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Much Ado About Arboretums
In part because the Quakers who settled in Pennsylvania were meticulous about identifying and cataloguing the forms of natural life they discovered here, the Philadelphia region is internationally recognized for its wealth of arboretums. Chestnut Hill’s Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is the official arboretum of Pennsylvania and boasts the only fernery in North America. Its award-winning permanent exhibit, Out on a Limb – a Tree Adventure, transports visitors 50 feet high into the treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing. Showcasing the arboretum’s commitment to sustainability, the Horticulture Center Complex has
Philadelphia is well known as the nation’s birthplace, and in summer 2015 the city will make history once again with blockbuster events and exhibits filling the calendar all season long. Festivities sail into Philadelphia in June with the arrival of the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s major exhibition of impressionist works. Come July, the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement marks a half-century of activism in the place where it all began, and Wawa Welcome America! throws the country’s biggest birthday party. As summer fades into fall, all eyes will be on Philadelphia...
In The New York Times' influential “52 Places To Go In 2015” article, appearing in the January 11, 2015 edition of the newspaper, writer Nell McShane Wulfhart calls Philadelphia “an urban outdoor oasis,” attributing the city’s transformation to places like Dilworth Park, Race Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park and Bike Share. And what an urban oasis it is.
Philadelphia’s residents and visitors are heading outdoors in huge numbers thanks to the activation of many under-utilized spaces in recent years. Lively urban parks, reimagined recreational landscapes and spirited pop-up gardens have taken over once-overlooked patches of land...
Through January 4, 2015
PAUL STRAND: PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM FOR THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents a retrospective of work by the American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand, featuring a survey of Strand’s full career, emphasizing his most important projects of every decade from the 1910s through the 1960s. (215) 235-7469, philamuseum.org
Through January 4, 2015
HOLIDAY GARDEN RAILWAY. An outdoor quarter-mile track
There’s plenty to do in Philadelphia from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day—both traditional favorites such as the Macy’s Christmas Light Show and fun new additions like the skating rink at City Hall’s Dilworth Park. Add in great new shops and tax-free shopping, a new nighttime shuttle service to popular holiday attractions and the in-demand Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package (car stays free) for a holiday experience that’s sure to leave lasting memories.
Here’s how to do the holidays in Philadelphia and The Countryside®:
What To Do: New & Classic Musts:
Philadelphia is adding plenty of sparkle to this year’s
New Year’s Day is about celebrating, and there’s no better place to fete than at Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade, a 115-year-old tradition in which 10,000 men, women and children dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette and strut down one of the city’s main streets. This year, the Mummers are making some changes to the nation’s oldest folk parade. That means a shorter route, marching in a different direction (north to south), judging at the start of the parade instead of at the end and performances that run the length of the route and not just in certain locations. Parade...
The Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside sparkle with seasonal events and activities—from the glittering lights at Longwood Gardens to North Pole-themed rides on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. Add in elegantly decorated historic houses, winter festivals and seasonal performances for a memory-filled holiday season.
Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at visitphilly.com/holidays.
Lovely Lights & Dazzling Displays:
- While holiday shopping at Peddler’s Village, visitors can check out the Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Display. Participants compete in a variety of categories, including traditional and authentic reproduction of
Every resident knows (and secretly loves) Will Smith’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air lyric “In West Philadelphia, born and raised … ” Not obvious from the 1990s theme song is the dynamic culture that thrives inside the large area—due to historic characteristics, large educational and research institutions and new developments and residents.
Separated from Center City by the Schuylkill River, West Philadelphia resembles a microcosm of the city itself, with a number of smaller, distinct neighborhoods inside it. Many of its attractions and events—community gardens, Ethiopian restaurants, offbeat performances and the like—were created to benefit the people living in the...
With a lineup of landmark exhibitions coming to the Philadelphia region’s museums in fall 2014 and beyond, art lovers have even more reasons to explore the art-filled city. Whether it’s the gauzy beauty of impressionism in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, the offbeat stylings showcased in David Lynch: The Unified Field at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts or the gentle but powerful images on display in the masterful retrospective Horace Pippin: The Way I See It at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the upcoming season is full of...
With 2015 comes plenty of reasons for visitors to plan a trip to Philadelphia. In fact, The New York Times ranked Philly in the #3 spot in its article of the "52 Places to Go in 2015."
So what’s on the calendar? The Tall Ships Challenge Philadelphia Camden 2015, showing off a dozen historic ships on the Delaware River Waterfront; Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, featuring more than 80 works by a who’s who of painters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and for the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, The Dream...
Festivals, athletic events, art shows, parades and cultural events keeps art lovers, garden enthusiasts, film connoisseurs, music aficionados and sports fans keep coming back to Philadelphia year after year. Here’s what’s going on in the region in 2015:
- Thousands of decorative strutters kick off the New Year by marching along Broad Street in the festive daylong Mummers Parade. One of the five Mummers divisions, the Fancy Brigades put on two elaborate Broadway-style performances for ticket holders at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. January 1. phillymummers.com
- The region gets revved for the Philadelphia Auto Show. The Pennsylvania Convention
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially in Philly, where iconic traditions and new festivities add sparkle to the season. Highlights: Last year’s blockbuster attraction, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, returns to Penn’s Landing for an extended run; a new alfresco ice skating rink enters the scene at Dilworth Park; and the famous Mummers Parade tries out a new, spectator-friendly route. Of course, the calendar is packed with favorites such as Macy’s Christmas Light Show and New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront.
Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at...
While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts and goblins inhabiting some of Philadelphia’s most historic sites, it’s during Halloween season when other-worldly creatures emerge from all corners of the region to make it a happily haunted time of year. Families with wee ones get gentle thrills at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo and Morris Arboretum’s Scarecrow Walk. And for serious thrill-seekers, several of the area’s haunted houses (think Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary) have earned acclaim for their Hollywood-quality special effects, animatronics, pyrotechnics and teams of horrifically talented professional actors.
Here are some spots that...
So far this year, Philadelphia has appeared on many national best-of lists.
“This good press is a good example of the city’s momentum. It goes with the story that’s unfolding right now—the new restaurants, more outdoor dining, throngs of people on Independence Mall and all over the city, more people visiting and visiting for longer periods of time,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA™. “Philadelphia is a premier destination, and the place to be. VISIT PHILADELPHIA is happy to be the promotion agency for a city that over-delivers.”
Here’s just a sample of what people have been...
Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and even spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:
History Lessons By Day & Night:
- The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia – Visitors get an up-close look at history during this 75-minute walking tour to more than 20 sites. It runs daily from April
Spanish-speaking visitors to Philadelphia can feel truly welcomed at many of the region’s tourist attractions, thanks to a wealth of bilingual docents, translated audio guides and multi-lingual written materials. Each year, more than one million domestic visitors to Greater Philadelphia are of Hispanic origin. Because of this influx, the region’s historical and cultural sites are busy making accommodations so that their Spanish-speaking guests don’t have to miss out on a thing.
- The best place to launch a visit to Philadelphia is at the Independence Visitor Center (IVC), where multilingual concierge staff can assist with all of a
* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2014. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- While exploring the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, visitors can enjoy exhibitions that display artifacts from the ship’s past and play an interactive role as they follow the tour route. A walk down Broadway, the longest and most impressive passageway on the battleship, is available as part of a guided tour. America’s most decorated battleship also hosts special events and overnight encampments. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ, (866) 877-6262, battleshipnewjersey.org
While Philadelphia offers a variety of authentic and top-notch attractions, exploring this vibrant city takes some planning—especially for first-time visitors. With so much to see, do and taste, it’s challenging for a novice to know where to begin. From the historic Liberty Bell to the deliciously indulgent cheesesteak, here’s a look at Philly 101:
- Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence. Eleven years later, representatives from a dozen
This summer, the venerable venues lining Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway shed their serious sides and get seriously kid-friendly. The Parkway, a Champs-Élysées-inspired boulevard, extends from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and is a destination within a destination.
Among its landmarks are Eakins Oval, which temporarily transforms into an urban beachscape with food trucks, family fests and larger-than-life games. Kids can “Meet the Masterpieces” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which serves up an encore of its popular Art Splash program. The thoroughfare’s historically youth-centered educational institutions, The Franklin Institute and The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel...
VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s newest marketing effort—entitled Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside—encourages locals and visitors to explore 15 of the quaint neighborhoods and towns dotting the five-county region, and there’s no better time to explore these towns than during festival season. Some of these events are quirky—think tens of thousands of folks coming together to honor the mushroom. Others celebrate 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 festivals are a great way...