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Mar 28 2016

18 Reasons To Book A Trip To Philadelphia This Year

The Democratic National Convention, The 200th Anniversary Celebration Of The AME Church, Creative Africa Summer At The Art Museum & Many Other Happenings Pack The Calendar

Recently named the first and only World Heritage City in the United States and Lonely Planet’s “Best in the U.S.” destination for 2016, Philadelphia is enjoying an action-packed year filled with attraction openings and expansions, only-in-Philly events and don’t-miss exhibitions—all happenings that will complement the immensely walkable city’s buzzed-about dining scene, vibrant art offerings, plentiful parks and public spaces and history galore. 

Roaring animatronic dinosaurs will lumber into The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for Dinosaurs Unearthed. Historic Philadelphia, Inc. added a new women-focused exhibit to the Betsy Ross House, and America’s most historic square mile welcomes Colonial Stations and a new, kid-pleasing puppet show. Of course, all eyes will be on Philadelphia in July when democrats nominate their candidate for president during the Democratic National Convention.

Here are 18 reasons to visit Philadelphia in ’16:

Openings & Expansions:

  1. Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s beloved Once Upon A Nation program expands to delve deeper into the stories of history makers. Performers throughout America’s most historic square mile portray George and Martha Washington recalling 40 years of marriage, a Continental Army solider discussing his service and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in heated debate. New Colonial Stations include crafting and 18th-century games and music, and children help puppet animals search for a lost copy of the Declaration of Independence during the Colonial Kids’ Quest Puppet Show. Through September 5, 2016. Locations throughout Historic Philadelphia. (800) 537-7676, historicphiladelphia.org
  2. When the doors to Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazόn Cultural Center swing open, visitors will discover the largest Puerto Rican/Latino-based arts and cultural facility in the state of Pennsylvania. Ten years in the making, the 25,000-square-foot centerpiece of El Centro de Oro neighborhood will house a multipurpose 200-seat theater, exhibition and gallery spaces, education facilities, an enclosed playground, gift shop and cafe. Fall 2016. 2600 N. 5th Street, (215) 426-3311, tallerpr.org

Events & Festivals:

  1. The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2016, and the festivities will take place in Philadelphia, where the church was founded. Bicentennial events include a major gospel concert; a social justice forum; a tribute to Sarah Allen, the church’s founding mother; an unveiling of the Bishop Richard Allen Memorial Courtyard; and a new mural dedication. In July, congregants head to Philly for the AME general conference. Through July 13, 2016. Various locations. motherbethel.org
  2. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) will enliven a much-discussed abandoned elevated rail line during the PHS Pop Up Garden at the Rail Park. While Philadelphians patiently wait for the three-mile Reading Viaduct Rail Park to transform into an aboveground public space (think High Line, but less manicured), installations and activations will highlight the site’s history. It will culminate with the PHS’ popular Pop Up Garden, complete with landscaping, food, beer and programs inspired by the location. Through October 1, 2016. 10th & Hamilton Streets, (215) 988-8800, phsonline.org
  3. This summer, Philadelphia will take the international spotlight (again) as delegates, elected officials and citizens from around the nation gather for the Democratic National Convention, when the Democratic Party selects its nominee for president of the United States. The birthplace of American democracy will be abuzz with special events and activities throughout the city leading up to and during the four-day event. July 25-28, 2016. phldnc.com

Exhibitions:

  1. Woody and Nemo took shape in the imaginations of the creative teams at Pixar, and they sprang onto the screen through science, technology, engineering and math. At The Franklin Institute’s The Science Behind Pixar, 40 interactive exhibits guide film fans of all ages through the production process and demonstrate how science and technology turn ideas into award-winning films. Selfie alert: Human-size recreations of favorite characters include Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode and WALL•E. Through September 5, 2016. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu
  2. What does it take to run for the highest office in the land? At the National Constitution Center’s timely Headed to the White House exhibition, visitors become candidates with their own campaigns. As they learn the strategy and legacy of making a run for the White House, presidential wannabes will engage with an interactive speech coach, make their own campaign stickers and create a TV commercial using the “Ad-o-Matic” machine—all while learning about the constitutional legacy of national elections. Through November 13, 2016. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
  3. The Golden Age of King Midas makes its exclusive world premiere at the Penn Museum. The treasures of rare art and artifacts from the Republic of Turkey were excavated at the ancient city of Gordion, where the real King Midas lived, and include items found in his father’s tomb. Through November 27, 2016. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum
  4. Patriots & Pirates, the newest permanent exhibition at the Independence Seaport Museum, lays out the dramatic origins of the U.S. Navy. After the Revolutionary War, Philadelphia shipbuilders constructed the country’s first fleet of frigates (warships) to protect American merchant sailors from rampant pirates. Objects on display include a circa-1793 letter to Congress from kidnapped Americans and a full-size, walk-on, waterline model of the American topsail schooner Diligence of 1797, built on-site by museum staff and volunteers. 211 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org
  5. One season, five exhibitions. That’s Creative Africa at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building. The centerpiece, Look Again: Contemporary Perspectives on African Art, draws from the Penn Museum’s renowned collection and spans 400 years, reflecting the diversity among African cultures. On view: bronze sculptures, full elephant tusks, textiles and ritual figures. Creative Africa also includes exhibits featuring contemporary photography, a site-specific installation and fashion, as well as annual kid-focused Art Splash. Through September 25, 2016. 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
  6. The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts two timely exhibits this year. Arresting Patterns assembles artworks to represent oft-overlooked patterns of racial disparity in the United States’ criminal justice system. New Haven-based artist Titus Kaphar collaborated on the spring/summer exhibit, which uses serial repetition to elicit a variety of emotions. Later this year, i found god in myself celebrates the 40th anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking choreo-poem, “for colored girls.” Paint, collage, textile, photography, new media, sound, sculpture and site-specific installation examine the implications and meanings of existence as a girl or woman of color. Arresting Patterns, through September 11, 2016; i found god in myself, fall/winter, 2016 (exact date TBD). 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
  7. The latest exhibit at the Betsy Ross House, Women at Work in Revolutionary America focuses on Colonial-era women’s household tasks. The basement-level display shows that working women, including Ross, relied on the services of others to keep up with responsibilities at home. On certain days, guests meet a “History Maker” named Phillis, an 18th-century African-American woman who was born into slavery, became free at age 21 and supported herself as a cook and laundress. Exhibit opened January 2016; Phillis appears weekends through November 2016. 239 Arch Street, (800) 537-7676, historicphiladelphia.org
  8. From the depths of extinction come a dozen moving, roaring, life-size dinosaurs that will invade The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Fashioned with scientifically accurate detail—right down to the feathers on T. rex—the multisensory Dinosaurs Unearthed recreates animatronic versions of the legendary beasts. The exhibition also includes skeletons, claws, horns, real Mosasaur and Spinosaurus teeth, an Oviraptor egg and coprolite, also known as dino dung. Young paleontologists can dig for relics, control dinosaurs’ movements and hop on the special weight scale to find out how many of them it would take to weigh as much as a T. rex. Through January 16, 2017. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000, ansp.org
  9. Just 11 years old when he fled Nazi-occupied Europe, a Jewish-American man helped to make rock and roll a global industry—and the only instrument he could play was a cowbell. Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution at the National Museum of American Jewish History showcases the American success story of a music producer pioneer through concert posters, photos, music, artist interviews and memorabilia, such as Janis Joplin’s tambourine and a fragment of Jimi Hendrix’s smashed Fender guitar. During the chaos and revolution of the 1960s, Bill organized the business of a generation’s sound, and he instilled the responsibility of philanthropy. September 16, 2016-January 16, 2017. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
  10. There is only one place in the United States to see Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism 1910-1950, and that’s in Philadelphia. Drawing heavily from the collections of the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, as well as its own holdings, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will exhibit masterpieces by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros—known as the tres grandes (Three Greats) of Mexican mural painting—as well as Frida Kahlo and other major Mexican artists. October 25, 2016-January 8, 2017. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
 

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