From parks and museums and piers to restaurants, there are tons of attractions and events all year long at the Delaware River Waterfront.
Located just a short walk from Old City, Society Hill and a part of Philadelphia’s Historic District, the waterfront has tons to offer, including one of the coolest seasonal parks in the city (Spruce Street Harbor Park), some of the best outdoor venues for concerts, festivals and more (Festival Pier, the Great Plaza) and amazing views of Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Delaware River.
Read on for our list of must-see and must-do attractions along the Delaware River Waterfront.
Penn’s Landing, just a short walk from Old City and the center of the Historic District, hosts family-friendly attractions and events all year long. The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing is one of the city’s premier locations for outdoor concerts and festivals, and the site offers panoramic views of the Philadelphia skyline, the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Managed and programmed by the Delaware River Waterfront, Penn’s Landing is a hub for entertainment and commercial activities for residents and visitors.
Where: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
An iconic Philadelphia sight, and once the longest suspension bridge in the world, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge was designed by architect and engineer Paul Cret (who also designed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) and constructed in 1926. Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest, Race Street Pier and Morgan’s Pier restaurant and beer garden offer fantastic views of the bridge that stretches over the Delaware River to New Jersey. The bridge allows for crossings between Philadephia and Camden by car, transit by PATCO high-speed rail and by foot or bike via a popular pedestrian and bikeway. The bridge is managed by the Delaware River Port Authority. The pedestrian walkway is accessible in Philly at 5th and Race streets.
One of Philadelphia’s many amazing outdoor spaces, Race Street Pier is located in the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Its upper terrace, dubbed the grand sky promenade, rises 12 feet toward the bridge and is paved with Trex, a sustainable, synthetic decking material. The promenade is connected to the lower terrace by a multi-tiered seating area — perfect for watching the tide roll in. The pier is picnic-friendly and dog-friendly, with a lawn and plantings. When the weather is fine (read: spring through fall), the pier hosts free yoga daily.
Where: Race Street Pier, Columbus Boulevard and Race Street
With a hammock garden, boardwalk, urban beach, beer garden, delicious food vendors and floating barges with lily pad water gardens, Spruce Street Harbor Park sustained by Univest has proven to be one of Philadelphia’s most popular destinations and one of the coolest parks the city has ever seen. Open in spring, summer and fall, it’s no surprise that The Huffington Post named Spruce Street Harbor Park one of the world’s best urban beaches. Come through to hang in a hammock or for one of the many seasonal events, including free live music and flea markets.
Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
In winter, this riverside pop-up village features an open-air Olympic-size ice skating rink, cozy lodge with fireplaces, festive landscaping, twinkling lights, fire pits, arcade games and a variety of food and beverages. Come summer, the space transforms into a day-to-night hangout with Center City’s only outdoor roller rink, an arcade, classic Philadelphia foods and plenty of playful spaces to chill out — including a Midway with carnival games and rides.
Where: Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
With historic vessels to board, an underwater ROV to maneuver and a mock cannon to fire, Philadelphia’s maritime museum conveys what the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers have meant to the city throughout history. Berthed outside are the Olympia, the nation’s oldest floating steel warship used by Admiral Dewey during his Spanish-American War victory in Manila Bay, and the Becuna, a World War II submarine that fought battles in the South Pacific.
Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
One of Philadelphia’s most popular hot spots, Morgan’s Pier is an oasis of craft beer, delicious food and incredible live music right on the water. Named after George C. Morgan, the first person to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge, the “backyard beer garden” on Columbus Boulevard is an ideal outdoor location with plenty of alfresco seating, an outdoor bar and glorious waterfront views.
Where: Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Boulevard
Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing offers a continuously great lineup of talent and a relaxed vibe to create a distinct musical experience for the crowd and performers. The waterfront venue brings the Jersey Shore to Philly’s Penn’s Landing with a boardwalk, a sandy beach and beachy plants.
Where: Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, 601 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
According to legend, Pennsylvania founder William Penn signed his peace treaty with the local Lenape tribe under an elm tree just off the Delaware River in 1683. Though the tree fell in a storm in 1810, the city officially opened Penn Treaty Park on the surrounding land in 1894. Today, a statue of William Penn greets local picnickers and dog walkers, and throughout the year people from all over the city come for special events and festivals.
Where: Penn Treaty Park, 1301 N. Beach Street
Housed within a historic 1903 former pumping station beneath the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, FringeArts offers a 232-seat theater (with retractable seating) for hosting concerts, theater performances and special events throughout the year. The building also features rehearsal space, an outdoor events plaza, administrative offices and a popular restaurant and bar, La Peg.
Where: FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard
Diners at this brasserie and beer garden, located at FringeArts, enjoy contemporary American dishes from chef Peter Woolsey. The industrial-chic design pays homage to the building’s original purpose as a pumping station. The outdoor beer garden offers gorgeous views of the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Where: La Peg, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
A 12-minute scenic river tour offers the opportunity to see sensational views of waterfront highlights and the City of Philadelphia’s spectacular skyline — all while floating down the impressive Delaware River. The RiverLink Ferry System includes the 500+ passenger ferry, Freedom, and tickets are available at the Penn’s Landing ferry terminal (Philadelphia) or Wiggins Park ferry terminal (Camden). The Ferry is wheelchair accessible.
Where: RiverLink Ferry, 201 S. Columbus Boulevard
Featuring more than two million gallons of water and 8,500 animals, Adventure Aquarium offers hands-on activities, animals, exhibits and unforgettable moments on the Camden waterfront, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Adventurous types can roll up their sleeves to pet and feed stingrays or touch horseshoe crabs, starfish and sharks.
Where: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden
While exploring the Battleship New Jersey museum and memorial, visitors can enjoy exhibitions that display artifacts from the ship’s past. A walk down Broadway, the longest and most impressive passageway on the battleship, is part of the guided tour. America’s most decorated battleship also hosts special events and overnight encampments.
Where: Battleship New Jersey, 100 Clinton Street, Camden
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Just a ferry ride away (see RiverLink Ferry, above), the BB&T Pavilion on the Camden, New Jersey waterfront offers a laid-back atmosphere and a picturesque outdoor amphitheater setting that’s perfect for concerts. After dark, the lawn dwellers enjoy a breathtaking view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Where: BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden
Washington Avenue Pier allows visitors to walk along the water, enjoy panoramic views of the Delaware River and the Philadelphia skyline, and read interpretive signage about the site’s history as the nation’s first Navy Yard. The most striking feature is the “Land Buoy”, a 55-foot public art piece with a spiral staircase to take in spectacular views of the waterfront while honoring the site’s history of immigration.
Where: Washington Avenue Pier, 1301 S. Columbus Boulevard
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The Delaware River Trail connects riders to Philadelphia’s waterfront, where they can take in views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and New Jersey in the distance.
Where: Delaware River Trail, from Spring Garden Street to Ellen Street along the Delaware River
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From a commitment to encourage green building construction to a focus on building a nationally recognized center of excellence in renewable power and energy research, education and commercialization, The Navy Yard sits at Philadelphia’s leading edge of sustainability. The impressive complex includes more than 20 acres of open park space, a one-mile riverfront jogging and biking path, and a number of restaurants.
Where: The Navy Yard, 4747 S. Broad Street
Located just off the Delaware River, Philadelphia’s first casino houses an array of tables and slot machines. On-site restaurants, special events and great views of the Delaware River Waterfront and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge attract even non-gamblers.
Where: SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Avenue
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A gigantic playground for adults, Dave and Buster’s entertains with rows of pool tables, skee-ball and video and carnival games aplenty. A restaurant and multiple bars add to the fun, keeping visitors occupied for hours.
Where: Dave & Buster's, 325 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
The can’t-miss views keep diners coming back for twilight cocktails and delicious fare aboard this fully restored four-masted sailing ship berthed on Penn’s Landing.
Where: Moshulu, 401 S. Columbus Boulevard
For three decades, the Spirit of Philadelphia has provided a unique combination of dining, dancing, entertainment and incredible skyline views on the Delaware River. Operating year-round from Penn’s Landing, the Spirit of Philadelphia offers lunch, dinner, moonlight and special cruises. While aboard, guests enjoy contemporary food stations and a lively soundtrack of Top 40 hits and old school favorites.
Where: Spirit of Philadelphia, 401 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
In use since 1700, the building that houses Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church holds the designation of the oldest church building in Pennsylvania and the second-oldest in the United States. It also boasts one of the country’s oldest baptismal fonts—a massive Swedish-style font crafted in 1731. Models of the two ships that brought the first Swedish colonists to the region hang from the ceiling.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church, Columbus Boulevard and Christian Street
One needn’t go overseas for a taste of the many world cultures that make Philadelphia such a diverse and interesting city. Just head over to Penn’s Landing for the PECO Multicultural Series, a succession of outdoor festivals that celebrate cultural traditions from across the globe. What could be better than enjoying some amazing salsa performances on the banks of the Delaware River? Or how about savoring authentic dishes from the Caribbean, Ireland or Mexico?
Where: Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
The Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing is a great place to stay when visiting Philadelphia. It’s the only hotel located directly on the Delaware River Waterfront, providing guests with easy access to the Historic District’s excellent sightseeing, tours, museums, shopping, dining and nightlife.
Where: Hilton Philadelphia at Penn's Landing, 201 S. Columbus Boulevard
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.