The Rail Park sits above street level in the middle of Philadelphia

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The weather is breaking, Daylight Saving Time is coming and after what has felt like the longest winter in history, spring is blessing Philly with an early appearance.

Throughout these cold, dark months, many have been stuck quarantining and working from home, or shuttling to and from an in-person job with little chance for outside activity. But as sunset comes later and days last longer, the neighborhoods can become ideal sun-soaking locations.

Philadelphia is full of outdoor gems, from independent neighborhood parks to city-sponsored wilderness trails. Check out these five places around town to catch some rays.

Lemon Hill

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Surrounding historic Lemon Hill Mansion in West Fairmount Park are more than 40 acres of green space. The aptly named 19th century estate and fields sit atop a hill overlooking Kelly Drive and Boathouse Row.

Managed by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, the attraction has hosted mansion tours, outdoor yoga and Parks on Tap.

Clark Park

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At 43rd and Baltimore Avenue, Clark Park sits near the borders of University City, West Philadelphia and Southwest Philly.

A wide open field with mature trees and scattered seating, Clark Park is frequented by students but also plenty of new and longtime residents. There’s often music from neighborhood performers and open-air markets, and the edges of the grassy basin hold picnic tables and grills.

Visitors can also take advantage of the opportunity to stroll the Baltimore Avenue business corridor or grab a bite at one of the area’s many East African restaurants.

Liberty Lands Park

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Northern Liberties community members banded together in the 1990s to help create the neighborhood’s first modern park.

The landscaped area also features a playground for kids, a rain garden, community gardens and allows for on-leash dog walking. Plus, there’s flat, grassy space to just lay out.

Cobbs Creek Park

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The West Philly neighborhood that shares its name is home to Cobbs Creek Park, which is anchored by a paved path that travels more than 4 miles.

The route passes playgrounds and picnic tables, and also leads to an off-road trail through the woods. The unpaved path is more shaded, but offers glimpses of the creek. It’ll also take you to the Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center near the watershed.

The Rail Park

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One of the more unusual green spaces in the city, the Rail Park’s first phase offers about a quarter-mile of varied seating that offers elevated views of historic buildings that dot Chinatown, the Eraserhood and Spring Arts District. There are also giant shareable swings at one end.

A wheelchair accessible entrance is located at Broad and Noble streets, and you can also enter via a stairway located between 11th and 12th streets on Callowhill,

The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Layla A. Jones (she/her) was a general assignment reporter for Billy Penn from 2019 to 2021. Her work has helped underserved community organizations, earned free repairs for property owners who sustained...