Philadelphia has strong ties to Mother’s Day — the annual holiday honoring motherhood was originally founded here by Anna Jarvis in 1908. Since gaining federal recognition in 1914, the May holiday has become a day celebrating the most special women in your life.
Each year, the city’s restaurants and cultural institutions embrace Mother’s Day with prix-fixe dinners, complimentary glasses of wine, live music in blooming azalea gardens and more throughout the weekend.
From brunch at a fancy buffet to a craft fair on Penn’s Landing, here’s what to do this Mother’s Day weekend in Philadelphia.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
This well-loved Mediterranean enclave in Midtown Village will dish out a Mother’s Day brunch, with a special menu of three courses for $40 per person. Note that the brunch will be served on the second floor, which is not handicap accessible.
Enjoy the sumptuous Italian steakhouse’s regular dinner menu from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. or dine on the restaurant’s Mother’s Day specials. After 5 p.m., take advantage of Bring Your Own Wine Sunday.
Eclectic Center City bistro Fine Palate will laud moms with a special brunch menu. And with complimentary flowers and a choice of free mimosa or bellini, there’s nothing left to add but a card.
Moms get a double shot of delicious at Brazilian grille Fogo de Chao. Along with the impressive daily feast of meats, salads and desserts, the restaurant will offer mothers a complimentary dining card for their next visit.
There’s an attention to detail at Forcella, an 18-seat BYOB, that mothers can especially appreciate. The Jenkintown restaurant will indulge them with a six-course prix-fixe local and seasonal meal for $69 a person.
The Historic District destination keeps the Mother’s Day brunch light and springy with asparagus gazpacho, yogurt parfaits, smoked cod over heirloom beans and duck confit salad with mustard greens. Count on two courses for $40.
The Rittenhouse Hotel mixes it up on Mother’s Day with a brunch buffet for $80 per person in its Grand Ballroom, accompanied by live jazz. The brunch menu features salad and smoked fish tables, omelet and carving station, plus entrees and dessert. Lacroix, the hotel’s second-floor restaurant, is also offering brunch. Seatings for the buffet-style meal run from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and reservations are strongly encouraged.
If the mother in question is craving green papaya salad or grilled pork over broken rice, La Viet has the perfect holiday bonus: The South Philly restaurant provides a complimentary glass of wine for her.
Old City’s new-school American restaurant cooks up a special brunch buffet ($35; $15 for kids from 6-12; free for kids under 6). Among the Mother’s Day temptations are red velvet cheesecake French toast, prime rib and a sweets station.
Mamas and nonnas alike can enjoy an Italian style holiday. Marcie Turney’s Midtown Village eatery will serve an exclusive prix-fixe brunch (no a la carte options) for $40 a person.
At Fairmount’s festive bar and restaurant, a three-course brunch will be offered for $35 ($15 for kids 11 and under). Among the eats: ricotta chocolate chip crepes, watercress fennel soup, spring pea ravioli and chocolate brownie sundae.
The stately ship docked at Penn’s Landing always makes a dramatic setting for a celebratory meal. A gorgeous Mother’s Day buffet table will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including raw bar, carving station and decadent dessert spread.
Settle in on the waterfront for brunch at the wine-centric Panorama. The holiday prix-fixe ($45; $20 for kids) includes choices like poached egg over crispy polenta, panettone French toast with hazelnut honey and tiramisu affogato budino with banana mascarpone.
R2L, with its glamorous soaring dining room at R2L in Liberty Place is offering special prix-fixe brunch and dinner menus for the holiday. Brunch includes a buffet of salads, oysters, crostini and smoked fish, plus an entrée and dessert. Dinner proffers options like asparagus salad with bread crumbs and white asparagus aioli, veal tenderloin with morels, and mango cheesecake. Both brunch and dinner cost $75 each per person (and $25 for children 12 and under).
Reserve a table in the Jazz Parlour and lavish Mom with a three-course brunch of Southern favorites with live accompaniment. The same menu will be offered at dinner.
Families with children of all ages are invited to brunch (courtesy of Cooperage) in the park’s pavilion along with craft-making for mom, carousel rides and mini golf.
Whether you walk, run or cheer the participants, you can support cancer research. This important annual event is a rousing way to start the holiday.
The Urasenke tea school leads a traditional Japanese ceremony that includes matcha and a seasonal treat. Reservations required. $30 for members; $35 for general public.
May 12-13, 2017
An annual highlight, the Fitler Square Spring Fair supports Fitler Square’s Improvement Association. Browse the flea market, listen to live music and enjoy children’s activities (bounce castle!) at the square in bloom.
Longwood Gardens beckons moms with an outdoor wine and champagne bar, live music, dining at the 1906 restaurant and of course, blooming trees and flowers featuring wisteria, peonies, azaleas and more. Tickets required.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
This favorite of green-thumbed moms features annuals, perennials, woodies, roses, rock garden plantings and more. This year, the sale will introduce ten-minute talks at the top of the hour with experts advising attendees how to plant the special selections.
Take the party off shore with a two or three-hour cruise on the Spirit of Philadelphia, complete with a buffet meal, complimentary bloom and DJ music.
Bring mom along to make a special craft or pull together a last-minute gift with a native plant in an attractive container, complete with bow. $18; $15 for members.
May 13-May 14, 2017
There’s more than a few gift ideas at this annual art show with over 140 craft vendors on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. The handmade goods include stationary, clothing, jewelry, pottery, home wares and much more, plus live music and food trucks make the day even more fun.
Learn to make your very own soap with Nichole Gerding of Thankful Sage Farm School. The holiday takeaway includes the bar of soap plus a handmade soap dish by artist Sasha Barrett.
Nothing will please her more than a homemade card. Visit Historic RittenhouseTown for a card making workshop and learn how to make paper from pulp.
Learn how to make your own dumplings in Chinatown at Five-Spice Philly. Bring mom for a fun and friendly team-based competition. $35 in advance; $40 at the door.
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through June 15, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as a $25 We ♥ 13th Street restaurants gift card, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, a $25 gift card to R2L, a free cheesesteak from Campo's and a $10 Lyft credit.