Celebrate Mother's Day in Philadelphia with special menus, outdoor festivals and family-friendly events -- including brunch at the Betsy Ross House. (Photo by E. Savaria for Historic Philadelphia)
Little-known fact: Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia and first officially observed in 1908 to honor motherhood and family life during the early days of feminism. Supported by John Wannamaker, Mother’s Day was given federal recognition in 1914.
In 2013, take time to honor the woman who brought you into the world this weekend on Mother’s Day, May 12
Be it with brunch, with Betsy Ross or with a 5K, there are plenty of ways to celebrate mom throughout the weekend.
Read on for our picks for Mother’s Day events, festivals, tours and meals.
Festivals and Events
• Mother’s Day Tea Party with Betsy: Bring mom to enjoy fine teas and colonial treats with hostess Betsy Ross on Saturday, May 11. City Tavern provides the fare and Betsy provides the entertainment during the annual Mother’s Day Tea Party at the Betsy Ross House. Advance reservations are required and tickets are available online. The event begins at 4 p.m. and tickets are $20 per person.
• Mother’s Day Brunch in Franklin Square: For another historic celebration, spend Mother’s Day with Sunday brunch in Franklin Square. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., enjoy brunch, rides on the carousel, rounds of Philly Mini Golf and make-and-take crafts. Advance reservations are required and tickets are available for $20 per person.
• Art Star Craft Bazaar: Treat Mom to a handmade gift at this year’s Art Star Craft Bazaar at Penn’s Landing. More than 100 local and national artists are teaming up with Art Star Gallery and Boutique to present handmade paper goods, dolls, housewares, prints, clothing, paintings and more. The outdoor festival also incorporates live music, food vendors, family-friendly art and craft stations and much more.
• Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair: Rittenhouse Square welcomes back fine artisans to the Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair. From May 10 to 12 (perfectly falling on Mother’s Day weekend), browse 140 booths from talented artists. The fair differs from Rittenhouse Square’s annual Fine Art Fair, that is slated for early June. The Fine Craft Fair boasts modern furniture, clothing, jewelry, porcelain, blown glass and more.
• Mother’s Day at National Museum of American Jewish History: On Sunday, May 12 the National Museum of American Jewish History is offering free admission to all mothers who visit with their families. The museum is also offering special themed tours about women throughout history to celebrate.
• Mother’s Day Mural Tour and Lunch: Art-loving moms will enjoy a special Mural Arts Program Mother’s Day Murals & Meals Tour on Saturday, May 11. The tour travels through Center City, showcasing gorgeous murals on a two-hour guided tour, and ends with a three-course prix fixe lunch at Positano Coast.The tour departs from and returns to Positano Coast Tour, and runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $65 and available online.
• Family Jams at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: The whimsical Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a fantastic family-friendly destination any day of the year, but on Sunday, May 12, the sparkling sculpture garden comes to life with Family Jams and make-and-take crafts inspired by Julia Zagar, the matriarch of the Gardens. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. and is free with admission.
• Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K: In honor of mothers (and sisters, daughters and grandmothers) who have fought breast cancer, the Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure turns Eakins Oval at the Philadelphia Museum of Art pink on Sunday, May 12. The race departs from the Museum of Art at 7 a.m. and runs its course through the city through noon.
• Mother’s Day at Penns Woods Winery: On May 11 and 12, mom receives the royal treatment at Penns Woods Winery. Spend all day at a ceramics workshop and wine tasting on Saturday or a yoga and wine tasting event on Sunday. Or arrive for a regular wine tasting on Sunday, when moms receive the vino for half price and can groove to live music from noon to 4 p.m.
• Spirit of Philadelphia Mother’s Day Cruises: Join mom aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia on Sunday, May 12, for a two-hour brunch or mid-afternoon cruise, or three-hour dinner cruise on the Delaware River. All cruises include a buffet, DJ and dancing and city skyline views from the ship’s decks and rooftop lounge. Reservations are recommended and tickets start at $30 for children and $50 for adults at are available online.
• I Am (Not) My Mother at Society Hill Playhouse: Visit the Society Hill Playhouse to take in this work, an ensemble piece that follows the familiar story of a mother and daughter. Tickets are $30 and available at the box office.
• It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project at 1812 Productions: Laugh your way through Mother’s Day by taking in a performance of this new comedic extravaganza at 1812 Productions by Philadelphia’s own Jennifer Childs. See a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon performance of this hilarious work. Tickets start at $34 and are available online.
Brunch, High Tea and More
• Swann Lounge at the Four Seasons: Brunching with mom is the quintessential Mother’s Day to-do, and the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia’s Swann Lounge offers one of the city’s most elegant brunching locales. The sumptuous $73 buffet — stacked with caviar, smoked fish, lobster tartlets and endless desserts — includes plated entrees.
• Liberté Lounge: For moms and families who prefer a mid-afternoon celebration, reserve a spot for afternoon tea at Liberté Lounge at the Sofitel Philadelphia. Chef Jim Coleman prepares dainty delicacies, including classic tea sandwiches and scones and pastries with the requisite double Devonshire cream and preserves. The traditional English tea service is served daily from 3 to 7 p.m., with extended service on Mother’s Day Weekend.
• Chez Colette: At the Sofitel Philadelphia’s charming brasserie, brunch is a decadent affair, complete with a raw bar, carving stations and — perfect for Mother’s Day — fresh crepes. Reserve a spot at Chez Colette for brunch with a French accent.
• Red Owl Tavern: The tony Hotel Monaco’s go-to restaurant, Red Owl Tavern, hosts a Mother’s Day brunch buffet featuring items like hand cut meat, fresh pastries and other brunch favorites. After the meal, guests are invited to the Monaco’s Stratus Rooftop Lounge to enjoy champagne and dessert while overlooking Independence Mall. Brunch is $50 for adults and $16 for children 12 and under.
• 10 Arts Bistro and Lounge: At 10 Arts Bistro and Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, chef de cuisine Nathan Volz is serving a specially prepared Mother’s Day brunch menu, in addition to an early breakfast buffet or shareable dinner menu. For brunch, enjoy a $35 buffet, or go a la carte with pancakes and French toast from the griddle bar or the Philly cheesesteak and eggs entree.
• R2L: Treat mom to brunch or dinner and sweeping city skyline views with a Mother’s Day meal at R2L. For brunch, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a three-course meal includes a buffet-style first course — go for the raw bar or egg custards — as well as a plated entree and dessert for $65 per person. Dinner service features three courses for $75 per person, with elegant entree options like wild striped bass and Lancaster-raised lamb.
More Mother’s Day dining, below.
• Granite Hill: Spend Mother’s Day among an extensive collection of at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Granite Hill restaurant. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., indulge in tasty items like creme brulee french toast, beet carpaccio salad, a cheese spread, slow-roasted duroc pork loin and more. The meal is $55 per adult and $24 per child. Reservations are required for this art-filled meal. Members, take part in this meal for a 10 percent discount.
• Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing: Head to the Delaware River waterfront for an elegant Sunday brunch buffet at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing (maybe pre- or post-browsing Art Star Craft Bazaar?). An extensive array of brunch fare, from antipasti and spring vegetables to a carving station and seafood display, runs $50 for adults and $25 for children under age 12.
• XIX at The Hyatt at the Bellevue: Indulge in the brunch buffet on the 19th floor of The Hyatt at The Bellevue at XIX on Sunday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pair lovely city views with a buffet of salads, charcuterie, seafood, dim sum, eggs and omelets, carving stations, an array of desserts and more for $65 per adult and $32.50 per child.
• Bistro St. Tropez: Transport your taste buds to St. Tropez, without the pricey plane ticket, at Bistro St. Tropez located on the fourth floor Marketplace Design Center, a stone’s throw from 30th Street Station (making this a perfect option for those traveling into town for Mother’s Day brunch). Enjoy a three-course meal and a decadent bread and pastry basket for $35 per person. Menu offerings include a crab omelet, filet mignon, pancakes with fresh fruit and much more. The full menu is available here.
• Bar Ferdinand: Northern Liberties’ Spanish tapas restaurant, Bar Ferdinand, hosts its Dia de la Madre four-course brunch. Menu items include a crab and asparagus tart, heirloom tomato gazpacho, french toast with fresh berries and whipped cream, morcilla and chorizo hash with poached egg and much, much more. For a meal later in the day, enjoy Bar Ferdinand’s dinner menu from 5 to 10 p.m.
• Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse: From 1 to 8 p.m., Davio’s serves up a brunch celebrating mom’s across the globe. For $55 per person, enjoy your choice of a number of seafood, steak and vegetarian options at Davio’s three-course Mother’s Day meal. Select items from its a la carte menu will be available as well.
• Bistrot La Minette: Enjoy French bistro fare at Bistrot La Minette. The restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus will be available in addition to specials served up specially for Mother’s Day.
• Amada: Iron Chef Jose Garce’s presents Moms and families alike with a delicious meal at Amada. Stop by the Spanish tapas restaurant for a celebratory brunch or dinner for Mom. Be sure to treat her to a glass of Amada’s famous Sangria as well.
• Cafette: Chestnut Hill’s Cafette serves up a tasty brunch menu this Mother’s Day. There are plenty of vegetarian options for the omnivore Moms out there like apple and candied walnut salad and the mushroom and fontina omelete and also meatier options like huevos con chorizo and the waldorf chicken salad.