Philadelphia is (still!) in a “reopening with care” phase of quarantine—but local venues and attractions offer locals plenty of things to do while we wait out Covid.
Brand new in-person things to do happening this weekend include creepy Night Tours at Eastern State Penitentiary, which allows guests to explore the prison grounds (and Death Row!) after the sun goes down. Sports fans can check out new Eagles tailgating bashes kicking off in Old City at The Bourse food hall on Sunday with cheap wings and large-screen showings of the game.
If you’re still leery about getting around people IRL, check out the myriad virtual productions happening during the annual Fringe Festival, and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Esperanza Arts Center’s dynamic Virtual Latino Arts Festival.
You’ll find details on all those things and much more below. We update this list almost daily, so stop by regularly for more ideas about things to do in Philadelphia during Covid.
Things to do in Philadelphia during Covid-19
- Eastern State Penitentiary may have suspended its annual Halloween attraction Terror Behind the Walls in 2020, but starting Friday, September 18, it’s offering something just as spooky: Night Tours! The excursions allow guests to stroll through the creepy prison’s cellblocks, yards and Death Row after dark. Tickets range from $19 to $32. Time slots are available here.
- Northern Liberties art boutique Trunc is back open this weekend with an exhibition by local ceramics artist Dominique Ellis of Dellis Design. Now through the end of October, 50 percent of sales from Ellis’s creations will be donated to The Colored Girls Museum.
- Do some Eagles tailgating at The Bourse. The Old City food hall hosts Tailgate with Freebyrd Chicken during every Eagles game taking place on Sundays at 1pm—including this month on September 20 and 27. The game will show on several large-screen TVs while guests enjoy food and drink specials (50-cent wings!) from resident food stall Freebyrd Chicken. Find more details and the season schedule here. 🦅
- Score dinner deals and support local businesses at two “restaurant week” events happening in Philly over the weekend: Center City Restaurant Week is running now through September 25, University City Dining Days happens September 19 to October 4.
- Jet Wine Bar and Café Ynez team up for a four-day pop-up celebrating the flavors and culture of Mexico. Happening now through September 20, Baja Bash: A Taste of Mexico takes place in the secluded Jet Wine Garden and features a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, regionally inspired cocktails and margaritas, and Mexican wine.
- One of summer’s only action-packed blockbusters, Tenet, is showing throughout the weekend at PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard. The full schedule is available here.
- Take advantage of the last weeks of summer weather by dining out somewhere beautiful. Here’s a list of the best outdoor restaurants in Philadelphia—with an emphasis on those with airy, lush gardens and cool patio spaces.
- Sound and light show venue Wonderspaces is open in the Fashion District with two virtual-reality film experiences and 14 experiential art installations, such as Submergence, which lets guests walk through—and take pictures of—8,064 dazzling points of light that change color along with music.
Next week …
- Head over to Delaware waterfront eatery Morgan’s Pier for Fall Fest, happening daily from September 23 to November 1. The hoopla transforms the airy restaurant into “a fall wonderland,” with hanging lights, fall foliage, carved pumpkins, hay bales, cornstalks and more. The menus’s getting an autumnal update, too, with seasonal foods like mushroom flatbreads, chicken-fried squash and fried apple empanadas. Local, seasonal beers will also be up for grabs.
- Urban Farmer and The Logan Hotel team up for a three-course dinner and movie under the stars every Thursday night through October 1. The film lineup is a greatest hits of sorts of the ’80s and ’90s: The Wedding Singer (Sept. 17), Back to the Future (Sept. 24) and 10 Things I Hate About You (Oct. 1). Tickets are $75 per person, and reservations can be made here.
Things to do at home
- Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Esperanza Arts Center’s Virtual Latino Arts Festival. Running on select dates now through October 14 on Facebook Live, the event highlights exciting Latinx artists and traditions from around the globe—from Mexico to Brazil to Puerto Rico.
- Greenfest, the region’s largest environmental festival, is going online in 2020 and extending its usual one-day hoopla into a whopping 16-day virtual event. Taking place now through September 27, the festival includes daily activities that range from film screenings and eco-conscious quizzo matches to informative Q&As with climate leaders and experts. Get the full programming lineup here.
- The Fringe Festival is running now with three-plus weeks of cool, mostly digital productions from local artists and groups like the Nichole Canuso Dance Company, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. Check out the full lineup, taking place through October 4, here.
- Mail-in ballots are expected to be sent out in a few weeks, so be sure to spend some time getting ready for the upcoming election—whether it’s applying for a mail-in ballot, checking your registration, studying who and what will be on your ballot, or even doing your part to help get out the vote this year.
Next week …
- First Person Arts and Da Vinci Art Alliance team up for a digital story slam themed “Mother of Invention” on Tuesday, September 22, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 for the event—part of the Fringe Festival—which will see five members of the Zoom audience sharing a five-minute story in the hopes of being named the evening’s “Best Storyteller.”
- The all-virtual Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival runs September 23 to 27 with dozens of environmentally focused short and feature films—50 of which are making their world debuts. Festival passes go on sale September 4.
- WXPN is live-streaming the annual Philly Music Fest on September 24 and 25. The free, all-virtual event is a showcase of Philly’s diverse music scene—across all genres. Tune in to hear performances from local bands like Japanese Breakfast, Mt. Joy, Langhorne Slim, The Districts and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The fest is free, though donations are appreciated.
- Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed sits down for a virtual conversation with the Museum of the American Revolution on Thursday, September 24, at 6pm. Called “The Past in the Present: Dealing with Troublesome Histories,” Gordon-Reed’s lecture will touch on how to create open dialogue around some of our nation’s most problematic moments in history.
- Martha Graham Cracker performs a live-streamed set in the fancy, state-of-the- Turtle Studios with the help of Rocco Films on Thursday, September 24, at 8pm. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill virtual sing-along. Expect crystal-clear sound, 10 (10!) camera angles, a full band and of course the mellifluous sounds of Philly’s tallest, hairiest drag queen. The concert is free, but donations are suggested to help pay the band and crew. You could even fork over $250 to have Miss Graham Cracker sing any song of your choosing!