Best things to do in Philadelphia this week
French brasserie La Peg hosts weekly alfresco film screenings at its Haas Biergarten, which is idyllically located under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and just across the street from Race Street Pier. Taking place every Wednesday, the event features flicks with a different theme each month. In June, look out for high school movies like Mean Girls and Can’t Hardly Wait; July is 90s action flicks, such as Con Air and Men in Black; and movies like Wet Hot American Summer and The Parent Trap round out the summer-camp theme in August. All screenings are free, though you can purchase food and drinks from the bar. Each film comes with its own speciality cocktail for $10, and the food menu is picnic-inspired, so expect things like char-grilled burgers and more.
Cirque du Soleil swings back into the Philly area this summer with a show featuring space-age–pop tune maker Anthony Gonzalez, best known as the frontman for French electronic music project M83. In true Cirque fashion, spectacularly dressed acrobats will flip, twirl and fly around under a big top, leaving eyes agog and minds perplexed. But don’t get too caught up in the extravaganza; there’s a theme here, too—one that shouts the importance of blazing your own trail in a technology– and reality show–obsessed culture that can leave us feeling empty and alone.
When the weather heats up and the sun goes down, the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing hosts its Screenings Under the Stars outdoor movie series. Families, friends and cinephiles show up with blankets to picnic and watch films ranging from new releases to classic hits. Showings are held once a week in July and August, giving audiences the chance to enjoy the warm summer nights along the banks of the Delaware River. Admission is free.
After a half-year performing in Las Vegas, Dito van Reigersberg is back and giving his beloved drag/cabaret alter-ego a welcome-home party. Expect bawdy jokes, good music and tales from Martha’s adventures in exile. You’re not living your best life as a Philadelphian if you’ve never seen Martha Graham Cracker in concert.
Throughout the summer and fall, crowds flock to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing to learn about the many ethnic groups that make Philadelphia the wonderful melting pot that it is. Each iteration of this festival celebrates a different world culture, including the Hispanic Fiesta, the Irish Festival, Brazilian Day Philadelphia and the Islamic Heritage Festival. Attendees enjoy international food, dancing, entertainment and crafts.
The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden throws a daylong festival celebrating the Japanese ritual of Obon, something akin to our homecoming celebrations in the States. Enjoy live music, vendor booths selling Japanese food and gifts and a traditional “bon” dance welcoming home family, friends and the spirits of departed ancestors.
Co-produced by University City District, the University of Pennsylvania and the Rotunda, the 40th Street Summer Series brings free monthly live music concerts to Penn’s campus from May through September. This year’s festivities kick off with a double headlining show from the West Philadelphia Orchestra and Dan Blackberg’s Hot Klezmers. Performers scheduled to take the stage throughout the summer include New Sound Brass, Las Cafeteras and Thee Phantom & the Illharmonic Orchestra.
During this long-running improv spectacle, actors from the N Crowd comedic troupe take audience suggestions and create an original show at each performance, so it’s a completely different experience every time.
Mingle with founding fathers at an after-hours soiree! On select nights throughout the year, Historic Philadelphia hosts this walking tour of Old City sites after the lights go down. The tour begins at the Museum of the American Revolution before heading to City Tavern, where you eat a three-course meal served to you by folks dressed in Colonial garb. Then you’re whisked away on the walking tour that comprises eight city blocks within Independence National Historical Park. The apex of the evening is a stop at Independence Hall where you’ll find Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others in a heated debate about the Declaration of Independence. It’s a surreal step-back-in-time experience that’s uniquely Philly.