As one of Travel + Leisure’s “50 Best Places to Travel” and U.S. News & World Report’s “25 Best Places to Visit in the USA,” Philadelphia has emerged as a destination unto itself.
Visitors who haven’t been to the city recently will be amazed to discover Philly in 2018. An expanding skyline, amazing dining scene, reinvigorated public spaces, vibrant arts scene and diverse, dynamic population have transformed Center City and beyond. In the coming year, the changes only get bigger and better.
In 2018, Philadelphia will debut the spectacular Comcast Technology Center, a fully re-imagined LOVE Park, and phase one of the Rail Park, the city’s first elevated park. Add in can’t-miss art exhibitions and a pair of major homegrown centennials for quite the year.
February 22 & 24, 2018; June 2018 (TBA); September 2018 (TBA)
Center City’s iconic railway terminal turned epicurean haven fetes a century and a quarter of feeding foodies. The venue plans a grand period gala — Victorian costumes, penny-farthings and all — for the date it opened in 1893 and a public party the following Saturday, February 24. Other plans for the yearlong celebration include a multicultural Diamond Day in June and indoor-outdoor festival the Taste of the Market on a to-be-announced date in September.
Where: Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th Street
The National Museum of American Jewish History debuts its exhibition on the life of a 20th-century American musical icon. Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music illustrates the famed conductor and composer’s life, Jewish identity and social activism through more than 100 artifacts — including Bernstein’s piano — as well as film, interactive media and sound installations. The exhibition is part of a city- and country-wide celebration of Bernstein’s centennial.
Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E.
The Franklin Institute celebrates the genius and popularity of more than 30 game design innovators in an interactive setting. Visitors can engage in more than 100 video games, ogle original and transformative artwork, learn the stories behind celebrity characters, observe interviews with gaming pioneers and delve into both classic arcade diversions and immersive multiplayer experiences.
Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates and explores the energetic first half of America’s 20th century in an exhibition 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
April 21 & November 17, 2018
The first of the University of Pennsylvania’s extensive renovations to its 130-year-old museum begins where it all began, with America’s first archaeological expedition to the Middle East in the 1880s. The restored and renovated 6,000-square-foot Middle East Galleries will recount humanity’s nearly 10,000-year-long journey from villages to cities through 1,400 artifacts, in addition to video and interactive stations.
Where: Penn Museum, 3260 South Street
This Barnes Foundation exhibition explores the relationship between impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir and master filmmaker Jean Renoir by juxtaposing the father’s paintings and drawings with the son’s films, costumes, photos and ceramics. Sylvie Patry, deputy director for collections and exhibitions, curated the exhibition with the Musée de l’Orangerie as co-organizer.
Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia celebrates Memorial Day weekend with a five-day festival featuring 11 Tall Ships docked along the historic Delaware River waterfront. This official Tall Ships America event includes public tours, day sails and loads of riverside fun.
Where: Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Opens May 30, 2018
The LOVE sculpture — fully restored — returns to its redesigned home of John F. Kennedy Plaza, better known as LOVE Park. The city will fete the square’s new look, complete with modern fountains and lighting, a refurbished midcentury modern Welcome Center and newly planted lawns and gardens.
Where: Love Park, 15th and Arch streets
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts returns to Broad Street this June. Collaborative, innovative performances are the hallmark of the 11-day, art-filled festival and street fair along Broad Street, also known as the Avenue of the Arts. Highlights include noted theater performer Taylor Mac’s epic performance art concert A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (which will be presented in two 12-hour parts) and the return of French performance troupe Transe Express for the world premiere of Cristal Palace, a 30-foot chandelier made of 50 air acrobats and dancers.
Where: Various locations including the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Opens Thursday, June 14, 2018
The greening of Philadelphia continues as the first phase of the Rail Park — Philly’s hotly anticipated elevated park and recreational pathway — opens this summer. A quarter-mile stretch of new urban greenspace, stretching from Broad and Noble streets and up to the Reading Viaduct overhead before ending above the 1100 block of Callowhill Street, will feature lush plants and trees, public art by local artists, plenty of seating and space for gathering, bench-style swings and first-rate elevated city views.
Where: The Rail Park, N. Broad and Noble streets
Summer 2018 (TBA)
The city’s most spectacular new skyscraper rises 60 stories above the streets of Center City, creating a new home for media and technology giant Comcast’s growing workforce, NBC 10/Telemundo 62, tech upstarts and, high atop it all, the landmark Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, scheduled to open in September. (Comcast Center, the company’s global headquarters, remains nearby.) Lord Norman Foster designed this $1.5 billion, 1,121-foot building, the tallest between New York and Chicago. The Four Seasons — set to open in winter 2018/2019 — will occupy floors 48 to 60, offering sleekly minimalist design, 360-degree views throughout and exceptional luxury. Chefs Greg Vernick and Jean-Georges Vongerichten will have restaurants at the bottom and top, respectively.
Where: Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, 18th and Arch streets
The Historic District’s circa 1895 commodities exchange transforms into an artisan market in the style of New York’s Chelsea Market. The burnished, Victorian-era member of the National Register of Historic Places across the street from Independence Mall was most recently a food court. The Bourse’s new incarnation promises an experience befitting Philadelphia’s current and centuries-old reputation as a city of makers.
Where: The Bourse Building, S. Independence Mall E.
Historic Aronimink Golf Club hosts the penultimate event of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup, with the Tour’s top 70 players vying for the 30 qualifying spots in the season-ending Tour Championship. Founded in 1896, the Delaware County course has recently been restored to its original, 1928 Donald Ross American parkland design, right down to its signature, amoeba-like tee boxes. Past winners of BMW Championship winners include Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and, in 2017, Marc Leishman.
Where: Aronimink Golf Club, 3600 St. Davids Road, Newtown Square
Fall 2018 (TBA)
When things happen along the Delaware River waterfront, they happen fast — and in fantastic fashion. The newest case in point: the forthcoming $4 million makeover of the 55,0000-square-foot Municipal Pier 9 into Cherry Street Pier, an accessible, egalitarian, mixed-use space for artist studios, shopping, performances, dining (and drinking), working and relaxing in an innovatively designed public space. Cherry Street Pier will be a permanent addition to seasonal riverside attractions Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park.
Where: Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Columbus Boulevard
Center City East’s former “Gallery mall” gets new life as a shining retail, entertainment and dining complex stretching over three city blocks. Adding to current anchors Century21 and Burlington will be a 38,000-square-foot H&M — the region’s largest — and a “dine-and-recline” movie theater.
Where: Fashion District Philadelphia, 1101 Market Street
The artist’s first U.S. retrospective since 1987 highlights the bold defiance, keen talent and modern presentation of the only woman artist named alongside impressionists Degas, Monet and Renoir. Berthe Morisot, co-organized and co-produced with the Dallas Museum of Art, tells the story of the most prominent female member of the Parisian avant-garde.
Exactly one century to the day of the debut of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the culture-packed, museum-lined, park-pocketed boulevard fetes its centennial in grand, to-be-announced style (which will certainly include cake). Leading up to that finale, major public art projects and exhibits spanning City Hall, the Parkway Central Library, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation explore and honor the corridor’s history and future.
Where: Various locations including the Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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.