Tonight Picks: Open Air Kicks Off With A Celebration On The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering, Outdoor Dining, Concert At The National Museum Of American Jewish History, Baltimore Avene Dollar Stroll And More

It's finally here! Open Air, the giant 3-D light installation from the Association of Public Art and nationally renowned artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, kicks off tonight with a free, open-to-the-public opening celebration right on the Parkway on the inner drive between 21st and 24th Streets, which will be closed to traffic. (Photo by James Ewing courtesy Open Air)

[Evenings in Philadelphia are always action-packed, and we want to help you cherry-pick from all the events and activities going on. On certain days that promise particularly bustling evenings, we round up our selections for the most can’t-miss pursuits with which to fill your schedule. See you out there!]

Tonight, Thursday, September 20, it’s great to be in Philadelphia. There are several huge celebrations on the schedule, plus two of the fall season’s marquee festivals are still going strong: fashion extravaganza The Philadelphia Collection (tonight is its closing) and the Philadelphia Live Arts/Philly Fringe Festival.

And: the weather is once again completely gorgeous. No matter what you do, be sure to get out and enjoy the city tonight. Grab drinks outdoors, enjoy an alfresco dinner, hang out in one of the city’s beautiful parks. We’ve got a few suggestions for you, below; make sure to also follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute details on what’s going on in the city tonight (and every night).

Open Air Opening Night Celebration on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway: It’s finally here! Open Air, the giant 3-D light installation from the Association of Public Art and nationally renowned artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, kicks off tonight with a free, open-to-the-public opening celebration right on the Parkway on the inner drive between 21st and 24th Streets, which will be closed to traffic. The festivities will include food trucks, a live countdown and ceremonial lighting at 8:30 p.m. and live music from Rahzel, the “Godfather of Noyze” and a member of Philadelphia’s Legendary Roots Crew.

When: Thursday, September 20, 7:30-11 p.m.; ceremonial lighting at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway inner drive, between 21st and 24th Streets
Cost: Free

Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering: The eighth annual Rittenhouse Row Fall Gathering, an anchor event in The Philadelphia Collection fashion celebration, toasts to fall fashions and trends in beauty and mixology. Event components include hors d’oeuvres provided by the merchants from The Market & Shops at the Comcast Center, cocktails mixed by Rittenhouse Row bars and restaurants, a bartender competition and a fashion show, featuring trends from Rittenhouse Row retailers.

When: Thursday, September 20, 7-9 p.m.
Where: 1701 JFK Boulevard
Cost: Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll: The third and final 2012 Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, presented by the inimitable University City District, is tonight. From 42nd to 50th Streets along Baltimore Ave, 25+ restaurants, shops, food trucks and other vendors will dish up bites to eat, drinks, store vouchers, theater tickets and more, all for just $1.

When: Thursday, September 20, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Baltimore Avenue between 42nd and 50th Streets
Cost: Pay as you go

• Our Top Picks For The Best Places To Watch The Sunset In Philadelphia: Make it a night to remember by planning your evening around a scenic view of the sunset.

• Outdoor Dining: Grab happy hour, dinner or drinks outdoors tonight. Check out Uwishunu’s Alfresco Dining Guide 2012, sorted helpfully by rooftop, sidewalk or courtyard/patio dining, and further by neighborhood.

The Philadelphia Collection: Philadelphia’s week-long fashion fete, The Philadelphia Collection, concludes tonight. Check out our overview guide here, and official event listings here.

When: September 13-20
Where: Locations throughout the city
Cost: Varies

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe: The Fringe continues tonight with dozens of performances. Check out our guides here.

When: September 7-22
Where: Locations vary
Cost: Varies

More Tonight Picks, below.

The Sway Machinery at the National Museum of American Jewish History: Celebrate the Jewish New Year at NMAJH with music from Hidden Melodies Revealed, a joyful, transformative concert that infuses the power of storytelling and the Cantorial music tradition into a unique experience, blurring the line between rock show and ritual.

When: Thursday, September 20, 7:30 p.m.
Where: 101 S. Independence Mall East
Cost: $18

Urban Sustainability Forum at the Academy of Natural Sciences: Green Job Training Behind and Beyond “The Walls”: Did you know that putting just 100 currently unemployed, formerly incarcerated individuals back to work would produce an additional $1.9 million in city wage tax revenue? Learn about the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Roots to Re-Entry job training program, a new jobs initiative that provides inmates of the Philadelphia prison system with meaningful opportunities and practical job training while fostering healthy green communities.

When: Thursday, September 20, 6-8:30 p.m.
Where: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: $5

Northern Liberties SIPS and Social: From 5 p.m. to midnight, get $2 beers, $3 drinks, $4 wines and $5 select appetizers at PYT, Gunners Run, King’s Oak & Darling’s Diner. Plus, there will be a fun Kids Concert at The Piazza, sponsored by A Full Plate, 6-7 p.m.

When: Thursdays, 5 p.m.-midnight
Where: Northern Liberties bars and restaurants
Cost: Pay as you go

• Pairings on the Parkway at Sister Cities Park: Every Thursday from August 2-October 25, the newly opened Sister Cities Park at Logan Square will host “Pairings on the Parkway.” Each week, the park invites you to bring your own bottle of wine and enjoy this great new green space while Milk & Honey Cafe helps you find cheeses and other goodies to pair perfectly with your selection. Sounds like a perfect summer night.

Where: Logan Square, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
When: Every Thursday from August 2-October 25
Cost: Pay as you go

Stadler-Kahn exhibit featuring Heidi Bleacher, opening reception: Head over to Rittenhouse Square’s brand new textiles and design shop, Stadler-Kahn, to check out local sculptor and artist Heidi Bleacher’s beautiful work.

Where: 1724 Sansom Street
When: September 20-October 24; opening reception September 20, 6:30-8 p.m.
Cost: Pay as you go

“Music On The Brandywine” at the Brandywine River Museum: The Brandywine River Museum is taking a page out of Art After 5’s book with a brand new series, “Music On The Brandywine,” launching Thursday, September 20. Enjoy live music in a stunning riverfront setting from sensational performing artists from Astral Artists’ brilliant roster. In addition, browse the galleries after-hours and enjoy cash bar and refreshments. Galleries open at 7 p.m.; music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Where: 100 Creek Road, Chadds Ford
When: Thursday, September 20 and Thursday, November 15, 7 p.m.
Cost: $15, members and students; $25, non-members



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