Of all the places to see (or stare at) the glorious Philadelphia skyline, Philly parks are definitely my favorite. The Philly city skyline is truly a modern marvel – from the ex-highest building in the country (City Hall) to the industrial skyscrapers that now tower over Billy Penn.

And in case you’re not from around here, Philly takes their parks very seriously. If you ever find yourself in a Philly park on the first hot day after winter, you’ll know what I mean.

Sure, there are plenty of places to get a good look at our world-class skyline (one of the biggest in the country, I might add) but Philly parks provide much more flexibility for picnics, socializing recreation, doggos – whatever gets you out of your row home.

Without further ado, these are six of the best Philadelphia parks for picnics with a stunning, skyscraping, skyline view as your backdrop.

Matthias Baldwin Park

A true oasis, Matthias Baldwin Park is a quiet park in the Fairmount / Spring Garden area that might be one of the neighborhood’s best-kept secrets. This North Philly park is a true stunner — from the intricate landscaping and garden upkeep to the up-close-and-personal view of the Philly skyline. Nestled on a 2-acre plot amongst highrise apartments, I would definitely recommend this park to anyone looking for a peaceful place to eat, drink, walk, or unwind.

Named after one of Philly’s most notable entrepreneurs, inventors, and abolitionists, the park maintains an aura of elegance, seen in its well-kept landscaping and a location that seems to mute the roars of the surrounding city. Matthias Baldwin Park was actually designed as an “environmental sculpture,” with its intricate landscaping designed by world-renowned artist Athena Tacha and upkeep from the Friends of MBP organization.

While this park is not very big (and much of it is landscaped) it offers over a dozen benches and plenty of room to spread out. So pack up a picnic and grab your favorite local beverage. I swear could stare at this skyline view for hours.

Learn more about the local events, landscaping, history, of the Philly park at their website, baldwinparkphilly.org.

Schuylkill River Park

Schuylkill River Park is one of the more popular parks in Philly, and once you see the skyline view you’ll understand why. Schuylkill River Park has everything you need to get your outdoor fix.

With two dog parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, a community garden, walking trails, and plenty of outdoor space to have a catch or spread out a blanket, Schuylkill River Park has something for the whole neighborhood. The park also has plenty of benches, both sunny and shady, optimal for reading or just getting a breath of fresh air.

One of my favorite features of this park is its accessibility to the rest of Philly – located just off the Schuylkill River Trail and at the end of the Pine Street bike lane. Visitors will have no trouble walking, banking, skating, or jogging to the park. For West Philadelphians, you too can visit the park with accessibility just north of the South Street Bridge/bike lane.

The park is within walking distance from Rittenhouse making it a great stop for tourists wanting an outdoor lunch break without the noise of Rittenhouse Square. Not to mention, you’ll have a chance to snap some great pictures with the Philadelphia skyline as a backdrop.

Keep in mind is the Schuylkill River Park can get crowded, so expect some hello’s from local Philadelphians. As if it couldn’t get any better, Rowhome Coffee, one of my favorite coffee joints, is located just south of the park — be sure to try their pretzel breakfast sandwich!

Poplar Park – Poplar and Franklin

As a two-year resident of No Lib, this space is one of my personal favorite Philly parks. For whatever reason you won’t find this park on Google Maps, yet low and behold, a beautiful open field lies smackdab in the middle of the Poplar Neighborhood.

For Northern Liberty residents, this park offers a great alternative to the limited space at Liberty Lands.

I love this park for many reasons: For starters, its view of the Philly skyline is spectacular. Maybe it’s the angle or just the openness, but the Center City skyscrapers look enormous standing in the middle of Poplar.

This Philly park is truly an underrated gem (I was actually hesitant to expose my secret to the world.) The park is almost always deserted, making it one of the more peaceful green spaces in the city. This park is technically more of a field, as it’s a whole block wide and about two blocks long.

Poplar Park is perfect for anything from a picnic to a full-on touch football game. Speaking of recreational sports It also features two tennis courts and soccer goals. With plenty of open room, feel free to get in a workout, bring the rec soccer team, or run your dog. I’d also highly recommend an evening picnic or pregame, as the skyline provides a beautiful backdrop for outdoor dates or socializing.

While this park is not the most accessible by bike, there is plenty of parking surrounding the field. Poplar Street does have a small strip of bike lane running from 9th to 5th Street, but even that is not safely accessible. I would definitely avoid biking on Girard Ave – while the two lanes may seem tempting, I’ve always experienced cars recklessly speeding from light to light.

Belmont Plateau

While this park may be difficult to get to for most of the city, it’s definitely worth a drive. Not to mention there’s plenty of parking around the different areas of the park. Towards the top, there’s plenty of

The Belmont Plateau is a large section of Fairmount park – the largest urban dwelling park

The area is a large sprawling field on a fairly steep incline hill. Toward the bottom of the hill, you’ll find recreational baseball fields. Toward the top of hill is where the view is. While this may be the smaller

Sitting at the top of the park staring at the skyline really gives you a feel for how large Philly really is. The towering skyscrapers look tiny, making it hard to believe that you’re still technically in the bounds of Philadelphia city.

This park is great for recreational activities or outdoor relaxing.

Palumbo Recreational Area

While south Philly has plenty of parks, most of them are tucked away between row homes, landscaping, and too low to catch a glimpse of the skyline. This is not the case for Palombo Recreation Area, and I would argue that this is one of the most underrated parks in the city. 

The massive South Philly park offers a huge open field just one block from South Street. The park is also close to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a hotspot for any of you tourists that may be reading.

You can enter the park through the gates at the southbound entrance off of Fitzwater St. You will definitely want to bring some type of amusement with you, as Polumbo also features a baseball field (forewarning: frequently used for Rec leagues), a basketball court, and a small playground. That being said, it still offers a huge amount of grassy area to toss a frisbee, pregame a Birds game, or have a picnic.

To the last point, I have eaten many meals staring at this skyline view, and would argue that it’s one of the best spots for a picnic in Philly. The park’s location just off of South Street makes it an ideal place for an outdoor lunch or dusk pregame. Heads up, the field is short on seating, so bring a blanket if you plan on having a picnic or doing some sunbathing. 

The skyline view is pretty spectacular from Polumbo. From the South-East angle, you can truly get a feel for how large the Comcast towers are, standing behind the One and Two Liberty Place like the tall kid in class. 

When I’ve visited the park in the past, I have always noticed its relative emptiness – at least compared to other larger parks like Rittenhouse or Washington. The fenced-in fields are unfortunately not accessible by night, so take advantage of the incredible skyline view while you can.

Penn Park

Don’t think I could ever forget about you, West Philly. Located on 24 acres of UPenn campus, Penn Park serves as a multi-use area that’s open to the public. One of West Philadelphia’s best parks, Penn Park features two fields, a stadium, tennis courts, and picnic areas. Not to mention, plenty of walking trails that loop in between the many features.

If you can make it over to this park, I would highly recommend it! Not only is it always clean, its location makes it a quiet sanctuary away from the busy city. Not to mention, the view of the Philly skyline is immaculate.

Whether you are a college student, out of towner, or citizen looking for a new place to play, Penn Park is a great spot for all to enjoy. One thing to keep in mind, many of the Penn Rec Leagues and Sports have first dibs on the fields, keep this in mind if you’re coming to mess around on the turf!

Drexel Park

Another West Philly beaut – Drexel Park is a small park offing a big view of the Philly skyline city. This public park is located just south of the Spring Garden Bridge Exit in Powelton Village.

While this park may seem out of the way, it is a gem for any West Philly resident looking to get their skyline fix. The park has a few benches, a picnic table, and plenty of grass to spread out a blanket or set up some spike ball – not to mention a great spot to take a photo with the Philly skyline.

Named for the University on which campus it is located, the park is easily accessible by bike, sitting just a few blocks below the Spring Garden Street bike lane — as well as a stone’s throw from the 33rd street bike lane. This is one of my favorite Philly Parks accessible by bike lanes.

The elevated ground that the park sits on makes the view of the skyline mesmerizing. Your eye-line meets about a third of the way up the center city skyscrapers, giving you an almost birds-eye view of some of the smaller surrounding buildings.