11 Ways to Make the Most of Summer in Philly

Would a vacation to a far-off tropical land be nice? Sure. Will all of us be getting one this summer? Of course not. But who cares: Come summer, Philly boasts plenty of activities, parks and events that feel like mini-getaways. Make a habit of filling your weeks with them and you won’t even be jealous of your friend with a Shore house.

Find the closest pool, stat.

You’re right: The pool isn’t the beach. But can you be knee-deep in ocean water 20 minutes after you walk out of work? No. No, you can’t. Philly has plenty of public pools that are free.99 to enjoy (find a full list here), along with pool clubs like Vesper Day Club. And note: Some of those public pools even offer free extras like pop-up yoga classes.

Take your workouts on water

Aqua Vida is known for their on-the-water workouts, held on the Delaware River throughout the warmer months. They offer everything from stand-up paddleboard HIIT classes to SUP yoga to SUP water cleanups. And nothing makes you feel like you’re on vacation quite like downward dogging on a current. (Just, ya know, don’t fall in.)

Abandon bars for beer gardens
Photo by Albert Yee

If, come warm weather, you’re not sipping your brews surrounded by plants galore, you’re doing it all wrong. Philly has no shortage of beer gardens (which serve more than just beer, by the way),like the roaming Parks on Tap, to name a favorite. And many of them offer fun that your average dive doesn’t. Cornhole and ping-pong, anyone?

Take your Netflix addiction under the stars
Photo by Donovan Carter

Winter is for holing up in your house and watchings reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, summer is for laying down a picnic blanket under the stars and watching whatever is screening that night. Fringe Arts, the Schuylkill Banks, the Mann Center and Laurel Hill Cemetery all host outdoor movie nights throughout the warmer months.

Swing the evening away
Photo by Matt Stanley

First off, let me say this: Don’t attempt to get a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park on a weekend. Nabbing one is akin to getting a parking spot at Whole Foods on Thanksgiving morning. That said, Cocooning into a hammock with a good book after a long workday—when the park is much less crowded—can’t be beat. Make a habit of it.

Take your happy hour higher

A cocktail is better with skyscraper views, and in the summer months, those are easy to find at rooftop bars around the city, like BOK Bar, Assembly, and Stratus Lounge. Bonus points for the breeze.

Fill up on farm-fresh foods

The perimeter of Rittenhouse Square, bursting with farm-fresh produce and specialty foods, might as well be Los Angeles come the warmer months. Seasonal produce tastes better, supporting local farmers’ feels good and filling your reusable tote perusing outdoor vendors is way more pleasant than bumping carts and waiting in line at Trader Joe’s. Find a full list of Philly’s farmers’ markets here.

Sweat in the sun
Photo by Matt Stanley

Philly is brimming with free outdoor workouts, many of them waterside. Think: Yoga on the Banks, which overlooks the Schuylkill; Yoga on the Pier, which boasts Delaware River views; Yoga at LOVE Park, which is held at—you guessed it—LOVE Park; November Project, which gathers for free workouts at the Art Museum Steps, and our very own Top Secret Tuesdays, which offers a themed outdoor workout every week.

Eat all the ice-cold treats

One way to be sure you’re making the most of summer in Philly is to eat your way through this bucket list of ice-cold treats from John’s Water Ice to HipCityVeg’s Kale Lemonade.

Soak up the greenery

Wissahickon Park

One really lovely thing about Philly is that you don’t have to go far to be surrounded by greenery in the summer months: There’s the Wissahickon—which, while muggy, is shaded by countless leaves—MLK Drive is closed to traffic on weekends, making it the perfect breezy bike spot, there’s the Schuylkill River Trail, which boasts plenty of trees, and Bartram’s Garden, a true urban oasis.


Take advantage of the gym’s AC
Photo by Oskar Kalinowski

We love running in the fresh air and sunshine as much as the next guy, but you know what else is underrated? Air conditioning. A good ‘old gym workout can be the perfect antidote to sweaty outdoor sessions. At City Fitness, your membership includes studio classes, too, so you can drop in for cycling or barre when the humidity makes the great outdoors unbearable.

Not a member yet? This summer, we’re waiving enrollment fees, which means you save $99 when you join. Sign up here to get started.

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