Cira Green

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA)

Cira Green: a trip to this elevated public garden places you in the middle of bustling Philadelphia and also apart from it, all at once.

What is Cira Green?

You’ve heard of a rooftop bar, or a rooftop pool, maybe even a rooftop restaurant (I’m thinking the kind where you get strapped in, legs dangling) but have you ever considered a rooftop park? Well now you can. Cira Green is a stunning park situated atop a 17-story parking garage in West Philadelphia’s University City District. The space offers chilled-out lounging areas, entertainment, food, and special events.

Completed in 2015, this innovative green space — covering 1.25 acres — is the result of a joint effort between the Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University. It represents an iconic symbol of sustainable urban development; blending nature and modern technology to create an inspiring environment promoting health, wellness, and community engagement.

Why was Cira Green Built?

"[Cira Green] was an effort to take over an acre and convert that into public green space. It was one project, but it’s linked visually to a dozen other projects that you can see from Cira Green that are also green areas. You can start to conceive of the Philadelphia roofscape as being green."

Charlie Miller of Roofmeadow, the landscape architect behind Cira Green.

Formerly, Cira Green was an unoccupied dead space atop a parking garage. Now the award-winning park has cleverly contributed to the much needed green space of its residing neighbourhood. This in turn has served to attract new businesses and residents to the University City neighborhood, contributing to its continued growth and revitalization.

"When we first came to this neighborhood in 2005, this wasn’t a normal place to put residential and office development. But we’ve helped create a dynamic neighborhood with huge plans to carry that forward. [Cira Green] is an important ingredient to our long-term development of the area."

Ron Pluto, director of engineering for Brandywine Realty Trust.

Alongside Philadelphia's need for a more green, less concrete jungle aesthetic, the park was also created with blue and green roof principles that added to the overall innovative stormwater management system, which is a good example of reducing runoff and flooding risk at the site and the surrounding area.

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Views of the Philadelphia Skyline

Features of Cira Green

The Space

Despite Cira Green’s unique placement — 100 ft upwards — the space itself does feel very much like your average park. There are walkways, tables, benches, and stretches of grass perfect for throwing down a blanket and picnic.

The Greenery

The space has been carefully curated to not only increase visual appeal for visitors, but also promote biodiversity. The green roof is made up of a range of plant life including grasses, shrubs, and native trees such as locust and oak trees.

This vegetation helps with water management, absorbs carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air — reducing the park’s carbon footprint — and offers a welcoming habitat for bees.


Due to the increased risk of high speed winds — making one’s trip to a rooftop of any kind a potentially unpleasant and risky experience — the design team gave Cira Green a sloping topography. This element slows the wind and prevents it from ripping through the planted areas of the garden. It also aids in channeling water and adds to the overall visual prowess of the garden.

The View

Eastward, Cira Green has an unobstructed view of the Philadelphia skyline since the train track, highway, and Schuylkill River prevent any tall buildings being built nearby. This makes it the idyllic spot for a little early evening photography session.

There are also unobstructed views out over West Philadelphia, but from a photography perspective this angle is a little lacking.

Sustainability Aspects of Cira Green

Stormwater Management System

One of the most impressive features of Cira Green is its sustainability initiatives. The park was designed to be a model of green technology and environmentally conscious design. It is equipped with an innovative stormwater management system. Utilising a series of green roofs, permeable pavements, and rain gardens, this system collects and filters rainwater before it enters the city's sewer system. This reduces the risk of flooding and pollution in the local waterways.


By using solar panels the park can generate renewable energy to power its own seating areas, lighting, and other amenities, helping to reduce its carbon footprint. This lighting is designed to be energy-efficient and low-impact keeping light pollution and energy waste to a minimum.

Events at Cira Green

Cira Green hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including yoga classes, pop-up concepts (like food, drink, and sports pop-ups), movie screenings on the city’s largest outdoor HD screen, and live performances.

Not only does the park put on fantastic entertainment events, it is also a great example of how a public space can bring people together and foster a sense of community. It does this by running educational workshops, clean-ups, and environmental festivals. These particular events raise awareness about conservation issues, inspiring people to get involved in protecting the environment.

Sunset Social

The park is also home to Sunset Social. This laid-back restaurant operates from mid-spring until the fall and according to locals is what makes Cira Green one of the best destinations in the city.

Serving casual bites and beverages, of which includes signature burgers, sandwiches, beer, wine, and cocktails, Sunset Social also hosts a programme of weekly events including drink specials, and lawn games.

The Post at Cira Garage

New to the Cira complex, The Post is a beer hall and arcade situated on the lower level of the garage. It mimics the Green’s relaxed vibe without losing any of its quality and serves an impressive list of wine, beer, and cocktails.

Beyond eating and drinking your cares away, The Post also has an array of video, arcade, and board games such as shuffleboard, virtual golf, skeeball, and Trivia Pursuit.

Our thoughts…

Cira Green is clearly a remarkable example of how sustainable design and community engagement can come together to create a vibrant and inspiring public space out of quite literally nothing! It can also serve as a model for other cities looking to promote sustainability, encourage community involvement, and enhance their urban landscapes.

On the ground… (17 stories up!) the park is a popular destination for local residents, students, and workers, providing a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city below. If you ever find yourself in Philly, be sure to visit the park and experience its unique blend of technology, nature, and community for yourself!

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What you need to know

Cira Green
80 S 30th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
39.952682, -75.183434
Tips before you visit

There are several prohibited activities at Cira Green. These include:

  • No smoking.
  • No BBQs or cooking.
  • No sports including football, soccer, basketball, skateboarding, frisbee, biking.
  • No open fires.
  • No loud music.
  • No outsize alcohol or other beverages.
  • No climbing on or standing/sitting in flower beds.