October 16, 2017

17 Big, Brilliant Reasons To Visit Philadelphia In 2018

Skyscrapers & Ships, Parks & Piers Help Philly Stand On Its Own Next Year

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The historic Bourse Building, a former commodities exchange, transforms into an artisan food market in summer 2018. Photo courtesy The Bourse Philadelphia
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A refurbished LOVE Park debuts in spring 2018. Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia's iconic railway terminal turned epicurean haven, celebrates its 125th birthday in 2018. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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In 2018, The Franklin Institute hosts Game Masters, an exhibit celebrating the genius of game design innovators. K. Ciappa for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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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:

Grander Than Grand Openings:

1. LOVE Park, spring 2018 – Fully restored, the LOVE sculpture 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. 15th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, phila.gov

2. Rail Park, early 2018 – The long-awaited development of the three-mile Rail Park commences with the opening of the former Reading Viaduct. This four-block (about a quarter mile) segment of no-longer-used elevated track will become a planted, permanent, activated greenway stretching between Broad and Callowhill Streets, crossing 12th and 13th Streets. therailpark.org

3. Penn Museum Middle East Galleries, April 21, 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. November 17, 2018 will bring the reopening of the Mexico and Central America Galleries, with Africa, with spectacular Egypt to follow. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum

4. The Philadelphia Bourse, July/August 2018 – The Historic District’s circa 1895 commodities exchange transforms into an artisan market in the style of 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. Among the 29 tenants in the mix: Mighty Melt (grilled cheese), Scoop de Ville (ice cream), Snapdragon Flowers, Bluebird Distilling, Prescription Chicken (soup), Chaat and Chai (Indian) and Chocodiem (chocolate). 111 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 625-0300,  theboursephilly.com

5. Cherry Street Pier, fall 2018 – When things happen along the Delaware River Waterfront, they happen in fantastic fashion. The newest case in point: the forthcoming $5 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. The open-air park at the end of the pier will offer breathtaking views of the river, Race Street Pier and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Cherry Street Pier will be a permanent addition to the seasonal Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park.  delawareriverwaterfront.com

6. Comcast Technology Center, fall 2018 – 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 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. 18th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, corporate.comcast.com; fourseasons.com/philadelphia

7. Fashion District Philadelphia, fall 2018 – 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. Between 8th & 11th Streets and Market & Filbert Streets, fashiondistrictphiladelphia.com

Not-To-Be-Missed Events:

8. Reading Terminal Market’s 125th Birthday, February 22, 2018 – 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. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org

9. Sail Philadelphia, May 24-28, 2018 – Philadelphia celebrates Memorial Day weekend with a four-day festival featuring 10 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. sailphiladelphia.com

10. PIFA 2018, May 31-June 10, 2018 – The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts returns to Broad Street. Collaborative, innovative performances are the hallmark of the 10-day, art-filled festival and street fair along Broad Street, also known as the Avenue of the Arts. Another highlight: French performance troupe Transe Express returns, this time for the world premiere of Crystal Palace, a 30-foot chandelier—made of 50 air acrobats and dancers—and a recreation of the history of dance, from the waltz to disco. kimmelcenter.org

11. BMW Championship, September 4-9, 2018 – 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. 3600 St. Davids Road, Newtown Square, (610) 356-8000, bmwchampionship.com

12. Parkway 100 celebration, October 26, 2018 – 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 to explore and honor the corridor’s history and future. parkwaymuseumsdistrictphiladelphia.org

Exciting Exhibitions:

13. Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music, March 16-September 2, 2018 – 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. 101 Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org

14. Game Masters, March 31-September 3, 2018 – 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, transformative artwork, learn the stories behind celebrity characters, observe interviews with gaming pioneers and delve into both classic arcade diversions and immersive multiplayer experiences. 271 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-2100, fi.edu

15. Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950, April 18-September 23, 2018 – 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. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

16. Renoir: Father and Son / Painting and Cinema, May 5-September 3, 2018 – 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. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7000, barnesfoundation.org

17. Berthe Morisot, Woman Impressionist, October 20, 2018-January 14, 2019 – 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. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7000, barnesfoundation.org

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.