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File this among the “good things” that happen in Philadelphia.

Over the past three decades, the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River as it runs through the city has been transformed from a recovering industrial wasteland into a gorgeous and accessible park.

It wasn’t a quick or easy transformation, and took more than $86 million in investments according to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, founded in 1992 for this purpose.

The money was only part of the effort. Along the way, the Schuylkill Banks has seen contributions from community groups, neighborhood associations, landscape architects, philanthropists, environmental advocates, art lovers, skateboard promoters, exercise enthusiasts, pop-up entrepreneurs and many others. From Paine’s Park to the Boardwalk to the Water Works pavilion to the Parks on Tap beer garden, the pedestrian path hosts tons of different happenings that appeal to a wide variety of Philadelphians.

There’s more coming to the area, which makes up the southern leg of the statewide Schuylkill River Trail, including a bridge that crosses the river and connects with Bartram’s Garden and the water’s western side.

Right now, though, you can take an uninterrupted trip from Christian Street in South Philly all the way up past Boathouse Row to Kelly Drive.

This 15-minute floating 4k video by Google Master Photographer Mark Henninger lets you experience the whole thing virtually on a beautiful fall day.

YouTube video

You can find access points to the Schuylkill Banks via this map.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...