25 Things to Do Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

Horse shows! Colonial pub crawls! Outdoor concerts! There's plenty to do if you're staying in town.

25 Things to Do Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

Philly’s first Memorial Day concert premieres at The Mann on Saturday | Photo courtesy of The Mann

Friday, May 27th

Opening of Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest @ Penn’s Landing  Cruise along the waterfront as the iconic ice skating rink converts to a rollerblading oasis for the summer season.

Devon Horse Show and County Fair Those mammoth Derby hats convene on the Main Line, as equine enthusiasts celebrate the 120th season of the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. 

25 Things to Do Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

Twilight in The Gardens | Photo from www.phillymagicgardens.org

Twilight in the Gardens @ Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens Amid the mosaicked maze, create your own dreamcatchers and other crafts while listening to blues bands and ethereal electronic artists. This monthly BYOBBS (bring your own booze, blanket and snacks) runs through October.

Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Hillary and Clinton @ Suzanne Roberts Theatre 

The East Coast Premiere of Lucas Hnath’s play transports audiences to an earth quite similar to our own where a woman named Hillary is vying for the presidency of a country known as the United States of America. Although this strikes as sarcasm, it’s a paradoxical mechanism to examine politics in this dimension. Exploring themes of gender, marriage and power, the piece offers an anomalous set of arguments about the diluted humanity of politicians, questioning how that obscurity influences our engagements with them.

Return of Independence After Hours @ Independence Hall Delve into our nation’s infancy with this exclusive visit at sundown. After eating an 18th-century-inspired dinner at the historic City Tavern, spectators sneak into Independence Hall where they eavesdrop on Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin discussing the Declaration of Independence.

Return of Tippler’s Tour Colonial Pub Crawl Mosey around Old City with this weekly tour that transports beer buffs back to Colonial-style consumption, including stops at three contemporary watering holes.

Start of Open-Air Fountain Shows @ Longwood Gardens The Italian-esque outdoor theatre resumes its summertime spectacles, featuring 750 enchanting fountains dancing to the sounds of classical music.

Beach Ball Drop @ Resorts Casino Enjoy music, games and giveaways as the Atlantic City boardwalk is bestowed with 5,000 falling beach balls.

Lantern Theater Company’s 36 Views @ St. Stephen’s Theater In Naomi Iizuka’s critically acclaimed play, an ancient Japanese pillow book falls into the hands of dubious art dealer Darius Wheeler. Tales of turmoil and passion transcend the pages of the rare artifact, transforming the lives of Wheeler and his colleague, Setsuko Hearn, an East Asian art specialist. Fusing Eastern artistic traditions and Western theatrical conventions, a mystery transpires throughout a series of 36 scenes, exploring art, commerce and desire.

Saturday, May 28th

Memorial Day Weekend @ The Constitution Center The museum hosts a series of patriotic pursuits all weekend long, including a concert featuring the Air National Guard Band, flag ceremonies, a flag etiquette workshop, giant flag folding, Continental military musters, eighteenth century games and many other shows and lectures.

Downingtown Fine Arts Fair An array of mediums make their way onto Lancaster Avenue, showcasing paintings, sculptures, printmaking, drawings, mixed media and jewelry for this traditional two-day festival.

InterAct Theatre Company’s Straight White Men @ The Drake Hailed by The New York Times as, “Fascinating, compassionate and stimulating,” playwright Young Jean Lee unravels the tantalizing elucidation of being a straight white man through the story of Ed and his three sons. Convening every Christmas for takeout Chinese and wisecracks, this holiday season poses something much deeper for the family, as the four men find themselves forced to consider underlying realities of their conventional lives, including the problems of privilege and issues with identity.

Franklin Flea @ Reading Terminal Up to 60 vendors invade the market for a curated market of antique, vintage and up-cycled furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles, antiques, and delicious food, as well as displays of jewelry, art, and handmade goods by local artisans and designers.

The Philly POPS’ Memorial Salute @ The Mann Instead of flocking to the Shore like most folks this weekend, sit under the stars and listen to the sounds of Philly’s first official Memorial Day concert at the Mann Center, featuring the vivacious orchestrations of The Philly POPS. Honoring all of those who serve our nation, 2,000 complimentary tickets were given to veterans, active military, Philadelphia police and fire departments, and their families. From operatic to theatrics, the salute showcases a scope of vocalists, including Voices of the POPS and Philly-natives Allison Blackwell and Hugh Panaro, both of whom have seized Broadway stages.

25 Things to Do Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

Garden Railway | Photo from Penn Business Services

Opening of the Garden Railway @ Morris Arboretum Little locomotives weave through a landscape of flowers and tiny towns for this annual event’s 19th season, featuring this year’s theme, Awaken the Senses.

2016 Men’s Lacrosse NCAA Championship @ Lincoln Financial Field The weekend-long fest of tailgating, live tunes and tackle fouls take over the stadium for the foremost college lacrosse in the country.

Start of Colonial Kids’ Quest Puppet Show @ Carpenter’s Hall Every Saturday throughout the summer, kids of all ages assist animal puppets as they embark on a quest to find a missing copy of the Declaration of Independence. Can Francois the Frog, Graciela the Goose, Nibbles the Mouse, and Broadside the Cat save one of our nation’s most precious parchments?

Tutto Verismo @ The Kimmel Center Commemorating compositions of the Verismo Period, this gala concert features a spectacular lineup of the world’s most sought after vocalists, performing timeless operatic works from the late-19th century, including the sounds of Verdi, Puccini, Giordano and Mascagni.

Sunday, May 29th

Memorial Day Parade @ Laurel Hill Cemetery Gather at the resting place of General George Gordon Meade, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, for the traditional Decoration Day service of the Grand Army Meade Post #1. The historic graveyard was the site of the first Memorial Day Observance in Philadelphia in 1868.

“C” is for Celebration Fireworks @ Sesame Place …And, that’s good enough for me. 

Fit and Fun Celebration @ Camden Children’s Garden Veggie make-and-take planting and other nutritious activities take over the garden, teaching youngsters how to have a healthy lifestyle.

Monday, May 30th

45th Annual Antique Show @ Brandywine River Museum of Art This weekend-long event draws distinguished dealers from Maine to Michigan for old fashioned furniture, rugs, porcelain, needlework and more period piece items. Proceeds from this annual fundraising event benefit the Volunteers’ Art Purchase Fund.

25 Things to Do Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia

Cruiser Olympia | Photo from the Independence Seaport Museum

Memorial Day Ceremony @ Independent Seaport Museum Salute the troops aboard the Spanish-American War Cruiser Olympia for this year’s commemoration theme, Remembering the Unknown Soldier.

Tarantulas: Alive and Up Close! @ The Academy of Natural Sciences The exhibit of twenty creepy crawlers concludes today.

First Responders Night @ Citizen’s Bank Park Playing the Washington Nationals, the Phillies host an evening honoring policemen, firemen, paramedics and emergency medical technicians.