Parkside Ride Guide
Welcome to Parkside, a gateway to the past, present, and future of West Philadelphia, and the home of America's first World's Fair, the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876. At that time, the world came to Philadelphia and to Belmont & Elm (later Parkside) to see all the wonders the late 19th century had to offer.
The Parkside community is centrally located and serves as an access point to shopping, art, culture, and outdoor activities. Parkside contains historical landmarks that illustrate the shaping of our nation, locations that help us gain a better understanding of our present, and community-planned projects that allow glimpses into the future.
Parkside is a welcoming community that loves to share unique experiences and locations that can't be found anywhere else in the city. Explore the historic landmarks, see and smell the flora at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, have a "conversation" with the Gorillas, Louis and Kuchimba, at the Philadelphia Zoo, or enjoy an educationally fun day with children at the Please Touch Museum; it's all here!
Check out the interactive map below for some of the resources and sights that Parkside has to offer, along with suggested bike routes! Click on the various map icons for more information. You can even view it on-the-go using the Google Maps Mobile App.
If you'd like to take this info with you on your ride without needing access to the internet, you can view and save a pdf of the original printed ride guide.
Ron's Recommendations Tour
Ron Allen has been biking through West Fairmount Park since the 1960's! Check out some of the best spots along the way including the Centennial Arboretum and the Whispering Bench.
Route starts at Indego Station on Belmont Street and Parkside Avenue and runs northwest.
Mantua Haverford Community Center Tour
Take advantage of open streets every week. MLK Drive is closed to car traffic from 6am to 5pm Saturdays and Sundays from April through October. Take a round trip ride up the drive—just make sure to get your bike back to a station in time.
Route starts at Indego Station on W. Girard Avenue and runs down Lansdowne Drive.
MLK Drive Tour
Connect with Mantua and visit the Mount Vernon Manor Neighborhood Advisory Committee. Get assistance with housing, food, benefits, finances, employment, and more here. Get more info by calling 215.475.9492.
Route starts at Indego Station on Belmont Street and Parkside Avenue and runs southeast.
The Schuylkill River Trail Tour
Head south on MLK Drive to connect to the Schuylkill River Trail and Center City. There is an Indego station at 24th & Race, right by the trail!
Route starts at Indego Station on W. Girard Avenue and runs down MLK Drive to the Schuylkill River Trail.
Centennial Parkside CDC
The Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation's mission to preserve, promote and revitalize East Parkside through partnerships with businesses and institutions and programs that engage residents, increase opportunity, and grow a diverse, thriving community. CPCDC is a governing body made up of residents and existing organizations that work to progress community development goals and new initiatives related to healthy living, civic engagement, and the arts, giving the community new life and strengthening the community’s identity and connectivity to Fairmount Park.
Their primary purpose is to provide a program that contributes in a positive way to the mental, physical, social, cultural, and emotional growth and development of persons with disabilities through recreational programs. Some of the activities include swimming, music, dance, arts classes, summer day camp, martial arts, game room, nature walks, physical fitness, club groups or discussions, field trips, and special events. Special events include bingo, social dances, picnics, holiday celebrations, athletic tournaments, carnivals, and the Carousel Ball.
*Please note, the Carousel House is currently closed until further notice for repairs.
LCFS West Philadelphia Senior Community Center
One of East Parkside's neighborhood hubs for adults age 50+ that offers lively activities for body, mind, and spirit through classes, clubs, educational programs, health and wellness services, nutritious meals, transportation assistance, and more! The program is free for seniors over 60 and open to those age 50+ for a small fee. Proof of Philadelphia residence and age is required.
Please Touch Museum
4231 Avenue of the Republic
Located in historic Memorial Hall — a National Historic Landmark built in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition celebrating the country’s 100th birthday — the Please Touch Museum offers six interactive exhibit zones that bring together the past, present, and future across the museum's 157,000 square feet, including four areas specifically designed for children 3 and younger.
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
100 N. Horticultural Dr.
Located in beautiful West Fairmount Park, the Horticulture Center is a modern exhibition hall and greenhouse that's been around since 1979. The site was formerly the location of both Horticultural Hall and the 1876 Centennial Exposition building. It accents its array of plant life with numerous fountains and sculptures displayed throughout the grounds and is a popular destination for strolls, picnics, and views of breathtaking horticultural displays.
Smith Memorial Arch - Whispering Bench
41st & Avenue of the Republic
This impressive structure honors Pennsylvania's Civil War military and naval heroes. The arch contains five full statues and nine busts of significant Pennsylvania military men, and a statue of one civilian millionaire, Richard Smith, who contributed $500,000 from the wealth he amassed making type castings for printers. About a dozen artists worked on the piece, which took 15 years to complete. As striking as the monument is, its most unique aspect is the stone benches at the base of the arch. A person sitting at one end of the bench can turn and whisper into the wall behind them, which a second person sitting at the opposite end will clearly be able to hear.
Shofuso Japanese House and Tea Garden
Horticultural & Lansdowne
Experience some of the wonders of Japan without leaving Philadelphia! Designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura, Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials. It was shipped to New York City and exhibited in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art before moving to West Fairmount Park in 1958. In 2007, international artist Hiroshi Senju, inspired by the garden’s waterfall, donated 20 contemporary murals to Shofuso, which are permanently displayed inside the house. This historic site and museum includes a hill and pond garden with a tiered waterfall, island, and koi fish, a tea garden featuring a traditional tea house, and a courtyard garden leading to a bathhouse.
3400 W. Girard Ave
The first zoo in the United States happens to be located right here, close to the west bank of the Schuylkill River. Home to nearly 1,300 animals, including many rare and endangered ones, the Philadelphia Zoo educates more than 1.2 million visitors each year about animal and environmental conservation through a first-in-the-world animal travel trail system, Zoo360, and KidZooU -- a children’s zoo and education center that serves as a model for zoos nationwide.
Catholic Total Abstinence Fountain
States & Avenue of the Republic
The Centennial Fountain of the Catholic Total Abstinence Union, also known as "The Centennial Fountain", was built in 1876 to celebrate, along with other exhibits, the 100th anniversary of the United States' Declaration of Independence at the first official world exhibition in the United States, the Centennial International Exhibition. It was created by the German-born sculptor Herman Kirn on behalf of the Catholic Total Abstinence Union.
Belmont & S. Concourse
This staple of West Fairmount Park is a 14-acre Philadelphia Native Plant Park featuring 142 native trees and 503 shrubs of 24 different species. There is a paved walking path around the entire lake as well as benches for rest, contemplation, and bird watching.