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15 Reasons to Visit Philadelphia Now

From fireworks to festivals, here’s your go-to guide to summer in the City of Brotherly Love.


What’s New

Last month, after a $150-million relocation from Merion to the Parkway, the Barnes Foundation opened its doors to the public, adding another venue to Philly’s Museum Mile. Go to see Post-Impressionist paintings from heavy hitters of the art world like Cézanne, Matisse, and Renoir.

Danny Meyer’s beloved NYC burger stand Shake Shack has found a home in the city earlier this month. Check out the dessert menu for some Philly flavor, with custard add-ins such as Philly soft pretzels, La Colombe coffee beans, and Termini Bros. cannoli shells.


Culinary Events

June 29 – July 1

For a view of Philadelphia’s food scene beyond cheesesteaks and water ice, head to Taste of Philadelphia, where 26 restaurants and food trucks will serve up bite-sized dishes for only a few dollars each.

June 30 – July 1

For just $7, ice cream fanatics can belly up to an all-you-can-eat ice cream buffet at the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival. More than 20 ice cream and water ice companies will be represented, and all proceeds benefit the Joshua Kahan Fund, fighting to cure pediatric cancer (meaning you can feel good about going, and skip the calorie guilt).

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September 8 – 9

This year marks the 27th Annual Mushroom Festival in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square, just 30 miles from downtown Philadelphia. Don’t miss a chance to tour a mushroom farm, one of the festival highlights.

September 12

The culinary and art worlds come together each year for Feastival, a food-focused fundraiser for the Philadelphia arts scene. Sample food from 75 of the city’s top chefs like Jose Garces, Marc Vetri, Micael Solomonov, and more, while roaming through live performances from jazz musicians to acrobats.


Live Music

July 4

Philadelphia knows how to throw a birthday bash. With dozens of events happening all over the city—from games, music, and food on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to a parade through historic Philadelphia—we’re sure you won’t run out of things to do. But the main event has got to be the 4th of July Jam, billed as "The Largest Free Concert in America." Homegrown band The Roots will headline the night, with performances by Queen Latifah, Common, Joe Jonas, and Daryl Hall, among others. But don’t leave as soon as the mics are off; stay for the fireworks finale over the Art Museum.

Weekends, July 16 – September 9

Step out to the riverfront for free alfresco concerts, ranging from jazz to doo wop, all summer long.

September 1 – 2

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z will headline and curate the first ever Made in America Festival in Philadelphia this Labor Day weekend. The full line-up hasn’t yet been released, but it’s sure to be an eclectic group, with legendary rockers Pearl Jam, dubstep king Skrillex, and R&B artist D’Angelo among the announced performers. Tickets are currently on sale at an early-bird rate of $135 for a 2-day pass.


Philly After Dark

Through September 29

UK light artist Bruce Munro was commissioned to transform 23 pristine acres of Longwood Gardens into the after-hours exhibition, Light. The result, fields of lights resembling flowers and delicate lights portraying raindrops, is magical.

Thursdays, July 5 – August 30

Head to Penn’s Landing on Thursdays throughout July and August for Movies Under the Stars, showing free flicks from Mission Impossible to the Muppets.

Fridays, July 27th – August 31

This summer, the fireworks don’t stop once the 4th is over. A new series, Friday Night Lights, will light up the night skies over the Delaware River each Friday, six weeks in a row. Add these to the Independence Day displays, and Philadelphia is set to see more fireworks shows this summer than ever before.

August 16

Philadelphia’s surging street-food scene culminates at its summer Night Markets, when dozens of food trucks and vendors descend on designated neighborhoods for a pay-as-you go dining experience complete with beer and live music.


Cultural Calendar

July 14

Party like its 1789 with the Bastille Day Festival, centered around Eastern State Penitentiary. Check out the street performance (think confetti canyons and stilt walkers) and reenactments, with appearances by Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Benjamin Franklin.

September 7 – 22

Experimental theater fans won’t want to miss the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, held each year in September. Catch one of nearly 700 performances from dancers, actors, musicians and visual artists during this 16 day event.

Thinking of a trip to Philadelphia?

For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the best planning advice, check out our Philadelphia Travel Guide.

Photo Credits: The Barnes Foundation: Tom Crane / The Barnes Foundation; Philly Feastival: Suzanne Tenuto / Longwood Gardens; Bastille Day: Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary

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