Category Archives: Blog

First Friday


The First Friday evening of each month, rain or shine, year-round. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m.


Most galleries can be found between Front and Third, and Market and Vine Streets.

The Experience

Want proof of Philadelphia´s happening art scene? Come down to Old City for First Fridays. On the first Friday evening of every month the streets fill with art lovers of all kinds who wander among the neighborhood´s 40-plus galleries, most of them open from 5 until 9 p.m.

A casual atmosphere encourages art and people watching, eating at Old City´s many restaurants and just plain mingling. There´s diversity both in the crowd and among the galleries, adding flavor to the experience. Most galleries can be found between Front and Third, and Market and Vine Streets.


Started in 1991 by a group of galleries as a collaborative open house evening, First Fridays grew quickly into one of Philly´s most vital, signature cultural events. Old City´s historic commercial buildings have fostered a SoHo-like cultural ambience with the densest network of galleries in the city.

Some of the arts organizations you can visit on First Fridays include the Clay Studio; the Temple Gallery; the cooperative galleries Nexus, Highwire, Muse and Third Street Gallery; and collaborative Space 1026.

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts

The Experience

April 7 through May 1, 2011, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) will shine a spotlight on the city´s arts and cultural scene. For three weeks, audiences will revel in an array of one-time, only-in-Philadelphia productions by some of the region´s top talents?many of whom will partner with or present international performers. PIFA will feature music, dance, fashion, fine arts, poetry, cuisine and more?all infused with the essence of Paris, circa 1910-1920.

Inspired by the Kimmel Center, PIFA promises to be an out-of-the-box arts festival that honors the vision of longtime Philadelphia resident and philanthropist Leonore Annenberg. Before she passed away in 2009, Mrs. Annenberg provided a generous grant through the Annenberg Foundation to ensure that her lifelong dream for a citywide arts celebration would be fulfilled.

As PIFA transforms the entire city into a giant stage, loyal fans and newcomers to the arts will have the opportunity to choose from among dozens of ticketed and free activities each day. Performances and exhibits will be held throughout Center City and beyond, many in Kimmel Center venues, as well as in theaters, performance halls and other venues, both large and small.

With more than 100 performances planned, three events serve as examples of the serendipitous moments and surprising performances audiences can look forward to. For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet will perform together, collaborating on what promises to be an unforgettable presentation of the classic French ballet Pulcinella. In an innovative pairing, Philly´s signature hip-hop band The Roots will play in an anything-can-happen concert with a French chanteuse. What´s more, daring aerialists will swing from the rafters of the Kimmel Center and teach anybody who has ever wanted to join the circus how to fly the trapeze on the Avenue of the Arts.

Art of the American Soldier

The Experience

More than 15,000 paintings and sketches created by over 1,300 American soldiers in the line of duty have been in curatorial storage in Washington, D.C. for decades. Seldom have them been made available for public viewing. Art of the American Soldier will bring these powerful works of art into the spotlight at the National Constitution Center from September 24, 2010 through January 10, 2011.

The exhibition, featuring a never-before-seen collection, was created by the NCC in partnership with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the National Museum of the United States Army. Following its world debut at the Center, the exhibition will begin a national tour. Tickets to the exhibition are currently available for purchase.

The Trailer


The U.S. Army´s art program began during World War I, and continued through World War II, resulting in the creation of over 2,000 pieces of art. In 1945, the Army established its Historical Division, with responsibilities including the preservation of these works. The collection also includes artwork by artists who were sent to document the Vietnam War, as well as works from soldier-artists who are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. For a complete history of the Army´s art program, click here.

Admission to Art of the American Soldier is FREE with regular museum admission of $12 for adults, $11 for seniors ages 65 and over, and $8 for children ages 4-12. Veterans and military families will receive $2 off admission. Active military personnel, career military retirees, and children ages 3 and under are free. Group rates are also available. For ticket information, call 215.409.6700 or visit
Buy Tickets Online In Advance

You can buy admission tickets to the National Constitution Center online through our partners at the Independence Visitor Center. Just click the button below

Late Renoir Exhibition at the PMA

June 17 ? September 6, 2010

The Philadelphia Museum of Art continues its recent trend of focusing in on a significant artist and showcasing the ways in which they influenced the art world for generations. Late Renoir is the first exhibition to survey the achievement of the great Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) during the last three decades before his death. The exhibition will include some 80 of the artist´s paintings, sculpture, and drawings will be on view, along with a selection of works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, and others who were inspired by his work.

About the Exhibition

A landmark exhibition, Late Renoir examines new directions that the artist explored several decades after he and others such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro created the new style of painting known as Impressionism. This new and widely admired phase in Renoir´s career propelled him into the modern age and, at the same time, enabled him to recapture a classical past with expressive brushwork and a palette of sensuous colors that were both lyrical and decorative.

Late Renoir includes major works on loan from public and private collections in Europe, the United States, and Japan. The exhibition is co-organized by the Reunion des Mus?es nationaux, the Mus?e d?Orsay, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It drew some 420,000 visitors in Paris before traveling to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be the only East Coast venue.

Barnes/Renoir Hotel Package

For the first time, two prestigious arts organization in the Philadelphia region, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation are creating a joint hotel package that will be available June 17th through August 2010.

The 181 Renoir paintings at the Barnes Foundation in addition to the works collected in the Late Renoir exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art allows Philadelphia to boast the largest number of works by Renoir in any city in the world!

Three city hotels ? the Four Seasons Hotel, Embassy Suites and Best Western Center City Hotel ? are offering a one or two-night package that includes two untimed tickets to see the Late Renoir exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (June 17 ? September 6, 2010), AND two untimed tickets to visit the Barnes Foundation as well as parking at the Barnes and 10% discount to the gift shop.

Free Library Festival

April 17-18, 2010

The Experience

Now in its fourth year, the Free Library Festival is the Library´s annual burst of ideas and inspiration.

Well on its way to becoming a Philadelphia tradition, the Festival weekend is packed with free programming for all ages, including talks by bestselling authors, poetry readings, musical performances, tours of the Library´s special collections and programs and activities just for children. A fun, free way to spend the day, the Free Library Festival connects book lovers from throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

For a full schedule of performances, view the Festival Program.

Meet the Authors

The Free Library will host more than 50 authors on-stage at the 2010 Free Library Festival, including Tina Campbell of the urban gospel duo Mary Mary, talk show host Chelsea Handler, Sapphire ? author of Push, basis for the award-winning film Precious, Man Booker Prize winner Yann Martel, Edgar Award-winning mystery author Harlan Coben, Oprah Winfrey biographer Kitty Kelley, pop singer/songwriter Tommy James, a reading and performance by Antonino D?Ambrosio about the making of Johnny Cash´s Bitter Tears album, New York Times bestselling novelist Chang-rae Lee, the story of a road trip with the late David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky, and many, many more.

A Weekend in Historic Philadelphia?on a Budget

So you´re on vacation. Believe it or not, that doesn´t mean you have to splurge!

In Historic Philadelphia, you´ll find plenty of places where prices haven´t changed much since our Founding Fathers were milling about town.

And we have put an entire weekend itinerary together for you, a step-by-step guide full of budget-conscious meals, fun stuff for the family and even a few cost-effective cocktails.

Welcome to Philadelphia, “America´s best beer-drinking city.” To start your vacation on the right foot ? rather, the right barstool ? head to The Khyber, a charmingly gritty bar in the middle of 2nd Street.

This is a great spot to get a casual burger and fries, knock back a few local microbrews and catch an up-and-coming live act. And for authentic Philadelphia attitude, you really can´t do much better than The Khyber.

Just up the street is National Mechanics, a newer bar known for its gastropub-esque menu and quirky decor. Try a delicious salad or a gourmet burger ? everything is tasty and light on your wallet.

From Old City, it´s just a short, breezy walk down to Penn´s Landing where, on Friday nights, you can catch free concerts all summer long. Ranging from gospel to jazz to R&B, the music is family-friendly and the scenery ? the Delaware River to the east and the Philadelphia skyline to the west ? is pretty much unbeatable.

Extra credit: If you visit Philadelphia for a mid-week stay, you can get cinematic on Thursday nights in the Summer with Penn´s Landing´s free Screenings Under the Stars.

And if you visit during the colder months, lace up and skate at the Blue Cross RiverRink. This ice rink comes equipped with a heated pavilion, snack bar and lessons for the whole family.

The Cleopatra Girlfriends Weekend Itinerary

Strong, shrewd, beautiful and beguiling, Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh to rule Egypt before the completion of the Roman conquest, has been portrayed reverently by historians and Hollywood alike, making her an enduring icon and role model to women. As such, the world debut of Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt at The Franklin Institute, which runs from June 5, 2010 through January 2, 2011, will likely resonate with thousands of women who admire the ancient queen. It´s also an ideal opportunity to gather friends together for a girlfriends? getaway in Philly.

Check In

Pamper yourselves like the royalty that you are by checking into one of 11 hotels offering the Cleopatra VIP Hotel Package. The package includes overnight accommodations for two and two VIP (untimed, bypass-the-line) tickets to the exhibition. Before you leave, dress in comfortable shoes and clothes that transition well from day to evening, as your day takes you from sightseeing to a sultry night out.

Diamonds Are A Girl´s Best Friend

Take a pleasant walk through Washington Square, one of William Penn´s original parks, to adorn your body in true Cleopatra fashion by picking up some baubles on Jewelers Row, the nation´s oldest diamond district and also one of its largest.

Celebrate the Harvest Season at the Peter Wentz Farmstead

Looking for some autumnal, harvest-y activities to do with friends or family over the next few weeks? Consider paying a visit to the Peter Wentz Farmstead in Worcester, PA. Each fall, they host a series of weekend festivals. First up is an event that´s part of their Laerenswaert series, this Saturday, September 11th. A German phrase that means ?worth learning,? they´ll be focusing in on the Farmstead´s Colonial gardens from 1-3 p.m.

On Saturday, September 25th, they´ll be showcasing the Fall Harvest, 18th century-style. Demonstrations will include preserving fruits and vegetables, apple cider pressing and the breaking, scutching and combing of flax, to eventually being spun into linen thread. This event runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Peter Wentz Farmstead was built in 1758 and served as George Washington´s headquarters during his attempt to keep the British out of Philadelphia in the fall of 1777. Currently, it is run by Montgomery County as a fully restored historical site and admission is free.

A Weekend on the Parkway

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, or simply “the Parkway,” is in many ways the cultural heart of Philadelphia. Designed in 1917 to emulate the Champs-Elys?es, the Parkway has been host to the nation´s oldest Thanksgiving Parade, Live 8, a free Bruce Springsteen concert and Sunoco Welcome America!, Philadelphia´s July 4th party.

Lined with flags from around the world, the Parkway begins at City Hall and ends dramatically at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Between these two points, you´ll discover 4,000-year-old books, 120 sculptures by Auguste Rodin, America´s most historic prison and much, much more.

Since water is the theme, seafood is especially apt for ordering ? we recommend the Mediterranean-influenced grilled octopus. Thirsty? You´re at the right place. In addition to a generous wine list, the restaurant offers an international list of waters to try.

After dinner, step outside to enjoy the promenade along the river, the sculptural gardens and the illuminated Philadelphia skyline.

Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt

The Experience

The world of Cleopatra, which has been lost to the sea and sand for nearly 2,000 years, will surface in a new exhibition, Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, making its world premiere in June 2010 at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, from June 5, 2010 ? January 2, 2011. The exhibition will feature roughly 140 artifacts while taking visitors inside the present-day search for Cleopatra, which extends from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Bay of Aboukir near Alexandria.
Cleopatra VIP Hotel Package

Cleopatra visitors looking to make it an overnight stay can book the Cleopatra VIP Hotel Package. Available at 11 hotels, the package includes overnight accommodations for two and two VIP (untimed, bypass-the-line) tickets to the exhibition. (VIP tickets are available only by purchasing a hotel package and are valued at up to $59.)

Click here to check rates and book the package.

The Search For Cleopatra

Cleopatra, the last great pharaoh of Egypt before it succumbed to Roman opposition, lived from 69 ? 30 B.C., and her rule was marked with political intrigue and challenges to her throne. She captivated two of the most powerful men of her day, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as she attempted to restore Egypt to its former superpower status. Later, her Roman conquerors tried to rewrite her history and destroy all traces of her existence. Although her body has never been found, her story survives.

Visitors to the exhibition will be treated to an inside view of the search for Cleopatra through two ongoing expeditions by modern explorers Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt´s pre-eminent archaeologist and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Franck Goddio, French underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM. Goddio´s search has resulted in one of the most ambitious underwater expeditions ever undertaken, which has uncovered Cleopatra´s royal palace and two ancient cities that had been lost beneath the sea for centuries after a series of earthquakes and tidal waves.

The artifacts in the exhibition ? from the smallest gold pieces and coins to colossal statues more than 15-feet tall ? provide a window into Cleopatra´s story as well as the daily lives of her contemporaries, both powerful and humble. Artifacts on display will include magnificent black granite statues of a queen of Egypt dating from the Ptolemaic era in which Cleopatra ruled, which Goddio´s team pulled from the sea.