Nightlife & the Arts in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Nightlife

Philadelphia has a rhythm of its own. Whether you're listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra while picnicking on the lawn at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, or having a jazz brunch at one of the countless fab places all over town, you'll soon be caught up in that rhythm.

Listen to a chanteuse in a chic basement nightclub, dance till 2 am in a bustling bistro, or sip cocktails in any number of swank lounges. South Street between Front and 9th streets is still hip, with one-of-a-kind shops, bookstores, galleries, restaurants, and bars that attract the young and the restless in droves. At the trendy bars and clubs of Old City, the crowd is a bit more chic and upscale; the hipster-artist enclaves of Northern Liberties and Port Richmond have become the City's main nightlife flashpoints over the last few years. Main Street in Manayunk, in the northwest section of the city, has also arrived as a fashionable nightlife destination, especially for college students. More than a dozen clubs line the Delaware River waterfront, most near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Besides its club scene, Philadelphia also has larger venues—and draws big names—for rock, pop, and jazz concerts.

There's no shortage of live entertainment, ranging from the Philly Pops to the Philadelphia Folk Festival. There are also summer concerts of popular and classical music at the Penn's Landing amphitheater, right on the shore of the Delaware River, and at Fairmount Park's Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Huge rock groups stop in Philadelphia on their national tours, playing at the Wells Fargo Center; the Keswick Theatre, in suburban Glenside; or the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey. Smaller bands hit great venues like the TLA on South Street, the Trocadero in Chinatown, Johnny Brendas in Fishtown, and the World Cafe Live—home of WXPN's famed radio broadcast—in University City.

This is a city of neighborhoods, and you can find entertainment in all of them. From Broadway shows at the Forrest Theater to performance art and poetry readings at the Painted Bride, there's always something new to explore. The city's Avenue of the Arts cultural district on North and South Broad streets is one significant sign of the continued energy in town. Of the arts venues on the avenue, some are long-standing, such as the stunning Academy of Music and the Merriam Theater; others, including the Wilma Theater and the Prince Music Theater, are more recent additions, along with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the spectacular home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Depending on the time of year, you might also be able to take part in annual music events such as the Roots Picnic in early June, or citywide arts festivals like the renowned International Film Festival or the cutting-edge Fringe Festival, both in autumn.

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