4 Socially Distanced Attractions in Philadelphia

Have you ever visited Philadelphia? Nicknamed the “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest city and is known for its rich history. However, while the options to explore the city are endless, the COVID-19 pandemic means that experiencing it safely is a top priority. Thankfully, there are loads of activities to do that allow for social distancing while getting a bit of fresh air; simply pick up your Alamo rental car at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and get rolling. If you are looking for the most appealing outdoor socially distanced activities in Philadelphia, keep on reading!

Merchant Exchange Building Merchant Exchange Building


Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is arguably one of the greatest gardens in the world. It is an outdoor oasis with over 1,100 acres of meadows, gardens and woodlands. If that was not enough, it even has a four-acre conservatory! In order to prevent overcrowding, the gardens require visitors to purchase timed admission tickets on their website prior to their arrival (a complete list of Longwood’s revised visitor guidelines due to COVID-19 can be found here). Thankfully, parking at the gardens is just as stress-free – not only are there lots of spaces, there’s no additional cost!

The gardens are indeed a sight to behold. You’ll be dazzled by horticulture displays and stand in awe of majestic fountains that offer inspiring performances. If you happen to be visiting the gardens during a mealtime, there are a few suitable dining options at your disposal. Should you want to keep things intimate, there are plenty of picnic tables and grills available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Cafe and Beer Garden offers a selection of ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads and hot entree selections, and is perfect for the whole family.

For a more elevated dining experience, try restaurant 1906. This spot was named in honor of the year Pierre S. du Pont purchased the grounds. 1906 offers fresh seasonal ingredients while focusing on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.

This botanical garden not only offers beauty by day, but also offers a unique nighttime experience! Take in the 30-minute Illuminated Fountain Performances and be enchanted as the colored streams of water dance through the sky.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens Philadelphia Magic Gardens


Philadelphia Magic Gardens

If you’re looking for something unique to do in Philly, this is for you! The Philadelphia Magic Gardens, or PMG, is a mostly open-air art exhibit that was conceived by artist Isaiah Zagar. But this isn’t your typical garden. What makes it extra unique is its construction – its walls and stairs are covered almost entirely in mosaic tiles. Made up of two indoor galleries and a bi-level outdoor sculpture garden, there is a lot of space to explore (and photograph!) as you weave through the tiled passages.

All information in regards to their COVID-19 safety procedures, as well as what to expect when visiting, can be found here.

Dining on South Street Dining on South Street


Outdoor Dining on South Street

When you are finished at the Magic Gardens, be sure to make your way to South Street, the edgiest thoroughfare in Philadelphia. This long street has over 400 independent retail shops, restaurants and taverns. Outdoor dining is becoming a popular option for those who crave fresh air and want to avoid confined spaces, so it is perfect that South Street offers an array of culinary experiences where you can eat outside.

Stumped for where to dine? Brauhaus Schmitz is one of the most authentic German bierhalls and restaurants in the city and features over 34 German beers on draft and over 50 that are bottled (please enjoy responsibly; do not drink and drive). They also have three different outdoor seating options available.

If that doesn’t quite catch your fancy, the PHS Pop Up Garden is another great restaurant to try. It features delicious food, botanical-inspired cocktails, and, as its name indicates, has a Moroccan-style garden outdoors where you can dine.

And, for those interested in Latin cuisine (one of my favorites!), Tio Flores specializes in authentic Mexican food with enchiladas, tacos and burritos to be found on its mouthwatering menu.

From German and Greek cuisine to Thai and Middle Eastern fare, there’s a restaurant on South Street to suit everyone’s palate! Just call ahead to make a reservation since capacity is limited due to COVID-19 and remember that masks are required when not at your table.


Fairmont Park

Fairmont Park is Philadelphia’s largest municipal park. It consists of two sections – East and West – which are divided by the Schuylkill River and total a whopping 2,052 acres. There are many trails, woodlands, and even a waterfront to explore.

There is also an abundance of outdoor activities you can do on the premises including hiking, fishing, off-road cycling and horseback riding. However, should you crave something more relaxing, you Fairmont Park has options for you! You can pack a picnic or stroll through the colorful gardens at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, which is located in West Fairmont Park. No matter your preference, the choices are endless, so check out Fairmont’s website for more ideas and information on what to do while there. Also be sure to visit their events page, which has a detailed calendar of what is happening in the coming weeks and months.

Longwood Gardens Longwood Gardens

COVID-19 doesn’t have to mean all your travel plans are canceled. Philadelphia offers a wide range of drivable and socially distanced activities which means you can explore safely.


Is Alamo open during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?

Yes. Alamo is an essential services provider that remains open to meet critical transportation and personal mobility needs.

How do I rent a vehicle from Alamo during the COVID-19 outbreak?

You can make reservations via our website or Alamo mobile app. To save time at the rental counter, you can check in online with your driver’s license information and rental confirmation number.

To streamline your rental experience further and enable you to safely practice social distancing when picking up your rental vehicle:

  • You can skip the counter (for select locations) in advance after activating Online Check-In. Then, you can go straight to your car without visiting the counter or kiosk.
  • Another option is Alamo’s Self-Service Kiosk at select locations. All you need to check in is your driver’s license and credit card. When you’re finished, just show your rental agreement and driver’s license at the exit booth before you hit the road.

What steps are being taken to clean the rental cars?

Clean vehicles have always been important to us, but at this moment in time, we know vehicle cleanliness is even more critical. Each rental vehicle is thoroughly cleaned between every rental and backed with the Complete Clean Pledge. This includes washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading heath authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points including:

  • Key / key fob
  • Steering wheel
  • Steering column
  • Seat belts
  • Center console
  • Door interiors
  • Door pockets
  • Interior door handles
  • Exterior door handles
  • Seat pockets / seat surfaces
  • Areas between seats & consoles
  • Areas between seats & doorjambs
  • Cupholders / compartments
  • Instrument panel
  • Accessory panel / touchscreen
  • Rearview mirror / side mirrors
  • Visors / visor mirrors
  • Dashboard / vents
  • Gear stick / gear shift
  • Trunk release
  • Among other high-touch areas

As part of the Complete Clean Pledge, we've also extended our already rigorous cleaning protocols to our shuttles and rental locations.

Read more COVID-19 FAQs.

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About the Author

Oneika Raymond

Oneika is the voice behind "Oneika the Traveller", an award-winning travel blog dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering women and people of color to see the world. A thrill-seeker who's always in the midst of planning her next trip, Oneika has bungee jumped over the Zambezi River, fished for piranhas in the Amazon, and climbed active volcanoes in Guatemala and Ecuador.