Complete Guide to Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia 2015
It’s hard to believe that the unofficial end of summer is mere weeks away, but Philadelphia is celebrating the end of one season and beginning of another with a bang as tons fun happenings — and even some of the biggest events of the summer — take the spotlight.
The holiday weekend starts on Friday, September 4 and runs through Monday, September 7. During the long weekend, the city will buzz with live music for Made in America, knowledge as cool exhibitions continue to fill museum walls and some friendly competition as Temple football takes on Penn State at Lincoln Financial Field.
Read on for our guide to Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia.
Museums & Exhibitions
Last Chance: Discovering the Impressionists At The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Through Sunday, September 13, 2015
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s main exhibition, Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, closes on September 13, the weekend after Labor Day. Use this holiday weekend to check out the highly anticipated exhibitions. Also note that Sunday is pay-what-you-wish first Sunday at the Art Museum, but access to the special exhibition is not included in the pay-what-you-wish admission.
Final Month: Art of the Brick at The Franklin Institute
Through Sunday, October 4, 2015
Since opening in February, tens of thousands have experienced an art exhibition unlike any ever seen at the Franklin Institute. Don’t miss your chance to see the world’s largest exhibition of LEGO art during The Art of the Brick, a limited-time exhibition from artist Nathan Sawya who recreates famous masterpieces and original artworks using only LEGO bricks. Also on view at The Franklin Institute is Genghis Khan: Bring The Legend To Life, so go check out both exhibitions this weekend.
The Breathtaking Nightscape Installation At Longwood Gardens
Through Saturday, October 31, 2015
This summer, Longwood Gardens continues to impress with the launch of the immersive after-dark-only installation Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience. Nightscape activates the garden at night with amazing moving images and bright lights choreographed to original music in nine areas of the garden including the Rose Arbor, Large Lake, Flower Garden Walk, Topiary Garden, and the grand Conservatory.
Last Chance: Creating Camelot at the National Constitution Center
Date: September 5-6, 2015
The National Constitution Center’s Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe exhibition closes on Monday, September 7 after giving guests a peek into the lives of John F. Kennedy and his family. Made up of more than 70 intimate photographs, the exhibition gives viewers a look at the life of the Kennedy family from 1958 to 1961. Also at the NCC over the long weekend is its Religious Liberty and the Founding of America exhibition and its Speaking Out For Equality exhibition.
Free First Sunday At The Barnes Foundation
Date: Sunday, September 6, 2015
The Barnes Foundation celebrates the first Sunday of the month with free admission to the museum and a number of special programs including crafts and story time.
More Must-See Exhibitions Around Town
In addition to LEGOs and Impressionists, there are also a ton of great exhibitions at the city’s fantastic museums. Visit Second Nature at the Philadelphia Zoo, Beneath the Surface at the Penn Museum, Traction Company at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Animal Grossology at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Labor Day Weekend Events
2015 Fringe Festival
Dates: September 3-19
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival celebrates its opening weekend over Labor Day. Head out for hundreds of performances including FringeArts-curated programming, independently produced shows and — new for 2015 — a selection of Digital Fringe works that live online.
The Blockbuster Made in America Music Festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Dates: September 5-6, 2015
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway thumps with live music during the fourth annual Made in America festival. Festival co-presenter Jay Z enlists help from big-name acts, like Beyoncé, The Weeknd, J. Cole, Big Sean, Nick Jonas and Santigold to bring two days of celebration and musical surprises to the City of Brotherly Love. Tickets for a two-day pass are $150 — plus taxes and fees.
Big-Time College Football In South Philly: Temple vs. Penn State at The Linc
Date: Saturday, September 5
Two college rivals — Temple and Penn State — will go head-to-head over Labor Day weekend for a big-time football game at Lincoln Financial Field. The game starts at 3:30 p.m., but before the game, fans can set up tailgating stations in the parking lot. Tickets for the game start at $50.
First Friday Gallery Crawl in Old City
Date: Friday, September 4
First Friday means extra-special fun in a number of neighborhoods in Philadelphia including Old City and Fishtown. Galleries, shops and local businesses host special events and exhibition openings while a number of museums event get in on the fun.
Lo Spiedo Beer-B-Q
Date: Sunday, September 6, 2015
Lo Spiedo, chef Marc Vetri’s restaurant at the Navy Yard, is celebrating the holiday weekend with a beer-b-q, which will be complete with live music, lawn games, tons of backyard barbecue-inspired food and craft beer. The barbecue is all-you-can-eat with burgers, wings, brisket sliders, a whole pig, sides and desserts. Tickets are $35 on the day of the event and $30 in advance. For those not looking to feast, beers will be $5 a glass and food will be available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Labor Day Weekend Blues Festival at Chaddsford Winery
Date: September 5-7, 2015
Soak up the sun at Chaddsford Winery as it hosts its annual Labor Day Weekend Blues Festival. The three-day festival promises live music, local wine and a variety of eats.
Labor Day BBQ & Fireworks at Sesame Place
Dates: September 5-6, 2015
Celebrate Labor Day weekend with a family-friendly barbecue at Sesame Place. Join everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends for a traditional cookout at Big Bird’s Riverside Pavilion at 5 p.m. followed by a spectacular fireworks show once the sun sets.
Night-by-Night Guide of What To Do After 5 P.M. In Philadelphia
Beyond all of the excellent events on tap for the days during the holiday weekend, there are plenty of fun happenings once the sun goes down, too. As the sun sets during the holiday weekend, be sure to check out Uwishunu’s night-by-night guide to what to do after 5 p.m. in the city.
Visit The Super-Popular Spruce Street Harbor Park and RiverRink Summerfest
Open through September 27, 2015
Spruce Street Harbor Park and the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest have been two of the most popular destinations of the summer: Labor Day Weekend offers a great opportunity to head there before the season concludes. All holiday weekend long, the two will continue to offer all of the summer fun they’ve provided folks of all ages with throughout the summer. Head to Spruce Street Harbor Park for hammocks, food, drinks, games and more, and RiverRink Summerfest for roller skating, food, drinks and more.
Extend Summer At A Breezy Outdoor Beer Garden
As the last unofficial weekend of summer arrives, head for a beer garden — a favorite hangout for those enjoying the summer weather. Top beer gardens include the Tall Ships Tavern, Le Bok Fin and the Point Breeze Pop-Up. Plus, the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series will set up shop at Spruce Street Harbor Park and RiverRink Summerfest on Friday night.
Catch A Movie Under The Stars At An Outdoor Movie Screening
Date: September 5-6, 2015
There are a number of outdoor movie screenings happening in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend. Head to the Betsy Ross House for a BYOB screening of Wasp Woman on Friday night, Clark Park for a free screening of Little Shop of Horrors on Friday night, Franklin Square for a free screening of Ghostbusters on Saturday night.
Exercise Alfresco With An Outdoor Yoga Class On The Waterfront
Date: September 5-6, 2015
Both Race Street Pier and the Schuylkill Banks host outdoor yoga classes every weekend in the summer including Labor Day weekend. Race Street Pier is home to free yoga classes on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m., and the Schuylkill Banks hosts pay-what-you-can classes on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.
Bike, Walk, Run And Explore Along Both Of Philadelphia’s Waterfronts
Take in some river breezes over the holiday weekend while hanging out along Philadelphia’s great waterfronts — yes, plural. Both the Delaware River Waterfront and the Schuylkill Banks promise great happenings like kayak tours, cruises on the Spirit of Philadelphia, places to exercise and more.
Find Some Fun Ways To Beat The Heat
Just because summer is coming to an end doesn’t mean the hot temperatures have fled. Check out Uwishunu’s guide to a dozen cool ways to beat the heat — think pools, ice cream cones, museum visit and more.
Sample Some Of Philly’s Best Frozen Treats
There are plenty of sweet frozen treats to be had in Philly — think waffle ice cream sandwiches, water ice and ice cream sandwiches. Satisfy your sweet tooth with 15 must-have chilly indulgences to seek out over Labor Day Weekend.
Visiting Philadelphia Over Labor Day Weekend
While exploring Philadelphia over Labor Day Weekend, be sure to take advantage of all the fantastic attractions and museums the city has to offer. Be sure to visit the Independence Visitor Center before exploring the city for more information and tickets to the city’s top attractions.
Operating hours for visitor centers over Labor Day weekend:
- Independence Visitor Center: Open daily, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. through Labor Day, Monday, September 7
- Sister Cities Park Visitor Center: Daily, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Closed Sunday, September 6
- Fairmount Park Welcome Center: Open Friday, September 4 and Saturday, September 5, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 6 and Monday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- City Hall Visitor Center: Open Friday, September 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, September 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Closed Sunday & Monday, September 6-7
Historic Philadelphia Pass
Available for the Labor Day holiday weekend (September 4-7), the FREE Historic Philadelphia Pass offers visitors exclusive discounts and promotions at 18 attractions around Philadelphia’s Historic District. Passes can be picked up at the Independence Visitor Center or National Constitution Center. Click the button below to learn more.
With a robust public transportation system, the special PHLASH Downtown Loop or citywide bike share program, it’s easy to get around the city of Philadelphia. Ride the purple PHLASH bus to the city’s top attraction for just $2 a ride or pedal your way around with Philadelphia’s bike share program, Indego, starting at just $4.
Other Fun Labor Day Events
- Spaghetti and Crabs at Little Nonna’s>>
- Labor Day Party at Drury Beer Garden>>
- End of Summer Block Party and Crabfest at Taproom on 19th>>
- Labor Day Weekend at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest>>
- Labor Day Can-tacular at Local 44 >>
Museums Open On Labor Day
With an extra day in your weekend, why not visit one of Philadelphia’s fantastic museums? Check out the list below for museums open on Labor Day, Monday, September 7.
- Academy of Natural Sciences >>
- Adventure Aquarium >>
- The Barnes Foundation >>
- Battleship New Jersey >>
- Ben Franklin Museum>>
- Betsy Ross House >>
- Eastern State Penitentiary >>
- Franklin Institute >>
- Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell >>
- Mutter Museum >>
- National Constitution Center >>
- National Liberty Museum >>
- Philadelphia Museum of Art >>
- Philadelphia Zoo >>
- Please Touch Museum >>