We would all love to get away from it all for a spectacular Pennsylvania waterfall weekend, but sometimes that’s just not possible…which is why we went search for some of the best urban waterfalls in the state.
These man-made falls can be found in the midst of the city, and offer sweet little tranquil escapes without the trek out to the state’s beautiful natural areas. Here are 9 urban waterfalls that provide a cool mini “getaway” from your busy day.
1. Steinman Park Waterfall and Fountain
This man-made waterfall in Lancaster drops 20 feet over a red brick wall and into a fountain pool in Steinman Park. The enclosed plaza located at its base is filled with bistro tables surrounding the small pools and provides an unexpected, tranquil oasis in the middle of the city.
20 West King Street, Lancaster, PA 17602
2. Morris Arboretum Step Fountain
The Step Fountain, built in 1916, is located in the English Park and is one of ten water features at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Philadelphia. The Beaux Arts architectural design reflects a popular late Victorian-era style.
100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
3. The Water Steps in North Shore Riverfront Park
The Water Steps are constructed from hundreds of sandstone blocks and cover nearly 40 feet of waterfront space in North Shore Riverfront Park. The reflecting pool and pedestrian bridge through Canal Square are a popular spot to visit for the best views of the city skyline.
Art Rooney Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
4. Rauchtown Run in Ravensburg State Park
Rauchtown Creek, a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River, was dammed during the Civilian Conservation Corps project during the Great Depression that created Ravensburg State Park. The short, wide falls can be found at the southern end of the park via the Raven Trail, which offers a lovely little walk along Rauch Run with three beautiful covered bridge river crossings.
2388 Rauchtown Rd, Jersey Shore, PA 17044
5. Boathouse Row
This site along the Schuylkill River in Philly includes 15 different boathouses, casual and competitive rowing clubs, and holds a deep historical presence in the city. Boathouse Row is the home to many regattas that take place along the river, including the famous Head of the Schuylkill race. The nearby Fairmount Water Works, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was an active site between 1812 and 1909, built the Fairmount Dam in 1822, which created a spillway across the Schuylkill and produced the “Schuylkill Pond” upriver, which is where the regattas take place. This is a great spot to visit in October, when the competitive regattas take place!
1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA 19130
6. John F. Collins Park
The water features at John F. Collins Park in Rittenhouse Square may not be the dramatic image that the word “waterfall” bring to mind, but this spot is so cool that we think it deserves to be recognized. If you didn’t know this park existed, you could blink and miss it entirely; it’s tucked away in a small alleyway between businesses on Chestnut Street. The miniature park has been around since 1979 and the brick walls surrounding the space are covered in beautiful green ivy. At its center, you will find a simple concrete column fountain designed as an abstract interpretation of totems found in Native American culture.
1707 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19103
7. The BioPond at James G. Kaskey Memorial Garden
This five-acre green space was constructed in 1897 by Dr. John M. McFarland, a botany professor at University of Pennsylvania, for use as a research site for plant scientists. These days, the BioPond is a small, lush oasis in the midst of a busy campus within a metro city and is home to fish, birds, and wildlife that are rare in other locations. The site is free to visit and open year round and is a surprising find, even to some students attending the university! There are several small spillways within the park that contribute to the tranquil scene.
3710 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
8. The Aquetong Creek Dam Waterfall
This little waterfall in New Hope may be man-made, but it’s just as pretty as a natural falls! The stone dam that the Aquetong Creek spills over is only about 12 feet tall, but is easily accessible and a lovely place to visit, especially when combined with a day trip to New Hope and a visit to the Bucks County Playhouse.
70 South Main Street, New Hope, Pennsylvania 18938
9. Tenth Street Water Feature at David L. Lawrence Convention Center
These “falls” are truly mesmerizing! You probably wouldn’t expect to be wow-ed by a water feature at an event space, but the David L. Lawrence Convention Center isn’t your average spot – when it was constructed in 2003, it was the largest Gold LEED certified green building in the world. By 2012, the building was awarded Platinum LEED certification. While this is all very cool, what does it have to do with waterfalls? Well, wander on down to 10th street and you are in for a treat: the pedestrian walkway that passes under the Convention Center passes through 17-foot-tall walls of flowing water illuminated by LED lights. We could stand here for hours watching the colors shimmering across the walls.
1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
If you haven’t seen the Tenth Street Water Feature, you need to shut down your computer, hop in your car, and go see this place. We can’t stop watching the pretty colors!
Do you know of any spectacular urban waterfalls that we may have missed (they can be tricky to find!)? Where do you head for an urban escape when you need to get away from it all? Tell us about it in the comments below!