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Complete Guide to Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia 2018

A long weekend full of music, fireworks, outdoor happenings and more, August 31 - September 3, 2018

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Spruce Street Harbor Park Photo by M. Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
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Summer gets a proper send-off this Labor Day weekend with tons of fantastic events at both indoor and outdoor attractions citywide in Philadelphia.

Residents and visitors alike flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the epic Made in America music festival on Saturday and Sunday, featuring performances by Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and more of the biggest names in hip-hop.

Along the Delaware River waterfront, a festive fireworks show hosted by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation illuminates the sky on Saturday and a cultural festival and sustainable living celebration takes over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Sunday.

The long holiday weekend is also a prime time to visit summertime attractions like Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest — which closes for the season on Monday, September 3 — and Spruce Street Harbor Park, the urban oasis that’s only open through the end of September.

Other event highlights include two free outdoor movies, the final days of five big exhibitions, a beer festival inside the historic Bok Building and more.

Want to spend the entirety of Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia? Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package and receive free hotel parking and a number of other amazing perks to take advantage of during the holiday weekend.

Read on for our complete guide to Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia.

Labor Day Weekend Celebrations

01

Closing Weekend for Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and The Midway

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Labor Day weekend brings the last few days of the season for the fun-filled Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. Head to the Delaware River waterfront destination by Monday — its last day open of the season — for boardwalk eats, craft beer and cocktails, roller skating, mini-golf, arcade games and the 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel.

Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard

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02

Labor Day Weekend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia Museum of Art
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art over Labor Day weekend catch the final days of two exhibits: the thematic retrospective of early-20th-century American modern art Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950 and the interactive family programming Art Splash: Bright Lights, Little City that’s inspired by Modern Times. On Friday, the museum hosts Final Fridays: Work Your Angles, where guests can partake in art and writing workshops and enjoy music by DJ THEakasha and Philly-based rap and spoken-word artist Ivy Sole. On Sunday, visitors are invited to take advantage of the museum’s First Sunday pay-what-you-wish admission.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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03

Labor Day Weekend at the Independence Seaport Museum

Explore Philadelphia’s rich maritime history at the Independence Seaport Museum, located along the scenic Delaware River waterfront and open all weekend long. Stop by Deck — the museum’s pop-up beer garden — for top-notch views of the Delaware River, drinks, live music and fun for the whole family on Friday and Saturday. Nearby, Admiral’s Tavern — a pop-up beer garden on the historic Cruiser Olympia — is another prime place for craft beer, cocktails, wine, games and music on Friday and Saturday as well. Either spot provides great views of the Labor Day Fireworks show on Saturday.

Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard

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04

Labor Day Fireworks on the Delaware River

Delaware River Waterfront Fireworks Delaware River Waterfront Fireworks
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Following a rollicking end-of-summer concert featuring the U.S. Army Band Downrange at Penn’s Landing, a fabulous fireworks show lights up the sky above the Delaware River on Saturday evening to commemorate Labor Day. Take in the spectacular views from the Independence Seaport Museum’s second-floor terrace bar Deck, Spruce Street Harbor Park or one of these other awesome vantage points along the waterfront.

Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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05

Made In America Festival

Made In America Festival Made In America Festival
— Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

Made in America, one of Philadelphia’s biggest music festivals, hits the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for another year of live music from some of the biggest names in hip-hop, EDM, rock and pop. The festival runs the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend with performances by Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Diplo, Zedd, Alessia Cara and more.

Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway and N. 21st Street

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06

Labor Day Weekend Fireworks at Sesame Place

Join Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and more of the Sesame Street gang at the annual Labor Day Weekend Fireworks celebration at Sesame Place. Bring the whole family out for on either Saturday or Sunday for a fun-filled day that ends with an 8 p.m. performance of the Neighborhood Street Night Parade followed by a spectacular fireworks show.

Where: Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne

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07

Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia's Historic District

Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches — Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Some of the fun summer programming in Philadelphia’s Historic District wraps up for the season over Labor Day weekend, including the Once Upon a Nation free storytelling sessions, the free Military Muster events at Signer’s Garden (at 5th and Chestnut streets), Storytime in the Square at Franklin Square and more. Experience some of the city’s most popular history-based entertainment one more time before the 2018 season comes to a close.

Where: Various locations including Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street

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08

Labor Day Volksfest at Canstatter-Verein

Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein
— Photo courtesy Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein

Every Labor Day weekend, the Canstatter German society in Torresdale hosts a three-day Oktoberfest party with crafts and lots of German food and beers in a festive environment.

Where: Cannstatter Volkfest Verein, 9130 Academy Road

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09

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

A couple walking through the lobby of The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia A couple walking through the lobby of The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia
— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

The Labor Day holiday is the perfect time to take advantage of the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package and book a long weekend stay in Philadelphia. The package includes more than $250 in free perks, including free hotel parking and free tickets and experiences from the Museum of the American Revolution, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, CHeU Noodle restaurants, Franklin Square, PHLASH and Lyft.

Where: Various locations including The Warwick Hotel, Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia, 220 S. 17th Street

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More Things to Do

10

Parks on Tap at Clark Park

People hanging out in a public park during the Parks on Tap traveling beer garden series People hanging out in a public park during the Parks on Tap traveling beer garden series
— Photo by A. Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy

Roving beer garden series Parks on Tap pops up in Clark Park from Wednesday, August 29 through the Labor Day holiday. Swing by for fresh-air bites and brews in this tree-covered public space in the heart of University City.

Where: Clark Park, 4300-4398 Baltimore Avenue

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11

Live Music: Jazz 180 at The Piazza

Enjoy a relaxing, jazz-filled evening at The Piazza on Friday night, where local band Jazz 180 covers songs from hitmakers like Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and more.

Where: The Piazza, 1001 N. 2nd Street

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12

Summer Sounds in the Historic District

— Photo by Matt Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Smooth Jazz Summer Nights: Friday, August 31, 2018 | 7:30-9 p.m.

Summer Sounds on the Square: Saturday, September 1, 2018 | 6-8 p.m.

Summer Sounds in the Historic District, the series of long-popular concerts and new programming sponsored in part by VISIT PHILADELPHIA, starts winding down over Labor Day weekend. Catch The Baylor Project performing at the free Smooth Jazz Summer Nights show at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Friday and Black Horse Motel jamming at the final Summer Sounds on the Square free concert on Saturday.

Where: Various locations including the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard

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13

Fountain Garden Performances at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens Longwood Gardens
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Throughout the three-day weekend, Longwood Gardens shows off its restored Main Fountain Garden during daily fountain shows. At the five-minute Open Air Theatre Fountain Shows, 750 soaring jets come to life against a musical backdrop, while the 12-minute Main Fountain Garden Fountain Performances feature an impressive 1,719 jets. And on Friday evening, colorful lights, music and 1,700 jets come together for an Illuminated Fountain Performance set to sounds of reimagined hits from the Great American Songbook. 

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

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14

Draken Harald Hårfagre at Penn's Landing

Draken Harald Harfagre Draken Harald Harfagre
— Photo by David Nelson

The Draken Harald Hårfagre, the world’s largest operating Viking ship, sails into Penn’s Landing (for the first time ever!) over Labor Day weekend. The ship arrives on Friday, August 31 and docks on the Delaware River waterfront for seven days, during which guests can go on deck tours, see a screening of the new Draken documentary, explore the pop-up Draken Village, attend a lecture about the ship’s adventures led by the captain and more.

Where: Penn's Landing, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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15

College Football Season Opener: Temple vs. Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field

College football season is back! Come out to Lincoln Financial Field for the Temple Owls’ first game of the season against non-conference opponents and neighbors the Villanova Wildcats.

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way

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16

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park

— Photo courtesy Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies kick off September with a two-game series against the Chicago Cubs over Labor Day weekend. Both teams are hovering around the top of their respective divisions, so don’t miss the chance to see the two competitive crews duke it out at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Where: Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way

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17

Back to School! Free Kids' Admission to the Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution Museum of the American Revolution
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Preparing to go back to school is anything but a bummer at the Museum of the American Revolution’s Back To School! weekend. From Saturday through Monday, kids 12 and under receive free admission to the museum plus a free back-to-school pack, complete with colored pencils, an eraser, a history-themed coloring book and a pocket-sized Declaration of Independence.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

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18

Blue Corn Lifestyle: Green & Organic Fest

Cultures from all over the world gather during the Green & Organic Festival at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing to celebrate with performances, music, food and more. The festival — which is part of the PECO Multicultural Series at Penn’s Landing — serves as both a cultural celebration and a promotion for sustainable living.

Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard

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19

Arnez J at Helium Comedy Club

Known for his Netflix special Arnez J: Racially Motivated and appearances on The Mo’Nique Show, Def Comedy Show and more, comedian Arnez J brings his high-energy brand of stand-up comedy to Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend. Catch one of the six performances at Helium Comedy Club in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.

Where: Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom Street

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20

Party in the Park at the Dell Music Center

Celebrated classic R&B group and Philadelphia natives Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly get the Dell Music Center grooving alongside The Whispers for the Party in the Park on Sunday evening. Come out for an energizing evening of ’80s R&B hits at this 5,000-seat open-air amphitheater located in Fairmount Park.

Where: Dell Music Center, 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive

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21

Afrofest

This massive African-Caribbean festival and party tour returns to the Theatre of Living Arts on Sunday for fans of afrobeats, hip-hop, dancehall, soca and kompa music. Last year’s event sold out, so be sure to get tickets ahead of time!

Where: Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South Street

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22

Waterfront Day

Roof deck on Spirit of Philadelphia Roof deck on Spirit of Philadelphia
Spirit of Philadelphia rooftop beer garden — Photo by Aaron Raysor Photography for Entertainment Cruises

The Spirit of Philadelphia and attractions along the Delaware River waterfront partner for the second annual Waterfront Day, a day-long event featuring a pop-up rooftop beer garden on the Spirit of Philadelphia cruise ship, live entertainment, deals from several waterfront attractions and the world’s largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, docked outside of the Independence Seaport Museum for visitors to explore. Awesome Waterfront Day deals include $3 off skating all day at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, buy one, get one free traditional hot dogs at Froman’s at Spruce Street Harbor Park, $5 select frozen drinks at Keating’s Rope & Anchor and more. The Spirit of Philadelphia’s rooftop beer garden is free to enter and open to the public from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Where: Various locations including Spirit of Philadelphia Rooftop Beer Garden, 401 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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23

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Reboot, Renew, Revive! at the Barnes Foundation

— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Visitors to the Barnes Foundation can get free admission, tour the soon-to-close Renoir exhibit and the regular collection, take part in tons of art-making activities and catch live performances on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend at the next PECO Free First Sunday Family Day. This edition of the monthly event series features an interactive dance performance by olive Dance Theatre and live music by Sistahs Attune, an all-female vocal collective performing Afrocentric jazz and soul music.

Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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24

Last Chance: Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Leonard Bernstein exhibition at the NMAJH Leonard Bernstein exhibition at the NMAJH
— Photo by Jessi Melcer

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music at the National Museum of American Jewish History celebrates what would have been the composer’s 100th birthday by focusing on Bernstein’s life as an American Jew who lived through World War II, the Holocaust, the Vietnam War and social change. A mix of historic artifacts, sound installations, film and interactive media bring Bernstein’s fascinating story to life at this exhibition that ends its run Sunday, September 2.

Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E.

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25

Bok to School Beer Fest

Spend Labor Day in the gymnasium of a former vocational school sipping beer from local breweries for a good cause at the Bok to School Beer Fest. Expect a menu featuring new takes on after-school snacks as well as beer from Sly Fox Brewing Company, Conshohocken Brewing Company and Yards Brewing Company. Also on tap: a raffle with prizes from Crime & Punishment Brewing Company, Fermentery Form, Urban Jungle and more. All of the proceeds go toward spinal-cord-injury research and quality-of-life programs.

Where: Bok Bar, 800 Mifflin Street

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26

Last Chance: Renoir: Father and Son/Painting and Cinema at the Barnes Foundation

Renoir Father/Son exhibition at the Barnes Foundation Renoir Father/Son exhibition at the Barnes Foundation
— Photo courtesy Barnes Foundation

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore master impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s relationship with his filmmaker son, Jean, at the Barnes Foundation before this special exhibition closes. Observe the juxtaposition of the father’s paintings and drawings with the son’s films, costumes, photos and ceramics through Monday.

Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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27

Last Chance: Game Masters at The Franklin Institute

Game Masters at The Franklin Institute Game Masters at The Franklin Institute
— Photo by Mark Ashkanasy

It’s “game over” for the The Franklin Institute’s Game Masters exhibit come Labor Day. Engage in more than 100 video games, ogle original and transformative artwork, learn the stories behind celebrity characters, watch interviews with gaming pioneers and delve into both classic arcade diversions and immersive multiplayer experiences before it’s too late!

Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street

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28

Last Chance: Photo Pop Philly

Photo Pop Philly — an interactive pop-up exhibit that showcases the creative work of local artists — ends its stint in a once-vacant Center City space on Labor Day. The exhibit, which is presented by VISIT PHILADELPHIA and curated by Philly PR Girl, features five red-white-and-blue themed rooms filled with original, Instagram-worthy art, murals and installations.

Where: The Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut Street

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29

Last Chance: Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Horace Pippin's painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Horace Pippin's painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
— The Getaway, 1939, by Horace Pippin, American, 1888 - 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 5/8 x 36 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-3.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates and explores the energetic first half of America’s 20th century in this exhibition — which ends on Monday — featuring vibrant, essential modern works by Georgia O’Keefe, Horace Pippin, Paul Strand, Marsden Hartley and more revolutionary artists.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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30

Spruce Street Harbor Park

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

September marks the last full month to enjoy the beloved, hammock-filled haven of Spruce Street Harbor Park — and what better time to go than during the extended weekend? Spend a fun-day Monday (or Friday or Saturday or Sunday!) hanging out in the park’s beer garden, enjoying delicious food from its floating restaurant or boardwalk-style eateries and playing games – ping pong, shuffleboard and more – along its waterfront boardwalk.

Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard

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31

Beer Gardens Throughout Philadelphia

PHS Pop Up Garden on South Street — Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Nothing beats relaxing outdoors at a beer garden during a long holiday weekend. Philly’s got a ton of great ones, including Independence Beer Garden, Bok Bar, Morgan’s Pier, Wine Garden at John F. Collins Park at and more, all listed here. Be sure to check each beer garden’s official website or call ahead to see if there are any special holiday hours.

Where: Various locations including PHS Pop Up Garden, 1438 South Street

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32

Summer Exhibitions in Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts — Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Although many major exhibitions close this weekend, culture seekers can still find plenty to browse at the Penn Museum (Cultures in the Crossfire), the National Constitution Center (Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes that Shaped a Nation), the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Xtreme Bugs) and more Philadelphia museums.

Where: Various locations including Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street

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33

Rooftop Bars Throughout Philadelphia

Bok Bar Bok Bar
Bok Bar — Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

From the bird’s-eye views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Assembly Rooftop Lounge to the sweeping sights from Bok Bar atop a former vocational school in South Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s skyward hospitality has reached new heights. Spend the last summer holiday weekend relaxing on a rooftop at one of these sky-high restaurants and bars.

Where: Various locations including Bok Bar, 800 Mifflin Street

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34

Outdoor Movies in Philadelphia

Clark Park Clark Park
Movies in Clark Park — Photo courtesy University City District

Two outdoor movie screenings pop up on the Friday before Labor Day: Peter Rabbit at Bartram’s Garden and Black Panther in Clark Park. Swing by Parks on Tap in Clark Park for a few refreshments before the latter.

Where: Various locations including Clark Park, 4300-4398 Baltimore Avenue

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Labor Day Weekend Celebrations

Closing Weekend for Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and The Midway
Labor Day Weekend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Labor Day Weekend at the Independence Seaport Museum
Labor Day Fireworks on the Delaware River
Made In America Festival
Labor Day Weekend Fireworks at Sesame Place
Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia's Historic District
Labor Day Volksfest at Canstatter-Verein
Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

More Things to Do

Parks on Tap at Clark Park
Live Music: Jazz 180 at The Piazza
Summer Sounds in the Historic District
Fountain Garden Performances at Longwood Gardens
Draken Harald Hårfagre at Penn's Landing
College Football Season Opener: Temple vs. Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park
Back to School! Free Kids' Admission to the Museum of the American Revolution
Blue Corn Lifestyle: Green & Organic Fest
Arnez J at Helium Comedy Club
Party in the Park at the Dell Music Center
Afrofest
Waterfront Day
PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: Reboot, Renew, Revive! at the Barnes Foundation
Last Chance: Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music at the National Museum of American Jewish History
Bok to School Beer Fest
Last Chance: Renoir: Father and Son/Painting and Cinema at the Barnes Foundation
Last Chance: Game Masters at The Franklin Institute
Last Chance: Photo Pop Philly
Last Chance: Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Beer Gardens Throughout Philadelphia
Summer Exhibitions in Philadelphia
Rooftop Bars Throughout Philadelphia
Outdoor Movies in Philadelphia
Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.

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