Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

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 The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Of course, all eyes will be on Philadelphia when thousands of Catholic families from around the globe—and Pope Francis—gather for the eighth World Meeting of Families.

Big Events:

  • The 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement kicks off in June with three exhibitions, including the opening of Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court at the National Constitution Center, June 5, 2015-January 3, 2016. Other exhibitions and activities celebrating LGBT culture and heritage are planned for the William Way LGBT Community Center, the Free Library of Philadelphia, The African American Museum in Philadelphia and Taller Puertorriqueño, among others. The celebration’s signature events take place over Fourth of July weekend, with a reenactment of the Reminder Day demonstrations in front of Independence Hall hosted by comedienne Wanda Sykes, a wreath-laying ceremony at the historic marker that acknowledges the site of the demonstrations, panel discussions, a festival, concerts and more. June-December 2015. Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700,; various locations for other happenings,,
  • Billowing sails will waft in the breeze when the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port. Visitors can tour the ships, which will dock at Penn’s Landing and the Camden Waterfront. Headlining the dozen-ship fleet will be L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities, games and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the largest sailing event in the United States in 2015. June 24-28, 2015. Delaware River Waterfront, (856) 757-9154,
  • Philadelphia celebrates America’s birthday like no place else. In the week leading up to Independence Day, Wawa Welcome America! lights up the city with concerts, fireworks, historic re-enactments, Wawa Hoagie Day and other family-friendly activities. Then on July 4, the granddaddy of all concerts takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with Miguel and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland performing with the backing of The Roots and a grand-finale fireworks display. June 27-July 4, 2015. Various locations.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe will converge on Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families. Throughout the week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 100 speakers will lead panel discussions and workshops focused on the theme “Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States to say a public mass. Philadelphia will welcome faithful visitors with special activities, tours and exhibitions, including the 10,000-square-foot exhibition Vatican Splendors, making its exclusive East Coast stop at The Franklin Institute. September 22-27, 2015.
  • Instagram lovers, rejoice! The One Liberty Observation Deck is set to offer breathtaking, picture-perfect skyline views 57 stories above the ground starting in fall. Montparnasse 56 (M56)—a Parisian-based company that operates observation decks in Chicago’s John Hancock Tower and Paris’ Montparnasse 56 Tower—is building the stunning attraction on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place in downtown Philadelphia. Fall 2015. 1625 Chestnut Street,
  • America’s favorite college football rivalry returns to Philadelphia. The Army-Navy Game goes down at Lincoln Financial Field, marking the city’s 86th year as host. Philadelphia has hosted the event more than any other city due to its history—the Army, Navy and Marines were first established in Philly—and the fact that it’s halfway between West Point and Annapolis. Will the Navy Midshipmen continue their 13-year winning streak, or will the Black Knights emerge victorious? December 12, 2015. 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way,

Travel-Worthy Exhibitions:

  • The National Museum of American Jewish History is the exclusive U.S. venue for Richard Avedon: Family Affairs, featuring striking photographs that helped define America’s perceptions of beauty, politics and power. The exhibit showcases 70 works by the renowned photographer, including a massive mural of beat poet Allen Ginsberg and his family, a group portrait of Andy Warhol and the Factory and a series of portraits published by Rolling Stone on the eve of the 1976 presidential election. Through August 2, 2015. 5th & Market Streets, (215) 923-3811,
  • Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography Of Jacques Lowe offers a peek into the private and public lives of President Kennedy and his family in the years leading up to his election. The 70 photographs in the exhibition at the National Constitution Center, many of which have never been seen before, were among the few that could be restored after more than 40,000 of Lowe’s original negatives, which had been stored in a vault in the World Trade Center, were destroyed. Through September 7, 2015. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700,
  • The treasures and stories of Genghis Kahn’s 13th-century Mongol Empire debuts in Philadelphia when the Genghis Khan exhibit opens at The Franklin Institute. Visitors enter into the greatest empire the world has ever known to discover the amazing genius of the Mongolian conqueror, learn how this unsophisticated warrior nomad had such a profound impact on world politics and on creating an empire that led the world into the modern age. Through January 3, 2016. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200,
  • When Alice fell down the rabbit hole 150 years ago, the world rushed to follow her adventures in wonderland. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia celebrates the sesquicentennial with Down the Rabbit Hole: Celebrating 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland, featuring a host of exhibitions and programs that explore the literary classic. An interactive gallery invites visitors of all ages to channel their inner Alice and showcases the author and mathematician’s games and puzzles. October 14, 2015-March 27, 2016. 2008-2010 Delancey Place, (215) 732-1600,

Especially For Kids:

  • It’s slimy, stinky and downright yucky, which means kids will love Animal Grossology, an exhibition about the ickiest creatures on earth. Based on the bestselling children’s book series Grossology, the interactive exhibit at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University oozes with disgusting science and entertaining games that explain why the dung beetle is called nature’s pooper scooper, why cows chew cud and how snail and slug slime could become medical treatments. Through August 30, 2015. 1900 Ben Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000,
  • Art and science intersect for The Art of the Brick, featuring an astounding display of 70 LEGO® brick masterpieces at The Franklin Institute. Contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya’s eyebrow-raising sculptures include representations of famous works, such as the Greek Venus de Milo and Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, and original pieces including a 20-foot-long T.rex skeleton and a giant skull. Through October 4, 2015. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200,
  • Recycling is second nature at the Philadelphia Zoo; so, of course, the new Second Nature art installation is made from recycled materials. A dozen artists have reused and repurposed unexpected materials to draw attention to the plight of endangered animals. The exhibit includes a 13-foot-tall blue gorilla sculpted entirely of recycled car parts, two nine-foot-tall pink rabbits fashioned from recycled plastic and a menacing five-foot-long alligator molded from chewing gum. Through October 31, 2015. 3400 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 243-1100,
  • The kid-centric Sesame Place is gearing up for a very happy 35th birthday. Highlights of the theme park’s anniversary year: the birthday party parade, special activities and three new rides. Summer 2015. 100 Sesame Place, (866) 464-3566,

Extraordinary Art:

  • Horace Pippin: The Way I See It is the first major exhibition of the artist’s works in the country in more than two decades. The Brandywine River Museum of Art will feature 60 works that capture Pippin’s bold, colorful and candid paintings reflecting life in the African- American community and commenting on race, religion, war and history. Through July 19, 2015. U.S. Route 1 by Creek Road (formerly Route 100), (610) 388-2700,
  • Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting celebrates the ambitious and visionary Parisian art dealer who supported and helped elevate a new style of painting. On view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition will showcase more than 80 works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Degas, Manet and others to trace Durand-Ruel’s role in the development of impressionism. June 24-September 13, 2015. 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100,
  • Come for the flowers, stay for Nightscape: A Light & Sound Experience at Longwood Gardens. As visitors wander through the evening gardens, they encounter moving images that originated in the studios of the Klip Collective, but use the plants, trees and landscape as the canvas. Enhancing the visual images are choreographed lights, specially commissioned soundscapes and scores by John Barthmus, Julian Grefe and Justin Geller. July 1-October 31, 2015. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000,
  • Open Source, presented by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and curated by Pedro Alonzo, will culminate in October 2015 with public art projects throughout the city by a dozen local and international artists. Each artist will work in residence within an existing area of the organization, and their projects will explore the intersection of street art, contemporary art and public art. The program will include numerous activities, including tours, panel discussions and special events. October 2015. Various locations. (215) 685-0750,

Bikes & Pop-Ups:

  • What has 1,200 wheels and runs on pedal power? Indego, Philadelphia’s bike-share program, which launched this spring. The long-awaited human-powered public transportation system boasts 600 bikes available at more than 65 kiosks in Center City and parts of North, South and West Philadelphia. The easy-to-use system allows riders to rent a bike at one location and drop it off at another.
  • Following a smashingly successful first season that earned “Best Urban Beach in the World” status from The Huffington Post, Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) returns to Penn’s Landing to brighten up the summer. The hammocks, lounge chairs, oversized games, floating beer garden and twinkling lights all return in greater numbers. New this year is the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, featuring an outdoor roller rink (in place of the ice-skating rink that’s there during the winter), a boathouse-styled lodge, a play area for kids, tons of food and drink options from the Garces Group and summer events throughout the season. Through September 27, 2015. SSHP, 401 S. Columbus Boulevard; Summerfest, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 629-3200,
  • For the first time, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is running two PHS Pop Up Gardens, each with a different vibe manifested by foliage that helps set the mood. New this year: an East Passyunk location where recycled bicycle parts, reclaimed wood and permeable pavers carry a message of sustainability, surrounded by tobacco plants, honey locust trees and hot pink flowers. The team behind Cantina Los Caballitos and Royal Tavern borrow from the neighborhood’s Italian heritage for eats that complement a menu of summer brews on 12 taps, frozen punch, cocktails and wine. 9th & Wharton Streets. A beer garden returns once again to the South Street lot next to Jamaican Jerk Hut, where banana trees, container gardens and public and private spaces make for a boho feel. Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery oversees the beer program, which features two garden-only offerings, plus other local favorites on tap and in cocktails. Meats and cheeses combine for creative sandwiches and hot dogs. 1438-46 South Street. Through October 1, 2015.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, 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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