Photo | Dan McQuade
I used to start work at 6 a.m. Every morning I’d wake up at 5, shower away my grogginess and walk to the Comcast Center. Downtown is different at that hour. It’s dark. Stray or outdoor pet cats, usually hidden by the bustle, are out prowling the streets. The only people I’d regularly see in the morning were the friendly drug dealers and sex workers on 13th Street. Occasionally I’d pass a worker setting up a food cart. Otherwise, I was mostly on the streets alone.
I’ve lived in Center City for eleven and a half years. Only during my childhood in the Far Northeast did I spend more time in one neighborhood. I love living here. Even my side street is usually full of activity. And my walk from my place in Washington Square West to the Philadelphia magazine offices at 19th and Market is usually full of sights and sounds.
Except today. Most offices are closed today, but not Philly Mag. My walk to work reminded me of those early-morning walks to the Comcast Center. There’s just one food cart on Market Street. The only downtown regular I saw is the guy who preaches at the northeast corner of 16th and Market. Center City was busier on Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Read more »
Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia
So long, 2016. We already told you where to bring the kids on New Year’s Eve, the best parties to go to, the concerts you won’t want to miss, and details on the two fireworks shows. But if that’s not enough to tide you over until 2017, here are 15 more things to do in Philly this weekend.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30
Kwanzaa / Nia-Purpose @ The African American Museum in Philadelphia
This Macy’s Family Fun Day at the AAMP celebrates the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa, with arts and crafts, face painting, games and a candle lighting ceremony, plus dancing with Camara Arts West African Dance and a Drumming Like A Lady performance and community jam session. While you’re there, support local artists at the museum’s pop-up Kwanzaa marketplace.
Art After 5: Just Breathe @ Philadelphia Museum of Art
Instead of its usual Friday evening concert, the Art Museum invites you to join a yoga session or check out a Philadelphia Shambhala Center workshop in the galleries and listen to soothing sitar music in the Great Hall. Read more »
Photo by Matt Stanley
It’s not New Year’s Eve without a fireworks display, whether you’re watching on TV or bundled up at Penn’s Landing. You have two chances to catch the fireworks in Philly, with the SugarHouse Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront taking place first at 6 p.m., for the families and early birds, and then again at midnight.
The fireworks will be timed to music that you can hear if you’re on the waterfront. If you’re not, tune in to KYW NewsRadio to listen to the official soundtrack, synchronized to the bursts of light. NBC10 will broadcast the fireworks live.
Watch the fireworks from one of two Parties on Ice at Blue Cross RiverRink. Photo by Matt Stanley
Coinciding with the displays are two New Year’s Eve Parties on Ice at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, with food, drinks, music, ice skating, and awesome views of the fireworks.
Visit Philadelphia has a map of other spots with great views on both sides of the river. The midnight show will also be streaming on screens at the Lit Brothers Building, at 8th and Market, and at the Kimmel Center.
Follow @RachelVigoda on twitter.
Go for the Go Go at The Trestle Inn’s New Year’s Eve party.
Glitter City Gala @ Hyatt at the Bellevue
Times Square can have its giant ball: We’ve got a lit Liberty Bell ready to drop at midnight at the Hyatt. The Glitter City Gala includes live music, DJs, dancing, multiple floors, food, an open bar and professional photographers capturing it all. Warning: I’m told that the “bell drop” coincides with tens of thousands of pieces of confetti, so you’ll likely be picking that out of your hair in the morning.
Making Time @ Union Transfer
Dave P. and crew bring the Making Time party to Union Transfer, with dance music all night long and an open bar.
NYE-A-Go Go @ The Trestle Inn
This New Year’s Eve disco dance party features DJs, Go Go from Lucy Diamonds, Connie Love and Cleopatra Jones, a “welcome” whiskey cocktail to kick off the night, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Read more »
The Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall rings in the New Year during the day with Countdown2Noon. Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia
Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown @ Franklin Square
This is your last chance to check out the Franklin Square Holiday Festival and the Electrical Spectacle light show. The free, kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party kicks off at 3 p.m., leading up to the “Square Drop” at 6 p.m. — a giant square of lights lowered from SquareBurger’s roof, à la the Times Square ball. You’ll be able to see the early SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks over the Delaware River, and then the dance party starts inside the Franklin Square pavilion. The Winter Beer Garden will be open for the grown-ups. Read more »
The Pennsylvania Ballet performing George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a Philadelphia holiday tradition. Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker @ Academy of Music
It’s not the holiday season without the Pennsylvania Ballet performing George Balanchine’s Christmas classic. The Nutcracker runs through the end of the month.
Seinfeld Quizzo: Festivus Edition @ Underground Arts
Test your knowledge about nothing at a Seinfeld-themed quizzo hosted by Johnny Goodtimes.
DJ Cutman’s Chiptune Christmas Flea Market @ PhilaMOCA
Despite the name, this isn’t quite a flea market. It’s more of a party, with video games and “good ol’ fashioned non-denominational December holiday chiptunes” — though there will be things for sale, and the first 50 people get a free Santa hat.
There’s Drinking to Be Done: The ’90s Before Christmas @ The Barbary
Dance away your present-buying panic at the Barbary’s ’90s party with music from the likes of Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, Ace of Base and Montell Jordan. Read more »
Eat Chinese food and laugh with comedians Julie Goldman, Josh Gondelman and Avi Liberman at the eighth annual Moo Shu Jew Show. Photo provided
Cocktails and Candles | Thursday, December 22
The Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History (101 South Independence Mall East) are throwing a pre-Hanukkah party, with cocktails and “Hanukkah-inspired hors d’oeuvres” (my bet is on latkes), plus a silent auction and a raffle.
Hanukkah Celebration | Friday, December 23
The ongoing Holiday Festival at Franklin Square (6th and Race Streets) includes a new Hanukkah celebration this year, with themed games and crafts. It’s free.
Festival of Lights | Friday, December 23
The always-lively West Philadelphia Orchestra will be playing klezmer beats at this week’s Art After 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Ben Franklin Parkway). The concert, presented by Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, is included with museum admission.
The Moo Shu Jew Show| Saturday, December 24
The Gershman Y is adding standup to the time-honored tradition of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve — which is also the first night of Hanukkah. Comedians Julie Goldman, Avi Liberman and Josh Gondelman, who’s a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, will perform for the crowd at Ocean Harbor (1023 Race Street) in Chinatown, while the restaurant serves up a (non-kosher) feast. Comedian Cory Kahaney is co-producing the show with the Y. Read more »
There’s a misconception that the holiday season should always evoke visions of peace, joy and goodwill — but you know it’s more complicated. All of the shopping, wrapping, planning, cooking, cleaning and family-seeing can be stressful. In fact, according to a recent Healthline survey, 61 percent of millennials, 62 percent of baby boomers, and 65 percent of generation Xers report increased amounts of stress during the holidays.
Every year, holiday consumerism becomes more and more omnipresent and unavoidable. This year, I saw a Christmas commercial in September! Both conscious and unconscious pressure to create a perfect and memorable holiday season for your loved ones can be burdensome and cause undue stress. (Don’t be tricked by rampant consumerism, though — your mantra for the holidays should be simple: “I am worth more than what I buy.”) Here are four very do-able tips for a mindful, peaceful, more sane — and less stressful! — holiday season.
Read more »
Hotel Palomar is collecting donations for Saved Me at Santa Paws on Saturday. Photo by Andre Flewellen
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
The Carnal & the Mortal @ Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner and Atlas Obscura are hosting a night of sex talk and erotic ghost stories with two guest speakers. Author Paul Koudounaris will enlighten us about sexualized ghosts in the Palermo catacombs in Italy, and pathologist Nicole Angemi, who’s known for her (warning: gross!) autopsy Instagrams, will tell us about “sex-related diseases, dysfunctions, accidents, and deaths.”
Frozen Night @ Franklin Square
Elsa, Anna, and WXPN’s Kids Corner host Kathy O’Connell and producer Robert Drake will be at Franklin Square Holiday Festival’s Frozen-themed night. Or come by with your pups tomorrow for Santa Paws Saturday to take photos with Santa and get a free pet portrait drawn by a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts student, plus doggie treats from BoneJour.
Netflix Presents: Here Comes The Funny @ Tower Theatre
Adam Sandler, David Spade, Nick Swardson and Rob Schneider get back to standup in their joint comedy tour. Read more »
East Passyunk Avenue turns into Arctic Ave on Saturday, December 10th, with pros from Ice Sculpture Philly carving live at five stations along the Avenue throughout the day, leading up to an ice-carving competition in front of Pat’s and Geno’s. Bet on the sculpture Whiz wit. South Philly blues band the Blue Pharaohs will provide the soundtrack for the frosty battle. Read more »