Dance, Theater, and Music

Academy of Music

“A gem based on La Scala in Milan with a chandelier as big as a Volkswagen, sensational wood carvings, and magnificent acoustics.”—Ron Avery, author Philadelphia: Beyond the Liberty Bell. Home of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Ballet. Tickets from $7.50. 240 Broad Street; tel. +1 215 893 1999.

Fillmore at the TLA (Theater of the Living Arts)

Like listening to Bob Dylan in your living room. Raw yet intimate venue selling a scant 1,000 tickets for each show, usually all standing room only. Headliners range from Dylan to such avant garde acts as Broken Social Scene. Tickets from $13. 334 South Street; tel. +1 215 922 1011.

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

“Handsome addition to the city’s cultural life that invites people in, with a glorious rooftop garden under a vaulted glass ceiling.”—Robert Baxter, president, Philadelphia Opera Club. Home of the acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadanco, and Broadway series of plays. Tip: $10 tickets (one per customer) for all events go on sale at the box office on the day of the performance, 5:30 p.m. for evening events, 11:30 a.m. for matinees. 260 South Broad Street; tel. +1 215 790 5800.

Mann Center for the Performing Arts

One of the largest open-air venues in America; 4,000 seats under cover with 10,000 more on the grounds, where people bring picnics and wine to free summer performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra (patrons may not bring alcohol to other events). Musical fare ranges from country-folk icon John Prine to the Gipsy Kings; concessions and restaurant on site. 5201 Parkside Avenue; tel. +1 215 893 1999.

Suzanne Roberts Theatre

“Tasteful in the old-fashioned tradition of theaters, yet absolutely up-to-date.”—Robert Baxter. The Philadelphia Theatre Company performs in this 365-seat jewel box, opened in October 2007. 480 S. Broad Street at Lombard; tel. +1 215 985 0420.

Tower Theater

“Great acoustics, quaint, and intimate.”—Jennifer Ruiz, lifestyle producer, CN-8. Just over the city line, ornate 1927 landmark has 3,000 seats and has been home to a movie theater, Vaudeville acts, and Pink Floyd. 69th and Ludlow streets, Upper Darby; tel. +1 610 352 2887.

World Café Live

“A place to see up-and-coming acts, as well as people who are already there.”—Jennifer Ruiz. University City showcase for indie musicians with a coffeehouse vibe and casual dining. 3025 Walnut Street; tel. +1 215 222 1400.


700 Club

“It’s never too crowded before 12:30 a.m.”—Alexis Simpson, education director, Philadelphia Improv Theater. No frills bar in Northern Liberties, killer deejays and beer selection. Youngish patrons, many sporting horn rims whether they need them or not. 700 North. Second Street.; tel. +1 215 413 3181.

707 Restaurant & Bar

“A hip interior, with lots of chocolate brown and modern furniture.”—Jenice Armstrong, contemporary culture columnist, Philadelphia Daily News. The place to go when you want fun with your funnel cake. 707 Chestnut Street; tel. +1 215 922 7770.

Bar Ferdinand

“Fresh tapas, appealing to adventurous eaters, and an expansive Spanish wine list.”—Keith Wallace, founder, Wine School of Philadelphia. Cheap, imaginative bites include Dátiles Con Tocino—dates, bacon, cream cheese baked in puff pastry. Atmospheric stucco arches, comfy banquette seating. 1030 North Second Street.; tel. +1 215 923 1313.

Denim Private Club

“Funky atmosphere, upscale, well-dressed crowd, not too young.”—Jennifer Ruiz, lifestyle producer, CN-8 Your Morning show. The only jeans here have designer labels. Sip Champagne cocktails and groove to hip-hop at this cavernous but chic Center City über lounge. 1712 Walnut Street; tel. +1 215 735 6700.

Ortlieb’s Jazz Haus

“Sophisticated selection of beers and the best place in the city to hear jazz.”—Keith Wallace. Narrow, well-worn room and stage on site of defunct Northern Liberties brewery. Spicy Cajun fare, hot live music. 847 North Third Street; tel. +1 215 922 1035.

South Street

True to the “South Street” song lyrics by Philly band The Orlons, it’s “the hippest street in town,” buzzing with art galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, and bars ranging from seedy to sublime. Incomparable people-watching, from preppie to punk. South between Front and Eighth streets.


Mummers Parade

9 a.m. New Year’s Day, weather permitting. A tradition since 1901; wildly entertaining, frequently boozy extravaganza on Broad Street features 10,000 Mummers who spend all year building ornate floats and sewing sequined and feathered costumes for a mass strut. Tip: Dress warmly; the parade lasts eight hours.

Philadelphia Flower Show

March 2-9. One of the world’s largest indoor flower shows, this event is a spectacular bouquet of gardens, flower arrangements, and miniatures. Tip: Visit during the dinner hour to avoid stroller gridlock. Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets; tel. +1 215 988 8899; fee.

Philadelphia Film Festival

April 3-15. Rapidly growing event with nearly 70,000 attendees; as many as 300 films and videos from more than 40 countries, ranging from star-studded studio flicks to daring student shorts. Screenings, workshops, and parties. Tip: Parties are often hosted by celebs, including Susan Sarandon and Laurence Fishburne. Tickets from $10. Tel. +1 267 765 9700.

Philadelphia Antiques Show

April 12-15. A tradition since 1962; centerpiece of three major sales attracting top dealers from across the country and Europe. Tel. +1 215 387 3500; fee.

Dad Vail Regatta

May 9-10. Aka “Big Daddy,” the largest collegiate rowing event in North America has been afloat since 1934, thanks partly to shuttle buses that transport fans through Fairmount Park to a grandstand on the Schuylkill River. Buses pick up at three locations on Kelly Drive; tel. +1 610 623 8590.


June 16. The Rosenbach Museum & Library, home of the handwritten manuscript of James Joyce’s Ulysses, commemorates the day on which novel’s hero Leopold Bloom made his odyssey through Dublin with readings from the library steps by noted Philadelphians. 2008-2010 Delancey Place; tel. +1 215 732 1600.

Philadelphia Folk Festival

Aug. 15-17. This weekend of music, crafts, and camping, now in its 47th year, is actually in rural Schwenksville Tel. +1 215 242 0150; fee.


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