What are some other words for summer fun? Tall Ships. Fireworks. Festivals. Beer gardens. Pop-up parks. Philadelphia. This summer will go down as a season of non-stop, pull-out-all-the-stops fun in the city that scored a #3 placement on The New York Times’ influential “52 Places to Go in 2015” list.
Some of the summer highlights include the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden Festival; the launch of Indego, Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; the eagerly awaited return of the acclaimed Spruce Street Harbor Park; and the season-long showing of Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Add in plenty of pop-up beer gardens and public art displays for an unforgettable Philly summer.
Here’s a look at what’s happening:
New Amenity: Bike Share:
- What has 1,200 wheels and runs on pedal power? Indego, Philadelphia’s bike-share program set to launch this spring. The long-awaited human-powered public transportation system launches with 600 bikes available at 60 kiosks in Center City and parts of North, South and West Philadelphia. The easy-to-use system allows riders to rent a bike at one location and drop it off at another. May. Various locations. rideindego.com
- 2015 marks 100 years for the S. 9th Street Italian Market Charter, but the monthly celebratory events prove that the market itself still boasts a youthful energy. Food is always at the forefront of events here, and hungry visitors can chow down at the annual S. 9th Street Italian Market Festival (May 16-17) and the Vendy Foods Awards Winners Circle Food Truck Event (June 19). Also on the docket are Multicultural Music Month activities (July) and the bocce and scopa tournaments (August). 9th Street between Wharton & Fitzwater Streets, (215) 278-2903, italianmarketphilly.org
- The 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement kicks off in June with three exhibitions, including the opening of Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court at the National Constitution Center. Other exhibitions and activities celebrating LGBT culture and heritage are planned for the William Way LGBT Community Center, the Free Library of Philadelphia, The African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Taller Puertorriqueño, among others. The celebration’s signature events take place over Fourth of July weekend, with a reenactment of the Reminder Day demonstrations in front of Independence Hall, a wreath-laying ceremony at the historic marker that acknowledges the site of the demonstrations, panel discussions, a festival, concerts and more. June-December. Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700,constitutioncenter.org; various locations for other happenings, reminder2015.org, lgbt50.org
- The billowing sails of 15 majestic vessels mark the arrival of the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden festival. Docked along both sides of the Delaware River waterfront will be elegant tall ships from France, Brazil, Canada and all around the globe. Visitors can tour the ships, including the L’Hermione, a replica of the French naval ship that brought General Lafayette to America to help fight the British. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities, games and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the largest sailing event in the United States in 2015. June 25-28. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street; Camden Waterfront, tallshipsphiladelphia.com
Pop-Up Parks & Gardens:
- Following a smashingly successful first season that earned “Best Urban Beach in the World” status from The Huffington Post, Spruce Street Harbor Park returns to Penn’s Landing to brighten up the summer. The hammocks, lounge chairs, oversized games, floating beer garden and twinkling lights all return, along with some new surprises. Opens May 22. Spruce Street at Columbus Boulevard, (215) 629-3200, delawareriverwaterfront.com
- Philadelphia is one of four cities from around the world and the only U.S. city to host Saint-Gobain’s never-before-seen traveling exhibit Future Sensations, a high-concept, immersive experience featuring five distinct ephemeral pavilions. Science, storytelling and art highlight the innovations, wonders and advancements that have changed the face of the world over the past few centuries and show off future innovations. Founded in 1665, Saint-Gobain celebrates 350 years as a world leader in high performance materials and solutions for sustainable building with this epic traveling exhibit, making stops in China, Brazil and France. May 30-June 6. The Oval, 24th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 422-4169, theovalphl.org, futuresensations.com