Good music (the Beatles, Tchaikovsky), summer nights, beer and sometimes fire: The $90 million that Longwood sank into renovating its main fountains was well worth it. Might as well get a membership, because you’ll want to take everyone you know. 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348, longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/events/illuminated-fountain-performances.
With serious musical chops and a sassy side that has parents ROFL, John Francisco’s classes – be it toddler music sessions honoring artists like the Killers and Johnny Cash or guitar lessons for older kids – will become the highlight of your week. (Note to Comcast: Give this guy his own show already!) 904 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, misterjohnsmusic.com.
We see your alma mater’s on-campus a cappella group and raise you this college’s lineup of performances, which has included world-class gospel choirs, string quartets, hip-hop dancers–and John Waters. 101 North Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, brynmawr.edu/performing-arts-series.
If being at home with your kids 24/7 has changed your attitude toward screen time, it’s okay. We know you love those little rascals, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need some “me” time now and then. Allay your guilt (if you still have any) by registering for one of the many local kids’ classes that have popped up on YouTube and across social media. Settlement Music School is offering Settlement Kids Live (settlementmusic.org), with free music and dance classes for children streamed live on Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday. If your offspring have energy to burn, InMovement Gymnastics Education (phillyinmovement.com) has online tumbling, karate and dance classes. Pick the one that’s right for your little one, and you may actually get the chance to use the bathroom without being interrupted. And the Philly Zoo at 2 (philadelphiazoo.org) introduces kids to all kinds of creatures every weekday at 2 p.m. via Facebook Live — and keeps an archive of past videos for hours of educational streaming.
How to be a style setter and do your part for the planet in one step: Shop here. On a recent scroll through their site, we spotted basically mint-condition Nike LeBron 9s from 2011, unworn Yeezys from 2018, and nearly new, hard-to-find green Rick Owens for Adidas sneaks for $230. 134 South 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, commonground12.com.
If being at home with your kids 24/7 has changed your attitude toward screen time, it’s okay. Allay your guilt (if you still have any) by registering for one of the many local kids’ classes that have popped up on YouTube and across social media. See the full write up at Virtual Classes. facebook.com/philadelphiazoo/videos/?ref=page_internal.
At Amelie’s Bark Shop, the customizable coconut flour birthday cakes are almost too pretty to eat, but that didn’t stop our taste-tester from diving face-first into the icing. (Bonus: They deliver!) 1544 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147, barkshopbakery.com.
Sometimes, a new chef will arrive in Philly and bring an unmistakable energy — a sort of hyper-focused intentionality, a sense of I’ve got big plans for this city. Omar Tate was born and raised in Philly, and he worked in some of the city’s most ambitious kitchens before leaving for NYC to hone his culinary career. As he wove his way through kitchens, following the well-trodden career path of the modern professional chef, he began to explore and amplify Black American foodways — their tragic history, their uncertain future, their cultural complexities, and their constant erasure from the culinary pantheon. Honeysuckle — his NYC pop-up restaurant-turned-takeout operation — was the physical manifestation of his particular brand of culinary activism. Meals began with a glass of “Honeysuckle Red Drink” (his take on Kool-Aid, a staple of his childhood), and the to-go bags included samples of his own poetry. The coronavirus crisis brought him (and Honeysuckle) back to Philly, and he has big plans for this city — particularly in West Philly, where he’s envisioning a community center for which food will, of course, be the anchor. Follow @honeysuckle_projects on Instagram for information on future dinners and pop-ups. instagram.com/honeysuckle_projects.
She’s the chef Philly needed before we even knew we needed someone like her. In the Before Times, she opened Kalaya, a heartfelt Thai BYOB where the kitchen scratch-made everything on an unapologetically authentic menu. In the dining room, she was an undeniable presence, seeming to know everyone who’d ever eaten a meal there and exactly what they needed most. And then, when the plague came, rather than retreating or folding, she kept Kalaya open to serve local industry workers for free. In a moment that sometimes seems woefully short on heroes, she is ours.
When the PLCB temporarily closed all its stores, Philly wine shops stayed open and kept us drinking and drunk during the apocalypse. And they deserve all the attention in the world. 614 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, lecaveaubar.com.
For many of us, the pandemic renders evenings synonymous with Netflix and weekends with the outdoors. Wandering around the neighborhood or visiting a nearby park brings much-needed respite, and there’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy. See the full write up at Our Green Spaces. 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19143, bartramsgarden.org.
If you only know Erik Honesty because of the choice vintage finds (hi, 1980s Gucci loafers) at his Cultured Couture shop in Brewerytown, you’re missing half the story. His true talent lies in his creative vision, which includes a line of museum-worthy whimsical-but-throwback capes and coats, all of which are hand-sewn from historic fabrics (some a century old) and feature cornucopias of color. Find the full collection online. 2639 Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131, culturedcouturegallery.com.
At New Jersey-based K9 Resorts (which has locations in Cherry Hill, Horsham and Malvern), the luxury suites are eight-by-eight-foot sound-resistant rooms equipped with premium Kuranda dog beds, dog-themed artwork, and even televisions (tuned to Animal Planet or DogTV, obviously). k9resorts.com.
You probably didn’t realize that Philly’s parks, trails and even sidewalks are home to a huge variety of mushrooms, many of them edible. But how do you begin? And how do you not, you know, die from ingesting, oh, say, a death cap? Simple: Find the Philadelphia Mycology Club on Facebook. They host mushroom hunts all over the region, and if you’re lucky, you’ll come home with some tasty hen-of-the-woods or morels for supper. facebook.com/phillymycoclub.
There are times when we resent how obsessed this city can get with pizza. How in 2020 — an era in dining when we ought to be fawning over Sri Lankan curries and Nigerian jollof rice — pizza still consistently gets top billing.
And there are other times — like … now, when the world feels so unsteady — that we’re very happy seeking solace in the basics. Finding comfort in pizza. Letting Philly’s pizzaiolos, you know, take care of us in our time of need. Because if nothing else, pizza is as comforting as comfort foods get.
When we were still in the red phase, some shops, like Pizzeria Stella(420 South 2nd Street) in Society Hill, Barbuzzo (110 South 13th Street) in Midtown Village, and Wood Street Pizza (325 North 12th Street) in Callowhill (which, not for nothing, is one of the city’s best classic pizza shops), provided us with DIY pizza kits that kept us occupied and well-fed during the quarantine. Wood Street’s Dean Kitagawa even commissioned his wife, Sarah D’Ambrosio, to create artwork on some of the pizza boxes. “It was a small thing we did to establish a connection with our guests — a connection we lost when we pivoted to just doing takeout,” he says.
Philly found comfort in pizza even when the style of pizza was completely new to us. Much as it did in almost every other major food city in the U.S., Detroit-style pizza took over Philly. Of course, it got the aged-dough/high-quality-ingredients treatment we’ve become so used to seeing; witness Dan Gutter’s focaccia-like frico-crusted pies from Circles + Squares (2513 Tulip Street) in Kensington, or even his less Detroit-y pan pizzas — à la Pizza Hut — at Pizza Plus (1846 South 12th Street) in East Passyunk, or the fat, deeply caramelized squares at Sidecar Bar & Grille (2201 Christian Street) in Grad Hospital. The ranch-drizzled, banana-peppered monstrosity at Emmy Squared (632 South 5th Street) was a delicious addition to Queen Village.
Neapolitan pizza, a food trend that came as quickly as it left this city, found new life at Gigi Pizza (504 Bainbridge Street), across the street from Emmy Squared. They do a sort of hybrid NYC-meets-Napoli pie baked in a wood-burning oven, with a crust that’s somehow both airy and stiff — essentially, a big middle finger to the chewy, soupy pies favored by the Neapolitan pizza gods.
We saw our fair share of illegal pizza activity, too, which has become something of the norm in this city after @pizza_gutt paved the way back in 2017. Instagram “pizza shops” like @pizza_jawn and @freelancepizza_ began delivering pies (baked who knows where) to their thousands of eager followers.
And in maybe the longest slog of quarantine, Joe and Angela Cicala, the chef-owners of Cicala at the Divine Lorraine and former owners of Brigantessa in East Passyunk, launched an illicit pizza “speakeasy” out of their backyard in South Philly, with proceeds to help pay their laid-off staff. On its first day, the Cicalas sold 200 pizzas in 40 minutes. They sold out again on the second day. And on the third day, seven cops and two city health inspectors shut the operation down. Pizza-obsessed, indeed.