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Presidents’ Day Weekend in Philadelphia 2017

Spend the long weekend in the birthplace of the United States

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There are few places more apt to spend Presidents’ Day weekend (February 18-20, 2017) than Philadelphia, a city intimately linked with our Founding Fathers and many of our country’s presidents. Not only were the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution drafted and signed in Philadelphia, but our first two U.S. presidents, George Washington and John Adams, also served all or part of their presidencies here.

This makes Philly undoubtedly one of the best places to celebrate the long holiday weekend.

In honor of Presidents’ Day, find free admission at scores of museums and interactive events designed to enlighten those of all ages. Plus, Philly has a host of other awesome happenings to check out while you’re here, enabling you to make your three-day weekend one to remember.

Read on for all of the events, activities and places to check out this Presidents’ Day weekend in Philadelphia.

Presidents' Day Events and Activities

01

Presidents’ Day Weekend at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center hosts programming for the whole family and free admission on Presidents' Day. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

February 18-20, 2017

Learn what it takes to be commander-in-chief in a slew of special events at the National Constitution Center. On Presidents’ Day, the museum will offer free admission and visitors can participate in a presidential costume contest and meet Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. All weekend long, guests can create presidential masks and seals, take the “Hail to the Chief Quiz Game,” join in a special “presidential tour” of the museum’s main exhibition and more.

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02

Presidents’ Day at the National Museum of American Jewish History

The National Museum of American Jewish History offers free admission throughout the day on July 4th. — M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

February 18-20, 2017

The National Museum of American Jewish History is offering free admission all February long, including Presidents’ Day, giving visitors the chance to examine George Washington’s original letter written in 1790 to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island outlining the importance of religious freedom. On Presidents’ Day itself, look forward to interactive storytelling, arts and crafts projects, and the chance to write a letter to the president of your choosing.

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03

Presidents' Day at the Benjamin Franklin Museum

Celebrate Benjamin Franklin at the museum created in his honor this Presidents' Day. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

February 20, 2017

Celebrate Presidents’ Day with free admission to a museum dedicated to one of our nation’s most prominent Founding Fathers. The Benjamin Franklin Museum welcomes visitors inside from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to explore the life and character of Mr. Franklin through an array of artifacts, animations and interactive displays.

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04

Washington’s Birthday Party at Valley Forge

Valley Forge plays host to a celebration of George Washington's birthday this Presidents' Day. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

February 20, 2017

Join in a grand, cupcake-filled celebration of George Washington’s 285th birthday at Valley Forge‘s Visitor Center. The birthday party is set to include both cupcakes and samples of Martha Washington’s “Great Cake” as well as crafts, games, a Continental Army activity for kids and more.

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05

Presidents’ Day Weekend at City Tavern

City Tavern City Tavern
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

February 18-20, 2017

Chef Walter Staib, host of the Emmy Award-winning and James Beard-nominated show A Taste of History, has visited and cooked in each of the first five presidents’ homes. On Presidents’ Day weekend, he’s bringing his skills to the Historic District‘s City Tavern, where he’ll cook up some favorite dishes of our nation’s first presidents to bestow diners with a presidential culinary experience.

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06

Foodways of Lincoln’s Time at the Mercer Museum

What did Abe Lincoln eat? Head to the Mercer Museum in Bucks County on Presidents' Day to find out. — Photo courtesy of the Mercer Museum

February 20, 2017

This Presidents’ Day, imagine yourself stepping into President Abraham Lincoln’s family home at the Mercer Museum, where food historian Susan McLellan Plaisted will take visitors on a culinary tour centered around our nation’s 16th president. One could find items like deer, bear, pigeon, corn and garden vegetables at Lincoln’s dinner table, and Plaisted will prepare and interpret some of those ingredients right at this special event.

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07

The Presidents’ House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation

The President's House The President's House
— Photo by G. Widman for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

From 1790 to 1800, the city of Philadelphia was the U.S. capital and the President’s House, home to Presidents George Washington and John Adams, was America’s first executive mansion. President George Washington brought at least nine enslaved Africans to live and work in the President’s House, which stood one block from Independence Hall. President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation commemorates the site of the executive mansion and offers a glimpse into the lives of the enslaved Africans who toiled there.

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Ongoing Events and Activities

08

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package includes up to $228 in perks this winter. — Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia / Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Through March 19, 2017

Make Presidents’ Day weekend a luxurious three-day getaway with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, featuring a whopping $228 in perks – museum tickets, restaurant gift cards and more! – when you book a stay at one of 38 different hotel options here in the City of Brotherly Love. Free parking is included in the package along with an Uber credit, making travel feel like a presidential experience once you’re here.

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09

Jurassic World: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute

Visitors come face to face with life-like animatronic dinosaurs at Jurassic World: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute. — M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Through April 23, 2017

Enter The Franklin Institute and be transported to Isla Nublar from the 2015 blockbuster film Jurassic World. This animatronic exhibit — making its North American debut — brings dozens of massive prehistoric beasts to life, immersing guests of all ages in an exciting, multi-sensory experience.

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10

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park and America's Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park

People skating at Rothman Ice Rink People skating at Rothman Ice Rink
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Through February 26, 2017

Lace up a pair of skates and take to the ice at Rothman Ice Rink in the shadow of City Hall. While you’re there, be sure to check out the adjacent America’s Garden Capital Maze, celebrating the 30-plus gardens and arboreta in the Greater Philadelphia region.

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11

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Through March 5, 2017

When the temperatures dip, the action heats up at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, which features an ice skating rink overlooking the Delaware River, a ski chalet-style lodge, fire pits, an arcade and plenty of cozy seating.

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12

Black History Month in Philadelphia

— Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

All February Long

Throughout February, world-class attractions like the National Constitution Center, the Annenberg Center and Independence National Historical Park offer special programming to celebrate Black History Month. Click the button below for our complete guide to events like live dance performances, arts workshops, film screenings and more.

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13

Free admission at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Take your Presidents’ Day celebrations to the Washington foyer of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where you’re invited to envision and create a presidential portrait worthy of the museum walls. Free admission is offered all Sunday long in light of the holiday.

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14

Last Chance: Unbounded Histories at the Barnes Foundation

Explore works of art at The Barnes Foundation paired with a soundtrack of poems, created with intention by Philadelphia artist Andrea Hornick. — B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Through February 19, 2017

What if every museum came with a poetic soundtrack? Philadelphia artist Andrea Hornick brings this concept to The Barnes Foundation with Unbounded Histories, a set of poems that transform the traditional audio tour into an imaginative guide to the museum. Hornick’s narratives, created by examining select works, brings about a program that encourages us to consider art in a new way.

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15

More Must-See Exhibitions This Winter

A post shared by Penn Museum (@pennmuseum) on

February 2017

Presidents’ Day weekend offers plenty of exciting exhibitions to check out, like Robot Revolution at The Franklin Institute, Magic in the Ancient World at the Penn Museum and much, much more. Click the button below for our full guide of not-to-miss exhibitions during the three-day weekend.

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16

Grand Opening of Philadelphia Distilling Fishtown

February 19-20, 2017

Presidents’ Day weekend marks the grand opening of Philadelphia Distilling’s new Fishtown location. At the brand-new distillery, visitors can look forward to a tasting room, restaurant, liquor store, event space, patio and, of course, plenty of their signature gin, vodka and other spirits.

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17

Discovery at Sea Day Camp at the Independence Seaport Museum

Learn about the experience of sailors at sea at this one day "camp" at the Independence Seaport Museum this Presidents' Day. — R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

February 20, 2017

Take the kids to the Independence Seaport Museum on their day off for an immersive nautical experience. A one-day “camp” at the museum invites visitors to learn about the history and science behind modern-day and historic ships, hear about experiences of sailors at sea and even engage in a simulated submarine dive.

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18

Shen Yun 2017

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
— Photo courtesy The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts

February 18-26, 2017

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts presents Shen Yun, a remarkable performance of Chinese-inspired dance and song carried out in richly colorful and ornate costumes. Tickets to the show can be purchased by clicking the link below.

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19

Fifty Shades Darker GayBINGO

February 18, 2017

Gershman Y hosts GayBINGO every month, featuring a different, playful theme each go-around and hosted by a lively and humorous bunch of drag queens. “Fifty Shades Darker” sets the tone for February. Tickets can be purchased online using the link below.

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20

PMA Art after 5 with Sullivan Fortner

February 17, 2017

Spend the afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and, afterward, stay for an evening of playful jazz improvisations. New Orleanian pianist Sullivan Fortner — who received the 2015 Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz — will perform beginning at 5 p.m.

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21

Mummers’ Mardi Gras Parade

The Mummers will appear in Manayunk this month for a special parade. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

February 18, 2017

The Mummers return to the streets of Philadelphia for a February performance in Manayunk. More than 15 string bands will parade down Main Street for the third annual Mummers’ Mardi Gras, a daylong celebration that raises money for the Mummers and brings plenty of festive fun for those of all ages.

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Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through September 3, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.

Book Now

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