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May 22 2016

New Reasons To Visit Historic Philadelphia This Summer

Philadelphia’s Oldest Neighborhood Features New Summer Exhibitions, Activities & Events

Philadelphia’s historic district—now called Historic Philadelphia—simmers with summer excitement as the city’s oldest neighborhood debuts new activities and exhibitions. Visitors launch their very own presidential campaigns in Headed to the White House at the National Constitution Center, and the Independence Seaport Museum mischievously observes sailors’ lives from the 20th century through today. Along popular Penn’s Landing, outdoor hangouts Summerfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park promise more fun than ever, and Fourth of July bash Wawa Welcome America injects fresh components to a good old-fashioned block party.

A two-day Historic Philadelphia Pass makes the must-dos even easier—and more affordable. The pass, $18 for adults—a $37 value—and $13 for children—a $27 value—gives visitors one-time admission to the National Constitution Center, Betsy Ross House and Christ Church Burial Ground, along with two days of rides on the PHLASH Downtown Loop. It’s valid for two days and can be purchased at the Independence Visitor Center or at

Calendars ready? Here’s what’s new in Historic Philadelphia this summer:

Family Fun & Festivals:

  • Here’s a toast to summer Thursdays in Old City, when happy hour gets a lot happier. During Old City Eats, more than 30 of the neighborhood’s most popular bars and restaurants, including Fork, High Street, Buddakan, The Little Lion, Common Wealth, Amada, The Olde Bar, Continental, among others, offer diners half-price small plates, drink specials, seasonal cocktails and more. Through August 25, 5-8 p.m.
  • As one of Philly’s favorite hot-weather hangouts, Spruce Street Harbor Park just keeps getting better. This go-round, friends and families can lounge together in private waterfront cabanas, enjoy great new dining options from Top Chef Kevin Sbraga and Iron Chef Jose Garces, and snooze in tree-slung hammocks. May 6-September 26, 2016. Columbus Boulevard at Spruce Street, (215) 922-2386,
  • The Declaration of Independence is missing, and kid detectives can help find it in the new Colonial Kids’ Quest Puppet Show. Animal puppets lead the investigation as children of all ages track down Thomas Jefferson’s masterwork. Saturdays, May 28-July 23, 2016. Behind Carpenters’ Hall, 320 Chestnut Street. (215) 629-4026,
  • Five minutes. That’s all it takes for visitors to transport to another place and time when seated upon one of 13 free Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches located throughout Historic Philadelphia. Professional storytellers enchant their audiences with true, little-known tales from our nation’s past. This season, new stories and new benches keep the 11-year program fresh and fun for visitors of all ages. May 28-September 5, 2016. (215) 629-4026,
  • What’s red, white and blue all over? Wawa Welcome America, the Fourth of July celebration so big, it lasts a week. The United States’ birthday bash blasts out fun with free admission to various museums throughout Historic Philadelphia; free concerts and outdoor movies throughout the district; Wawa Hoagie Day, featuring a free lunch from an approximately five-ton hoagie; three spectacular fireworks displays; historical reenactments and parades; and the Liberty Block Party, a truly old-fashioned outdoor celebration. June 27-July 4, 2016. (267) 546-5424,
  • Folks can get a head start on patriotic partying during the Historic Philadelphia Block Party, a celebration of Philadelphia’s original city. The focus is on family-friendly fun during the daylong festivities, featuring two stages rocking with local musicians and dancers, a Kids’ Zone, crafters, merchants and food trucks galore. Come twilight, Independence Mall becomes the backdrop for the POPS on Independence concert, where picnicking is encouraged. July 3. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Market & Arch Streets, (267) 546-5424,
  • While Betsy Ross was upstairs stitching flags and upholstery, Phillis, a former slave who earned her freedom, worked downstairs as a laundress. Part of the year’s new Women at Work in Revolutionary America installation, Phillis is hard at work once again at the Betsy Ross House, where visitors can chat with her and learn about her life. 239 Arch Street, (215) 686-1252,
  • On Penn’s Landing, the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest kicks things up a notch this season. An outdoor roller-skating rink remains the centerpiece of the riverfront space. New this year, skaters can cool off in the Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab Shack, get their putt-putt on at a mini-golf course where each of nine artist-designed holes features sculpture made from recyclable materials and an new urban beach comes complete with oversize umbrellas, lounge chairs and misting stations. Opens May 6, 2016. Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut Street, (215) 922-2386,

Excellent Exhibitions:

  • To illustrate the fragility of freedom, the National Liberty Museum hosts Techniques, and exhibition of works by renowned glass sculptors that depict the broad spectrum of ways the fragile material is used as a medium for art. Through July 1, 2016. 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800,
  • Election fever puts the National Constitution Center’s exhibition Headed to the White House at the top of every citizen’s civic list. After discovering the history of American elections and voting rights, visitors can launch their own campaigns, develop campaign messages, use the “Ad-O-Matic” to create commercials and ultimately take the presidential oath of office. Through November 13, 2016. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600,
  • Three exhibitions at the Independence Seaport Museum grab visitors hook, line and sinker. Hello Sailor, running through fall 2016, offers a cheeky, saucy take on the classic, white-capped image of sailors in 20th-century music, ads and pop culture. Artship Olympia transforms the oldest floating steel warship in the world into a site-specific art venue, June 25-October 6, 2016. Pirates & Patriots, the museum’s newest permanent exhibit, weaves true tales of pirate-infested waters and intrepid American ships in the story of the formation of the U.S. Navy in Philadelphia. 211 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655,
  • With fresh summer produce tempting everyone’s taste buds, the National Museum of American Jewish History unveils Locally Grown: Jersey’s Jewish Farms, a special exhibition that explores how thousands of Jewish immigrants adopted an unexpected vocation by planting orchards, starting farms and tilling the soil of southern New Jersey. May 12-August 28, 2016. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811,
  • Generations of local sewers have headed to South 4th Street for fabrics, notions and other supplies that once sold out of pushcarts and sidewalk stands, and now display in brick-and-mortar shops. In a new exhibition at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Philadelphia’s Fabric Row: The Pushcart Years, 1905-1955 recalls the neighborhood’s hustle and bustle as tailors and dressmakers shopped for the finest materials for their fashions. Opens June 25, 2016. 15 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830,

In spring 2016, Drexel University and VISIT PHILADELPHIA® launched a new campaign—Historic Philadelphia—to celebrate America’s most historic square mile in the country’s first World Heritage City, as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Focusing on the attractions and neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill and the Delaware River Waterfront, the campaign celebrates Philadelphia’s incomparable place in early American history and the vibrant original city neighborhoods.

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 Historic Philadelphia, go to and

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Related Releases

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

Jun 6 2017

Philadelphia's Classic Fourth Of July Celebration Turns 25

Wawa Welcome America! Includes Four Fireworks Shows, Four Concerts, Free Museums, Boyz II Men & Mary J. Blige

Welcome America turns 25 this year, and Philadelphia is planning a six-day Independence Day festival to celebrate. As always, a birthday party of this magnitude can take place only in the United States’ birthplace—Philly. From June 29 through July 4, 2017, Wawa Welcome America! includes four spectacular fireworks shows, a bigger Historic District Block Party, a delicious Wawa Hoagie Day and a huge July 4th concert—this time, starring Mary J. Blige. Also on the docket: Free Museum Days, outdoor movies—including Rocky on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps—and new alfresco happy hours.

To take in all the patriotic

Apr 21 2017

New–Lots New–This Summer In Philadelphia

Philly Debuts And News Include The Museum Of The American Revolution, Longwood Gardens’ Fountains, An Andrew Wyeth Retrospective, Hall & Oates Festival, So Much More

Philadelphia’s summer is jam-packed with things to do, thanks to new attractions, limited-time displays, major exhibitions and the seasonal happenings that locals and visitors cherish. Highlights: just-opened Museum of the American Revolution and the nation’s most playful LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, an indoor snow playground called Winter: Exclusively at Philadelphia Zoo, a high-tech, $19 million renovation of Longwood Gardens’ main fountains and a concert and festival curated and headlined by Philly’s own Hall & Oates.

Just Opened:

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Jun 4 2015

Now Playing In Philadelphia: Big Events & Openings

Tall Ships, World Meeting Of Families, Liberty One Observation Deck, Alice In Wonderland & More Pack The Calendar

With 2015 comes plenty of reasons for visitors to plan a trip to Philadelphia. In fact, The New York Times ranked Philly at the #3 spot in its influential article of the
“52 Places to Go in 2015.”

So what’s on the calendar for the rest of the year? The Tall Ships festival, showing off a dozen historic ships on the Delaware River waterfront; Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, featuring 80 works by a who’s-who of painters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Down the Rabbit Hole: Celebrating 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland at


En Español

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

Jun 18 2015

Philadelphia Rocks The Fourth With 48 Hours Of Fun

National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration Adds Rainbow Colors To Red, White & Blue Festivities

As the calendar zooms towards Independence Day, Philadelphia, where the nation was born 239 years ago, revs up for a full week of flag-waving, heart-swelling, hand-clapping, patriotic fun. The annual Wawa Welcome America! celebration lasts for an entire week, and come Friday, July 3, the revelry really picks up with 48 hours of fun. That means patriotic ceremonies, parades, concerts, fireworks and festivities that mark the 50th anniversary of a protest demonstration that laid the groundwork for LGBT civil rights. Here’s a look at what’s happening on July 3 and 4:

July 3:

  1. Visitors are free to celebrate
Apr 8 2015

Festivals Keep Philly Neighborhoods Hopping All Year Long

Books, Beer, Arts, America, Music, Movies & More Inspire Festivities

Philadelphians can always find a reason to get festive. It could be a gathering of artists and artisans in Manayunk (Manayunk Arts Festival), a traditional Yoruba-style street fair on South Street (Odunde), a craft beer party on East Passyunk Avenue (Italian Festival and Craft Beer Day), a weekend celebrating all-things Harry Potter in Chestnut Hill (Harry Potter Festival) or a gathering of would-be scientists at multiple neighborhoods throughout the city (Philadelphia Science Festival). Philly’s neighborhoods make merry all year long with special events and activities that reflect their distinctive personalities. Here’s a look at some of the mark-the-calendar happenings for

Apr 3 2015

Philly Celebrates The Fourth Of July In Star-Spangled Style

Tall Ships, Gay Rights Celebrations & Fireworks Highlight Eight Days Of Family-Friendly Fun

When Fourth of July rolls around, Philadelphia—America’s birthplace—paints the town red, white and blue thanks to eight days of music, exhibitions, Colonial characters and re-enactments, patriotic ceremonies and fireworks. This year, the city amps up the revelry surrounding the annual Wawa Welcome America! festivities with Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden, the largest sailing event in North America; and a citywide celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement.

Here are a few highlights of Philadelphia’s patriotic party:

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Apr 1 2015

Summer 2015: A Blockbuster Season Of Fun In Philly

In Store: Tall Ships, Bike Share, Beer Gardens, Impressionists, Pop-up Parks & Festivals Galore

What are some other words for summer fun? Tall Ships. Fireworks. Festivals. Beer gardens. Pop-up parks. Philadelphia. This summer will go down as a season of non-stop, pull-out-all-the-stops fun in the city that scored a #3 placement on The New York Times’ influential “52 Places to Go in 2015” list.

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Mar 6 2015

Philly Region Festivals Celebrate Art, Music, Mushrooms & More

In The Towns Of The Philadelphia Countryside, There’s Always Something To Celebrate In 2015

With just the turn of the ignition key and within less than an hour, visitors to Philadelphia can explore the region’s quaint towns and charming settings. And what better way to discover them than with the homegrown festivals and events that celebrate their distinct personalities. Some festivities are quirky—think tens of thousands of folks coming together to pay tribute to the mushroom. Others honor the culinary talents of their hometown chefs or the creative handiwork of local artisans. While still others harken back to the town’s proud role in American history. Whatever the topic or the time of year, local