***UPDATE*** The Spruce Street Season has been extended through Sunday, September 28.
Philadelphia, it’s official. Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River Waterfront is an absolutely amazing addition to Philadelphia’s alfresco summer scene.
Now open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Spruce Street Harbor Park has transformed an urban riverside into a lush oasis right at Spruce Street and Columbus Boulevard.
Developed by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in conjunction with Groundswell Design Group — the folks that brought us this past winter’s Waterfront Winterfest at the Blue Cross RiverRink — the pop-up summertime village, located at Columbus Boulevard and Spruce Street, considerably upgrades the perennial good times of summer on Penn’s Landing with charming new public space that’s free to check out and open to the public daily through Monday, September 1.
Penn’s Landing has long been an awesome hub of good times in the summer months, with annual programming like the PECO multicultural festival series, Screenings Under the Stars and Smooth Jazz Summer Nights. In 2014, though, all of those annual festivals and events are enriched by this amazing two-month-long placemaking installation complete with a floating restaurant, hammock grove, urban beach, game-filled boardwalk and mist walk.
Read on for our guide to spending the summer on the waterfront at Spruce Street Harbor Park.
A temporary public park, Spruce Street Harbor Park is made up of built-out landscaping and a nonpermanent structures both on the water and surrounding the Penn’s Landing Marina.
The Marina already features the Paddle Penn’s Landing program, the Moshulu, the Independence Seaport Museum, the Olympia and Becuna, the Columbus Monument, the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing, the Chart House and the Spirit of Philadelphia and the Spirit Elite.
Now that Spruce Street Harbor Park is open, the riverside entertainment extends south from the Independence Seaport Museum with the floating pop-up restaurant dubbed The Blue Anchor, hammocks, fire pits, a boardwalk, shuffleboard, bocce, a mist walk and urban beach.
Truly, the space serves as a substantial reminder to the city of the waterfront’s awesome maritime history and ever-developing future (have you read the cool plans in the Central Delaware master plan?).
Currently slated to remain open through Sunday, August 31, visitors to the waterfront should take advantage of all of the festivals, concerts and movies at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, as well as the amenities of the pop-up park — most completely free of charge. ***UPDATE*** The season has been extended through Sunday, September 28.
As for when to go, Spruce Street Harbor Park is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. all summer long. That’s a ton of potential hammock time!
Note, though, that hours for various sections of the park do vary. The entire park is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. so visitors can lounge in hammocks and play shuffleboard anytime. For the boardwalk concessions, hours run daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Blue Anchor food service operates 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4-11 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday.
The Blue Anchor bar, though, remains open an hour or more later than the restaurant. Grab a beer on the barge Monday through Wednesday 4-11 p.m.; 4 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Sunday.
The park is already attracting large crowds at peak hours like evenings and weekends, so some wait time to score a hammock, play shuffleboard or grab a beer may be in store.
If in doubt when a particular aspect is open, check park hours here before heading out.
See below for information on food and drink service, getting there and more.
Eating & Drinking
Of all the pop-up features, the coolest might just be the floating construction that holds a restaurant and bar, The Oasis. Made up of three barges, a lily pad floating water garden, colorful seating and a net lounge that extends out over the river, The Oasis puts visitors right over the Delaware’s waters.
The on-site restaurant and bar, The Blue Anchor, is named after one of Philadelphia’s very first taverns, which in its day was located nearby at Front and Dock streets.
Constructed of two shipping containers, the restaurant consists of a walk-up window, with all-alfresco seating surrounding the converted serving spaces, including bright Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and bistro tables.
The talented team from the Garces Group will handle the food and drink, serving casual summer-appropriate fare. Look for a menu of four burgers, including a take on the famous Village Whiskey burger and a veggie burger — as well as a Cobb salad, smothered fries and classic desserts.
To drink, choose from a rotating selection of local craft brews like Victory Summer Love Ale, Yards Brawler, Philadelphia Brewing Company Walt Wit and others. As for cocktails, sip on fruity spiked sangria or a Root & Rye, made with Bulleit Rye, Art in the Age Root, orange bitters, fresh orange.
For the complete food and drink menu, of which selections will change throughout the summer, check right here.
Note that visitors can order food from The Blue Anchor and take it off of the barge, but Sunday through Wednesday all of the alcohol must be consumed in The Oasis, which really has a beer garden-style atmosphere.
Games & Entertainment
In addition to the food, the boardwalk area includes arcade and lawn games. Look out for bocce, shuffleboard and ping pong, which can be reserved for $10 per half hour, as well as free cornhole, tetherball, Connect Four, giant Jenga and life-sized chess.
A couple shipping containers on the boardwalk will house arcade games operated by Apple Vending, too. Play skeeball, Basket Fever, Ms. Pacman and racing games on a pay as you go basis.
Elsewhere on land, parkgoers can hang out in hammocks, around fire pits near the Columbus Monument, under umbrellas on the urban beach and beneath cooling misters.
Around the monument, more than 50 colorful hammocks have been strung between trees and more than 800 feet of string lights have been hung to illuminate the space after dark. Plus, the park’s fountains have been restored and restarted for the first time in 15 years
North of the hammocks towards the Independence Seaport Museum and the Penn’s Landing quay, a mist walk keeps folks cool and lights the way after dark with more LED lights.
Later in the season, Spruce Street Harbor Park will also host two free concerts. On Thursday, July 24, 7:30-10 p.m., check out Purling Hiss and Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band. Come Thursday, August 21, 7:30-10 p.m., hear from Pattern is Movement and Night Panther.
For summer shopping, the crafty folks behind the Art Star Gallery & Boutique are curating an open-air retail experience with vendors housed inside repurposed shipping containers.
Like the annual Art Star Craft Bazaar, the Art Star Pop-Up Market brings out handmade gifts by some of the best indie crafters from Philadelphia and beyond to the Delaware River waterfront.
Each week, a group of 10 to 20 rotating vendors peddle a range of goods — kids items, clothes, jewelry, posters, pottery and more — that are mostly priced under $50.
Check here for a look at some of the vendors, including favorites like Wear Liberty, Red Light Press and Olliver Lifestyle.
The pop-up art market runs on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through August 30 along a walkway within the Harbor Park, weather permitting.
Getting There & Parking
Like all of the waterfront attractions, Spruce Street Harbor Park is super accessible via public transportation, bike and by foot.
To arrive by foot, cross Columbus Boulevard at Spruce Street (just past the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial) and you’ve arrived.
By SEPTA, take the Market-Frankford Line to 2nd Street, or numerous SEPTA buses stop at or near the Spruce Street Harbor Park and Penn’s Landing, as well as the Philly Phlash this summer.
By car, look for parking lots located at Lombard Circle, Walnut and Market Streets at Columbus Boulevard.
For additional directions to the site, check here.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
When: Daily, June 27-August 31, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. ***UPDATE*** The Spruce Street Season has been extended through Sunday, September 28.
Where: 401 S. Columbus Boulevard at Spruce Street
Cost: Free admission
More info: www.sprucestreetharborpark.com