Four Reasons to Love FDR Park
By Justin DiBerardinis, FDR Park Director, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Now, more than ever, we need wide open spaces. We need room to run, space to think, and new landscapes to explore for our physical health, our mental health, and for our spirits.
Now is the perfect time to fall in love (or fall in love again!) with FDR Park, South Philadelphia’s largest and most dynamic public space. FDR Park - also known as The Lakes - offers over 350 acres of lakes, fields, meadows, bridges, marshes, mystery, and magic. A unique recreational and natural landscape activated by the incredible cultural diversity of South Philadelphia, FDR Park is truly a gem of Philadelphia’s public park system.
Reason #1: The Lakes
The heart of FDR Park is the lakes and waterways. The lakes offer a glimpse into the historic ecological landscape of South Philadelphia, with lagoons, streams, ponds, and marshes coming into bloom. These can be enjoyed in scenic vistas offered by the historic pavilions of the main lake, fishing along the banks, or bird watching among the secluded streams and marshes of the old golf course area. The dock of the historic Boathouse is publicly accessible, and kayakers are welcomed to use this public access point to paddle the lakes of FDR.
Reason #2: The Skatepark
The southern edge of FDR Park is home to a DIY mecca of American skateboarding culture, the FDR Skatepark - chaotic, beautiful, punk rock stream of consciousness in concrete. Offering space for young beginners and elite skaters alike, the skatepark pulsates with a diversity of users. Whether you skate yourself, or just want to soak up the scene, no visit to FDR is complete without a stop at the Skatepark.
Reason #3: Natural Lands
FDR Park is a landscape in transformation as the old golf course, holding nearly 200 acres on the western half of the park, returns to nature. In the future, we will be restoring the tidal marsh lands in this Southwest corner of the park. Right now, this course offers quiet meadows, meandering streams, emerging marshes, and some of the best bird watching in the city. It’s Philadelphia’s secret forest, one of the only places you can find acres and acres to yourself.
Reason #4: The Community
What truly makes FDR Park special is the growing diversity of its users, reflecting the incredible dynamism of South Philadelphia. FDR has always been a central spot for diverse communities to come together. In recent years, FDR Park has become a favorite spot for the southeast Asian community to gather together and celebrate their cultures, and a Latino soccer league has formed and become an ongoing and lively presence at the park. Italian American and African American communities have also long used FDR as South Philly’s go-to place for picnics, family gatherings, and festivals. The FDR Park community is truly unique and makes this park the special, wild, wonderful place it is.
Find Your Community at FDR Park
FDR Park is ready for you! There is truly something for everyone here. Find the park, love the park, and get involved in our exciting plan to build one of the great public spaces. You can be a part of it.
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