Of course, the Philadelphia area is no stranger to great sledding hills, where sledders young and old can get in a couple runs regardless of their skill level. But remember, sledding can be a little dangerous sometimes, so take caution — as Philadelphia Parks & Recreation recommends, you should never sled toward trees, roadways, or other obstacles, and kids should always be accompanied by adults.
You’ll also want to take the usual preventative coronavirus precautions, such as social distancing, and regularly washing or sanitizing your hands. And if your chosen sledding spot looks too crowded, you might want to look elsewhere for a run.
Here, we’ve rounded up a few great options for sledding in Philly, the surrounding suburbs, and New Jersey. Check out the list below:
Where to go sledding in Philadelphia
The Art Museum’s Rocky steps are probably the most famous sledding spot in all of Philadelphia. But being as you’re flying down solid concrete, it can also be a little dangerous — so take caution, and make sure there’s plenty of snow on the ground. And remember, there are also some hills around back to hit, as well as a set of (less famous) steps.
Just up the road from the Art Museum, you’ll find East Fairmount Park’s Lemon Hill, which ordinarily is known for the Federal-style mansion that stands there. But when a good snow hits, it becomes a prime sledding spot in the city for kids of all ages thanks to steep hillsides that are begging for a run. However, this one, like others on the list, can get crowded, so be prepared to wait your turn — it’s worth it.
Chestnut Hill locals will know this spot as an area landmark due to the 125-foot water tower, but it also happens to be among the best sledding hills in the neighborhood. That’s thanks to a wide variety of hills that make it a great choice for gaggles of kids with varying sledding experience, so feel free to bring the family out and stake your claim.
Take a trip to West Philly’s Clark Park, where you’ll find a “bowl” — one of the park’s best-known features — that offers some more moderate slopes for young, budding sledders, or just folks looking for a milder run. As a bonus, it’s a pretty roomy area, so feel free to take a break from the slopes and find a spot to get in on other winter activities, like building snowmen or making snow angels.
Sure, Burholme Park is home to the historic Robert W. Ryerss Museum and Library, but it also happens to be one of Northeast Philadelphia’s best sledding spots once the powder begins to stick. Here, you’ll find a large, expansive hill that serves as the park’s main draw for thrill-seeking sledders, but there are a few smaller, less intense options, too.
OK, so South Philly isn’t really known as the city’s hilliest area, but FDR Park does have some gentle, mellow hills around the park’s lakes that are great for teaching younger sledders the ropes, and there’s ample space to glide — or be pulled — around. Plus, you’ll also find some options in nearby Packer Park (the so-called “Bridge Hill” at Broad and Packer is one favorite, but it’s near traffic, so be careful).
Located in Southwest Philly, Bartram’s Garden is known for its historic botanical garden and fantastic skyline views of the city — and, in winter, add sledding hills to the list. With about 50 acres of land, there’s no shortage of hills to choose from for your sledding adventure, and the scenery just can’t be beat.
Where to go sledding in the suburbs
At more than 1,700 acres, Newtown’s Tyler State Park is pretty big — and it also happens to be basically one giant downhill slope that brings out the crowds when a good snow comes. Some favorite spots, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural (DCNR), are located just below the Upper Plantation Picnic Area parking lot, and west of the park’s covered bridge — so plan accordingly.
Located in Quakertown, Nockamixon State Park is home to all kinds of winter activities, ranging from ice fishing to cross-country skiing. But it’s also a great sledding spot, particularly if you head to the area above the park’s marina (the DCNR suggests parking in lot 13 for easy access if you go).
If you feel like the other spots on the list haven’t given you the room you’ve needed to let loose on the slopes, this Downingtown park should have you covered — you know, considering it has something like seven acres of sledding hills to check out. To get there, the DCNR recommends heading to the picnic area at the East Launch.
For a relaxed day of sledding, head on out to Media’s Rose Tree Park. There, you’ll find 120 acres of gentle, rolling slopes that are perfect for initiating young, inexperienced sledders. And if you want something a little more exciting, Ridley Creek State Park — located a couple miles from Rose Tree Park — has some great options right by its park office.
Yes, Valley Forge is a fantastic historical landmark, having served as the location for George Washington’s winter encampment in 1777 and 1778. But it’s also a great place to get some sledding done for the whole family. The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board has a few recommendations, including hills near the Memorial Arch and statue of Anthony Wayne.
Where to go sledding in New Jersey
At about 50 acres, this Sicklerville park isn’t huge, but it is a favorite sledding spot among locals when a good winter snow hits. Hit the walking path to easily find plenty of hills to choose from, and get sledding.
In the warmer months, this Mount Laurel Township park is known for its small fishing lake and nature trail — but come winter, it’s a hot spot for South Jersey locals looking for some good sledding. Head there to find the park’s designated sledding hill, which is near the parking lot, and features a long slope that’s on the gentler side of things, making it great for youngsters.
Back in the late 1800s, this spot was part of a coastal defense system on the Delaware River. But these days, come winter it’s a favorite sledding spot for folks in Salem County. It’s not for the totally faint of heart, though, as the hills and embankments can get a little steep for inexperienced sledders — but they are good for picking up some serious speed.