Philadelphia

How to Have a Safe and Fun New Year's Eve in Philly

Goodbye, 2020. We won't miss you.

Tyler Sprague/Shutterstock
Tyler Sprague/Shutterstock
Tyler Sprague/Shutterstock

The time has come to bid farewell to the year we all thought would never end. While the challenges of the last 12 months won’t simply vanish at the stroke of midnight, we can still cut loose a little bit and feel optimistic about the light at the end of this dark pandemic tunnel. Sure, the grand fetes (and Mummers Parades) of years’ prior are very seriously out of the question right now, but you can have just as good of a time ringing in 2021 with a smaller affair. After the year you’ve had, you deserve it. So make sure your wi-fi is working for those live streaming events or get bundled up for those making the trek outdoors, and get ready for a different kind of New Year’s Eve in Philly.

Bid 2020 farewell with a visit from Cinderella

Germantown Garden
Another kid-friendly activity features a royal appearance. Northern Liberties’ Germantown Garden-and their fun outdoor dining igloos-welcomes Cinderella for brunch. Make reservations for the 11 am, 1 pm, or 3 pm seating (both igloo and outdoor non-igloo seating is available) and enjoy a visit and photo-op with Cinderella herself, plus warm beverages and sweet treats. 
Cost: $10-15 reservation, pay-as-you-go food and drink
 

Watch a virtual Philadelphia Orchestra concert

Online
After the year we’ve had, you deserve a little whimsy heading into 2021. Stream a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, filmed live on December 17, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker led by the Orchestra’s assistant conductor, Erina Yashima, along with other holiday favorites. You’ve got until 11 pm to view the performance.
Cost: $15
 

Game your way into 2021

Thirsty Dice
Board game cafe Thirsty Dice is selling New Year’s Eve packages featuring hors d’oeuvres of spanakopita, Cubano spring rolls, crab stuffed mushrooms and mac and cheese bites, Prosecco, and a festive party game. You’ll be set for the next morning with cheddar-bacon-scallion and apple cinnamon scone kits, custom coffee blend from Herman’s Coffee, and a quart of a bloody mary mix. Get your orders in before December 29 for a New Year’s Eve pickup.
Cost: $79-99
 

Let the pros do the cooking

Various locations
Instead of your usual fine dining New Year’s experience, turn your kitchen into the swankiest restaurant with takeout and catering from the best Philly has to offer. Place your order at Talula’s Table by December 28 for scrumptious brunch. Order from Forsythia, and you’ll get a five-course dinner served meal-kit style (meaning you do some of the prep yourself). The recently revamped Garces Trading Company serves up a meal of apps, family-style strip steak with veal short rib for the new year. Constellation Culinary offers a variety of holiday dining packages, from snacks, cheeses, and sweets to holiday brunch. Choose from the three available packages at Urban Farmer, featuring cheese and charcuterie, a four-course meal, and a caviar package. Pre-order a four-course dinner from a.kitchen or a take-home seafood tower for two in celebration of the New Year. Reheat a prime rib feast for two (and add some caviar if you’re feeling up to it) from Fork. Choose from a number of catering trays from Walnut Street Cafe-including raclette cheese fondue and cheese and charcuterie platter. Place your Di Bruno Bros. order by December 28 and enjoy a five-course meal plus a bottle of bubbly. Order dinner for two from Fiore for a hearty spread of lasagne, braised beef cheeks, and more.
Cost: Prices vary

Fiorella
Fiorella
Fiorella

Carboload your way into 2020

Fiorella
At Marc Vetri’s pasta bar Fiorella, hosts four outdoor New Year’s Eve seatings: 4 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm, and 10 pm (which includes a midnight toast). The prix fixe, four-course menu includes pasta specialities, dessert, and optional wine pairings. Each seating is limited to two to four guests of the same household and is maxed at an hour and 45 minutes. You’ll also have to pay up front when you make your reservation. 
Cost: $85 per person
 

Bundle up and marvel at holiday lights before they’re packed away

Wells Fargo Center
All season long, an illuminated winter wonderland has occupied the parking lots at the Wells Fargo Center and you can close out the year marveling at the spectacle. Open from 5-10 pm on New Year’s Eve, visitors can wander through a forest of light-adorned trees, glowing tunnels, and icicle paths and warm up with a spiked hot chocolate at the end. 
Cost: $27.50-32.50
 

Learn about the dark side of America’s birthplace

Independence Visitor Center
Local spooky historic walking tour group Grim Philly hosts New Year’s Eve tours spilling the tea on the Founding Father’s when it comes to espionage, murder, sexual license, and blackmail. The one-mile tour (which is completely outdoors, so dress appropriately) takes you from the Independence Visitor Center to the Liberty Bell and Merchants’ Exchange where your historian tour guide will inform you of all the salacious deeds that occurred there. Tours start at 7 pm, 8 pm, and 9:30 pm and you must wear a mask the entire time.
Cost: $25
 

Turn your living room into the club

Online
Usually, Philly-based transcendental music producer Dave P. and his Making Time collective celebrate the end of the year with epic all-night dance parties. This year is no exception. Taking place online, with the help of Barcelona music festival Primavera Sound, Dave and other acts like Jessy Lanza, Moor Mother, and Zillas On Acid will live stream sets all night long, starting at 7 p.m. No crowds and overpriced open bars this year.
Cost: $12.90-20.37
 

Support the arts in Pennsylvania with a one-of-a-kind livestream

Online
Local theater advocates can tune into a livestream benefiting the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester. Starting at 8 pm, a slate of performers, from jazz guitarists to flamenco dancers, will grace the digital stage for the two-hour livestream, providing entertainment you won’t find on the major network countdowns.
Cost: $100

Madame Fromage
Madame Fromage
Madame Fromage

Pop a bottle and cut the cheese

Online
What’s New Year’s Eve without a little bubbly? Tria Wine Bar hosts a virtual sparkling wine and cheese pairing class led by Tria’s wine director, Lauren Harris, and cheese director, Tenaya Darlington (aka Madame Fromage). Order your tickets before December 30 and then day-of, pick up your package of five bubbly wines, including Champagne, and seven cheeses. You’ll get the link to the online class, which starts at 9 pm, when you register
Cost: $200Sign up here for our daily Philly email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Allie Volpe is a Philadelphia-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter.

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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