NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Winter Fests ❄️

Fun festivals to check out now through spring

CHESTNUT HILL ON ICE
On January 28 and 29, Chestnut Hill turns into an icy wonderland for its annual winter street festival that features gobs of elaborate ice sculptures, live music, an iceless skating rink, ice cocktail bars, axe-throwing and a winter warehouse sell.

FOUNDERS PHILLY FREEZE-OUT
On February 5, Founders Brewing Company hosts this winter street fest in Manayunk that transforms Main Street into a cold-weather activity zone. Guests will find dozens of ice sculptures outside local businesses, live music and ice carvings, discounted shopping opportunities, and food and drink specials all along the corridor.

Kennett Winterfest | February 26
Beer, beer and more beer is the focus of this winter fest out in Kennett Square that lets guests sample dozens upon dozens of suds from regional and national brewers, such as Aston, PA’s 2SP Brewing, Philly’s Dock Street Brewing and Chicago’s Half Acre Beer. Food trucks and live music from multi-instrumentalist Dylan Zangwill round out the day.

WINTERFEST LIVE!
An indoor-outdoor hoopla at Xfinity Live! on February 27 is centered around beer—namely the chance to try unlimited samples from 75+ breweries—but there’s a ton more to see and do in between tastings. The massive setup welcomes live bands, outdoor fire pits, karaoke, DJ-led dance parties, bull-riding, a silent disco and more.

Art Exhibits

What's cool at local museums this season

Get out to browse some of Philly’s world-class museums. Here’s what’s coming up this winter:

In “Rodin’s Hands,” the Rodin Museum takes a closer look at a part of the body famed sculpture Auguste Rodin was particularly adept at: the hands. Fifteen rare bronzes and plasters will be on display during the event. (February 4–December 2023)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art examines posthumous tributes in “Elegy: Lament in the Twentieth Century,” a months” long exhibition of works made between 1900 and 2000 that show how artists used their creativity to pay tribute to those who have passed—and how those rituals of mourning evolved throughout the century. (February 12–July 24)

More than 100 stunning works of Pueblo and Navajo pottery, textiles, and jewelry collected by Albert Barnes in the 1930s will decorate the special exhibition hall at the Barnes Foundation in “Water, Wind, Breath: Southwest Native Art in Community.” (February 20–May 15)

PMA dedicates its Lynne and Harold Honickman Galleries to “Waiting for Tear Gas,” “a monument of politically engaged art created in the wake of the anti-globalization protests that rocked Seattle, Washington, in late 1999.” (March 12–July 17)

Two rare subway drawings and a massive Medusa head are among the 100-plus gems in the Michener Museum’s colorful exhibition on world famous, Kutztown-raised artist Keith Haring. (March 12–July 31)

Winter in Philly

Winter festivals, a major Harry Potter exhibition, live performances and more fun things happening this winter in Philadelphia

Winter in Philly

Winter festivals, a major Harry Potter exhibition, live performances and more fun things happening this winter in Philadelphia

The prospect of a lingering, still-Covid-obsessed winter is all the excuse we need to find some fun things to do in Philly right now. Ain’t nobody got time for winter doldrums.

Thankfully there are a lot of really fun-sounding things happening now through spring, including a handful of winter festivals full of beer, live music and seasonal activities. Philly is also hosting the world debut of a major Harry Potter exhibition at That Franklin Institute that will no doubt draw fans from across the country, and maybe even the world. (You know how those Harry Potter fans are.) There’s also ice skating and must-see art exhibitions; local theaters are welcoming in-person audiences for the first time since Covid; and tons of opportunities to be in nature await at gorgeous parks throughout the region.

Find out where to do all that in the ever-evolving list of winter in Philadelphia activities below. And remember: The more you get out, the more you’re doing to keep our city vibrant throughout these precarious times. Simple things, like having beers around a fire pit with friends or purchasing a trinket at a local market, are money in the pocket for our local businesses, artists and organizations. An engaged city is a thriving city, and who doesn’t want that for Philly right now?

With that said it’s smart to keep track of Covid protocols wherever you go. Chances are you’ll need masks and proof of your Covid-19 vaccination. And keep coming back to this list, I’ll be updating as the season moves along.

THINGS TO DO THIS WINTER IN PHILLY


JANUARY 2021

Recycle your Christmas tree and play with goats during Philly Goat Project’s annual tree-cycle event. | Photo by Love Me Do Photography

Tree-Cycling at Philly Goat Project | January 22
Philly Goat Project is bringing back its annual Christmas Tree-Cycle and Farm Festival, where locals can recycle their Christmas trees by feeding them to goats or having them cut up into wood chips for handy farm use. The day doubles as a farm festival, where guests can have a chance to huddle around fire pits with hot cocoa and of course have some play time with the bearded ones. 🐐

Tristin Lowe, Big Blue Wave, 2019. Neon, glass, aluminum and electrical transformers.

“Black Holes & Rabbit Holes” at Galleries at Moore | January 22–March 19
The Galleries at Moore hosts its largest-ever exhibition by a solo artist. For “Black Holes & Rabbit Holes,” Philly artist Tristin Lowe creates a fantastical world inspired by outer space, the surrealist movement and popular fairy tales from our childhood. Among the items up for view is a 14-foot-long neon comet, the tail end of Volkswagen Passat suspended from the ceiling, and a life-size inflatable pink elephant. If you like your art fun and eye-popping, this is one to see.

Winter landscapes get a bad wrap. Longwood Gardens is here to prove that wrong. | Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens

Winter Wonder Season Exhibit at Longwood Gardens | January 22–March 27
Just in time for those winter doldrums to start kicking in, Longwood Gardens debuts a brand new exhibition that spotlights the beauty in wintertime flora and fauna—and it just may be more colorful than you imagine. “Although subdued colors reign,” the Longwood website reads, “the occasional burst of bright yellow and orange of blooming witch-hazel dots the landscape, while winter grasses add a textural element.”

This photo accompanies a roundup about New Year's Eve Philadelphia events
Try all kinds of delicious new foods during Center City Restaurant Week, starting January 9 | Photo courtesy The Twisted Tail

Center City Restaurant Week | January 9 to 21
More than 60 businesses are taking part in Center City Restaurant Week this year. You can grab $40 prix-fixe dinners and $25 lunches at participating restaurants, such as Alice Pizza, Barbuzzo, Kinme, Lou Bird’s and more. Feel uncomfortable eating indoors? Find a spot on our list of best places to eat outside in Philly right now.

Dancer Melissa Toogood performing for guests at the Philadelphia Museum of Art | Photo by Albert Yee

Melissa Toogood at Philadelphia Museum of Art | January 21 to 23
Dancer Melissa Toogood will utilize multiple spaces within the PMA for a special Museum-commissioned performance by renowned choreographer Pam Tanowitz. An absolute must-see for dance fans, Finally Unfinished (Solo for Melissa for Jasper) complements PMA’s current special exhibition on painter Jasper Johns. It’s inspired by a 1968 dance paying homage to Marcel Duchamp in which Johns designed the set for.

Dilworth Park is ground zero for holiday / seasonal festivities through February.

Wintertime at Dilworth Park | Through February 27
There are several wintery things to do at Dilworth Park now through February 27. You could twirl around the ice skating rink, lounge amongst twinkling lights and whimsical seasonal decor at the Wintergarden on the Greenfield Lawn, shop at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market, or head inside the cozy ski chalet for brews, snacks and cozy vibes. In the background, the westward facing facade of City Hall will glow with the stunning Deck the Halls Holiday Light Show, on display through January 1.

The Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus | Photo by Dominic M. Mercier

Oedipus Rex + Lilacs Operas at Verizon Hall | January 21 and 23
The Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus come together for their first live show on the Kimmel Cultural Campus since January 2020. The program features singers, such as tenor William Burden and mezzo-soprano Rehanna Thelwell, performing Russian composter Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. As an extra treat for all you opera buffs, the concert opens with a 15-minute performance of George Walker’s Lilacs, starring soprano Tiffany Townsend.

Visit Chestnut Hill on Ice in January for wintery street fest vibes. | Photo by Studio 92

Chestnut Hill on Ice | January 28 and 29
For two days at the end of January, Chestnut Hill transforms into an icy wonderland for its annual winter street festival that features gobs of elaborate ice sculptures, live music, an iceless skating rink, ice cocktail bars, axe-throwing and a winter warehouse sell.

This photo accompanies a writeup in a guide about what to do this fall in Philadelphia about where to go hiking outside the city.
Looking to go hiking outside of Philadelphia. Your options are nearly limitless. | Photo by Jon Flobrant / Unsplash

Go for a wintery hike outside the city | All season
Our city is surrounded by gorgeous places to get out around trees (leafless as they may be), open land, rivers and streams. Check out this guide for ideas on where to go hiking near Philadelphia—including Tohickon Valley Park, Hickory Run State Park and that place where the rocks actually sing to you (do they know any carols?).

There’s no telling what kind of nature you might spot on a winter walk around Fairmount Park | Photo courtesy Visit Philadelphia

Take a brisk stroll around Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is an idyllic spot to spend a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon this winter. You could just show up and set out on one of its many hiking trails, or plan your day around some upcoming events happening in the park, such as guided walks, bird watching tours and more. This digital guide will tell you all you need to know to get the most out of the park.

You could explore trails and nature walks for days in WIssahickon Park | Photo by R. Kennedy / Visit Philadelphia

Take in some nature in Wissahickon Park
There’s no shortage of things to do in winter in Wissahickon Park—whether it’s hiking one of its 50 miles of rugged, breathtaking trails, biking along Forbidden Drive, horseback riding, or trying to find as many of the 200 species of birds that live in the park as you can. We also recommend Sunday brunch at the oh-so-homey Valley Green Inn, which sits at the base of several hiking trails and streams to explore.

 

FEBRUARY 2022


The cast of Theatre Exile’s The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

The Motherf**ker with the Hat | February 3–27
Theatre Exile brings you Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play that follows a man recently released from prison and a cast of characters in his orbit as they all have to “come to terms with their personal truths as they navigate a morally ambiguous world.”

Juan Soriano’s “The Dead Girl” is one of a collection of artworks in an exhibition exploring the intersection of art and eulogy at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this winter.

Art Exhibitions at various locations | various times and dates
Get out to browse some of Philly’s world-class museums to beat the winter doldrums with a dose of art and creativity. Here’s what’s coming up this winter:

  • In “Rodin’s Hands,” the Rodin Museum takes a closer look at a part of the body famed sculpture Auguste Rodin was particularly adept at: the hands. Fifteen rare bronzes and plasters will be on display during the event. (February 4–December 2023)
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art takes a look at posthumous tributes in “Elegy: Lament in the Twentieth Century,” a months” long exhibition of works made between 1900 and 2000 that show how artists used their creativity to pay tribute to those who have passed—and how those rituals of mourning evolved throughout the century. (February 12–July 24)
  • More than 100 stunning works of Pueblo and Navajo pottery, textiles, and jewelry collected by Albert Barnes in the 1930s will decorate the special exhibition hall at the Barnes Foundation in “Water, Wind, Breath: Southwest Native Art in Community.” (February 20–May 15)
  • PMA dedicates its Lynne and Harold Honickman Galleries to “Waiting for Tear Gas,” “a monument of politically engaged art created in the wake of the anti-globalization protests that rocked Seattle, Washington, in late 1999.” (March 12–July 17)
  • Two rare subway drawings and a massive Medusa head are among the 100-plus gems in the Michener Museum’s colorful exhibition on world famous, Kutztown-raised artist Keith Haring. (March 12–July 31)
Bundle up for a wintery street fest in Manayunk on February 5 | Photo by JPG Photography

Founders Philly Freeze-Out | February 5
Founders Brewing Company takes the reins of this winter street fest in Manayunk that turns Main Street into a cold-weather activity zone. Guests will find dozens of ice sculptures outside local businesses, live music and ice carvings, discounted shopping opportunities, and food and drink specials all along the corridor.

This photo accompanies a blurb about the Harry Potter: The Exhibition exhibit coming to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia
The Franklin Institute opens the doors to its Harry Potter exhibit in February.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition | February 18 to September 2022
Philadelphia snagged the world premiere of this much-anticipated touring exhibition that will no doubt draw zillions of fans of all ages to ogle props and costumes from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film franchises. The high-tech installation promises “innovative, awe-inspiring and magical environments” that let visitors get hands-on experience with casting spells and other Hogwarts-themed hocus pocus. Start getting your tickets now. You know this will be a tough one to get into.

Redcrest Fried Chicken is one of more than two dozen restaurants taking place in East Passyunk Restaurant Week
Redcrest Fried Chicken is one of the dozen-plus spots taking part in East Passyunk Restaurant Week this February.

East Passyunk Restaurant Week | February 22 to March 5
South Philly’s impressive restaurant row whips up some deals during the 9th annual East Passyunk Restaurant Week, which promises diners a three-course prix fixe lunches and/or dinners at four price points: $15, $25, $35, or $55. Participating restaurants include ​Le Virtu (one of our favorite places to dine outside this winter), Stargazy, Cantina los Caballitos and ​Bing Bing Dim Sum.

This photo accompanies a blurb about the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival
The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival comes through town in late February | Photo by Luis Villasmil / Unsplash

Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival | February 25 to 27
The ink obsessed can meet with tattoo artists from Philly and beyond (and even get work done) at this two-day tat festival at the Convention Center that also promises tattoo contests, sideshow acts and burlesque.

RELATED: A new book from a Philly health care worker features 29 local women with tattoos that tell their stories of trauma, healing and resilience.

This photo accompanies a blurb at the Kennet Square Winterfest beer festival outside of Philadelphia
Warm your bones with beer during the Kennett Winterfest celebration in February | Photo by Julian Hochgesang / Unsplash

Kennett Winterfest | February 26
Beer, beer and more beer is the focus of this winter fest out in Kennett Square that lets guests sample dozens upon dozens of suds from regional and national brewers, such as Aston, PA’s 2SP Brewing, Philly’s Dock Street Brewing and Chicago’s Half Acre Beer. Food trucks and live music from multi-instrumentalist Dylan Zangwill round out the day.

Winterfest Live! | February 27
This multi-venue hoopla at Xfinity Live! is centered around beer—namely the chance to try unlimited samples from 75+ breweries—but there’s a ton more to see and do in between tastings. The massive setup welcomes live bands, outdoor fire pits, karaoke, DJ-led dance parties, bull-riding, a silent disco and more.

MARCH 2022


This section will be filling up soon. Happy winter, Philly! ❄️

Header photo of Chestnut Hill on Ice by Studio 92

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