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Missing Philly Summers

- Hye Sung


My friend and I at the Swann Memorial Fountain

All the farmers and night markets, the Made in America Festival, the outdoor concerts, the tourists flooding Old City, dancing Hare Krishna devotees in Center City, and eating brunch outside. Summers in Philadelphia are glorious. They include everything for everybody. Now, Philly is great all year long, believe me, but there’s something magical about the city in summer. Everything and everybody is bursting with life.

One of my favorite parts about Philly in the summer is Spruce Street Harbor. Most famously, the park is filled with hammocks for anybody to lay on. It’s nice and shaded and though frequently busy, it is often quiet enough for you to doze off and take a little nap. (Or maybe I’m just a heavy sleeper?)  There’s bocce and shuffleboard courts, a giant chess board, and there’s kayaks and paddle boats. Plus, there’s all sorts of other games on the boardwalk.

And, well, there’s lots of food.

Long-time readers know I like food. A lot. And in this off-the-water sanctuary, there is plenty of it. Giant ice cream sundaes, hotdogs, donuts, fried chicken, burgers, ribs, tacos, ice cream waffle sandwiches, chicken wings, sesame noodles, bacon knockwursts—there’s all of that and more at their food trucks and nearby restaurants.

It’s also just really, really beautiful. With the view of the big ships on water, and the lush foliage hovering over and holding together the park, as well as the whimsical design and layout of the park, it’s not a bad sight. And at night, it’s even better with the subtle multicolored lights that beam all around the park. You can’t complain about the view of Philly’s dramatic sunsets, either.

Spruce Street Harbor

Spruce Street Harbor

In a way, Spruce Street Harbor sums up why Philadelphia is great, and especially why Philly summers are basically the best. There’s this sense of excitement that is tangible, there’s something to enjoy for everybody, there’s plenty to eat (and though you can get that classic Philly grease food, there’s plenty of healthier and lighter and even, dare I say, bougie options), and it’s all supported by a city, a community, that cares. That’s Philly for you, I’d say. It’s a city full of passion, adventure, fun, and really good people who love their city. And the truth is that I love it in the fall, I love it in the winter, and I really love it in the spring, but there’s really nothing quite like summer out here.

So, yeah, even though we’ve just entered winter, I won’t lie… I’m already daydreaming about journaling on a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor while drinking some lemonade and eating something fried and absurdly delicious.




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