Center City Philadelphia offers an expansive selection of arts, culture and entertainment venues with something for everyone. From historic theatres and museums to pop-up exhibits and classic cinema, Center City District has rounded up some of the most exciting options for spring and summer.
1. Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Mysteries of the deep sea will be discovered in this temporary exhibit. Attractions focus on unusual lifeforms, shipwrecks and the technology that allows scientists to explore the ocean floor.
Dates: Open through July 24
Location: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103 | ansp.org/exhibits/extreme-deep
Photo courtesy of Evergreen Exhibitions.
2. Harry Potter™: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comes to life in the world premiere of this exhibition, open for a limited time at this Center City landmark on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Expect magic while exploring props and costumes from the films, plus interactive installations to delight wizards and Muggles alike.
Dates: Open daily through September 18.
Location: The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 | fi.edu/exhibits/harry-potter
Photo provided by Harry Potter™: The Exhibition.
3. Arts on Center Stage at Dilworth Park
Center City District hosts some of Philadelphia’s most beloved performing arts organizations, both large and small, as they provide free outdoor entertainment throughout the year. Some of this season’s participants include the Philadelphia Ballet, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, the Clef Club and Opera Philadelphia. A full lineup can be found at centercityphila.org/parks/events/the-arts-on-center-stage.
Dates: Thursdays through August 25, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
Location: Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (west side of City Hall) | dilworthpark.org
4. Fairview at the Wilma Theater
Avenue of the Arts’ Wilma Theater concludes its 2021-2022 season with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fairview. The plot begins like a sitcom, focusing on the birthday celebration of the Frasier family matriarch. But as the show goes on, events explode into what has been called a “raucously brilliant look at race in America.”
Dates: May 31 through June 18, 2022
Location: Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | wilmatheater.org/event/fairview
Photo by Johanna Austin.
5. Explore the unusual at the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians Philadelphia
Skulls, skeletons and anatomical specimens make for a truly unique experience at America’s finest museum of medical history. Open now for a limited time, Spit Spreads Death explores Philadelphia’s influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.
Dates: Open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians Philadelphia, 19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 | muttermuseum.org
Photo provided by Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians Philadelphia.
6. Wonderspaces at the Fashion District Philadelphia
Located inside Fashion District Philadelphia on East Market, this collection of immersive and interactive art installations is open year-round with regular updates to artwork. The larger-than-life sculptures, illuminations and audiovisuals are perfectly suited for selfies and social media.
Dates: Wednesday through Saturday, hours vary
Location: Fashion District Philadelphia, 27 N 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | philadelphia.wonderspaces.com
Wonderspaces Body Paint by Memo Atken, photo by Cat Coppenrath
7. Live performances at the Kimmel Cultural Campus
This collection of Philadelphia’s oldest and most-beloved theatres hosts a variety of live performances year-round, including Broadway blockbusters, operatic masterpieces and multicultural dance ensembles. This season’s highlights include Hairspray, Shen Yun and Star Wars: A Galaxy of Music with the Philly Pops, in addition to selections from the Philadelphia Ballet, Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia.
Location: Kimmel Cultural Campus has multiple location. For more information, visit kimmelculturalcampus.org.
Photo provided by Chris Bennion and Jeremy Daniel for the Kimmel Cultural Campus.
8. Catch a movie at the Philadelphia Film Center
Philadelphia Film Center, which is located at the site of the historic Karlton, Midtown and Prince Music Theaters, features a curated calendar of films from old Hollywood, cult classics and family-friendly animations. In support of local filmmakers, the Film Center also hosts the Philly Film Showcase where up-and-coming talent present their films followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Dates: Show times vary.
Location: Film Center, 1412 Chestnut St Philadelphia, PA 19102 | filmadelphia.org/nowshowing
Photo provided by the Philadelphia Film Society.
9. Current Exhibitions at the Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM)
This contemporary art museum features the works of emerging and established artists who experiment with new materials and media. In addition to its permanent collection, FWM hosts limited-time exhibitions, including Workshop as… and Ahmed Alsoudani’s Bitter Fruit. For hands-on patrons, interactive and educational events are offered weekly for adults and children.
Dates: Open Tuesday through Saturday, times vary.
Location: Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | fabricworkshopandmuseum.org
Ahmed Alsoudani, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Photo by Carlos Avendaño.
10. Spend the day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, centerpiece of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway since 1928, is the city’s premier arts and culture institution. With a permanent collection of over 240,000 works of art and a changing slate of visiting exhibitions year-round, the museum is well-suited for repeat visits. Outside the museum is a large sculpture collection as well as the iconic steps made famous by the movie “Rocky.” Jog to the top for one of the best views in town.
Dates: Thursday through Monday, hours vary
Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130 | philamuseum.org
Photo provided by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.