Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Upper Darby, PA

  • Published 2023/02/20

Upper Darby is a bustling municipality in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

It’s mostly known as a suburb of Philadelphia, as the municipality is one of the largest near the historic city.

Only 20 minutes away from the City of Brotherly Love, Upper Darby is a fantastic addition to your itinerary because it’s also a historic place, brimming with old houses and trails.

There are also plenty of free things to do here, making budgeting much easier.

Some must-see attractions include Darby Creek and the Upper Darby Underground Railroad Trail.

Here’s a list of the free things to do in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to give you a glimpse of what it offers.

Read a Book at Upper Darby Sellers Memorial Free Library

Exterior of Upper Darby Sellers Memorial Free Library

Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Upper Darby Sellers Memorial Free Library is the municipality’s go-to public library if you mean to visit one during your stay.

It’s a beautiful and homey library that’s one of the best free things to do if you want some quiet time, especially if you’re going to Upper Darby during the winter.

Well-lit with tons of books, Upper Darby Sellers Memorial Free Library has a little bit of something for everyone, especially children.

The children’s section is probably the most extensive of their collections, making this an excellent place for students and toddlers.

The building has shades of history, making it an Instagram-worthy place.

Sellers Park is also just a few steps away if you want sunshine.

Relax at Naylors Run Park

Naylors Run Park is one of the finest attractions in Upper Darby, renowned for its lush greenery and a small stream that accentuates the serene vibe it emanates.

The picnic grounds here are some of the best among the suburbs of Philadelphia, providing you with a tranquil spot amidst bustling city life.

Its stream even has a mini waterfall, a great spot for scenic photography, especially during spring.

There’s more in store at Naylors Run Park, as the place also has recreational amenities such as playgrounds for kids and tennis courts for adults.

Conveniently located along Beverly Boulevard, Naylors Run Park is a must-visit during your trip to Upper Darby.

Trek the Darby Creek Trail

Darby Creek Trail is the most famous tourist attraction in Upper Darby, located in the neighborhood of Drexel Hill.

Darby Creek Trail will lead you to one of the most picturesque spots in the city, boasting waterfalls and serene waters that flow through the municipality.

There are also a ton of interesting rock formations here that give it a rustic aesthetic, perfect for landscape photography.

Darby Creek Trail’s beauty changes depending on the season, but it’s highly recommended to see this during spring or fall.

This trail is one of the prettiest spots in Delaware County.

Take a Scenic Stroll along Arlington Cemetery

Gravestone at Arlington Cemetery

Dwkaminski, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another free spot to experience the natural beauty of Upper Darby is the Arlington Cemetery.

While you might find it strange that a cemetery is an attraction, the beautiful landscaping, and greenery in Arlington Cemetery makes it a popular spot even for locals for a scenic stroll.

It’s also one of the biggest areas in Upper Darby, taking up a big portion of Drexel Hill.

The place is so big and beautiful that many family-oriented community events are typically held here.

Many different species of trees are found throughout the walking trails of Arlington Cemetery, best enjoyed during spring and fall.

Arlington Cemetery can be accessed conveniently along State Road.

Play Sports at Beverly Hills Recreation Area

Whether visiting with the family or looking for a nice place to break a sweat, Beverly Hills Recreation Area is a go-to place in Upper Darby.

The recreation area is home to several excellent sporting facilities, headed by its spacious soccer fields.

Locals also play softball here, something you can enjoy as a spectator, thanks to the bleachers around the area.

If you’re not a soccer or softball fan, there’s a lot of lush greenery around it, making it a great place to do some jogging.

Beverly Hills Recreation Area is a quaint spot to exercise if you have downtime during your trip.

You can find it along East Marshall Road.

Ride a Bike along the Historic Upper Darby Underground Railroad Trail

Upper Darby Underground Railroad Trail is a must-try activity if you’re bringing your bike.

Not only is it a sizable biking (and walking) trail, but it’s also brimming with history where you can do a self-guided tour.

The trail begins at Garrett Road from the east and ends at Friend Cemetery at the west, covering eight historical landmarks throughout your journey.

These landmarks include a historic farm, vintage houses, and prominent burial grounds.

The best way to experience Upper Darby Underground Railroad Trail is by downloading their online guide and reading as you visit each landmark.

Take the Kids to Observatory Recreation Area

Observatory Recreation Area is another fun place to play sports, known for its baseball fields and playground.

Located in a quaint neighborhood along Tobacco Road, this place is excellent for families as a late afternoon way to relax.

Locals go there all the time to bring their kids to play baseball or soccer; it is a great way to immerse yourself in the community.

Observatory Recreation Area is also near a few restaurants, making it convenient if you plan to have dinner afterward.

This spacious recreation area is an excellent add-on to your itinerary if you have some spare time.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Observe Wildlife at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

The waters of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Bo Shen /

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is a nearby attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 14 minutes from Upper Darby.

This wildlife refuge gives you access to the Tinicum Marsh, part of the Delaware River ecology.

Tons of wildlife live here, ranging from fish to migratory birds and various reptiles.

A bird at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Eric Dale /

What’s unique about this wildlife refuge is that they allow visitors to go fishing; you can even borrow rods and binoculars for free.

A visitor center also has a nice set of exhibits, making this a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Geese at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Bo Shen /

Explore Bartram’s Garden

Bartram’s Garden is scenic, with plenty of things to do.

A riverside park and garden gives you free access to the Schuylkill River, a haven for river activities such as kayaking and fishing.

Bartram’s Garden also has paved walking and biking trails, giving you fantastic views of Philadelphia.

Of course, it’s best known for its botanical life.

It sprawls with flowers and all kinds of shrubbery, further accentuating several historic buildings within the garden.

During winter, Bartram’s Garden transforms into a snow-clad field—another way to enjoy its beauty.

This garden is also in Philadelphia, 17 minutes from Upper Darby.

Take Cityscape Photos at Belmont Plateau

The grounds of Belmont Plateau


Belmont Plateau is an upland park offering fantastic cityscape views of Philadelphia, 15 minutes from Upper Darby.

Sprawling with historic buildings and greenery, Belmont Plateau is one of the best free spots if you’re looking for an intimate place.

As you explore its trails, you’ll soon find yourself at the very peak of the Belmont Plateau, where you can have sweeping views of Downtown Philadelphia.

Aerial view of Belmont Plateau

Timothy Sanders /

The views are best experienced at night when the city shines with light.

Belmont Plateau is also one of the most romantic spots near Upper Darby.

Visit the James G. Kaskey Memorial Park

One of Philadelphia’s most beautiful hidden gems is the James G. Kaskey Memorial Park, only 15 minutes from Upper Darby.

Located within the world-famous University of Pennsylvania campus, the park is free and open to the public year-round.

James G. Kaskey Memorial Park features beautiful gardens with ponds, streams, and mini waterfalls, accentuating its diverse plant life collection.

Many of its sitting areas have overgrown vegetation, giving this a serene, oasis-like ambiance.

If you’re looking for a quiet and intimate space amidst the hustle and bustle of Philly, this park should be atop your list.

See the World-Famous Liberty Bell

Daytime view of the World-Famous Liberty Bell

Michael Deemer /

The Liberty Bell is a 23-minute drive from Upper Darby and is something you’d be hard-pressed to miss, considering its fame.

If you’re not yet familiar with this attraction, it’s the historic bell that was rung in 1776 when the United States declared independence.

The bell is famous not only for its symbolism but also for its unique aesthetic that features ornate etchings.

Close view of the World-Famous Liberty Bell

Martin Conyon /

The Liberty Bell also has a giant crack that has long been the subject of debate; it’s also why the bell doesn’t ring anymore.

Besides the bell and numerous reading materials, visiting this place also means touring Franklin Square.

This is a can’t-miss destination when visiting the City of Brotherly Love.

Exterior of the World-Famous Liberty Bell building

Roman Babakin /

Take a Self-Guided Tour of Rolling Hill Park

Rolling Hill Park is in the neighboring town of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, 19 minutes from Upper Darby.

This park offers several different hiking trails that lead you to many exciting sub-attractions, primarily headlined by some remarkable ruins.

The ruins are old stone mill houses from past centuries now overgrown with vegetation, giving them a unique aesthetic that certain photographers would love.

You’ll also find other old stone houses along the way, complete with reading material for your self-guided tour.

Rolling Hill Park also has some steep sections, making it a popular hiking spot.

See the Historic Lower Swedish Cabin

One of the most historic cabins in the United States is the Lower Swedish Cabin, located in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, ten minutes from Upper Darby.

This two-story log cabin dates back to the mid-1600s, making this one of the oldest preserved cabins in America.

The cabin was constructed by the Swedish settlers, one of the pioneering Europeans that immigrated to the U.S. hundreds of years ago.

Rustic and primarily unaltered, the Lower Swedish Cabin will transport you back in time.

Seeing the cabin is free, so put this atop your priority list when you visit Upper Darby.

Experience the Wilderness of Pilgrim Park

Pilgrim Park is another spot to enjoy Darby Creek, located along Township Line Road in the neighborhood of Drexel Hill, six minutes from Upper Darby.

The park has a walking trail that you can explore for a considerable length, leading you to a lot of wooded areas for a rustic experience of Darby Creek.

While the nature trail is a little off the urban areas of the municipality, you can still easily access it as it’s right across a shopping center.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Pilgrim Park connects to another creekside area called Darby Creek Valley Park.

Having a bike will make this a better experience if you’re planning to traverse a significant stretch of Pilgrim Park.

Final Thoughts

Upper Darby is a historic municipality that merges the past with the present well.

With an abundance of free things to do in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, creating a budget-friendly itinerary will be a cinch.

Start planning your trip today!

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