Free to get cultured again
Art and culture institutions are beginning to reopen in Philadelphia. Below are a few of the places you’ll want to visit. However, be sure to check with each museum before you go for its health and safety protocols and to be sure the bastard COVID hasn’t changed everyone’s plans once again.
The Barnes Foundation
All things art and art education, with a dash of horticulture added for good measure. Public opening: Saturday, July 25, noon–7 p.m. Member previews: Thursday, July 23, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., and Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–noon. Open hours: Fridays–Mondays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., (10–11 a.m. member-only hour). Featured exhibit: Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miro to Man Ray (through Aug. 23). barnesfoundation.org.
Academy of Natural Sciences
Missed seeing the giant T Rex when you walked through the front door? Your wait is almost over. Public opening: Friday, July 31, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Member previews: Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Open hours: Fridays–Sundays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (10–11 a.m. members-only hour. Featured exhibition: Survival of the Slowest (through Oct. 25). ansp.org
The Franklin Institute
Always lots of fun science stuff to do here – including, of course, the Giant Heart. Public opening was set for July 8, from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (last entry 4 p.m.) Open hours: Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Featured exhibit: The Presidents by Madame Tussauds (through Jan. 3, 2021). fi.edu
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – the oldest art museum in the nation – is gearing up for a return this fall. Public opening: Saturday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Previews for members and essential frontline workers (Historic Landmark Building): Thursday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Open hours: Thursdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (10 a.m.-noon reserved for visitors who are at a higher risk for contracting illnesses, including immunocompromised persons), and Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. pafa.org
Da Vinci Art Alliance
Lots of cool exhibitions opening up here – Hindsight, Legacy and Colors of Hope, to name three. But there are a few rules to attend in person. Gallery Hours are by appointment only. You can email email@example.com or call 215-550-1446 for more information. davinciartalliance.org
Late summer opening dates for Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum (which is administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art) will be announced in the coming weeks. We’re really, really hoping Eastern is open in time for Halloween because we need our annual fix of Terror Behind the Walls. easternstate.org. philamuseum.org. rodinmuseum.org
July (virtual) events
The COVID closures are still having an impact on in-person events, but there are lots of things to do virtually. Here are some of our favorites coming up this month. Visit eventbrite.com for details, registration and more listings.
Online bingo night
The Rotary Club of Philadelphia cordially invites you to join it for its summer fundraiser to support the Community Center @ Visitation Food Bank. Log on from your computer, tablet or smartphone and enjoy several fun rounds of bingo all while winning fun prizes. Also, hear from Community Center @ Visitation staff about their mission and how they’re helping one of Philadelphia’s most distressed communities. | Friday, July 24, 7-8:30 p.m. $25-$50
Artist Studio Tour
Black Hippie Art presents Art Talk with Dorsé. This will be an intimate artist talk with Philadelphia-based visual artist Dorsé. His artwork explores and chronicles the poetic and lyrical nuances of daily life and everyday people; using references of untold stories of everyday life, identity, self-reflection and literary works told by his peers. The empathy of his works derives from his life experiences, firmly believing that the job of an artist is to reflect the times. Get to know his work, learn of his journey in the art world and have the opportunity to get to know the man behind the work. Presented by Venture Café Philadelphia. | Thursday, July 16, 5:45-6:30 p.m. Free
10-minute Play Fest
Twenty-two playwrights. Four different programs of 10-minute plays. One great theatrical event! The Philly Region is having a play festival and you’re invited. You can join it for all four programs or as many as you like. You don’t even have to leave home to attend because it’s all on Zoom. This 10-minute play fest is free and open for all to attend. Presented by Dramatists Guild of America. | July 10-12, times vary. Free
Health Justice Philly: Virtual Youth Summit
A series of virtual sessions for teens and young people to learn skills, share tools and create messages for hope, healing and peace in Philly. Register to receive weekly updates about sessions offered during the Health Justice Philly: Virtual Youth Summit. This summit is designed for young people (ages 14 – 26) and allies in Philadelphia who are change-makers, creatives, educators and peacekeepers. | Friday, Jul 24, 7 p.m., Free
I Am a Leech and So Can You!
Known as the “courteous creature,” the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, has been an essential participant in sustaining human health. Decades ago, the leech began to disappear from a physician’s kit as a relic of the non-scientific era of medicine, but recently the leech has made a comeback into the operating room. Now championed for their essential use in microsurgery, medicinal leeches have become the patient’s friend. This illustrated presentation reviews the story of leeches in our medical history and describes their use today, and viewers will be introduced to Horatio, a companionable leech, to see how he feeds on his human friend. Presented by The Mütter Museum. | Monday, July 20, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Free
Racism, Mental Health & Police
In honor of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, join Brave Souls on Fire as it hosts a panel discussion on “Racism, Mental Health and Police.” Panelists will include Philly’s own Shaniqua Smith-Spann and other experts from around the nation. There will be a Q& A at the end of the discussion. Space is limited, and a Zoom link will be sent out on the day of the event. | Wednesday, July 15, 6 p.m. Free.
What we’re visiting
Slowly but surely, the city is beginning to reopen – and that includes small businesses. Visit Philly recently released a breakdown of open businesses by neighborhood. Here are our favorites, but you can go to visitphilly.com for the entire list. Also, first, be sure to wear a mask and, second, call ahead or check websites to make sure hours and services haven’t changed.
Center City is home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants, many of which have started welcoming visitors for responsible on-site dining. Barbuzzo offers outdoor dining right on 13th Street in Midtown Village; Assembly Rooftop Lounge at The Logan, Philadelphia’s Hotel, stuns with Benjamin Franklin Parkway views to complement its drink and snack offerings; and the Moshulu team seats guests on its deck for dining on the Delaware River. After all that food, in-person shopping awaits at spots like Open House in Midtown Village, Fashion District Philadelphia and the Shops at Liberty Place.
In this historic Delaware River waterfront neighborhood, beloved spots like Frankford Halland Philadelphia Distilling welcome responsible outdoor diners and those looking for a drink, while restaurants like Johnny Brenda’s and Pizza Brain continue to dish out takeout and delivery. Shoppers can don their masks and stroll Frankford and Girard avenues, stopping to check for pop-up sidewalk sales at spots like Harriett’s Bookshop (recently featured in PW). And online shoppers can continue to explore virtual parenting and baby classes from Minnow Lane.
Concentrated on North 2nd Street between Girard Avenue and Spring Garden Street, the restaurants, cafes and shops of Northern Liberties sell fine crafts, vintage wares and a variety of flavors to satisfy any palate. Germantown Garden and Jerry’s Bar are among the eateries and beer gardens in the neighborhood open for outdoor dining. Other restaurants and coffee shops remain open for takeout and/or delivery, including vegan hub Blackbird Pizzeria, cheesesteak connoisseur Del Rossi’s, the quaint Random Tea Room and food-and-booze spot Standard Tap. Elsewhere, Art Star’s online store is full of handmade items that include clothing, prints, housewares, accessories and novelty items. And 4th Street’s City Planter is taking online orders from customers who want a little more greenery in their life.
It’s easy to support the local businesses in this popular South Philly neighborhood. Bookstore A Novel Idea is offering private, in-person browsing by appointment in their charming store. (How cool is that?) And Movement Source Pilates, Palo Santo Yoga Studio and many other wellness-focused storefronts offer online classes. Among the dozens of cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood, spots like Le Virtú and Pistolas del Sur are seating diners en plein air.
South Street Headhouse District
Don’t miss the fantastic restaurants, cafes and bakeries located around the South Street Headhouse District that continue to serve customers in the community and beyond. Cry Baby Pasta is still slinging bolognese for guests seated in their cafe and for those ordering takeout or delivery, while Puyero Venezuelan Flavor cooks up fresh family-size food packs to go filled with one choice of protein, black beans, fried sweet plantains, pico de gallo and a side. If it’s a striking pair of shoes, a deep-conditioning hair product or a stylish graphic tee you’re looking for, check out the inventory available online or in person at Bus Stop, Marsh + Mane, Ps and Qs and some of the neighborhood’s other awesome shops and boutiques.
In a neighborhood known for its diverse dining scene, guests can pull up for some socially distant dining at Aksum (might we recommend the vegetable tajine?), while favorites like sweet vegan treats from Dottie’s Donuts and spicy beef empanadas from Jezabel’s Argentine Cafe & Bakery are just a few clicks or a phone call away. Check out the Baltimore Avenue Business Directory and University City District for more great businesses in the neighborhood to support.
How we’re traveling – post lockdown
People are once again getting out and about as travel restrictions are beginning to loosen. Here are some tips to stay safe.
Pack the essentials
It used to be as easy as remembering suntan lotion and a hat before going to the beach. Now you’ll also need to remember to bring hand sanitizer, face masks, wipes, gloves and more. Make a list and pack accordingly. Oh, and don’t forget to bring some food in case local restaurants and stores are closed.
This one is pretty simple. If you’re going to be traveling all over the place, get tested for coronavirus before leaving home. We don’t need a bunch of asymptomatic people running around infecting other people.
A place might be open today, but closed tomorrow. Certain states have restrictions on people from other certain states. So while you need to have a plan, you also have to remain flexible and be certain to check websites or call ahead to make sure your destination is still open and that you can leave your hotel room before enduring a 14-day quarantine.
Is it really necessary?
We’re still in a pandemic, and many places around the nation are experiencing their highest levels of infection. Do you really need to visit Florida this year? Ask yourself if it’s in your best interest to drive or fly across the country this summer, or would it be better to find something closer to home.
Limit contact with others
If you’re driving to your destination, your car is the safest place to be – not a rest stop. Fill up with gas before you go, pack some snacks for the road. Stop as few times as possible along the way, and be sure to use wipes and sanitizer when you do.
Visit the great outdoors
Wyoming is looking pretty good these days, as is just about any wide-open space. Again, staying away from people – especially large numbers of people in confined spaces – is a good idea. Camping and national parks are options to both get away and possibly stay safer this summer.