25+ Excellent Things To Do In Philly This Week, May 21-28

Memorial Day weekend happenings, a free fireworks show, Sail Philadelphia, opening of Bok Bar and more...

Memorial Day weekend welcomes the unofficial start of summer — and there’s no shortage of awesome things to do.

One of the season’s most hotly anticipated events — Sail Philadelphia 2018 — brings nearly a dozen historic tall ships with billowing sails to Penn’s Landing for a five-day festival of ship tours, sailing excursions and a waterfront carnival at the only tall ships event on the East Coast this year,

Also at the waterfront, Daryl Hall and John Oates’ annual HoagieNation Festival returns with an exciting lineup of performers as well as hoagie specials on Saturday; Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest returns to a seven-days-a-week schedule starting on Thursday; Spruce Street Harbor Park remains open daily for riverside lounging; and The Admiral’s Tavern — the Independence Seaport Museum’s pop-up beer garden on the Cruiser Olympia — opens for weekend service.

A bit more inland, the Phillies play two three-game series at Citizens Bank Park, The Franklin Institute hosts a stargazing extravaganza and Photo Pop Philly — a new, interactive pop-up exhibit that highlights work by local artists — opens in a once-vacant Center City space.

We’ll be celebrating the extended weekend, so we’re including Monday, May 28 in this week’s edition of Picks of the Week. We’ll be back on Tuesday with a guide to next week in Philly.

Read on for our guide to this spectacular holiday week in Philly.

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern FestivalPhoto by J. Fusco for Tianyu

Led by a 200-foot-long dragon, 1,500 brilliantly illuminated sculptures have overtaken Franklin Square for the third year in a row. New this year: an endangered species gallery, a walk-through great white shark lantern tunnel and an elephant lantern that changes colors as guests pedal a bicycle. As always, visitors can watch cultural performances, purchase food and drinks throughout the square and in the Dragon Beer Garden and shop for artisan-made crafts. Timed tickets are available online (and we recommend scooping up tickets in advance).

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square

When:Through Saturday, June 30
Where:Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Cost:$18, adults; $15, seniors and military; $12, youth

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Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor ParkPhoto by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

The city's super-popular warm-weather urban hang-out — which welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year — offers eats and drinks from local chefs, dozens of colorful hammocks, oversized games and plenty of space for lounging along the waterfront all season long. Catch amazing views of the historic tall ships neighboring the park this week while Sail Philadelphia is in town.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

When:Now open
Where:Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free; pay-as-you-go food and drink

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Beats 'n' Eats – A Food + Music Event Hosted by Chef Robert Irvine at The Fillmore

On Monday, chef and Food Network star Robert Irvine hosts this annual fundraising event at The Fillmore to increase opportunities for veterans. Well-known local artists Schoolly D and Chill Moody — along with some promising up-and-comers — provide the beats, while Brad Spence (Amis), Marcie Turner (Little Nonna's, Bud & Marilyn's and more) Matt Fein (Federal Donuts) and other noted Philadelphia chefs provide seven courses of eats.

Beats 'n' Eats – A Food + Music Event Hosted by Chef Robert Irvine at The Fillmore

When:Monday, May 21, 6 p.m.
Where:The Fillmore, 29 E. Allen Street
Cost:$150 and up

www.thefillmorephilly.com

Movie Monday: Black Panther at the Trocadero Theatre

Huge news, Marvel fans! The record-setting superhero blockbuster Black Panther comes to the big screen at the Trocadero Theatre for this action-packed Movie Monday. Admission is $3 and the fee goes toward your first drink or snack. Get there early to grab a good seat at this screening that's sure to fill up fast.

Movie Monday: Black Panther at the Trocadero Theatre

When:Monday, May 21, 8 p.m.
Where:Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch Street
Cost:$3 (goes toward food and drinks)

www.thetroc.com

Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park

Citizens Bank Park at dusk in PhiladelphiaPhoto courtesy Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies take on two worthy adversaries this week in two three-game series: the Atlanta Braves — who are currently battling the Phillies for first place in the National League East — and the Toronto Blue Jays. On Wednesday night, costumes are encouraged for the Phillies' fifth annual Star Wars night. Fans can find their favorite Star Wars characters at the entrance gates and around the ballpark for photo opportunities all evening.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park

When:Braves: May 21-23; Blue Jays: May 25-27
Where:Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way
Cost:$14 and up

www.mlb.com

Night Skies in the Observatory at The Franklin Institute

Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institutes invites astronomy lovers of all ages to an after-hours event full of stargazing, planetarium shows, science talks about space and other hands-on astronomy activities. Learn how scientists determine how old craters are on the moon, view Venus and Jupiter through high-tech telescopes and more at this edition of the popular monthly series.

Night Skies in the Observatory at The Franklin Institute

When:Tuesday, May 22, 7-10 p.m.
Where:The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
Cost:$10, general admission; $5, members

www.fi.edu

Brews & Views: Spring Rooftop Mini Series at the Free Library

The Free Library of Philadelphia turns its rooftop Skyline Terrace into a beer garden for several nights this week. Come out to enjoy local craft beers, wine and refreshing cocktails along with a menu of snacks from Brûlée Catering, and stay for the stunning views of the city skyline and Logan Square.

Brews & Views: Spring Rooftop Mini Series at the Free Library

When:May 22-24
Where:Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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An Evening in the Garden with No Kid Hungry at PHS Pop Up Garden South Street

Join Philly's culinary community for a walk-around tasting benefit event at the PHS Pop Up Garden location on South Street. Inspired by a traditional boucherie, six lauded Philly chefs — Nick Elmi (Royal Boucherie, Laurel, ITV), Daniel Eddy (Walnut Street Café), Jesse Ito (Royal Izakaya), Jon Patternson (Fork), Greg Vernick (Vernick Food & Drink) and Townsend Wentz (Oloroso, Townsend) — create dishes around the preparation of a whole hog. Use the promo code VISITPHILLY20 and receive a 20 percent discount on tickets. All proceeds benefit Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America.

An Evening in the Garden with No Kid Hungry at PHS Pop Up Garden South Street

When:Wednesday, May 23, 6-8 p.m.
Where:PHS Pop Up Garden, 1438 South Street
Cost:$120 per person with VISITPHILLY20 promo code

www.events.nokidhungry.org

Parks on Tap at FDR Park

Parks on TapPhoto by Albert Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy

Raise a glass to the sunny, summer days ahead with fresh-air brews and bites at the Parks on Tap pop up in FDR Park. The traveling beer garden series posts up for an extra-long run this week from Wednesday through Memorial Day at this sprawling green space in South Philadelphia at the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue (across the street from AT&T Station and the sports complex).

Parks on Tap at FDR Park

When:May 23-28
Where:FDR Park, 1500 Pattison Avenue & S. Broad Street
Cost:Free admission; pay-as-you-go food and drink

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Dinos After Dark at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences throws this informative and interactive after-hours event each month, where guests can enjoy pay-what-you-wish admission, get up-close and personal with some of the museum's live animals, observe the fossil-prep process, enter the tropical butterfly house and grab bites and sips at Dino Drafts, the museum's outdoor beer garden on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Dinos After Dark at the Academy of Natural Sciences

When:Thursday, May 24, 5-8 p.m.
Where:The Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:Pay what you wish ($10, suggested donation)

www.ansp.org

MANNA's Guac Off

Guac isn't extra at Morgan's Pier during MANNA's Guac Off, where Philadelphia's top restaurants prepare fresh guacamole in hopes of being crowned the next “Guac Master.” Fill up on chips and guac while enjoying drinks from the bar. Plus, all proceeds from the event will go toward MANNA, an organization that prepares and delivers meals to people with life-threatening illnesses.

MANNA's Guac Off

When:Thursday, May 24, 6-9 p.m.
Where:Morgan's Pier, 221 N. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:$35 and up

www.mannapa.org

Admiral's Tavern Opening Weekend

Presented by the Independence Seaport Museum, The Admiral's Tavern is a pop-up beer garden anchored on Cruiser Olympia. Starting this weekend, climb aboard on Fridays and Saturdays through September for an evening experience complemented by wine, cocktails and craft beer and live music on one of Philadelphia's most historic ships.

Admiral's Tavern Opening Weekend

When:May 24-27
Where:Cruiser Olympia at Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Pay as you go

www.phillyseaport.org

Sail Philadelphia

Sail Philadelphia Tall Ships eventPhoto courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

Get ready for some maritime merriment this week! A magnificent fleet of tall wooden ships cruises into Philadelphia on Thursday to dock along Penn's Landing for Sail Philadelphia 2018, a five-day-long festival celebrating tall ships, sailing and Philadelphia's maritime history. Highlights include exciting deck tours and sailing excursions on select historic vessels, a free fireworks show, free admission to the Independence Seaport Museum and a lively festival along Penn's Landing.

Sail Philadelphia

When:May 24-28
Where:Various locations including Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Varies by event

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Devon Horse Show and Country Fair

The Devon Horse ShowPhoto courtesy The Devon Horse Show

Equestrians and horse-lovers from around the world flock to the Devon Show Grounds for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. The event — which is the oldest and largest of its kind in the country — features hunters, jumpers, Saddlebreds, four-in-hand coaching, exhibitions and an old-fashioned fair.

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair

When:May 24-June 3
Where:Devon Horse Show & Country Fair, 23 Dorset Road, Devon
Cost:Varies by event

www.devonhorseshow.net

Photo Pop Philly

A Hoffman Design Group design | Photo by Briana Sposato for Photo Pop

Photo Pop Philly — a new, interactive pop-up exhibit that showcases the creative work of local artists — launches Thursday in a once-vacant Center City space. The exhibit, which is presented by VISIT PHILADELPHIA and curated by Philly PR Girl, features five red-white-and-blue themed rooms filled with original, Instagram-worthy art, murals and installations.

Photo Pop Philly

When:May 24-July 8, 3-11 p.m. (last entry at 10 p.m.)
Where:Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut Street
Cost:$22.50-$25, adults; free, children 5 and younger

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Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

MidwayPhoto by M. Stanley for DRWC

Get excited: Starting on Thursday, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest returns to a daily operating schedule for the summer! Guests can enjoy the roller rink, mini-golf course, The Midway (with the giant Ferris wheel!) and food concessions seven days a week through Monday, September 3.

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

When:May 24-September 3
Where:Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free; pay-as-you-go food and drink

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Season Kickoff of Tippler's Tour and Independence After Hours

Tippler's TourPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Historic Philadelphia, Inc.'s summer programming kicks off Memorial Day weekend to delight Historic District visitors and locals alike. On Thursday, the first Tippler's Tour of the season ushers guests through some of Philadelphia's most historic watering holes, complete with drinks, bites to eat, colonial songs and more. The popular walking-tour series, Independence After Hours, starts up Friday, granting guests after-hours access to Independence Hall — and a special visit with some of our Founding Fathers.

Season Kickoff of Tippler's Tour and Independence After Hours

When:Tippler's Tour: Season kicks off Thursday, May 24; Independence After Hours: Season kicks off Friday, May 25
Where:Various locations including National Mechanics, 2701, 22 S. 3rd Street
Cost:$45 and up

www.citytavern.com

Grand Opening of Bok Bar

Bok BarPhoto by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

Each spring, the rooftop of South Philadelphia's former Bok High School turns into a spacious beer garden with stellar skyline views. A variety of drinks are served alongside light bites, snacks and epic city views.

Grand Opening of Bok Bar

When:Opens for the season on May 24
Where:Bok Bar, 800 Mifflin Street
Cost:Pay as you go

www.bok-bar.com

Twilight in the Gardens at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

BYOB to Philadelphia's Magic Gardens on Friday evening for the monthly after-hours Twilight in the Gardens series. At this installment, singer-songwriter Avi Wisnia performs and teaching artist Meg Bowersox helps guests create colorful lanterns using recycled glass jars and tissue paper.

Twilight in the Gardens at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

When:Friday, May 25, 7-10 p.m.
Where:Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street
Cost:$20, adults; $16, students and seniors; $12, members

www.philadelphiasmagicgardens.org

Philadelphia Tango Festival

Philadelphia Tango FestivalPhoto courtesy Philadelphia Argentine Tango School

The Philly Tango Festival — one of the biggest tango events in the nation — returns for the eighth year this weekend with an even bigger venue (a 5,500-square-foot ballroom!), a live tango orchestra and 13 terrific maestros (Argentine tango teachers and performers) to inspire guests. The event features 27 workshops for beginner and advanced dancers, food from Lino's Lithuanian Foods and a pop-up boutique with vendors selling tango shoes and clothing.

Philadelphia Tango Festival

When:May 25-28
Where:Lithuanian Music Hall Association, 2715 E. Allegheny Avenue
Cost:$14 and up

www.philadelphiatangofestival.com

Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

National Constitution CenterPhoto By M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Celebrate the unofficial start of summer this weekend with tons of special Memorial Day programming at attractions and institutions across the city including Independence National Historical Park, the National Constitution Center, the Museum of the American Revolution and Laurel Hill Cemetery. Many museums — which typically aren't open on Mondays — remain open through the holiday as well.

Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

When:May 25-28
Where:Various locations including National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Cost:Varies by event

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HoagieNation Festival at Festival Pier at Penn's Landing

Photo courtesy HoagieNation Festival

Philadelphia's own Daryl Hall and John Oates curate and headline this music festival and celebration of the humble hoagie. Guests can also see Train, Fitz and the Tantrums, Down North and more exciting performers live on stage at Festival Pier at Penn's Landing while enjoying delicious food and hoagie specials from local vendors.

HoagieNation Festival at Festival Pier at Penn's Landing

When:Saturday, May 26, 3 p.m.
Where:Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, 601 N. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:$40 and up

www.hoagienation.com

Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute with the Philly POPS at The Mann Center

POPS at the Mann CenterPhoto courtesy Philly POPS

The Philly POPS celebrate the men and women who serve our country during the third annual Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute concert on Saturday, May 26 at the Mann Center. Guests at this free show can expect to hear patriotic anthems as well as popular show tunes and hits from the Great American Songbook.

Comcast NBCUniversal Memorial Salute with the Philly POPS at The Mann Center

When:Saturday, May 26, 7 p.m.
Where:The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue
Cost:Free

www.phillypops.org

Delaware River Waterfront Fireworks at Penn's Landing

Penn's Landing fireworksPhoto by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Part of Sail Philadelphia's waterfront festival programming, a brilliant fireworks show lights up the sky above the Delaware River on Saturday, May 26 at 9 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, so plan to arrive early to get the best view.

Delaware River Waterfront Fireworks at Penn's Landing

When:Saturday, May 26, 9 p.m.
Where:Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free

www.sailphiladelphia.org

Downingtown Fine Arts Festival

Head to Downingtown on Saturday and Sunday for the Downingtown Fine Arts Festival, where you can catch a bunch of regional artists and leisurely peruse high-quality paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, mixed media and jewelry. 

Downingtown Fine Arts Festival

When:May 26-27
Where:202 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown
Cost:Free, pay as you go for food and drinks

www.downingtownmainstreet.com

Grand Opening of Morris Arboretum Garden Railway

Garden Railway at Morris ArboretumPhoto courtesy Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum’s beautiful Garden Railway opens for the spring on Saturday. The model train display runs for a quarter-mile throughout the arboretum and features bridges, recreations of buildings and structures, tunnels and more.

Grand Opening of Morris Arboretum Garden Railway

When:May 26-October 8
Where:Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue
Cost:$19, adults; $17, seniors (65+ years); $10, active and retired military (with ID), students (with ID) and walk in or bike in; $5, walk in or bike in for kids; free, children under 3, youth (3-17 years), members and PennCard holders

www.morrisarboretum.org

Opening Weekend for Xtreme Bugs at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Twenty giant animatronic insects, including a monarch butterfly and a Madagascar hissing cockroach, put a magnifying glass on bugs' behaviors, motions and sounds in this interactive Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University exhibition.

Opening Weekend for Xtreme Bugs at the Academy of Natural Sciences

When:May 26, 2018-January 21, 2019
Where:The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:$13.95 and up

www.ansp.org

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