Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

May 3 2017

Philadelphia's Historic District Gears Up For A Revolutionary Summer

New Museum, New Hotel & New Concert Make The Original City A Must This Summer

The just-opened Museum of the American Revolution brings the United States’ war for independence into today’s consciousness, using rarely seen relics, the original George Washington Headquarters Tent, dozens of arms, uniforms, artifacts, documents and historical vignettes of ordinary Americans to tell the extraordinary story of the nation’s founding. But the new museum isn’t the only reason to visit Philadelphia’s Historic District this summer. The Historic District consists of the Old City, Society Hill and Delaware River Waterfront neighborhoods, extending from the Delaware River to 7th Street and Vine Street to Lombard Street.

The District’s summer lineup of must-do events includes a street art display (Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition), a free performance about the Iraqi refugee experience (Radio Silence), a 200-foot-long silk dragon (Chinese Lantern Festival), an LGBT glass art exhibition (Transparency) and the country’s best Fourth of July celebration (Wawa Welcome America!). A new boutique hotel (Lokal Hotel) provides the perfect spot to take it all in.

In order to enjoy all there is to do in and beyond Philadelphia’s Historic District, it’s best to stay over by booking the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes free hotel parking and extra perks that make it easier for visitors to get around once they arrive too. It’s bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight.

Revolution: Museum, Art & Annual Celebration:

  • Museum of the American Revolution – The drama unfolds exhibit by exhibit at this brand-new attraction. Three blocks from Independence Hall—the command center for the Revolution—this high-tech exploration into U.S. history reveals the strategic wins, crushing losses and the personal and world-altering consequences of the war for We the People. 101 S. 3rd Street, (215) 253-6731, amrevmuseum.org
  • Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition – Thirteen local artists take on the idea of revolution to create 13 works at 13 sites throughout the Historic District. Curated by Conrad Benner, founder and author of groundbreaking photo blog streetsdept.com, the indoor and outdoor art exhibit features works by artists Karina Puente, Shawn Theodore, Tiayrra Bradley, Kid Hazo and other cutting-edge challengers of the status quo. May 25-July 4, 2017. streetsdept.com, visitphilly.com
  • Wawa Welcome America! – The best place to celebrate America’s birthday? Its birthplace. Six days and nights of parades, concerts, fireworks and—new this year—a living Liberty Bell bring out the red, white and blue in everyone. The entire city gets in on the action, but the Historic District is the main location for the patriotic fun. June 29-July 4, 2017. welcomeamerica.com

Cultural Reflections:

  • Chinese Lantern Festival – They’re silk, illuminated and big. Led by the 200-foot-long dragon, 29 sculptures take over Franklin Square for the second year of this popular festival, which also features Chinese dancers, acrobats and crafts and a popular beer garden. May 9-June 18, 2017. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, phillychineselanternfestival.org
  • PECO Multicultural Festival – Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer, cultural celebrations take over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. People come for food, music, crafts and flavors of diverse cultures during the Irish American Festival, Hispanic Fiesta, Islamic Heritage Festival and other ethnic showcases. Selected weekends, June 4-September 17, 2017. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Radio Silence – Mural Arts Philadelphia and artist Michael Rakowitz kick off a 10-episode radio broadcast with a free, live production on Independence Mall. Through narrative, poetry and music, Radio Silence presents the dreams, memories and lives of Iraqi people living in America as refugees—with Independence Hall as a backdrop. July 29, 2017. 6th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 685-0750, muralarts.org

Must-See Exhibitions:

  • American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition – The often-mocked Eighteenth Amendment gets the exhibition treatment at the National Constitution Center. Hands-on activities and interesting artifacts (think moonshine-brewing tools and anti-alcohol propaganda) trace the Prohibition story from the Temperance movement that caused it to Roaring Twenties that resulted from it to the eventual constitutional repeal that finally got rid of it. Through July 16, 2017. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, prohibition.constitutioncenter.org
  • 1917: How One Year Changed the World – A century ago, three events shifted the course of history: the United States’ entry into World War I, Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution and Great Britain’s Balfour Declaration, indicating support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Through the perspective of Jewish-Americans, the National Museum of American Jewish History uncovers how one year shaped U.S. global status and led to our country’s lowest-ever immigration quotas. Through July 16, 2017. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org/1917
  • Philadelphia Rowing: Breaking Barriers – With two rivers bordering Center City, Philadelphia possesses a rich rowing history. This Independence Seaport Museum exhibit follows the sport’s development—such as the inclusion of different classes, genders and races—and spotlights its heroes with items from the museum’s collection, Boathouse Row and rowing enthusiasts. Through October 9, 2017. 211 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org/breakingbarriers
  • Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition – Kicking off during Pride month, this exhibition at the National Liberty Museum marks the first-ever museum show of glass works created entirely by LGBT artists. The pieces explore various themes, including identity and freedom. June 2-August 6, 2017. 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800, libertymuseum.org
  • Things Fall Apart – Toys lose their plasticity; damaged paintings get carefully restored and housewares that break and get fixed reveal ideas, emotions and science behind decay at the always-free Chemical Heritage Foundation. An app-guided neighborhood walking tour and decay-themed works from local artists round out the exhibit. June 17, 2017-February 2, 2018. 315 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2222, chemheritage.org

Summertime Favorites:

  • Spruce Street Harbor Park – Hammocks, colorful lights, patio games, food and beer and an above-water, netted suspension lounge make Spruce Street Harbor Park one of Philadelphia’s most-loved destinations in the warm weather. Those who really want to get on the water can rent kayaks, canoes and foot-pedal swan boats. May 12-October 1, 2017. Columbus Boulevard & Spruce Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest – A few blocks away from Spruce Street Harbor Park, Summerfest draws a crowd with its roller rink, play and lounge areas, mini-golf, a lodge, food and drinks and spectacular view of the Ben Franklin Bridge. May 26-September 4, 2017. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Pride Day LGBT Parade and Festival – Each June, the Philadelphia’s LGBT Pride Month bash begins with a march from the Gayborhood through the Historic District to Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River waterfront. There, the party takes off with food, drinks, activities and live music. June 18, 2017. Start: 13th & Locust Streets; end: 101 S. Columbus Boulevard; (215) 875-9288, phillygaypride.org
  • Historic Philadelphia Tours, Stories and Activities – America’s most historic square mile gets even more meaningful and fun in the summer thanks to programs like Independence After Hours, an evening walking tour; the Tippler’s Tour, a guided Colonial pub crawl; and free Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches, where professional storytellers tell visitors 3-to-5-minute (true) stories at 13 benches around the District. Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. historicphiladelphia.org

Seasonal Music:

  • HoagieNation Festival – One of Philadelphia’s great contributions to the planet, Hall & Oates show their city the love with a concert and festival on Memorial Day weekend. At Penn’s Landing’s Festival Pier, the Hall of Famers will make their fans’ dreams come true (ooh-ooh) by taking the stage, along with Tears For Fears, Philadelphia’s G. Love & Special Sauce, Philadelphia’s Son Little, Vivian Green and others. May 29, 2017. Columbus Boulevard & Spring Garden Street, livenation.com
  • Roots Picnic – Yet another legendary Philly band, The Roots put on their 10th annual summertime blowout at Penn’s Landing’s Festival Pier. This year’s lineup features Pharrell, Solange, Lil Wayne, Kimbra and many others—including The Roots, of course. June 3, 2017. Columbus Boulevard & Spring Garden Street, rootspicnic.com/philly

New Hotel:

  • Lokal Hotel – A perfect combination of a modern boutique hotel, this new Old City operation has six one- and two-bedroom, apartment-style units and beautiful design. Lokal’s “invisible service” model means that guests count on customized concierge guidance without a front desk. 139 N. 3rd Street, (267) 702-4345, staylokal.com


     

Philadelphia’s Historic District campaign, from VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, showcases the city’s incomparable place in early American history and the still vibrant neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill and the Delaware River Waterfront. The campaign celebrates America’s most historic square mile in the country’s first World Heritage City, as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, the initiative runs through September 2018.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, visitors can engage with costumed history makers, hear stories of the real people of independence and take part in colonial reenactments. And every day of the year, they can tour, shop, dine and drink in the area just like the founding fathers and mothers once did. For more information about all there is to see and do in Philadelphia’s Historic District, go to visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com.
 

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