Whether you’re just rolling into the office on a Monday or you’re running through the halls singing “TGIF!” at the top of your lungs, it’s always a good time to start looking for things to do in Philadlephia this weekend. Below, find a host of recommended events around town—from festivals and concerts to theater performances and exhibitions at Philadelphia museums. First and foremost, though, head to a bar after work to take advantage of a happy hour Philadelphia has to offer, and use your weekend freetime to check out one of the best new restaurants in Philadelphia.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Philadelphia
Best things to do in Philadelphia this weekend
The 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra bring back their annual Memorial Day tribute show, held at the open-air Mann Center for the Performing Arts. The 90-minute concert is a heart-swelling patriotic salute to our troops that features vocals by a handful of choirs and special guests Nikki Renée Daniels, of Broadway fame, and Philly-born opera star Justin Hopkins. Bring a little flag to wave as the POPS go through a songbook of patriotic anthems and Great American Songbook standards, such as “Summertime,” “Old Man River,” “Salute to the Armed Forces” and “My Country Tis of Thee.” The concert is absolutely free, but you have to register here.
On every fourth Friday of the month through the end of spring, Philly’s natural history museum will keep its doors open a little later so folks can explore Dinosaur Hall and all its massive inhabitants after-hours. The event also features hands-on activities, demonstrations, meet and greets with live animals and an indoor beer garden, called Dino Drafts, where you can snag beer, wine, cocktails and light bites. And the best part (besides the beer): admission is pay-what-you-wish.
The headliners, of course, are Philly/soul/pop royalty Daryl Hall and John Oates, hitmakers of the highest caliber (“Kiss on My List,” “Maneater,” “Method of Modern Love,” “Private Eyes,” etc.). Beyond that you’ve got alt-rockers Train, blues-rock Philly mainstays Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers, indie-soul favorites Fitz and the Tantrums and more. Show up on time for Seattle heartbreakers Down North, who mix soul, funk and rock to great effect.
Released in April, The Lookout is the twangy Portland, Oregon singer-songwriter’s first record in five years—the longest hiatus in her long career. Of course, the big asterisk is 2016’s spectacular Case/Lang/Veirs, in which she teamed up with Neko Case and k.d. lang. Hopefully it won the perennially underrated Veirs some new fans.
As popular as Radiohead is, not many bands actually sound like them. Suuns is one, but even then you have to squint your ears a little. Felt, the latest record by these wily indie-rock veterans from Montreal, is full of dissonance and obfuscation, computer-pop manipulations and slyly angsty vocals, but there are also jazzy, jammy bits, and a saxophone when you least expect it.
Indie-rock/folk artist Kate Stables has a commanding presence despite only using her indoor voice. Her 2017 record Moonshine Freeze and its new acoustic kid-sister EP, Moonshine First Goes Out, are both musical geodes, simultaneously pretty and strong, built in the natural world but reflecting a sheen of otherworldly energy. The British singer-songwriter likes to aim her lyrics at some unseen “you,” be it somebody done wrong or doing wrong.
Bundle up and 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. Created 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.
On the last weekend in May, nine tall ships from along the eastern U.S., Bermuda and Portugal will dock at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. The four-day festival includes tours of the traveling boats, admission to the Independence Seaport Museum and optional 90-minute or two-hour cruises. Tickets to sail aren’t cheap ($90-$125 for a day pass), but you don’t have to get out on the water to experience the vessels. On Deck ship tours are $10 for adults, or you can admire the beauties from land at the accompanying Sail Philadelphia Waterfront Festival, which costs $7 to enter. Are you a casual boat fan looking for a complimentary peek? Walking up the Ben Franklin Bridge is always free.