Visiting Philadelphia doesn't have to mean traveling by car. In fact, one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the heart of the city is by bicycle. You may choose to embark on a guided tour via one of the city tour groups if you've got specific sites to see or an interest in allowing someone else to lead the way. Many folks, however, choose to simply hop on their cycle (or a rented bike) and pedal off.
Philadelphia's iconic Boathouse Row — Photo courtesy of Michael W Murphy
One of the most well-known and scenic routes in Philadelphia is the Schuylkill River Trail. This trail is multi-use and currently consists of 60 miles of completed trail, although the entire route will total 130 miles in length. Among other routes, the trail runs through Manayunk and continues on into Center City, where you can finish at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Start your trip by heading into Manayunk and riding along the towpath, which is behind Main Street. Manayunk is a wonderfully revitalized section of the city that features trendy restaurants, artsy shops, bars and cafes, so feel free to linger or grab a beverage before you head out. If you need or want to rent a bike, there's a shop here where you can do so.
Stop to enjoy the view along Kelly Drive near Boathouse Row — Photo courtesy of Tom Ipri
The towpath will end, although riding on Main Street will take you to Ridge Avenue and then along to Kelly Drive, one of the most scenic sections of the city. Kelly Drive offers sweeping views of the Schuylkill River and a flat, wide trail on which to ride.
Cruising along this route takes you past Boathouse Row, comprised of 15 boathouses. Races are held here during the seasonal Regattas. Take a break and sit in the grandstand near the statue of John B. Kelly, Jr., a famous Philadelphia oarsman for whom the road is named.
This is a shaded area and a good place to rest. The area along Kelly Drive also offers up plenty of spots to stop for a picnic, should you have your lunch along with you.
End your bike ride with a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art — Photo courtesy of Tom Ipri
Further along Kelly Drive, you'll pass the Philadelphia Waterworks and soon arrive at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Strolling the grounds of the museum offers a lovely view. There's an azalea garden in the back, and the iconic steps out front beg to be run up. Off to the side of the museum stands the Rocky Statue many come looking for (from the movie of the same name starring Sylvester Stallone).
From here, you can retrace your steps and head back to Manayunk, or spend some time in Center City before calling it a day. Today you've seen a little more of the scenic side of the city.