Of all the performing arts, it's music for which Philadelphia is most renowned and the Philadelphia Orchestra of which its residents are most proud. Though the Orchestra has undergone some financial hardships in recent years, the hope is it can rebound and regain its place among the world's elite. The city also serves as a major stop for touring productions of shows from A Chorus Line to Spring Awakening, and the local theater scene, which supports more than two dozen regional and local companies, is thriving.

Since the opening of the Kimmel Center in 2001, Philadelphia has enjoyed an embarrassment of riches when it comes to performance space. The Academy of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's previous home, remains open in all its finery; the Annenberg and Painted Bride house everything from theater to performance art; and both the Mann Center and the Susquehanna Bank Center remain premier outdoor amphitheaters.

Classical music in Philadelphia begins with the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, which, under music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, has kept its remarkable pedigree. But there is also the Chamber Orchestra, which is also housed in the glorious Kimmel Center; the venerable Philly Pops; and the very talented students of the Curtis Institute, to round out the bill.

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  • 1. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

    Center City West | Concerts

    This striking complex evokes Philadelphia's traditional redbrick structures, while making a contemporary design statement. The 450,000-square...Read More

  • 2. Philadelphia Folk Festival


    First held in 1961, the oldest continuously running folk festival in the country takes place each year in late August. Arlo Guthrie, Levon Helm...Read More

  • 3. Academy of Music

    Center City West | Concerts

    Inspired by Milan's La Scala opera house and completed in 1857, the Academy of Music is the oldest grand opera house in the country still used...Read More

  • 4. Annenberg Center

    University City | Concerts

    The performing-arts complex on University of Pennsylvania's campus features multiple stages, from the 115-seat Bruce Montgomery Theatre to the...Read More

  • 5. Arden Theatre Company

    Old City | Theater

    The Arden, formed in 1988, is known for premiering new works and offering a mix of classic drama, comedy, and musicals, with a special affinity...Read More

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  • 6. AVA Opera Theatre

    Rittenhouse Square | Opera

    The resident artists at the Academy of Vocal Arts, a four-year, tuition-free vocal training program, present four or five fully staged opera...Read More

  • 7. Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia

    Center City West | Music

    Directed by Dirk Brossé, this prestigious group performs chamber music from September to May at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for...Read More

  • 8. Clark Park Summer Solstice Festival

    University City | Festivals

    The vivacious Clark Park Summer Solstice Festival has a full lineup of live bands, performers, vendors, and the fabulous, multicultural energy...Read More

  • 9. Curtis Institute of Music

    Rittenhouse Square | Music

    The gifted students at this world-renowned music conservatory give free recitals several times a week from October through May at 8 pm. All...Read More

  • 10. Forrest Theatre

    Center City East | Theater

    The Forrest is the place to catch Broadway blockbusters in Philadelphia. About eight high-profile shows are presented each season—think hits...Read More

  • 11. Freedom Theatre

    North Philadelphia | Theater

    The oldest and most active African-American theater in Pennsylvania is nationally renowned. Performances are scheduled throughout the year,...Read More

  • 12. Keswick Theatre


    This 1,300-seat hall is a former vaudeville house and cinema that's on the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its fine acoustics...Read More

  • 13. Mann Center for the Performing Arts

    Fairmount | Concerts

    Pop, jazz, contemporary music, Broadway theater, opera, dance, and Shakespeare are presented in this open-air amphitheater in Fairmount Park...Read More

  • 14. Merriam Theater

    Center City West | Theater

    Built in 1918 as the Shubert, the ornate 1,688-seat theater has had many stage greats, including Al Jolson, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn,...Read More

  • 15. NextMove

    Center City West | Dance

    The NextMove series, which presents work from both national and internationally known companies, began calling the Prince Theater home during...Read More

  • 16. Opera Company of Philadelphia

    Center City West | Opera

    The company stages five or six productions a year between October and May at the Academy of Music; some operas have international stars. All...Read More

  • 17. Painted Bride Art Center

    Old City | Concerts

    By day it's a contemporary art gallery showing bold, challenging works. By night it's a multidisciplinary, multicultural performance center...Read More

  • 18. PECO Multicultural Series

    Penn's Landing | Festivals

    PECO, Philadelphia's primary electric provider, sponsors a series of global celebrations along Penn's Landing over summer weekends. Each installment...Read More

  • 19. Pennsylvania Ballet

    Center City West | Dance

    Artistic director Angel Corella leads the company through a season of classic favorites and new works; they dance on the stage of the Academy...Read More

  • 20. Philadelphia Chamber Music Society


    From October to May, the society presents 60 concerts featuring nationally and internationally known musicians. The schedule is packed with...Read More

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