Happy Labor Day weekend, Philadelphia! Celebrate the holiday weekend with outdoor concerts, festivals, exhibitions, parties and more. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)
It’s hard to believe that Labor Day weekend is nearly here.
Before the summer season winds down, a ton of events fill venues across Philadelphia for one last hurrah.
Now’s the perfect time to get out there and prolong summer — whether that means hitting up a beer garden, attending a free outdoor concert, sipping beer at an early Oktoberfest celebration or attending an exhibition (all of which are on tap for Labor Day weekend!).
Plus, a number of blockbuster happenings are slated on tap: Made in America, Jay Z’s epic music festival, fills the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for two days, Spruce Street Harbor Park, the super popular pop-up park on the Delaware River, continues its run on the waterfront, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s main exhibition, Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art closes its doors. And that’s not all.
Read on for our guide to the events and exhibitions of Labor Day weekend.
• Your Essential Philadelphia Summertime Bucket List: As the last unofficial weekend of summer arrives, now is your chance to cross off any summer bucket list to-dos from our Essential Philadelphia Summertime Bucket List. Whether you still haven’t lounged in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park or packed a picnic and ate in Rittenhouse Square, now is your time to plan your final summer outings.
• How to Spend Your Summer Nights in Philadelphia: Long weekends mean an extra night to take full advantage of the city’s nighttime offerings. By night, the city comes alive with happy hours, outdoor dining events, museum happenings, movie nights, concerts and much more. Check out our guide to how to spend your summer nights in Philadelphia.
Spruce Street Harbor Park, an awesome pop-up park on the river, brings the waterfront a beer garden, hammock lounge, floating restaurant and more. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
• Made in America: August 30-31. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway thumps with live music during the third annual Made in America festival. Festival co-presenter Jay Z enlists help from big-name acts, like Kanye West, The National, Tiesto, Kings of Leon and Pharrell, to bring two days of celebration and musical surprises to the City of Brotherly Love. Tickets for a one-day pass are $89.50 and for a two-day pass are $150 — both plus taxes and fees.
• Visit Philly Beer Garden Series at Morgan’s Pier: Friday, August 29. The Visit Philly Beer Garden Series draws to a close on Friday, August 29, but not before bringing $4 beer deals, food savings and summertime giveaways to Morgan’s Pier. Beginning at 4 p.m., take full advantage of the last unofficial summer Friday by hanging alfresco with a cold brew in hand.
• Spruce Street Harbor Park: Through Sunday, September 28. The super, super popular Spruce Street Harbor Park recently announced that it is extending its season through Sunday, September 28 (the best news!). So if you haven’t had the pleasure (seriously!) of checking out the pop-up park on the Delaware River Waterfront do so in the next month — particularly over Labor Day weekend. The park promises guests a place for alfresco drinking, hammock lounging, floating restaurant-dining, game playing and much more. Plus, it’s gorgeous.
• Labor Day Weekend BBQ at Opa’s Drury Beer Garden: Sunday, August 31. Hang alfresco at a backyard beer garden as Opa’s Drury Beer Garden puts on a Labor Day Weekend BBQ on August 31. From 2 to 6 p.m., enjoy specials on beer, cocktails, burgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob, all while enjoying games like ping pong and Jenga.
For its third year, Made in America spotlights a variety of awesome artists (Kanye! Kings of Leon!) in a two-day music fest on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, August 30 and 31. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
• Cannstatter 142 Annual Volksfest: August 30-September 1, Noon-10 p.m. Transport yourself to Germany this Labor Day weekend as the 142 annual Volksfest (or Oktoberfest) party presented by the Cannstatter Club, a German-American society in Philadelphia. From Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1, head to the fest to sip German beer and wine and classic German fare like bratwurst and frankfurters. Also enjoy performances, rides, a raffle and crafts for youngsters. Admission is $6 for one-day, $9 for two-days and $11 for all three days.
• Made in Philly: Thursday, August 28. A few days before Made in America takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, World Cafe Live fetes Philly’s music scene at the second annual Made in Philly concert. Performing artists include Aaron Camper, Al 1Thing, Ebony Joi and Lombardi. Tickets, $20, are available online.
• Philly Made: Friday, August 29. The night before Made in America hits, the Theatre of the Living Arts hosts a show featuring a number of up-and-coming local musicians and well-known musical acts. Presented by Kontraband 215 and BASSic Black Entertainment, the two join forces to present Philly Made, a blockbuster show and party. Tickets, $30, are available online.
• Beer Gardens: It’s the last unofficial weekend of summer which means there’s no better time than now to head out to one of the city’s alfresco beer gardens. Outdoor brews won’t be so pleasant in a few months, so take advantage of the warm temps. It’s a great weekend to visit Spruce Street Harbor Park, Independence Beer Garden, the PHS Pop-Up Garden, Frankford Hall, Morgan’s Pier and more. Consult our beer garden roundup for our full list of Philadelphia area beer gardens.
Make your way to the Art Museum over Labor Day weekend as its groundbreaking exhibition, Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, closes on Monday, September 1. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
• Free Yoga at Race Street Pier: August 30-31. For some morning relaxation this Labor Day weekend, Race Street Pier continues to host its super-popular free yoga sessions at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Classes are an hour long and completely free. Just bring your own yoga mat and say “Namaste.”
• Free Yoga at the Schuylkill Banks: Saturday, August 30. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 30, stretch out with local yogis as the Schuylkill Banks hosts a morning of free yoga at the riverfront park. Bring your own yoga mat, a bottle of water and call it a morning.
• Free Yoga at Oxford Mills: Saturday, August 30. Saturday, August 30 marks the second to last weekend of free yoga at Oxford Mills hosted by Lululemon. Bring your yoga mat and stretch it out at the alfresco Fishtown space. The class starts at 10 a.m.
• PHAIR Open-Air Market: Saturday, August 30. Browse everything from handmade jewelry and vintage furniture to street food and clothing at PHAIR open-air market at the Headhouse Shambles. The market goes on rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The annual Fireworks & Fountains display hits Longwood Gardens on Saturday, August 30 for a night of sky illumination to the music of a Russian composer. (Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens)
• Smooth Jazz Summer Nights at Penn’s Landing: Friday, August 29. Start your Labor Day weekend with some free live jazz at Penn’s Landing for its Smooth Jazz Summer Nights free concert series. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., rock out to a concert by Valerie Simpson of the former group Ashford & Simpson.
• Free Movie Night at Hawthorne Park: Friday, August 29. Hawthorne Park wraps up its free family movie nights on Friday, August 29 with a free screening of a to-be-announced family film. The movie is slated to begin at dusk. Before the movie starts, beginning at 7 p.m., stop by for a variety of kid-friendly activities.
• 40th Street Summer Series: Saturday, August 30. University City District’s well-loved 40th Street Summer Series brings free alfreso concerts to the green behind the Walnut Street Free Library at 40th and Walnut streets. The series continues on Saturday, August 30 at 6 p.m. with a performance by The Highwater Preachers and Nation Beat. The free concert also includes such festive family-friendly entertainment as fire artists, face painters and more.
• Labor Day Weekend at Franklin Square: August 30-September 1. From noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Franklin Square celebrates Labor Day with its family-friendly programming — rides on its Lightning Bolt Express Train, carnival games, mini-golf and more.
Summertime in Rittenhouse Square is an ideal season for picnicking, people watching, lounging and soaking up the sun. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
• Fireworks and Fountains at Longwood Gardens: Saturday, August 30. Few spectacles sum up summertime more than huge fireworks displays. The folks at Longwood Gardens oblige and illuminate the skies just in time for Labor Day weekend. The show, Power and Passion, lights up the sky to the music of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff on Saturday, August 30 at 8:15 p.m. Tickets to the fireworks show also include all day access to the impressive gardens.
• Making Time Presents Dave P. and Sammy Slice at Morgan’s Pier: Friday, August 29. Start the weekend with a late-night dance party as Making Time, a super popular dance event, takes over Morgan’s Pier on Friday night. Get down to a DJ set provided by Sammy Slice while enjoying the views at the well-loved summer hangout.
• Spirit of Philadelphia’s Labor Day Cruise: Sunday, August 31. On Sunday, go offshore with the Spirit of Philadelphia as it hosts a moonlight cruise on the Delaware River. The cruise boards at 10:30 p.m. and departs at 11 p.m. Tickets are available online.
• Labor Day Barbecue and Fireworks at Sesame Place: August 31-September 1. Family-friendly events fill the Bucks County amusement park on August 31 and September 1. Start the evening with hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue pulled pork, chicken fingers and more at the Labor Day barbecue, which is set to begin at 5 p.m. Following the meal on Sunday and Sunday only, fireworks light up the sky to the music of Sesame Street.
Race Street Pier is home to free yoga classes every day of the week, including over Labor Day weekend. (Photo by Matt Stanley courtesy DRWC)
• Chaddsford Winery: August 29-September 1. Chaddsford Winery welcomes four days of Labor Day celebrations over Labor Day weekend. Savor the summer weather with wine tastings, wine slushies, bites from food trucks and food vendors and live music all weekend long.
• Closing Weekend of Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Through Monday, September 1. Through Monday, September 1 marks closing day of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s marquee exhibition, Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition reveals the museum’s dramatic plans for the future of the interior and exterior of the the Parthenon on the Parkway, tapping architect Frank Gehry and others to design and execute the ambitious Master Plan. Make plans to see the exhibition before it’s too late. In celebration of the exhibition and the holiday, the museum will open its doors on a Monday — when its usually closed.
• Closing Weekend of Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution at the Academy of Natural Sciences: Through Monday, September 1. Monday, September 1 marks the final day of the Academy of Natural Sciences’ exhibition, Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution. In honor of the exhibition’s final day, ANSP is discounting admission by $2 on September 1. Click here to purchase your discounted ticket.
• SS United States at the Independence Seaport Museum: Through September 14. The Independence Seaport Museum hosts an exhibition about the SS United States, the world’s fastest trans-Atlantic ocean liner that sailed the seas in the 1950s and 1960s. Stop by all weekend to learn about the Ocean liner and its Philadelphia connections.
• WetLand at Penn’s Landing: Through September 21. The 2014 Fringe Festival gets an early start this year with the opening of artist Mary Mattingly’s WetLand, a floating public art installation at Penn’s Landing. Visit it any one of the days over Labor Day weekend.
The Franklin Institute opens its doors for all three days of the long weekend. Make plans to see its new wing, which is home to three interactive exhibitions. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)
• The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne at The Barnes Foundation: Through September 22. 21 of Paul Cézanne’s still lifes fill The Barnes Foundation for its current exhibition, The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne. The Barnes Foundation is the exhibition’s only stop in the United States. Note that The Barnes is open all holiday weekend long — including Monday, September 1.
• Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper at PAFA: Through October 12. Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts combines two distinct exhibits in one very special presentation. The first is The Kelley Collection, which features more than 70 works from the magnificent art holdings of major collectors Harmon and Harriet Kelley of San Antonio, TX. The second is Eldzier Cortor: Theme and Variations, which is a gift from the artist that is made up of more than more than 50 prints, test proofs and printmaking materials. Note that PAFA will be closed on Monday, September 1.
• Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello at the National Constitution Center: Through October 19 Spend your day off learning about the history of one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and his life as a slaveowner at the National Constitution Center’s main exhibition, Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello. Through artifacts, video footage and artifact recreations learn about the lives of the hundreds of slaves who worked for the former President at his Monticello estate in Virginia. All weekend, the NCC also hosts events celebrating Labor Day.
• Chasing Dreams: Baseball And Becoming American at the National Museum of American Jewish History: Through October 26. Currently on view at the National Museum of American Jewish History, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American offers the first large-scale look at the role baseball has played in the lives and cultures of many American minority groups. The exhibition puts the spotlight on baseball players, fans, coaches and promoters through more than 130 objects, interactive elements and amazing photography. Note that the NMAJH will be closed on Monday, September 1.
Summer weekends, which Labor Day marks the last of, are meant for dining at a new restaurant or an old standby, like Winnie’s LeBus pictured above. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)
• Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love and Gerlan Jeans ♥ Patrick Kelly at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Through November 30. Through the end of November, the fashion runway arrives in the art galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building for its Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love and Gerlan Jeans ♥ Patrick Kelly exhibition. A sweeping retrospective exhibition of more than 80 garments, numerous accessories, videos and memorabilia, the display catalogs the successful career of the late Patrick Kelly, a dynamic 1980s design icon who outfitted women of every age and race. Note that the PMA is open all holiday weekend long — including Monday, September 1.
• Your Brain at The Franklin Institute: Explore The Franklin Institute’s newest addition over Labor Day weekend — its Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. Bring the kids to the super interactive and family-friendly Your Brain exhibition. Or check out Circus Under The Big Top (which closes on September 1) or 101 Inventions That Changed The World.
• Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now at the Penn Museum: Learn about the history, values and modern day lives of the country’s Native American population through Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now , an interactive collection of artifacts at the Penn Museum. The in-depth look at Native American life spotlights more than 250 artifacts from a number of tribes in the United States and Canada. Note that the Penn Museum will be open on Monday, September 1.
Roundup: How To Spend Your Summer Nights In Philadelphia — click here
Your Essential Philadelphia Summertime Bucket List — click here
Kicking off Labor Day weekend, the Visit Philly Beer Garden series makes its final stop of the year at Morgan’s Pier. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)