The Laurel Hill Cemetery is located in what once was rural land north of Philadelphia. Over the years, the city has incorporated the cemetery into its urban area, but its friends and staff have managed to preserve the pastoral flavor of its 100 acres for walkers, runners and bicyclists. This was the equivalent of a park during its early Victorian days, and a precursor to today's city green spaces. Many people did, and still do, spend hours walking or biking here along the trails and paths among the tombs, mausoleums and sculptures for relaxation and contemplation, education and physical exercise. It's also a favorite destination for dog walkers with its wide, paved paths and swaths of lush green lawn.
The cemetery is host to a small museum, visitor center and 2 entrance gates: the main one on Ridge Avenue that features a small parking area across the street, and a pedestrian entrance on Kelly Drive. The Schuylkill River runs alongside the cemetery's western border, providing lovely river views, along with access to and from the Schuylkill River Trail.
The original planner of the Laurel Hill Cemetery was interested in botany and planted over 2,400 trees that are now mature and scattered across the property, as well as concentrated in arboretum-like copses. Their beauty and shade provide a unique park-like personality to this final resting place for inventors, politicians, signers of the Declaration of Independence and wealthy businessmen and philanthropists. There are over 33,000 furbulous monuments at which to marvel as you walk, from Millionaires' Row with its huge granite tombs, to the more humble areas with simple footstones of ordinary people. Guided tours are available for individuals or groups, and the cemetery hosts road races, holiday events, Hallowe'en paranormal tours and pageants. They also present cinema evenings on the lawn. There are literally dozens of sidewalks, paths and roads to explore!
Arguably the most unique characteristic of the Laurel Hill Cemetery is its dedication to not only providing peaceful resting places for those no longer with us but a commitment to living Philadelphia residents and visitors and their pups! Open 7 days a week year-round, except on a handful of major holidays, this is a fine place to spend a few hours!
Some of the cemetery is hilly and uneven, and although you're not required to stay on the paved paths, be aware of the terrain, especially the large groundhog holes! Please be sure to keep your pooch leashed and don't forget to pick up any waste. Also be aware that some routes in the cemetery are open for vehicle traffic and all paths allow bicycles