During my time at Temple, I have had the opportunity to discover and visit some of the most unique and beautiful sites that this city has to offer. Coincidentally, I lived only a 20-minute train ride from the city center before I went to college, so overall I had plenty of opportunities to experience some of Philadelphia’s distinctive features. I've taken the time to compile a rundown of some of my favorite hidden treasures in Philadelphia for people who are seeking to extend their horizons and discover something new in the city.
The first place on the list is Philadelphia's West Fairmount Park's Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, a 17th-century Japanese residence. The Shofuso house and garden, both in traditional Japanese style, represent the development of Japanese culture in Philadelphia. The 1953 construction of Shofuso, also known as "Pine Breeze Villa," is noteworthy. Junzo Yoshimura developed it for a display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The main structure, teahouse, and bathhouse are all examples of traditional Japanese architecture and were all constructed using Japanese materials and methods. This location is open from April to October and is ideal for a one-day excursion!
Center City's John F. Collins Park, a tranquil haven nestled on the corner of Chestnut and Ranstead streets, is the second hidden oasis on this list. The Center City District Foundation currently owns the park, which was created by John Collins. The park is the ideal place for a coffee break or to catch up with an old friend over lunch as it is home to some wonderful water features, artwork, and natural beauty.
Next up is Rail Park, which was originally home to unused and overgrown rail lines but has since been turned into a wonderful public space that is open to anyone. Looking for a quick escape from a busy workday or to take in the beauty of the city from above? You've come to the right place! Walking paths, swings, and native plants and trees run rampant in this three-mile-long park.
Here in the "city of brotherly love," there is a lot to learn. The city has something for everyone, from Japanese style gardens to secret caverns and former railroad parks converted into walking paths! Take the time to explore some of Philadelphia's hidden treasures, and you might come away with a newfound love for the city.