News / City Life

21 awesome things to do in Philadelphia this weekend

Morgan's Pier is a beer garden on the Delaware River waterfront in Philadelphia.
Photograph: Courtesy Morgan’s Pier

It’s beginning to look a lot like summer… This weekend in Philadelphia promises to be a pretty one, and it’s a good thing, because there’s lots to do outside. For starters, two of the city’s most popular beer gardens, Independence Beer Garden and Morgan’s Pier, open, the Philadelphia Science Festival rolls into its first weekend with cool events all over the city, and Record Store Day gives you an excuse spend your day exploring all the cool local record shops you’ve been itching to check out. There are some major art-related events happening, too, including the first weekend of “Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Penn Museum debuts its jaw-droppingly gorgeous new Middle East galleries, packed with artifacts you can’t find anywhere else in the world. We’re only scratching the surface here. Check out details on all this and more below.

Friday, April 20

Philadelphia Science Festival

Photograph: Darryl W. Moran

Unlimited pancakes at Miles Table; 8am–noon; $5
Friday is your last chance to take advantage of the delicious unlimited-pancakes deal at Miles Table. Hand over $5 and tell them how many flapjacks to pile on your plate. The sky’s the limit! Savvy orderers will know to get a mix of buttermilk and chocolate chip, piled one on top of the other.

Philadelphia Science Festival at various locations, times and prices
This nine-day festival, a celebration of the science and technology that touches our everyday lives, features more than 80 events, including a bash at Independence National Historical Park, a foodie event at the Reading Terminal Market and pop-up citywide star parties, where you can gather around a telescope to look at the stars with friends. The whole thing closes with the free Science Carnival on the Parkway.

Sneak-peek opening at Independence Beer Garden; 11:30am; pay as you go
One of the summer’s busiest beer gardens opens for the 2018 season, first for a soft launch on April 21 and 22, and then for the whole summer, beginning April 27. Snuggle up on a picnic table—shaded by greenery that’s draped with twinkling outdoor lights—and check out the extensive beer menu, including 15 drafts and nine in cans.

Opening weekend at Morgan’s Pier; 4pm; pay as you go
Outdoor-drinking season kicks off this weekend with the opening of Morgan’s Pier, the scenic, “backyard beer garden” overlooking the Delaware River waterfront in Old City. Pile onto one of the many picnic tables with your pals and order from a menu of craft brews and grub from resident chef Adam Lazarick.

Get Pegged at FringeArts; 10:30pm; $5–$15
Bearded Ladies Cabaret Artistic Director John Jarboe hosts this late-night, queer-centric musical series inspired by old-school French cabaret. It features a top-notch lineup of vocal and performance-art talents from Philadelphia, New York City and beyond. In April, look out for a special performance by NYC-based trans actor and writer Becca Blackwell, and April brings performance artist Miguel Gutierrez’s SADONNA, a set list of sad versions of Madonna songs.

Saturday, April 21

Taqueria Feliz

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/M. Kennedy

Record Store Day 2018 at various locations; all day
Get out on Saturday to explore all the cool record shops, like Creep Records, Beautiful World Syndicate and Digital Underground, that call Philadelphia and its surrounding regions home. We put together this guide to Record Store Day 2018 to all the best local shops, with mention of some of the cool new releases and reissues to scoop up.

Namas Day Philly at WHYY; 8am; $80–$145
Rise and shine early on Saturday to check out this daylong convention, where you can meet and mingle with other yoga enthusiasts and discover wellness-based businesses around the city. The day includes a lineup of workshops led by experts in the field and a marketplace filled with new-age essentials like candles, healing crystals and herbal concoctions. Be sure to bring your mat: Local instructors will be on hand to teach classes.

New Middle East galleries open at Penn Museum; 10am; $15
Penn Museum got in on the Middle Eastern archaeological excavation game early, sending the first-ever American expedition to the region in the late 1800s. Which is how they’ve accumulated over 100,00 objects, including a 4,000-year-old human footprint embedded in an ancient mud brick. Enjoy a fresh look at this established collection in the museum’s new 44,000 square foot Middle East Galleries. This is the first of a series of renovation projects happening now at the Penn Museum. Check out some other new additions we’re excited about here.

“Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; 10am; $20
Life as Americans knew it was changing fast in the early 20th century—cars and moving pictures were introduced, cities were growing and artists tried to make sense of it all. This exhibition, drawn from the Alfred Stieglitz collection gifted to the PMA in the 1940s, illustrates how American artists (with a few shout-outs to Philadelphians) grasped the modern age. Look out for works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Horace Pippin, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence and more.

Official Booze & Vinyl Launch Party at Martha; 4pm; free
On Record Store Day, head to hip cocktail bar and restaurant Martha in Kensington to meet brother-sister writing duo André and Tenaya Darlington for the official launch of their new coffee table book, Booze & Vinyl, which pairs cocktails with classic records from the 1970s through the 2000s. Buy a book (or bring one in that you’ve already purchased) to receive a free drink from Martha and Lo-Fi Apertifs.

Manayunk Restaurant Week at various locations, times and prices
This is the perfect time to try that hot Manayunk eatery that all of your friends have been raving about. From now through April 27, more than a dozen local spots, including goodies like Bourbon Blue, Taqueria Feliz and Winnie’s, offer the chance to sample their cuisine with three-course, prix-fixe menus for $15, $25 or $35. See the full lineup or restaurants here.

Helltrap Nightmare at Good Good Comedy Theatre; 10pm; $10
Sarah Sherman hosts a night of “comedy horror and noise music terror” performed by comics and experimental noisemakers from Chicago. This will get weird.

Last chance: “Collaborative Histories: Dieu Donné” at the Print Center; 11am; free
Swing by the Print Center this weekend to get your lapse glimpse of the exhibition on Dieu Donné, an artist work space in Brooklyn dedicated to promoting forward-thinking contemporary artists who work in the paper-making medium. This show zeroes in on some of the venue’s most extraordinary collaborations with artists including Ursula von Rydingsvard and James Siena.

Sunday, April 22

Clover Market

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/May T.

Anniversary celebration at the Museum of the American Revolution; 10am; $19
Swing my Philly’s newest museum to celebrate its one-year anniversary. On Saturday and Sunday this weekend, the hub of all things Revolutionary history puts on live performances, including Sunday’s free concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra that’s inspired by the museum’s collection in the first-floor Patriots Gallery. That takes place from 3 to 5pm and does not require an admission ticket. More details here.

Clover Market in Bryn Mawr; 10am–4pm; pay as you go
Clover Market is back for the 2018, with a stop this weekend in Bryn Mawr, where you can browse than 100 vendors selling art, jewelry, home goods, antiques and other one-of-a-kind and hard-to-find items.

The Philadelphia Antiques & Art Show at the Navy Yard; 11am; $15–$20
Midcentury-modern decor is all the rage in home design, and you’re bound to find plenty of it and then some at this annual parade of old-school decorative art and home goods. Nearly 60 exhibitors will showcase a range of covetable items including furniture, costume jewelry and kitchenware at price points that fit every budget.

Last chance: The Tempest at Lantern Theater Company; 2pm; $10–$45
Lantern Theater is celebrated for its Shakespeare productions, and with The Tempest, it reaches the pinnacle. Probably Shakespeare’s last play, and possibly his greatest, it’s difficult to categorize, mixing humor, grandeur, spectacle, magic and profound humanity. Director Charles McMahon’s cast stars a who’s who of Philly favorites, such as Peter DeLaurier, Bi Jean Ngo, Frank X and J Hernandez.

Ongoing things to do in Philadelphia

“Game Masters” at The Franklin Institute; through September 3; $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

Philly Celebrates Jazz at various locations, times and prices
This Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in Philly is 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.

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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