Is there any month as magical as May? The lingering grey memories of winter have faded away, the soggy rains of April have passed, and now it's just full-on spring it all its blue-skied, blossom-scented glory. It's time to get outside and soak it all up before it's gone; after all, spring is nothing if not transient. How about a picnic? A picnic can be as low key as a couple of snacks on a park bench, or wonderfully elaborate, with the blanket, the wicker basket, real plates and flatware, the whole nine yards. It's totally up to you! The point is that dining in the sunshine is one of life's small pleasures, whether shared with a friend or enjoyed solo.
Some of the best picnic foods, in our opinion, are hearty salads. HubBub now carries three types of house-made salad that will make simply excellent picnic fare: Mexican quinoa salad, Mediterranean-inspired bulgar wheat salad, and classic chicken salad. Grab a few of these healthy, protein-packed salads, a bagel, a cold brew or two and voila! You are ready to rock a picnic.
But where to go? Hey, even in the middle of the city, there are plenty patches of green - large and small - where you can experience some quietude and breathe a little easier. We have compiled a list of six of our favorite picnicking spots to make things easier for you! Each start with one of our city locations as its base and range in distance from an easy walk to a decent bike ride away.
From HubBub @ 3 Logan Square (1717 Arch Street)
A quick walk: Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Circle- This fountain, built in 1924 by artist Alexander Caulder and architect Wilson Eyre, is a gorgeous, dramatic tribute to the rivers surrounding Philadelphia. Just a five minute walk from Center City, Logan Circle itself was designed by French landscape architect Jacques Gréber, who based it on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. With the skyscrapers on one side and the Philadelphia Art Museum on the other, this spot makes for amazing people watching and photo ops.
A little further: Anywhere along Kelly Drive - This 4-mile stretch of road runs parallel to the Schuylkill River between the Art Museum and the neighborhood of East Falls. All along the way are sweeping views of the city, incredible sculptures, epic bridges, and lots of lovely trees, all adding up to a romantic European vibe. You might even catch a glimpse of sporting rowers moving hypnotically along the smooth water, much like the ones immortalized in the famous paintings by Thomas Eakins.
A decent bike ride: Race Street Pier - This cool little park juts out into the Delaware River under the grand shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The pier has only been open as a public space since 2011, but has quickly become a popular hang out spot. There is plentiful greenery and lots of places to sit and look out at the water, contemplating life's big questions...or just enjoying the view. Bonus: also an excellent spot for an evening picnic.
From HubBub @ Spruce Street (3736 Spruce)
A quick walk: Penn's Biopond - Tucked away on the University of Pennsylvania's campus, this 5-acre oasis feels like a true city secret. Overseen by Penn's Bio department, this 100+ year old pond and garden is host to many species of flora and fauna (including tiny sunbathing turtles and sometimes...ducklings!). The dense canopy of trees helps you forget that there are bustling city streets just a few steps away.
A little further: The Woodlands - Is it weird to picnic in a cemetery? We say no way, especially in this beautifully maintained historical landmark, just a half mile walk from our Spruce Street shop. There's a large open space (read: no gravestones) at the entrance of the Woodlands, with lovely blooming trees for shade. After the picnic, take a stroll along the road that winds through the place, and check out the cool old stone mansion on the property.
A decent bike ride: Bartram's Garden - This incredible botanical garden was the home of John Bartram, a passionate 18th century botanist and friend of Benjamin Franklin. Bartram collected plant species from across the globe and eventually amassed the most varied collection of North American plants in the world. Entering Bartram's Garden feels like time travel. It is truly hard to believe that somewhere so verdant, secluded, and peaceful is well within the city limits. We think this place is a must-visit for every Philadelphian! Bonus: The grounds are free and open to the public.