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Could Philadelphia Be The Fittest City In America

Philadelphia_from_museum steps

If you are looking for a healthy and active city break, look no further than Philadelphia, a very outdoorsy city boasting a huge urban park system and extensive walking, running, and cycling trails.

Many of Philadelphia’s attractions and much of the city’s magnificent collection of outdoor public art can be reached by foot so you can keep to your daily step target whilst enjoying all there is to see and do throughout the city.

If the weather isn’t playing ball, head inside to break into a sweat at one of the many hotel and public gyms. When hunger strikes, your health regime is not at risk, with many choices of healthy food options to be found.

Outdoors exploration

Philadelphia boasts one of the largest city-owned urban park systems in the world. Taking up over 2,000 acres, Fairmount Park incorporates more than 60 individual parks, as well as more than 200 historic buildings, an impressive collection of public art and the country’s first zoo and more, all within its borders.

Above: Fairmount Park Boxer’s Trail. Photo courtesy of Fairmount Park Conservancy

An extensive system of trails winds throughout the city, making it easy to get around without the need for transportation.

For more information on Philadelphia’s outdoor spaces click here.


Philadelphia is built for runners, with a huge number of running trails throughout the city which you can explore alone at your own speed.

Alternatively, you can join a group run, these are organised by one of Philadelphia’s many running clubs and take place most weekdays and weekends. Most are free to join and no advance reservation is required.

Philadelphia Marathon is one of the top 10 marathons in the U.S. and includes a full marathon, half marathon, 8K and kids fun run. This year’s events take place between the 17th and 19th of November.

Above: Philadelphia Marathon

For more information in running in Philadelphia click here.

Running tours

Visitors can enjoy an informative tour of the city whilst at the same time doing cardiovascular exercise.

SeePhillyRun’s tours pair fitness with history, as tour groups follow the guide on all-levels running trails throughout the city, stopping along the way to learn more about historical sites, cultural institutions, and public art.  

No running tour would be complete without an obligatory run up the “Rocky Steps” – the 72 steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art made famous by the fictional character Rocky Balboa during his training in the movie “Rocky.”

Above: Running tour, photo courtesy of SeePhillyRun


Indego is Philadelphia’s affordable and convenient bike-share program. Offering more than 130 stations throughout the city with both classic and electric bikes available.

Above: Philadelphia bike share. Photo courtesy of Indego

At Fairmount Park, you can cycle on or off-road for miles. Don’t miss Belmont Plateau in West Fairmount Park where you can take in amazing views of the Philadelphia skyline.

The Schuylkill River Trail is a paved scenic trail ideal for cycling. It stretches along the river for 25 miles from South Philadelphia to Manayunk and winds past Boathouse Row along Kelly Drive into the Countryside of Philadelphia.

Click here for some suggested Philadelphia bike itineraries.


Lace up your skates, stretch out your legs, and enjoy some fresh air at one of Philadelphia’s popular outdoor skating rinks. Skate beside Philadelphia City Hall at the Rothman Orthopaedics Rink in Dilworth Park, at the heart of the city.

Starting in the spring, usually in April and continuing into the summer through July, the rink offers daily roller-skating sessions.

Then, during the winter months – typically from November through February – the rink transforms into an ice-skating rink where visitors are encouraged to embrace the cooler temperatures and warm up with a skating session.

Above: Roller skating at City Hall

For another rink option, head to Independence Blue Cross RiverRink along the Delaware River Waterfront, a 12,000-square-foot riverside rink which offers ice skating during its annual months-long Winterfest and roller skating during its annual months-long Summerfest.

Hotels with gyms

Many hotels in Philadelphia have gyms so guests can start or end their day with a workout:

A stay at this historic city centre hotel gives you access to the massive 93,000-square-foot Sporting Club at the Bellevue fitness facility which even includes an NBA-sized basketball court.

The Rittenhouse Spa & Club, where you’ll find a heated indoor pool, and fitness facility which features top-scale equipment including RealRyder and Peloton indoor cycling bikes, an outdoor fitness deck, an indoor pool plus sauna and steam rooms.

Hotel guests can enjoy panoramic sky-high views of Philadelphia whilst swimming in the city’s premier Infinity Edge Pool.

Above: Pool at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons

The hotel encourages guests to be active as much as possible, with a 24/7 fitness centre equipped with state-of-the-art cardio equipment and yoga mats provided in each room. Guests also have free use of the hotel’s custom-designed bikes and for kids there are Micro Kickboard scooters available.

Healthy food

A Philadelphia cheesesteak makes for a great treat on your cheat day, but lighter, healthier options are available at plenty of restaurants.

  • Vegan and Vegetarian

Vedge, which has been ranked as one of Thrillist’s 33 Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in America, offers elegant dining with an internationally-inspired, vegan, seasonal menu which features dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced vegetables

Primary Plant Based, a casual vegan restaurant in the Fishtown neighbourhood offers very reasonably priced, seasonal dishes made with local ingredients from a globally-inspired menu.

Charlie Was A Sinner is a cocktail bar that specializes in drinks made with fresh fruit juice and organic alcohol. Healthy vegetarian small plates are available, including charred shishito peppers or avocado toast topped with radishes and red onions.

  • Sushi

Hiroki is a fine dining restaurant offering unique sushi options focusing on tradition and technique.

At Morimoto you can enjoy creative and delightful twists on Japanese staples, like tofu created fresh at your table, and seafood tobanyaki cooked and served in its own hot plate and red miso broth.

For a luxurious sushi dining experience, consider Omakase by Yanaga. This relatively newer restaurant in Philadelphia offers an exclusive, luxurious 25-course dining and sake pairing experience.

Above: Omakase by Yanaga, photo by J.Ryan for PHLCVB

  • Farm to Table

The pioneer of farm-to-table cuisine in Philadelphia, Fork serves seasonally focused contemporary American cuisine.

Talula’s Garden offers a healthy and delicious inventive spin on farm-to-table classics.

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