Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Fairmount Travel Guide
  • Photo: David Sucsy/iStockphoto

Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Fairmount

Alive with colorful flowers, flags, and fountains, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway stretches northwest from John F. Kennedy Plaza to the Kelly (East) and MLK Jr. (West) River drives. This 250-foot-wide boulevard is crowned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as where the Barnes Foundation has built its new home. French architects Jacques Greber and Paul Cret designed the Parkway in the 1920s. Today a distinguished assemblage of museums, institutions, hotels, and apartment buildings line the street, competing with each other in grandeur.

The Parkway district leads to the residential Fairmount neighborhood named for Fairmount Park, which encompasses natural areas—woodlands, meadows, rolling hills, two scenic waterways, and a forested 5½-mile gorge. It also contains tennis courts, ball fields, playgrounds, trails, exercise courses, several celebrated cultural institutions, and some historic Early American country houses that are operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and open to visitors. Philadelphia has more works of outdoor art than any other city in North America, and more than 200—including statues by Frederic Remington, Jacques Lipchitz, and William Rush—are scattered throughout Fairmount Park. Some sections of the park that border depressed urban neighborhoods are neglected; it's better maintained along the Schuylkill.

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