Many people don't realize that Philadelphia has a park that is bigger, more beautiful and sprawling than Central Park in New York, called Fairmount Park. It's a fine place to walk, hike, explore, picnic, see a concert, play games and just relax.
The most popular segment of the park is located along River and Kelly Drives along the Schuylkill River. It's a lovely place to watch the skullers row, walk, ride bikes and roller blade.
Fairmount Park is a collection of some 62 regional and neighborhood parks operated by the city of Philadelphia. Comprised of a total of 9,000 acres, the park accounts for about 10 percent of the total land area of Philly and is one of the largest public parks in the nation. Fairmount is also the 9th most visited city park in America with some 10 million visitors each year--virtually the same number who visit the Mall in Washington DC per year!
Philadelphia is a city of parks and Fairmount Park had the pretentions of being the best urban park in America and in many ways it succeeded. It basically begins with a sweeping vista of the neoclassic waterworks and the art deco/neoclassic art museum. Then the Schyllkyll River swings down around a series of boathouses where local colleges store their crew equipment. Follow the Schyllkyll River and you'll see a variety a beautiful statues and bucolic mansions. So why isn't Fairmount Park as well known as Central Park or the Boston Commons? My guess is because a major roadway flows down the middle on one side and highways desecrate the view of the other side. On the plus side, it makes for a pretty drive. Now if you want some peace and quite, go to the Fairmount Park Horticultural Center which houses a spectacular collection of flowers and is nearby the wonderful Japanese Tea House.