Parkside Past, Parkside Present: Walking Tour

Join us for a guided walk to learn about the history of the Parkside neighborhood and the Centennial District.


Saturday, July 27


9:00 am - 12:00 pm


School of the Future

4021 Parkside Ave
Philadelphia PA 19104

Join the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Michael Burch (science educator, community organizer, and founder of the Parkside Journal) for a 2.5-mile walking tour of the Parkside neighborhood.

Parkside. The name says it all it’s the neighborhood beside West Fairmount Park. Similarly to Strawberry Mansion on the other side of the Schuylkill, Parkside is where the city grid meets the greenspace, buffered by a boulevard of grand homes facing the park. Much of the Parkside neighborhood was built during the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. Originally populated by German-Americans and Jewish immigrants of Russian descent, after World War II, the Great Migration coupled with ‘white flight’ transformed Parkside into a predominantly African-American neighborhood, which it remains to this day. In 1983, community organizers had the neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its cultural legacy and many fine examples of Victorian architecture.

Tour highlights include:
-Centennial Exposition model in Please Touch Museum
-Smith Memorial Arch
-Parkside Apartments (when built it was one of the tallest apartment buildings in the city)
-Christ Community Baptist Church (built from an old synagogue)
-Lansdowne Apartment Building (built in 1897)
-Centennial Commons
-Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park and mural

Estimated distance: about 2.5 miles
Level: easy to moderate
Terrain: mainly flat sidewalks/trails


-The tour covers about 2.5 miles on foot. Not all areas will be ADA-accessible.
-The event is appropriate for adults and families with children ages 12 and up. Minors must be registered and accompanied by an adult.
-Please wear comfortable walking shoes.
-Please dress for weather conditions.
-Bring your own water and snack (drinking water is not available in the park).
-There are porta-potties available along the tour route.
-Dogs on leashes are welcome; however, you will not be able to enter the Please Touch Museum.

PARKING/GETTING THERE: There is plenty of free parking available in the park. As always, never leave valuables in your car! If you are traveling by public transit, the nearest station is at Parkside Ave and 40th Street. The nearest Indego bike station is roughly a half-mile away at the Philadelphia Zoo (1046 North 34th Street).

QUESTIONS? Please reach out to

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This event will take place in light rain. In the event of heavy rain or other severe conditions, the event will be canceled and attendees are eligible for a full refund.