass along the river. Don't forget to sneer at those using their lunch hours for exercise. 

John F. Collins Park

John F. collins
John F. Collins Park at 1707 Chestnut Street. (Center City District/Facebook)

This little oasis is tucked away between bustling businesses. There are plenty of benches and stone steps on which to camp out, plus some relaxing fountains and lots of shade. It may look small from the outside, but a few couples have chosen to hold weddings there. 

Race Street Pier
Race Street Pier at Race Street and N. Columbus Boulevard. (R. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia)

This waterfront locale isn't just for free yoga (though we love that, too). With serene views of the city and the Delaware River, it doesn't get more Instagram-friendly that this. If you're lucky enough to work in the area it's worth the extra walk to have some peace and quiet. 

Cianfrani Park

Cianfrani Park at 8th and Fitzwater Streets. (M. Fischetti/Visit Philadelphia)

Not quite in the busy South Street area and not quite on hip East Passyunk Avenue, this teeny park has a lot more chill than the neighborhoods nearby. It's a boon to those working in the Jefferson Hospital area, especially when the benches at Washington Square are full.

Sister Cities Park

Sister Cities Park at 210 N. 18th Street. (M. Fischetti/Visit Philadelphia)

If the sound of young children and their parents giggling and playing doesn't bother you, Sister Cities is a nice spot to eat. Center City District hosts family-friendly activities there in the afternoon and the park's cafe has many last-minute bites you might need. 

The Porch

The Porch 2.0
The Porch at 30th and Market Streets. (Groundswell Design Group/University City District) 

Now that it has been refurbished with fun lights and shade-giving umbrellas, The Porch 2.0 is better than ever. The seating arrangement encourages talk among strangers or meeting up with friends. Plus, you never know who you'll run into coming or going at 30th Street Station. 

Perelman Plaza

Perelman Plaza at 32nd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets. (Screenshot/Google Street View)

Drexel University has this thing with chairs. They love to add them (and benches and tables) to any vacant spot on campus. However, the ones they've placed in the brand new Perelman Plaza are so abundant that there's almost always a seat available. It's good for people-watching too.

Locust Walk

Locust Walk, along Locust St. between 34th and 38th Streets. (J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia)

The University of Pennsylvania's Locust Walk weaves through the heart of campus and is lined with benches and public art. It's lovely in the fall when the leaves change colors, but it's also great in the summer when its undergraduate population is largely gone.

Commerce Square Courtyard

Commerce Square Courtyard at 20th and Market Streets. (Henk Sijgers/Flickr)

Not only is it a hop, skip and a jump from plenty of Center City's office buildings, but the courtyard has lots of seating and shade. Most importantly, it also has a large media wall that displays news, sports and digital art in case (heaven forbid) you forget your phone.