Awesome news! The Oval returns for its summer season from July 20-August 20, bringing back one of Philly’s greatest annual pop-up parks.
Come explore the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s Eakins Oval, temporarily transformed from a spacious parking lot into an artistically designed park with a nine-hole mini-golf course, an illuminated beer garden, an interactive art installation, kickboxing classes and much more.
THE OVAL+ FAST FACTS
- The 2017 Oval+ season runs July 20-August 20.
- The Oval+ is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
- Admission to the park is free and features games, movie nights, an immersive art installation and more.
- Food trucks, beer garden and select activities are pay-as-you-go.
New This Year
The Oval returns as The Oval+ (The Oval Plus) with a bigger-than-ever footprint and an all-new art installation by Philadelphia- and Chicago-based design firm PORT Urbanism. The new installation will encourage people to envision the future of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and its future uses. Guests can look forward to exploring three open-air “rooms” that each focus on a different subject — unfamiliar aspects of Philadelphia culture, hidden Fairmount Park and an evolving mural that guests are encouraged to help progress.
At night, the installations – some extending as high as 24 feet into the sky – are lit from within to create a glowing effect. Many of the colorful, towering structures feature Philadelphia icons, ranging from Questlove to William Penn to Julius Erving, a.k.a. “Dr. J.”
In addition to the themed open-air “rooms,” The Oval+ welcomes a new ground mural designed by PORT Urbanism and painted by Mural Arts Philadelphia. A rainbow-like walkway greets visitors at the east end of The Oval+, immediately drawing folks into the bright, colorful design that extends throughout the park.
Along the sides of The Oval+, find high-tech Soofa benches where visitors can relax and charge USB-compatible devices using solar power.
Just a little further down the Parkway, Aviator Park and Shakespeare Park hold additional Oval+ installations and activities created in partnership with collaborating organizations like The Franklin Institute and the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Also new this year is an immersive maze that runs from the event stage at The Oval+ through the tree-covered park, creating a fun path to wander through.
Food and Drinks
Heads up, beer-garden lovers: The tree-shaded beer garden at The Oval+ returns for its fifth season of summer fun. Wednesday through Sunday, the beer garden serves up al fresco brews, wine, cocktails and food under a lush canopy of trees.
Chill out with a beer in-hand from 5-11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 2-11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Oval+ is also home to a rotating roster of food trucks — think everything from tacos to cupcakes. Stay tuned for a full lineup once it’s announced.
This summer, The Oval+ pairs each day of the week with different interactive programming and activities.
The weekly events kick off at The Oval+ with Wellness Wednesdays, featuring power yoga classes and kickboxing sessions. Thursdays are Arts and Culture days, when dance parties and hip-hop classes hit the Parkway, followed by Food and Flicks Fridays that include a weekly outdoor movie night. Upcoming films include Clueless, Up and Spaceballs.
On the weekends, head to the beer garden for Game Day Saturdays, featuring Quizzo and live music sessions, and Family Fun Sundays, when Let’s Rock Recess, a DJ dance party designed for kids, takes over.
For the full schedule of events, click here.
Throughout the week, The Oval+ welcomes visitors to enjoy games like mini-golf, Cornhole, ping-pong, giant chess and checkers and Connect Four, as well as activities like drawing on chalkboards, building with LEGOS, navigating the new maze and playing bean bag toss.
Located at Eakins Oval (which is across the street from the Philadelphia Museum of Art), The Oval+ is at the center of a hub of vehicular traffic. That said, the easiest way to get to the space is by foot or bicycle. There are numerous crosswalks leading from the sidewalks of the Parkway straight to the park, and bike racks are available on site.
Taking public transportation? A number of SEPTA buses make stops at or near Eakins Oval. Lastly, the PHLASH bus is also a great way to get there, with stop number 15 delivering passengers right to Eakins Oval.
We’ll see you out on the ping-pong playing field and in the beer garden for a celebratory drink!