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August 13, 2015

Philly is packed with places to picnic

Travel + Leisure names Philadelphia as one of the top places to picnic

Parks and Recreation Picnics
Japanese Tea House and Garden Japanese Tea House/for PhillyVoice

The Japanese House and Garden was conceived as part of “The House in the Museum Garden” series

Life in Philadelphia may conjure up thoughts of traffic jams and asphalt jungles, but beyond the hustle and bustle between the skyscrapers and brownstones, the city is home to a surplus of green spaces.

According to a recent ranking by Travel + Leisure, Philadelphia is one of the top places to picnic.

From large thousands-acre public parks, such as Fairmount Park, to the tiny neighborhood pocket parks such as Clark Park in University City, below are five perfect places to picnic in Philly.

Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park 

Japanese Tea House and Garden
The Horticulture Center is home to the famous Japanese House and Garden, also known as Shofuso. ( G. Widman/ Visit Philadelphia.)

Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban green spaces in the country, consisting of more than 9,200 acres of trails, woodlands and wetlands. 

But because of its size, it can be tough to find the perfect spot to spread out a blanket. According to those in the know, around the Horticulture Center is a prime place to plop. 

The area is home to the Centennial Arboretum — 27 acres of majestic Asian, European and North American trees -- and the famous Japanese House and Garden, also known as Shofuso.

Picnic permits are required for groups larger than five.

Wissahickon Valley Park

Located in Northwest Philadelphia, the 1,800 acres of Wissahickon Valley Park are part of Philadelphia's 10,500-acre park system, one of the largest urban park systems in the world. (Wissahickon Valley Parks/Facebook)

The Wissahickon Valley Park extends from Chestnut Hill in the north to Manayunk in the southwest and has been declared an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society.

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

Smith Memorial Playground
Smith Memorial Playground is a free park featuring a giant slide and a 16,000 square foot indoor playhouse for children ages 5 and under. (Smith Memorial Playground/Facebook)

Both parents and kids will love Smith Memorial Playground, one of the city's top places for unstructured creativity and free, family fun. 

Families are welcome to picnic on the front lawn on towels or blankets, although grilling is prohibited.

Franklin Square

Franklin Square
Franklin Square is free and open year-round. (Franklin Square/Visit Philadelphia)

Another great place to picnic with little ones -- or the young at heart -- is Franklin Square at 6th and Race streets. It houses a working carousel, a miniature golfing course, a snack stand and more.

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century in central Philadelphia. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

Located in the heart of Center City, Rittenhouse Square is a perfect place for office workers to escape their cubicle and computer screen for an hour and enjoy some fresh air and prime people-watching.