The biggest news on the local things-to-do scene this weekend is the return of indoor dining on January 16. Diners will be able to eat indoors again—at 25-percent capacity—at dozens of restaurants around the city.
For those not ready for that, there’s still plenty of things going on around town to keep you busy—including a wealth of restaurants still offering outdoor seating. You could also spend a day ice-skating and eating delicious things at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, take a winter-themed scavenger hunt through Fairmount Park, or drink delicious boozy things next to a fire pit at Franklin Square.
Prefer to snuggle up with some entertainment at home? Most of the weekend’s virtual offerings revolve around Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, including fun activities at the Museum of the American Revolution and National Liberty Museum. You could also spend some time deciding how to spend MLK Day on Monday during the citywide Day of Service.
You’ll find details on all those things and more below. We update this list almost daily, so stop by regularly for more ideas about things to do in Philadelphia during Covid-19.
In-Person Philadelphia Events
- INDOOR DINING: Indoor dining in Philadelphia returns on January 16—at least at 25-percent capacity. Among the better spots reopening their doors for guests are The Bourse food hall in Old City, which includes an array of fast-casual eating options, River Twice, Talula’s Garden, Via Locusta, Double Knot and Forsythia. If you’re not quite ready for indoor dining (and we don’t blame you), several restaurants are still offering outdoor seating.
- ICE SKATING AT CITY HALL: The Rothman Orthopaedics Rink and Wintergarden at Dilworth Park are open through the end of February. Besides the ice skating, guests will find drink stations, hundreds of twinkling lights, topiaries shaped like reindeers and more.
- LIGHT SHOW: It’s Winter in Franklin Square now through February 28 with the dazzling and musical Electrical Spectacle Light Show, seasonal food and drink in the Winter Beer Garden and more.
- ELECTRIC MURAL: Head to Old City to ogle the awesome, 8,500-square-feet, neon-lit Electric Philadelphia mural that stretches from Franklin Square all the way to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge underpass. Get your cameras ready. This is Insta gold.
- ICE SKATING BY THE RIVER: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, situated on the banks of the Delaware River, offers tons of seasonal fun, such as a ferris wheel and ice skating rink, cozy warming cabins that you can rent, and booze and food, through March 7. Guest capacity has been greatly reduced due to Covid, so be sure to get your tickets in advance to make sure to get a spot.
- SCAVENGER HUNT: Get out and explore the gorgeous and expansive Fairmount Park on one (or all!) of the five WinTOUR Scavenger Hunt routes, which guide guests to different and sometimes little-known areas of the park. Get details on how to participate here. The hunts are going through March 19.
- ART EXHIBITION: Art lovers won’t want to miss local artist-on-the-rise Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s first solo museum exhibition at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. “Big Wash,” on view now through June 6, features provocative new paintings, drawings and video projections inspired by the concept of the “laundromat as a site that is at once private and public.”
Down the road
- FLOWER SHOW PLANNING: Make early plans to see the first-ever outdoor Philadelphia Flower Show, happening June 5 to 13 across 15 acres of beautiful FDR Park. Tickets are now on sale for the event, which organizers hype as being held “at the height of the gardening season and with the added health benefits of the outdoors.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events in Philly
Philadelphia hosts the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in the country. You can find dozens upon dozens of ways to volunteer on January 18—from reading aloud to youth to packing food boxes for seniors to sewing face mask kits. Find the full list of opportunities here. Here are some other ways to celebrate throughout the city.
- MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: The Old City history museum marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020 with a weekend of virtual gatherings, including a walking tour highlighting the life of Philadelphia slave Ona Judge, a concert with the Philadelphia Jazz Project and more. It all goes down at various times from January 16 to 18.
- NATIONAL LIBERTY MUSEUM: The National Liberty Museum is also hosting weekend-long virtual programming in celebration of the life of Dr. King, including activist-themed art workshops and an inspiring Drag Queen Story Time with Brittany Lynn, who will be reading books like The Youngest Marcher and Sometimes People March.
- NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER: NCC marks MLK Day with a week’s worth of free virtual classes on the civil rights movement for youth of all ages—or grownups who need a brushing-up.
- EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY: The imposing Fairmount prison hosts a virtual commemoration of MLK Day featuring poetry readings, music, a reading of MLK’s seminal text “A Letter From Birmingham Jail” and open discussion forums. Attendance to the event is free, and it happens on January 18 from 11am to 2pm.
- HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: Join this important virtual conversation on Race, Housing, and Health in Philadelphia on January 18 at noon. The talk is informed by this recently published report that “examines the drivers of housing insecurity for low income people of color in the city.”
- PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA: The Philadelphia Orchestra presents its 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert online this year, on Monday, January 18, at 7pm. The concert, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will be interwoven with interviews from “prominent Philadelphians who are continuing Dr. King’s work today.”
Virtual Philadelphia Events
- CULTURE FEST: Explore the exciting cultures of China, Tibet, Vietnam and Korea in the Penn Museum’s monthlong, virtual CultureFest, which includes tons of talks, activities and more happening now through January 30.