Spruce Street Harbor Park officially opens

Matt Stanley

Sweet, sweet summertime may be officially a few weeks away, but Summer on the Waterfront officially opened this week. The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. has been preparing for these incredible summer happenings for months, and finally, Philadelphians can indulge in the distinctive outdoor atmosphere, tasty treats and unforgettable experiences that we have all been waiting for at Spruce Street Harbor Park.

Matt Stanley

Spruce Street Harbor Park Sustained by Univest is a picturesque outdoor oasis filled with color, unique designs, hammocks by the water, refreshing beverages, mouth-watering vendors and more, and in 2021 there are a few new surprises. However, returning this year are a few staples: games such as cornhole, giant Connect Four, giant Legos, bocce, and giant Jenga will return to the space that’s decked out with their signature technicolored lights. Another notable return is a familiar and sweet treat that locals will recognize. French Toast bites by Lokal Artisan Foods is setting up shop for the 2021 summer season down at Spruce Street Harbor Park, and although the stand’s offerings are focused on a classic dish, the menu items are truly unique.

Philadelphians can follow the wafting smell of cinnamon and sugar and enjoy a few staple items such as French Toast Bites with fresh seasonal berries, whipped cream and caramel drizzle ($8), French Toast Milkshakes ($7), Bacon on a Stick ($5), Vegan French Toast Bites ($8) and other beverages and treats as well that are going to be announced. However, the newest addition to these tasty treats are that there are new vegan options on the table. If you can’t make it to Spruce Street, just a short walk down the river is another location for McGill Cherry Street Pier as well.

According to the release, other Spruce Street Harbor Park eats will turn toward the park’s roots, featuring more local up and comers in Philly’s vibrant food scene. New this year are three exciting offerings; Philly Taco which will take over on the Barge; Dre’s Water Ice and Ice Cream, a local small-batch business making homemade real fruit water ice with flavors like mango, passionfruit, strawberry lemonade, and peach, as well as southern style ice creams including sweet potato, banana pudding, and peach cobbler; and a new Boardwalk-style eatery which will be frying up funnel cake and fried oreos and spinning fresh cotton candy.

Kate Kelly

Out towards the water with lines of Philadelphians grabbing some shade away from the heat over the floating hammocks on the Delaware River, visitors can also find some solace in the form of the floating Barge Oasis. There, diners can indulge in The Barge Bar, a lush Beer Garden, and of course Philly favorite Chickie’s & Pete’s will all be back in action for this exciting season.

Outside around the perimeter, passerby can also be enticed with a brand new set of hammocks with bright new colors, all of which will be undergoing regular, enhanced cleaning protocols, three exciting new boardwalk eateries, and a new contactless arcade payment system with prepaid card swipes and self-service payment kiosks that accept cash or cards.

Riverside hammocks and lounge rentals are also returning this year. Four riverside hammock lounges will be available for 90 minute rental increments at a newly reduced $75 fee, Friday through Sunday. Each lounge can accommodate up to 10 people with self-service pay as you go food and beverage. Pre-purchased food and beverage and a dedicated server can also be arranged.

The release states: As the City of Philadelphia prepares to lift COVID-19 restrictions on June 11, the Delaware River Waterfront remains the best place to gather safely outdoors with family and friends to enjoy sunny days, warm summer nights, great eats, fun games, chill moments swinging in hammocks under the trees, and mesmerizing lights. Exciting programming is also planned for Spruce Street Harbor Park. Launching on Memorial Day Weekend and reappearing on select days in June is the Makers Market, a specialty market featuring custom creations by local vendors. Makers Market dates are: May 29 and 30, June 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Matt Stanley

For more information on Spruce Street Harbor Park, visit delawareriverwaterfront.com