Express Yourself: The A-to-Z Guide to Finding Your Next Hobby in Philly

By ·

Photograph by Matt Zugale

Arrange succulents.
Beaucycled[1]’s workshops at venues like Frankford Hall, Morgan’s Pier and BOK Bar bring together groups of 100 for drinks and twee gardening; everyone leaves with something beautiful.

With four locations, Philadelphia Rock Gym[2] has all the materials, guidance and space you need to move up in this world.

Create anything.
Remember those gorgeous throw pillows on the loveseat at Matyson? Possibly not; customers constantly stole them. Learn how to make them and so much more (abstract paintings, stationery, clothes for American Girl dolls) at Sue’s Art Class[3] in Rittenhouse, with art educator and former Matyson co-owner Sue Puchowitz.

Why mess around with all those black and white keys when you can pick up sticks? Allan Haiges (call him “Professor H”) of H Factor Percussion[4] has been teaching kids and adults on the Main Line and in Delco for decades. And he comes to you.

Earn a degree.
Penn’s Senior Auditing Program[5] lets those over 65 relive the glory days (but actually make it to class this time). Take courses ranging from “Islam in the Modern World” to “Modern Art: From Picasso to Pollock.”

Fail a little.
It’s all part of the process at NextFab[6], where your inner inventor is coaxed out via workshops, classes, or open tinkering time. The South Philly, North Philly and Wilmington studios have 3-D printers, metalwork tools, laser cutters, design software and more.

Groove on a guitar.
Via one-on-one lessons in a self-declared “low-pressure” environment, the pros at Danny’s Guitar Shop[7] in Narberth will get you strumming in no time.

Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione called Rittenhouse’s Home Sweet Homebrew[8] “legendary,” so it’s good enough for you. Get starter kits and invaluable advice.

Whether you’re aspiring to be the next Tina Fey or simply the funniest gal in the room, the stand-up and sketch comedy classes at Philly Improv Theater[9] will get you out of your comfort zone.

Jiggle your booty.
Forget Zumba. Check out belly dance, African dance and Bollywood at Philly Dance Fitness[10]’s five city locations.

There’s a reason people spend hours at the jujitsu studio. Your self-esteem will grow; your belly will disappear. Main Line United[11] is popular with beginners and experts.

Learn Spanish.
With a focus on conversation and immersion, the Washington Square West outpost of Fluent City[12] (a fast-growing start-up) will get you chatting in no time.

Macramé it up.
“Macramé is the new black,” jokes Jill Markovitz, founder of Philly Art Center[13]. On February 1st from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Queen Village location, you can take a workshop in this hipster textile art. Be on the lookout for other adults-only — some are BYO — classes and workshops in painting, clay, fashion and drawing at all three locations.

Navigate your way around the bedroom.
The Velvet Lily[14] in Midtown Village holds regular workshops — like “The Art of Self-Pleasure” and “Tease and Please” — led by professional sex educators.

PAFA[15] has a variety of workshops and classes (some even free!) for us plebes, ranging from “Tools and Techniques” to just the basics.

Pen your memoir.
Or that novel you’ve been mind-writing in the shower for the last decade. Poet Susan Windle[16]’s writing circles — sometimes led in the natural beauty of Wissahickon Valley Park — will help you dig deep to improve your writing, and your life.

Quit overthinking.
From one-day workshops to multi-week courses, the Penn Program for Mindfulness[17] presents arguably the most, well, mindful programs in the region.

Roll pasta.
Former Le Virtù chef Joe Cicala[18] will show you how to whip up ravioli (or sausage or gnocchi) like the Italians do. Book a class, or get four friends together and make it a private affair.

Sew your own jeans.
Or bras, dresses, button-downs and duffle bags. At Butcher’s Sew Shop[19]’s two downtown locations, you’ll learn how to make fashion-forward things that you’ll actually want to wear and use.

Throw clay.
The Clay Studio[20] in Old City has the wheels, glazes, kilns and patient teachers. Take the sampler class to try hand-building ceramics, or bring your sweetie for a date night.

Joey DeMalavez’s boxing classes at Joltin’ Jabs[21] — there are studios in Midtown Village and Manayunk — are more than just a workout; they’re a sweat-inducing, soul-searching, confidence-boosting experience. (Just ask superfan Charles Barkley.)

Vow to only participate.
With her newly launched Selcouth Society[22], Conshy’s Jamie Joffe curates the kinds of adventures you’re too overwhelmed to plan: knife skills workshops, New York Fashion Week trips, behind-the-scenes beauty experiences and more.

Whack balls.
Narberth’s Julian Krinsky[23] tennis center offers lessons and leagues and the easiest way to blow off some steam: Book a half hour of court time with just the ball machine and whale away.

X-plore* a distillery.
Take a tour, sample the artisanal goods, then geek out with the makers as you help bottle and label the newest batch of whiskey, rum, gin and more at Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works[24]. (*Yeah, we cheated … but booze!)

Yarn Jawn.
More than just an excellent entry for Y, it’s an actual knitting class offered at South Philly’s Lume Creative Learning Studios[25]. Nothing here is average; other classes include “The Macabre Arts Club” and “Dirty Embroidery.”

Zip through the air.
Learn aerial acrobatics, trapeze and juggling at the spacious new Philly Circus Arts[26] venue in a former church in Mount Airy.

» Click here for tips on how to make a hobby a habit[27]

Published as “Express Yourself” in the January 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

  1. Beaucycled:
  2. Philadelphia Rock Gym:
  3. Sue’s Art Class:
  4. H Factor Percussion:
  5. Penn’s Senior Auditing Program:
  6. NextFab:
  7. Danny’s Guitar Shop:
  8. Home Sweet Homebrew:
  9. Philly Improv Theater:
  10. Philly Dance Fitness:
  11. Main Line United:
  12. Fluent City:
  13. Philly Art Center:
  14. The Velvet Lily:
  15. PAFA:
  16. Susan Windle:
  17. Penn Program for Mindfulness:
  18. Joe Cicala:
  19. Butcher’s Sew Shop:
  20. The Clay Studio:
  21. Joltin’ Jabs:
  22. Selcouth Society:
  23. Julian Krinsky:
  24. Manatawny Still Works:
  25. Lume Creative Learning Studios:
  26. Philly Circus Arts:
  27. » Click here for tips on how to make a hobby a habit:

Source URL: