Philly’s Next Great Public Space

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Beating the summer heat in Philadelphia has become somewhat of a religious experience for the ever-growing Millennial population of the city. While many flock to the Jersey shore for weekends, those who stick around find that Philly has a bevy of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with friends while sipping beverages of a refreshing nature. It all started a few years ago when the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society created the first “Pop-Up Garden,” which transformed an otherwise vacant lot into a lively public gathering space with creative seating, lush greens, food and drink.

In 2014, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation upped the ante with the hugely successful Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) at Penn’s Landing, complete with hammocks, live music and a floating barge beer garden.

A look back on summer 2015. Photos by @stanleyphoto (mostly), @guy_ginn, @phillylovenotes. #2015bestnine🌟 #visitphilly #whyilovephilly #SSHP

A photo posted by Spruce Street Harbor Park (@sprucestreetharborpark) on

SSHP touched off what has become an annual race for “Pop Up” supremacy, with the city, private orgs and others all vying to create what will become the next great public space in Philly. Fairmount Park is planning a summer-long series of temporary beer gardens in locations throughout park system. One additional space that is sure to excite is the next iteration of the PHS Pop-Up Garden, which is scheduled to appear this summer at the foot of another city-altering project, the Rail Park.

A recent Philly Mag article shed some more light on this project: “According to PHS spokesperson Alan Jaffe, the society is looking to showcase and bring art to the future Philadelphia Rail Park along the Reading Viaduct…PHS got a Pew grant this year to “blend art, history and agriculture” near the park.”

Rail Park Pop-Up Garden:

WHERE: Intersection of Broad and Callowhill Streets.

WHEN: Open 7 days, check website for hours

GETTING THERE: SEPTA Broad Street Line to Spring Garden Street, walk South 1.5 blocks


DETAILS: This is but one of the many creative outdoor spaces that will be “popping up” throughout the city this summer. Stay tuned for more information on what else to expect!


Alex Styer is an Account Executive at Bellevue Communications Group and has worked closely with the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee since the bid phase for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Alex came to Philadelphia to attend Drexel University in 2002 and never left, spending the better part of the last decade learning as much as there is to know about the city, its neighborhoods, history, inhabitants and culture. When not working or writing, Alex can be found playing trumpet in his folky-pop music band, Stella Ruze.