Sustainable City Guides | Philadelphia



You asked us for more information on green cities to live and travel—we reached out to our community for help, and with pleasure we're sharing our first sustainable city guide! Tami Seymour is touring us around her green city, Philadelphia! Are you a photographer interested in sharing your city? Drop us a line!

AFTER LIVING IN SEATTLE—THE LAND OF THE OUTDOORS, where plastic bags are frowned upon and everything is either recycled or composted, and cycling is one of the preferred modes of transportation—I wasn’t sure what to expect when I moved back east to Philadelphia. As it happened, not long after we moved into town, one of the goals set by the mayor’s office was to make Philadelphia the number one green city in America. Eight years later, Philadelphia continues to make good on that promise and has made great strides toward its commitment to sustainability.

Since we are a big cycling family and because Philly has such great trail systems, I recommend you experience and traverse the city on a bike. There are plenty of places around the city where you can rent bikes and there is also Indego the newly launched Philly bike share program.

The ride begins at the corner of Greene and Carpenter in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia at the High Point Cafe for coffee and crepes and Weavers Way Co-op to stock up on snacks for the ride.

High Point Cafe is a small coffee shop that has some of the best coffee, crepes and pastries in town. High Point ethically sources all of their green coffee beans with importers who have direct relationships with the farms and farmers they buy their beans from. They believe in using local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible. They even package up used coffee grounds for customers to take home to use in their garden or compost.


You can find the Carpenter Lane High Point at 602 Carpenter Ln, Phila, Pa 19119 (215) 849-5153

Weavers Way Co-op is just across the street from High Point Cafe. Weavers way is a cooperative food market that is open to the public. It is membership owned and “has an ongoing commitment to serve and forge a bond between local sustainable food producers and the co-op community”. They have several markets around the area and two farm locations—the farms provide environmentally responsible produce to Weavers Way markets as well as local farmers markets and the Henry Got Crops CSA.


Find Mt. Airy Weavers Way Co-op at 559 Carpenter Ln Phila, Pa 19119 (215) 843-2350

After filling up on coffee and crepes and packing your backpacks full snacks, head down to Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park. Wissahickon Valley Park is part of Fairmount Park, the largest urban park in the US. You could spend an entire day there exploring, hiking, running, mountain biking, or leisurely biking along Forbidden Drive.


The Forbidden Drive trail will lead you to the Kelly Drive section of the Schuylkill trail which runs along the Schuylkill River. It is a beautiful ride dedicated to cyclists and joggers that leads directly to Center City. Along the way, you will pass Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and Paine’s Skate Park. The path along Kelly Drive ultimately leads into Schuylkill Banks, a restored greenspace with a footbridge that runs over the river.

Once in Center City, head to PS&Co for lunch on the Southeast corner of Rittenhouse Square. PS&Co is a charming cafe that is 100% organic, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher parve. Their menu changes daily as they source local and organic ingredients. They serve cold-pressed juices, smoothies, coffee, salads, rolls, sandwiches, and noodles. My favorites are any of their rolls, the garden pad thai, and the young coconut yogurt.

You can find PS&Co at 1706 Locust Street, Phila, Pa 19103 (215) 985-1706


The final destination of the ride will take you into Old City to the shop Meadowsweet Mercantile. The Meadowsweet Mercantile space is so beautiful you will want to move in. They have a love for “simple things made with care” and their space reflects this. The shop is a curated collection of goods from American makers, vintage denim, and found pieces for the home and garden.


Meadowsweet Mercantile is located at 47 N Second St, Phila, Pa 19106 (215) 756 4802

After a day of exploring Philly by bike head out to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education for a day filled with outdoor learning and exploring. The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education is one of the first urban environmental education centers in the country. It’s situated on 340 acres with over three miles of diverse hiking trails and a variety of educational programs for all ages. In the main building you will find interactive exhibits, a bookstore and gift shop, and an art gallery. The center is also home to a Wildlife Clinic that cares for injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife native to southeastern Pennsylvania. Since the opening of the Wildlife Clinic in 1987 they have treated over 40,000 animals.



Find Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education at 8480 Hagy's Mill Road Phila, PA 19128 (215) 482-7300

There is a lot of momentum and a lot of awareness around making the city a healthier, cleaner, more vibrant city. Having seen such progress since moving here, I am excited about the strides the Philadelphia community will make during the next 5, 10, 15 years.

To read more about the sustainability community in Philadelphia visit these local Philadelphia publications. Green Philly blog, Grid Magazineand Greenworks Philly blog.


TAMI SEYMOUR: Tami is a photographer based in Philadelphia. She began her career in Seattle working with clients such as Boeing, Microsoft, US Bank and Eddie Bauer, among others. Through her photography, Tami has helped shape the brands for a variety of companies. If Tami is not behind a camera or a computer, you can probably find her with her four favorite people, her husband, Tim, and their three kids: Stella, Ruby and Ian, or perhaps on her bike, running through the trails or swimming. View her work at: