Best things to do in Philadelphia this weekend
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.
“Video games are an art form,” you could say to the next person who gives you a hard time for obsessing over Super Mario Odyssey. This exhibition will help you prove your point, presenting 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.
Philly’s roving beer garden returns April 25, with a schedule that includes 23 parks around the city—from Mount Airy to Chestnut Hill to South Philly—through the end of summer. Every location features a food/bar truck cranking out craft brews, wine and cocktails along with a menu of barbecue-inspired grub such as pork sandwiches, grilled veggies and tacos. The setup also comes with a variety of outdoor games, and picnic tables, lawn chairs and hammocks so you can pop a squat, chill and enjoy some of the city’s most bucolic oases.
The warmer months are an especially appealing time to visit the farmlike setting of People’s Light. Audiences of all ages should enjoy Woody Sez, a celebration in song and story of the great American balladeer and composer of “This Land Is Your Land,” “Bound for Glory,” and more, performed by four actor-musicians.