NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Summer Fun in Philadelphia

It’s a new day in Philadelphia. Let’s show our city some love by taking advantage of the museums, parks, restaurants and other fun things happening in summer 2021.

Summer Fun in Philadelphia

It’s a new day in Philadelphia. Let’s show our city some love by taking advantage of the museums, parks, restaurants and other fun things happening in summer 2021.

Summer, summer, summer-time! Time to sit back and unwind!

Pause, if you will, and take in the ultimate summer in Philadelphia jam, because it’s here, folks: The unofficial start of Philly’s most glorious season—SUMMERTIME!

Bring on the water ice, the weekends down the shore, the outdoor dining and drinking, hiking and swimming. The unofficial arrival of summer in Philadelphia on Memorial Day marks the end of the school year, the start of Pride month, the opening of Philly pools and camps, and the return of open-air music festivals.


MORE IDEAS FOR WHAT TO DO IN PHILLY THIS SUMMER


So let this guide help you kick off your summer in Philly Will Smith-style—with “an air of love and of happiness”—then send any other summer events and ideas you’d like us to include in this regularly updated guide to [email protected].

For now: Go spark up that grill, slather on the SPF, shake your booty to the cicadas’ song, and get out to soak up the city.

Want to skip ahead? Click below for …

 

BIG SUMMER EVENTS IN PHILADELPHIA IN 2021

The Wawa Welcome America Fireworks Spectacular will boom in the skies over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 4 | Photo courtesy Visit Philadelphia

Whoop it up for freedom during Wawa Welcome America
Philadelphia’s multi-week Fourth of July celebration returns with more than 50 free, in-person events happening June 19 through July 4. Highlights include annual favorites like Wawa Hoagie Day, movie nights, free museum admission, a July 4 fireworks spectacular, and a massive concert on the Parkway featuring Bebe Rexha and Flo Rida. Find the full schedule of Wawa Welcome America events here.

Pride revelers wave rainbow flags in front of Constitution Hall in Philadelphia
There are tons of ways to celebrate LGBTQ Pride in Philly this June | Photo by J. Fusco / Visit Philadelphia

Wave your rainbow flag during LGBTQ Pride Month
Philly was the site of the country’s first major demonstration for LGBTQ rights in 1965; 56 years later, this city still proudly celebrates our queer community with events out the wazoo. There’s no Pride parade and festival scheduled for 2021, but locals can celebrate the rainbow month with a drag teatimes at Sofitel, a fundraiser for a Lil Nas X mural in the Gayborhood, dance parties, history walking tours of the Gayborhood, women’s parties, and a virtual film festival. There’s really too much to mention here. We recommend checking out PhillyGayCalendar for a comprehensive rundown of Pride Month to-dos.

The outdoor concert stage at People's Light in Malvern, PA
People’s Light is hosting a two-day folk music festival in Malvern on July 24 and 25. | Photo by Charles T Brastow

Kick back at a folk music festival in Malvern
People’s Light in Malvern is hosting a full weekend of folk music acts during its first Folk Weekend, happening Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25. Concerts take place in various areas around the theater, including the lush Glen area. See the full lineup and ticketing details here.

Drag queen VinChelle performs at the Philly Pride Festival at Penn's Landing
VinChelle performs at a Philly Pride Festival at Penn’s Landing | Photo by J. Fusco / Visit Philadelphia

Party like it’s not 2020 at a Penn’s Landing Pride fest
Philly Pride Presents is hosting a big Pride Festival at Penn’s Landing on Saturday, September 4 in place of its usual parade in festival during LGBTQ Pride Month in June. Details are mum at the moment, but you can surely expect lively drag shows, live music, a sea of vendor booths and a high-kicking good time with a crowd of people who know how to throw a damn good party.

A girl sits on someone's shoulders and raises her arms in glee at the Made in America music festival in Philadelphia
Jay-Z’s Made in America music festival returns to Philly in September. | Photo by Joey Thompson / Unsplash

Get lost in the music on the Ben Franklin Parkway
There’s no word on what artists will be performing yet, but Jay-Z’s massive outdoor music festival Made in America is returning to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for its 10th anniversary romp on September 4 and 5. Early bird tickets are available now.

Strand of Oaks is among the musical acts performing at this year’s XPoNential Music Festival

Hear awesome indie rock on the other side of the Delaware
WXPN’s annual three-day XPoNential Music Festival is back in person in 2021, hitting Wiggins Park on the Camden, New Jersey, riverfront from September 17 to 19. Musical acts include Dawes, Ani DiFranco, Strand of Oaks, Adia Victoria and more. See the full lineup here.

Guests lounge in the green at the Mann Center in Philadelphia
Guests lounge in the green at the Mann Center in Philadelphia | Photo by M. Kennedy / Visit Philadelphia

Pick your first concert to go to post-pandemic
Even if you’re not a festival-goer, there’s music for everyone this summer, from your hippie granny to your moody teen—outdoors at the Mann and TD Center. But also, indoor at The Met; at TLA starting in July; Union Transfer starting in August; Franklin Music Hall, in September. Some highlights: Green Day, Fallout Boy and Weezer are coming to Citizens Bank Park; Chicago is serving up retro vibes at BB&T Pavilion; Wilco and Sleater-Kinney are joining forces at The Mann; James Taylor will be singing sweet nothings at BB&T Pavilion.

PHILLY ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT THIS SUMMER

The ferris wheel and other attractions at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest
Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest is now open along the Delaware River with summertime fun galore. | Photo by Maria Young

Ride the ferris wheel at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest
Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest keeps visitors entertained for hours with roller skating, ferris wheel rides, boardwalk games, mini-golf, an arcade and all kinds of summertime grub, such as funnel cakes, cotton candy, chicken wings, crab fries and beer, beer, beer.

Locals hang at the floating barge at Spruce Street Harbor Park, where you can go to get summer cocktails and enjoy river views
Locals hang around the floating beer garden at Spruce Street Harbor Park | Photo by Matt Stanley

Nab a hammock and some beers at Spruce Street Harbor Park
Spruce Street Harbor Park, the seasonal hotspot along the Delaware River waterfront, is now open with all the amenities you know and love—including those Insta-worthy hammocks swaying underneath glowing trees. Visitors will also be able to play arcade games, sip on summer cocktails on a floating barge, and have their choice of Philly food staples—from pretzels to water ice to crab fries and tacos. Peek all the opening weekend details here.

A food market at Cherry Street Pier in Philadelphia
Catch farmers’ markets and more this summer at Cherry Street Pier | Header photo by K. Kelly / Visit Philadelphia

Do all the things at Cherry Street Pier
Cherry Street Pier is always bustling with some kind of activity—whether it’s art shows or food markets or visitors just sitting back, beer in hand, and gazing at the beautiful Delaware River views.

Locals skate at the outdoor roller rink at Philadelphia City Hall
There’s a retro roller skating rink open at Dilworth Park right now | Photo by BeauMonde Originals

Take in some fun activities in the shadow of City Hall
The Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink at Dilworth Park gives the chance to roller skate old school-style just outside all the important goings on in City Hall. The retro setup is decked out with a checkerboard floor and tons of neon-hued hula hoops hanging overhead. Go here to book your tickets. There are tons of other activities going on at Dilworth Park this summer—from fitness classes to live music. Find a full rundown here.

The outdoor courtyard at East Market in Center City Philadelphia
The vibrant East Market courtyard takes up the entire space between Market and Chestnut, and 11th and 12th streets.

Spend some time in one of Philly’s newest outdoor spaces
East Market, one of the newest hangout spots in Center City, is a vibrant block-long corridor with eye-catching public art, plenty of seating and within a stone’s throw of some great fast-casual restaurants (looking at you, Federal Donuts!). The space is also hosting community events throughout summer, including outdoor fitness classes every Tuesday from 6 to 6:45pm, and live entertainment every Saturday from 4 to 6pm.

Summer outdoor movies return to the Schuylkill Banks beginning June 10 | Photo courtesy Schuylkill Banks

Watch movies in the open air
Outdoor movie screenings have always been an integral part of Philadelphia in the summer. This year, there are several ways you can catch outdoor flicks almost any night of the week. There’s the drive-in at the Navy Yard, movie nights along the Schuylkill Banks, and even cinema in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Guests mill about the Great Stair Hall in the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Great (and air-conditioned!) Stair Hall in the Philadelphia Museum of Art | Photo by Constance Mensh

See what’s new at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art just to check out the highly anticipated new galleries, designed by Frank Gehry, and decide for yourself: Are they appropriately stately for the Neo-Classical PMA, or as Inga Saffron in the Inquirer put it, “a bit of a letdown,” considering how radical Gehry can be? Then stay for the museum’s exciting opening exhibit, “New Grit: Art & Philly Now,” featuring 25 local and regional artists, more than half of whom are people of color.


Soutine / de Kooning Conversations in Paint at the Barnes Foundation | Image © The Barnes Foundation

Get lost among world-class art at the Barnes Foundation
In the Barnes Foundation’s first post-pandemic show, “Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint,” the two 20th century artists are displayed in dialogue with each other, with works from Albert Barnes’ collection and borrowed from museums around the world. It’s happening through August 8.

A guest checks out a glowing exhibition at Wonderspaces in Philadelphia
Immersive art museum Wonderspaces is now open in the Fashion District. | Photo by Brian Bautista

Snap selfies in some of Philly’s most IG-worthy art exhibitions
For a different sort of 20th century art vibe, check out the city’s new Neon Museum of Philadelphia, years in the making. Or the immersive art show at Wonderspaces in the Fashion District.

Eastern State Penitentiary Exhibit
Take a spooky nighttime tour of Eastern State Penitentiary on Thursdays through Saturday through September | Photo by Bruce Cronlund / Flickr

Freak yourself out on a nighttime tour of Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary is offering after-dark tours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through September 4. Guests will have a chance to explore everything the daytime tours offer (like Al Capone’s cell), but under the eery light of the moon—plus grab a beer from Triple Bottom Brewing Company in the prison’s Fair Chance Beer Garden.

A family strolls through the dinosaur exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo
A massive dinosaur exhibit is open now at the Philadelphia Zoo | Photo by Andre Flewellen

Spend some time with animals—both living and prehistoric
The Philadelphia Zoo, the nation’s oldest zoo, is always a fun place to spend a weekend or chill weekday afternoon. For now, guests can walk among massive animatronic dinosaurs in a prehistoric setting at special exhibition “Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age.”

 

RESTAURANTS, BARS AND BEER GARDENS TO CHECK OUT

Diners eat on outdoor tables along 13th Street in Midtown Village
Diners enjoy meals and good times along 13th Street in Midtown Village | Photo by J. Fusco / Visit Philadelphia

Try all the best spots for outdoor dining in town
Dining out is not only one of the best things to do in Philly right now—it’s also a great way to support our local dining scene with our outdoor dining guide that includes all the best places to eat outside this summer—mostly focusing on those spots with beautiful patios and garden areas.

An aerial view of the Bok Bar in South Philadelphia
The Bok Bar is open with a full slate of weekly programming, and food and drink options. | Photo by Sam Oberter

Check out the amazing city views from the Bok Bar
Bok Bar, the South Philly rooftop bar with gobsmacking views of the Philadelphia skyline (and then some), is open with a fun slate of weekly activities, such as restaurant pop-ups, drag brunches, rooftop yoga sessions, maker workshops and tons more. You can find the full schedule here. Plan ahead; reservations are required in lieu of Covid safety protocols.

Guests enjoy food, beer and conversation at Parks on Tap along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia
All summer, you can enjoy beers and water views at two new Parks On Tap pop-ups along the Schuylkill River. | Photo by Albert Yee

Get tipsy with friends on the banks of the Schuylkill
Parks On Tap, Philly’s beloved pop-up beer garden, is operating at two locations along the Schuylkill River through the end of summer: one at Water Works behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the other in a brand new location, at Trail’s End just off the South Street Bridge. Besides idyllic views of the water, both locations offer menus of snacks, sandwiches and sweets, plus beers, wines and specialty cocktails. For more, including safety protocols and hours of operation, go here.

 

PHILADELPHIA PARKS AND THINGS TO DO IN NATURE

The Trolley Trail in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park
Wanna escape the city? Fairmount Parks lush trails give you that opportunity without having to wander too far away.

Go for a hike or kayak ride in Philly’s largest park
Fairmount Park is a perfect place to spend a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon hiking trails, touring historic mansions or taking a kayak tour along the Schuylkill. Don’t know where to start? Consult the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s digital guide to the park to discover four different trails to explore. You could also check out the organization’s events calendar for upcoming to-dos, such as birdwatching tours, outdoor exercise classes and romantic moonlit strolls.

A variety of paddle boats maneuver around the Penn's Landing basin in Philadelphia
Locals can rent a variety of watercraft from the Seaport Museum this summer | Photo by Morgan Smith

Paddle your way around Penn’s Landing
Locals can rent a variety of watercraft from the Philly Seaport Museum—from a kayak to a canoe to a swan- or dragon-shaped paddle boat—to cruise around the Penn’s Landing basin through Labor Day. The cost is $10 for a half-hour rental.

Guests tour the Shofuso House and gardens in Philadelphia's sprawling Fairmount Park
The beautiful and serene Shofuso house and gardens is open for tours and free moments of zen

Wanna quick mental getaway to Japan?
Shofuso Japanese house and gardens in Fairmount Park is now open for spring tours. You can wander inside the house, and relax next to koi ponds and Japanese maples.

Bikers ride through the Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia
Locals enjoy bike rides and strolls through Wissahickon Park | Photo by J. Fusco / Visit Philadelphia

Enjoy beautiful Wissahickon Park
Help take care of trails and prevent erosion in the Wissahickon with Stewardship events (kids welcome) on Tuesday and Thursday mornings—then, take advantage of being in our city’s outdoor gem and spend the day exploring a different trail every time.

Header photo courtesy WXPN

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