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21 awesome things to do in Philadelphia this weekend

Josh Middleton

The crazy-weather month of March 2018 comes to a close with a weekend of major to-dos in the City of Brotherly Love. Some biggies to look out for include the massive food and drink festival The Brewer's Plate at the Kimmel Center on Friday, cool new video game-centric exhibition “Game Masters” opens at the Franklin Institute on Saturday, and, on Sunday, the first day of April, spring festival season gets an early start with the Easter Promenade down South Street followed by a fun fest and costume competition at Head House Square. If none of that strikes your fancy, you’ll find tons more things to do in Philadelphia in our roundup below, including concerts, musicals, must-see new art exhibitions and more.

Friday, March 30

The Brewers Plate 2018 happens at the Kimmel Center

Photograph: Courtesy the Brewer’s Plate

“Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes That Shaped a Nation” at the National Constitution Center; 9:30am; $14.50
Alexander Hamilton is having a bit of a moment. The exhibition devoted to the colonial bigwig at the National Constitution Center won’t include original rap songs or a Broadway setting, but you will get a chance to glimpse some noteworthy Hamilton memorabilia (like replicas of the Hamilton-Burr dueling pistols).

School of Rock at the Academy of Music; 1, 8pm; $20–$145
This hit musical, based on the Jack Black movie of the same name, puts on five performances throughout the weekend on the Avenue of the Arts.

The Brewer's Plate at the Kimmel Center; 7:30pm; $77–$99
Area restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries come together under the glass ceiling at the Kimmel Center for this massive food-and-drink-pairing event that’s made for beer-loving foodies. This is your chance to see folks like Bud & Marilyn’s, High Street on Market, Yards Brewing Company, Brewery ARS and more innovative local food and drink purveyors under one roof—and to taste all the good things they’re cranking out.

Last chance: Two Man, One Man at the Adrienne Theater; 8pm; $15
This show, a hit at last year’s FringeArts Festival, concerns two very different actors actors (Benjamin Behrend and Patrick Romano) who, after preparing for all-important one-man performances, learn that they actually have to share the stage when a venue accidentally double-books them. Laughter—and maybe a few diva moments—ensues.

Saturday, March 31

Game Masters at the Franklin Institute

Photograph: Mark Ashkanasy

“Game Masters” at The Franklin Institute; 9:30am; $20
This brand new exhibition should appeal to gaming nerds with over 100 playable games from the arcade classics of the ’70s and ’80s to the multiplayer experiences of the present. Rare original concept artwork will be on view as well, showcasing the imagination of designers behind the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog. —Karen Chernick

Hop to the Top: Easter Egg Hunt at One Liberty Observation Deck; 10am, 1pm; $5
If you do one Easter egg hunt this year, make it this one, which takes place 57 floors above the city at One Liberty Observation Deck. Send the little ones around viewing deck to look for eggs while you take in breathtakingly expansive views of the city. Did we mention the Easter Bunny will be there, too?

“Sacred Lands” at Paradigm Gallery + Studio; noon; free
You have to see this exhibition of Philadelphia artist Drew Leshko’s dollhouse-scale replicas of Fishtown’s overlooked and, often, neglected buildings, including the Edward Corner Warehouse, Kensington Soup Society, Penn Treaty Metals, the Barbary, Bicycle Stable and “Old Brick” (aka Kensington Methodist Episcopal Church). Read our review of the exhibit here.

Decibel Beer & Metal Fest at the Fillmore Philadelphia; 5pm; $42–$80
Philly metal magazine hosts two nights of brews and sonic brutality featuring At the Gates, Monster Magnet, Pallbearer, Carcass and more. Pair shows with craft beers from the “most metal breweries,” such as Weyerbacher, Yards Brewing, Stoudts Brewing, Three Floyds and HammerHeart. —Patrick Rapa

Lucy Rose at Boot & Saddle; 7:30pm; $18–$20
In her video for “Our Eyes,” English singer-songwriter Lucy Rose wears a suit covered in sausages and dog treats—an image that’s hard to reconcile with her sweet folk-pop sound. Cut to the next scene and she’s wearing French fries and seagulls are circling and, well, that just about does it for pre-conceived notions. —Patrick Rapa

Sunday, April 1

Easter Promenade on South Street

“Design in Revolution” at Philadelphia Museum of Art; 10am; pay-what-you-wish
Check out the latest special exhibition at PMA on Sunday, which is a pay-what-you-wish day. It is the only one at the museum with its own Spotify playlist, and for good reason. Nineteen-sixties design can’t be divorced from the soundtrack of that decade, so expect to experience the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan with your eyes and your ears. The show includes the museum's collection of vintage ’60s rock-and-roll posters, plus crowdsourced memorabilia from the personal collections of museum staff. —Karen Chernick

“Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music” at the National Museum of American Jewish History; 10am; $15
If the thought of composer Leonard Bernstein has you humming “I Want to Live in America” or another classic song from his West Side Story musical, it’s time to expand your repertoire. In honor of the prolific music maker’s 100th birthday, the NMAJH presents an exhibition that explores the his social activism and Jewish identity, putting many personal items (such as his piano) on display.

“Of Two Minds: Creative Couples in Art and History” at The Rosenbach; noon; $10
Creative types are often attracted to each other, and some arty couples push each other’s careers forward. This exhibition at the Rosenbach takes a look at a range of couples across history, including some Philly natives and Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella.

Easter Promenade at 5th and South Streets; 12:30pm; free
Spectacularly dressed Philly MC Henri David leads a cast of characters that includes the Easter Bunny on stilts, circus performers and the Philadelphia Freedom Band down South Street. The parade begins at 5th and South Streets, and finishes with a fest at Head House Square, where you can grab food and drinks from a heap of local vendors and maybe snag a prize in the costume contest. Accolades go out to pets donning getup, too, so be sure to dress Fido.

Philly Celebrates Jazz at various locations, times and prices
Jazz Appreciation Month kicks off in Philadelphia, featuring a month-long itinerary of performances from local and international jazz artists. The event calendar is jam-packed, and includes everything from intimate shows in local jazz clubs, art exhibits and jazzy brunches. See the full lineup here.

Last chance: The Bluest Eye at Arden Theatre Company; 2 and 8pm; $15–$35
Toni Morrison’s classic novel about racism and abuse is shorter than, but every bit as powerful as, Beloved and has a vivid theatricality of its own. Arden brings that quality to the stage in an adaptation by Lydia R. Diamond that’s directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges, who did exceptionally fine work two seasons ago with the Arden production of Two Trains Running. —David Fox

Last chance: Small Mouth Sounds at Philadelphia Theatre Company; 3pm; $19–$69
Rachel Chavkin and Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds, which focuses on a group of disparate adults at a wildlife retreat, addresses these tumultuous political times in a particularly ingenious way. As Philadelphia Theatre Company reinvents itself, they’re smart to bring in this show, a big hit last year Off Broadway. —David Fox

Last chance: Frozen at Walnut Street Theatre, Studio 5; 7pm; $15–$25
Isis Performs often brings excellent plays to Philadelphia that are not being done by larger companies. Such is the case here, with Bryony Lavery’s heart-wrenching drama of an unspeakable crime and the necessity of forgiveness. There won’t be a dry eye in the house—nor will there be an Elsa or Olaf, so leave the kids at home. —David Fox

Fun ongoing things to do in Philadelphia

Love Letter Train Tours at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; through May 27; $23–$41
Grab a seat on this 90-minute guided train tour of West Philadelphia that rolls past the series of 50 rooftop “A Love Letter for You” murals painted by Philly native Steve “ESPO’ Powers. In collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia, the works spell out adorable sayings like “open your eyes/i see the sunrise” and ”see me like i see you: beautiful.’ This is an especially good year to take a tour, since several of the murals were recently restored and Powers added a few more to ogle.

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