Philadelphia has been ranked as one of the top ten cities in the world for parks, and Fairmount Park is the crown jewel of its park system. In addition to being Philly's largest park, and one of the largest urban parks in the nation, its 2,000 acres of rolling hills, lawns, and forests are full of historic and cultural treasures. What makes Fairmount Park such a pawsome place for dogs and their people is not just how much space there is, but how much there is to see along the way.
West Fairmount Park falls on the west side of the Schuylkill River and is the largest of the park's two halves at 1,400 acres. While a lot of indoor locations in the park don't allow dogs, leashed dogs are welcome at most outdoor sites. The dog-friendly grounds of the Centennial Arboretum include the gardens outside of Shofuso Japanese House and the Pavilion in the Trees, a public artwork and great spot for photo-ops. History buffs and their pups will want to trot over to the monumental Memorial Arch and the sculpture of Major General George Gordon Meade, which honor local heroes who fought for the Union during the Civil War.
Pups more interested in the sights and smells of nature will appreciate a jaunt around the Concourse and Centennial Lakes, which are located near the arch and the arboretum. They host many aquatic plant species and visiting birds. A little further north, the Belmont Fields begin at the intersection of Montgomery Drive and Belmont Mansion Drive. Trees grow in groves on these otherwise wide open lawns, which are a great place for an on-leash romp or a picnic with your favorite pup.
More adventurous souls will want to wander even further north to the Belmont and Chamounix Woods, known together as the Great Woods. This surprisingly wild place is criss-crossed with wilderness trails where you and your dog can wander among the trees and forget you're in the big city. In the Chamounix Woods, you'll find the Stone Arch Bridge, a unique architectural site that was once part of the Fairmount Park trolley system.
Whether you focus on its cultural treasures or its wild side, you'll never forget the day you spend together with your pup in West Fairmount Park.