What's New In Philadelphia?
July 25, 2016 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Travelling to Philadelphia in mid August for a break - I'm a regular visitor but I haven't been in 3 years - what's new in town that I can't miss? I like fine dining, gay bars, unusual museums, vintage or discount menswear, and science/engineering sights/tours. Assume I've done all the major attractions like the Mutter and Eastern State. I have no interest in Founding Fathers stuff.

Also I'll have a car for the first time ever so day trips that check those above boxes are also welcome
posted by The Whelk to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
In the unusual museum category, there's Philadelphia's Magic Gardens (not representable in pics, but the website gives an idea)
posted by kalapierson at 12:39 PM on July 25, 2016

West Philadelphia Orchestra plays on Tuesday nights at Frankey Bradley's. It's a Balkan dance party every week!
posted by cabbagesnkings at 12:54 PM on July 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on how far out you're willing to travel, Longwood Gardens is a national treasure. It's not in Philadelphia proper, but you have a car, so it's worth mentioning.

Also, there's a newish gay sports bar called Boxers at 13th and Walnut. They have a location in New York City that I visited with some friends last year and met the owner. When he heard I was from Philly he told me he and his partner were opening a location in town and gave me his card to check it out. Now, I'm a straight dude with not a lot of gay bar experience, take the recommendation at face value, but I remember that the owner was really nice, the bar was cool, and it's new enough to town that you probably haven't been there.

The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk is a paved walkway along the river that is really cool, too. Gives you a little extra experience on top of the regular Kelly Drive run.

Have fun!
posted by moviehawk at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2016

Not new, but perhaps a day trip: Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:46 PM on July 25, 2016

Oh you have a car. Fort Mifflin out by the airport is Revolutionary War, and interesting.
posted by carter at 5:49 PM on July 25, 2016

Strong second for Magic Gardens! Longwood Gardens is also really gorgeous if you like botanical gardens, but not particularly strong on the unusual museum or science/engineering front.

If you've never been to Amish country/Lancaster County, it's also worth a day trip (car required). Cool regional foods and jams/pickles.
posted by serelliya at 7:11 PM on July 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're around on the days when it's open, I like the Ryerss Museum. It's a mansion that belonged to a wealthy early Philadephian family, stuffed full of art and decorative objects from their travels, arranged in a way that's not entirely haphazard but not as tightly curated as a larger museum would be. Accessible by regional rail, though the car would give you more flexibility in timing.

I'd also suggest eating at Vedge for fine dining, no matter what opinions you think you may have about vegan food.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:24 PM on July 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

I don't think there are any new museums in the last three years, maybe Pizza Brain, the pizza museum?

For fine dining, Laurel, maybe Marigold Kitchen. Sbraga, Vernick and Vetri are still going strong.
posted by tangaroo at 3:40 AM on July 26, 2016

This is a little ways out of town, but I've always wanted to see Wharton Esherick's studio. Amazing art and woodcraft.
posted by Sublimity at 5:09 AM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you been to the Fabric Workshop and Museum? Lots of strange & moving performance art installations, and huge printing workshops. I took a tour that let us go through the workshops, which were impressive and fantastic to get to see. You might need to call ahead for that, I’m not sure if it’s part of their regular tour. Hands-down my favorite visit during my last few trips to Philadelphia.
posted by miles per flower at 6:33 AM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

The new gayberhood is in South Philly around Passyunk, which is also the new foodie paradise. (Go to Stargazy for awesome English-style savoury pies!)
posted by kalimac at 7:21 AM on July 26, 2016

Wharton Esherick's studio, the Mercer Museum, Longwood Gardens, and Vedge are all amazing. I haven't been yet but there's a museum of industrial history run by DuPont outside Wilmington, I think it's the Hagley. Also never been but there's a helicopter museum in the suburbs, and train museum in Lancaster County.

Pizza Brain isn't really a museum, but does have good pizza. Little Baby's, the ice cream shop next door is both delicious and unusual.

The Johnsville centrifuge and science museum in Bucks County has the centrifuge used to train Mercury 7 astronauts. I'm not sure how operational the place is, though, and have never been there.

Oh, the Chemical Heritage Foundation in old city was good the one time I was there. National Mechanics bar nearby has a lecture series called Science on Tap.

Fishtown has lots of good new restaurants. The whole city has had an explosion of beer gardens. There will be one at Penn Treaty Park in mid August through Parks on Tap.
posted by sepviva at 8:13 AM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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