Guides

100 Ways to Experience Philadelphia Right Now — Without Leaving Home

Missing your city? Here’s how to see it right now from where you’re sitting.


philadelphia virtual experiences

Looking for Philadelphia virtual experiences? We’ve got 100 of them for you here. Photograph by Ray Skwire/Getty Images

Miss your city? We compiled a list of activities you can do from home to bring the spirit of Philadelphia to you without having to walk out the front door.

Jump to:
Music and Concerts | Blockbusters, Broadway, and Books | Exhibits and Tours | Education and Hands-On Learning | Sports and Games | Around the City | Health and Wellbeing | Home | Food | Animals

Music and Concerts

1. Watch chefs, performers, artists and other fun Philadelphians teach you something new with Philly Live Weekends livestreams. With the program, created by NBC10 and Visit Philly, you can celebrate the city from your couch on Facebook.

2. The Philadelphia Orchestra proved you don’t need recess to play tag during a pandemic. Their whimsical Beethoven performance bounces from instrument to instrument proving that despite our solo circumstances, we can achieve harmony together. The orchestra invites viewers to watch their weekly past performance recordings every Thursday at 8 p.m.

3. Listen to younger talent’s performances from the Curtis Institute of Music’s weekday series. The school offers free online courses through Coursera. “The World of String Quartet” already has more than 25,000 enrolled.

4. Follow the Kimmel Center on Instagram and Twitter for their Broadway-inspired cocktails and curated playlists like “For Our Littlest Art Lovers.”

5. DJ Diamond Kuts has taken her performances to IGTV — give her a follow here, and check out her Beyoncé mix here.

 

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6. Listen to Spotify playlist “Philadelphia From Home” full of Philly artists featuring P!INK’s “Raise Your Glass,” Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” and of course, Dirk Quinn Band’s “Fly Eagles Fly.”

7. Join the Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff on Instagram on Saturdays at 3 p.m. for his #MagHouseParty sets (you can watch past livestreams on his IGTV) and on Wednesdays at noon for his #MagLunchBreak edition.

8. Take up an instrument with School of Rock’s remote classes for all ages and skill levels from rookies to all-stars.

9. Learn from the Philly Pops with their Pops in [email protected] Program and get inspired by their remote videos performances from the next generation of talented Philadelphia musicians for free.

Blockbusters, Broadway, and Books

10. Rewind your Philly movie favorites through the Inquirer’s quarantine film club. Each week the club, “One Movie, One Philadelphia” asked participants to stream a Philly themed-movie and then watch a livestream conversation about the film. The club just wrapped up but you can still watch the discussions here and learn from special guests like the art director from Silver Linings Playbook and location scout for Creed.

11. While you’re at it, read through our list of 34 Philadelphia movies you can stream right now, in case you have already binged Rocky I-VI.

12. Let a librarian help customize your summer reading list with the Free Library’s “What Do I Read Next?” program. Email the librarians here to receive adult, teen and children recommendations based on your interests and book availability.

13. Join Drag Queen Brittany Lynn for storytime for kids with tales about love, acceptance and diversity. Lynn will also run trivia, arts and crafts and sing-a-long sessions during select Thursdays in June.

14. Watch the Wilma Theater’s playwrights quarantine content on their Home Theater page. You can also buy tickets to a live virtual improv match between Wilma’s HotHouse Company and Comedysportz Philadelphia on June 6th at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

15. Listen to Love and Grit, a new Philly-themed podcast about often under-rated Philadelphians and how many of them are handling COVID-19.

16. Hang out with Philly’s experimental cabaret group, The Bearded Ladies. The group will entertain with their performance series “Bearded Ladies Who Lunch” Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:04 p.m.

17. And if you’re a fan of the Bard, watch the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater’s performers recite monologues from Romeo and Juliet and analyze the play on IGTV.

 

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18. Stream recent movie releases through the Philadelphia Film Society. If you use the society’s virtual codes, you can watch artsy new films with discounted prices of $12 or less.

19. Tune in as 1812 Productions, a Philadelphia-based theater company, puts out a 20-minute weekly video about their favorite works. Watch “I Put on Pants for This!” hosted by producing artistic director Jen Childs and her husband Scott Greer Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. on Facebook live.

20. “Yes and” view the Philly Improv Theater’s online shows. The weekend programming includes competitions and performances for between $5 and $7.

21. Laugh with Philly-area comedians Fridays at 8 p.m. while watching Theresa HK and Friends’ Virtual Comedy Hour. Each week the program invites new local guess comedians to cover a range of comedic styles. Just make sure to reserve a seat.

22. Binge season five of Queer Eye when it hits Netflix on June 5th — this season takes place in Philadelphia.

Exhibits and Tours

23. When your apartment feels dull, experience some sparkle with a virtual tour of the Magic Gardens.

24. If the pandemic delayed your visit to the Barnes collections’ latest exhibit, peruse the artwork from your couch. Barnes is also hosting new online classes. If you want to focus on mindfulness, maybe invest in “The Intensive Practice of Meditation and Close Looking” for $170.

25. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has also posted its collection online and has offered classes including COVID-inspired “Unconventional Art of Unconventional Times.”

26. Or maybe you’re interested in learning some Philly (and prison) history via Eastern State Penitentiary’s virtual tour.

 

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27. Kids miss their Old City field trip? While they might not get to visit Franklin Fountain in person (but can order delivery online), the Museum of the American Revolution’s virtual tour can give them a look at what they missed.

28. The Betsy Ross House also offers online tours that will provide some inspiration for your next mask sewing project.

29. If you are curious about what’s actually a constitutional right in this country (and, you know, how much authority that president of ours actually has), you can learn about the U.S. Constitution via the National Constitution Center’s online exhibits.

30. Spend some time with the National Museum of Jewish American History’s livestreamed conversations about Jewish history on their Facebook page. In the archives, you can watch past guests including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

31. As the pandemic has everyone’s minds on medicine, the Mütter museum’s online mementos teach about medical mysteries and inspiring breakthroughs. Be warned: the museum prides itself on being “disturbingly informative.”

 

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32. Experiencing wanderlust? Look no farther than the Penn Museum’s collections. Reading hieroglyphics on The Granite Sphinx of Ramses II or watching lecture series on the great wonders of the world are just a few of the experiences offered. Not to mention their Pinterest page with international recipes and art projects.

33. While you’re trying to recall what busy Philly streets look like check out this bustling cityscape and other artwork from the Pennsylvania Convention Center Art website.

34. Get to know international heroes and put your kids through “hero training” at the National Liberty museum website.

35. The Independence Seaport Museum may be closed, but you can still learn about making model ships with a chicken bone or how to lay a grommet (after learning what a grommet is) with the museum’s instructional videos.

36. Contemplate the Philadelphia Museums of Art’s collections.

37. Virtually tour masterpieces at the Philadelphia’s Center for Art in Wood if you’ve ever considered taking up woodworking as your next hobby.

38. Scroll through Grounds for Sculpture’s collection of artwork located right outside the city in Hamilton, New Jersey. The works include 400-plus pieces from a Renoir-esque romantic dance sculpture to something called “Alien Beast.

Education and Hands-On Learning

39. Gather around a campfire — or laptop — for the Library Company of Philadelphia “Fireside Chats” Thursdays at 7 p.m. The Philadelphia experts contextualize the historical moment we are all living through and help you appreciate how the city’s researchers can inform our daily lives.

40. Make some art and learn some history. Grab your crayons to color in activity pages from Independence National Historical Park.

41. Play interactive brain games that demonstrate how your mind works. These Franklin Institute activities answer why music makes us feel emotional and why we see shapes in clouds in a fun, interactive way.

42. Help your kids conduct a science experiment at home with the Academy of Natural Sciences. Children’s activities — including making bird calls and rock candy — won’t require a lab coat and goggles.

43. Aspiring geologists, browse the Wagner Free Institute of Science’s mineral collection (it, ahem, rocks).

44. Sample Mural Art’s homeschool tutorials, including videos on making a paper crane or a reusable bag. Every Monday and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. local artists teach a 10 to 30-minute tutorial that you can view at any time.

45. Check out these arts and crafts activity sheets, designed by Studio Ludo, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote play. The non-profit is sending 1,200 weekly play packs full of outdoor and craft supplies to Philly families through churches, food distribution centers and community centers. You can donate to the initiative here.

46. Follow along with Clay Studio Philadelphia’s how-to videos to make a butter dish or napkin ring to show off at your first dinner party post-quarantine.

 

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47. Hula hoop your way through the Philadelphia School of Circus Art’s classes. You can work on your contortion, ballet and handstands while the kids practice their juggling, all for free.

48. Take free online classes from UPenn, as well as other Ivy League Institutions, on Class Central.

Sports and Games

49. Missing the Flyers? Splurge on a $100 Be Gritty! Gift Box complete with a Gritty doll, Gritty water bottle, Gritty canvas tote, Gritty key tag, Gritty magnet and a Gritty prayer candle for good measure.

50. And while you’re thinking about the newest Philly mascot, follow Gritty’s Instagram to get fashion inspiration from his “Lepraquarantine” look, be impressed by Gritty’s ball bouncing prowess and question why Gritty is watching Bambi.

 

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It not boredom. It talent.

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51. Or follow the Phillie Phanatic on Instagram to gawk at how a mask can fit around his snout.

52. As you worry about whether the NFL will start up in the fall, pretend you’re at the Linc by virtually sampling stadium seats.

53. Order a three-pack of Eagles face masks for $24.99 to show your pride during your next grocery run. You can also find Phillies, Sixers and Flyers masks for the same price. A portion of the proceeds from the masks will go toward charities.

54. Fantasize about a fun outing at an escape room with friends with this remote King of Prussia Escape Game. You can play with three to seven friends and family members around the world to face puzzles with a remote adventures guide. You can play “Ruins Forbidden Treasure,” “Gold Rush,” or “The Heist” for $25 per person.

55. Test your Philadelphia knowledge with Billy Penn’s virtual Philly Quizzo. The game tests your knowledge of the city’s past, present and future. The winner earns a $50 gift card to Founding Fathers on South Street West, but everyone gets a discount for registering.

56. Play a virtual scavenger hunt with Watson Adventures for $19. Watson Adventures usually sends customers on scavenger hunts around the city but have developed new ways to collaborate and compete remotely.

57. Recreate Philadelphia like these UPenn students who modeled their Minecraft world after Penn’s campus.

Around the City

58. Take your meetings out of your living room and into the Philadelphia Airport, the Four Seasons Lobby or love park with these Philly-themed Zoom backgrounds.

59. Virtual stroll through Philly’s streets and navigate through an interactive map of the city’s statues with the Association for Public Art.

60. Screen-share this Philadelphia tour, featuring hubs like Reading Terminal and Independence Mall, to show off the City of Brotherly Love to your out-of-town friends.

61. Did COVID crash your college reunion or graduation? Reminisce in the quad as you take a virtual tour of Philly’s universities like UPenn, Drexel, Temple, and St. Joes.

62. Keep up with Philly-area native celebrities, like P!INK and Meek Mill, who are doing their part to support healthcare workers and those in need through the pandemic.

63. Check in on Dolly Broadway (a.k.a. Dolores Paolino) on Tik-Tok, a Philly 86-year-old who loves White Claw and social media.

64. Decorate cards to deliver to isolated seniors. The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging is providing 4,500 meals to older Philadelphians and you can contribute by spreading smiles.

65. Or, write letters, create drawings, or draft uplifting notes to seniors at assisted living facilities in the region through Project Feel WEL.

66. Help feed your community with Philabundance, which serves 90,000 people in and around Philly. You can donate here to buy meal boxes for families in need. Alternatively, donate to Manna, which has helped feed 31,000 Philadelphias.

67. Follow some of our favorite street artists, if you miss seeing Philadelphia’s incredible murals on your commutes or lunch breaks.

 

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68. After, learn more about the art and newer COVID-inspired projects with Mural Arts Philadelphia. 

69. Sew face masks to support Sew Face Masks Philadelphia and help get masks to those who need them. Follow them on Facebook to get started.

70. Gallery hop with CraftNOW’s First Friday Virtual Event. For the past 30 years, Philly art enthusiasts have spent the first Friday of each month touring art galleries, and now you can join artists and curators as they share their work on Zoom. They even have a monthly cocktail for you to sip as you stream.

71. Gaze at photos of empty Philly streets and day dream about the exuberance that will fill them as soon as COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

72. Vote remotely in the Philadelphia primary with our guide to filling out the tricky form. The election is June 2nd but you needed to request an absentee ballot to vote from home by May 26th.

Health and Wellbeing

73. Join Be Well Philly Fest — 30 days of virtual workouts, recipes, wellness tips, skincare routines, inspirational speakers, and more with many of your favorite Philly instructors and wellness pros.

74. Sign up for a healthy meal delivery service that makes eating well a little easier.

75. Steal a move from the Sixers’ playbook by following the at-home workouts by their performance director.

76. Feeling quarantine fatigue? Focus on your breathing with these meditation classes.

77. For a longer list of ways to stay fit online, read through our compilation of workout classes here.

 

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78. And if your little ones have a little too much energy to be contained, set your kids up with one of these exercise classes.

79. Shop made-in-Philly skincare brands to turn your home into a spa, and follow these tips from local skin-care experts.

Home

80. Redecorate your apartment with online interior design consultations like this one from Glenna Stone Interior Design. You can talk with a designer for two hours about whatever needs revamping from paint color to furniture arrangements.

81. Up your gardening game with classes from the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. You can learn how to care for your garden with these webinars.

82. Ask a photographer to take a front porch portrait. While photographers should not come into your home, they can take pictures from outside of your home and family. As photographers across the city have lost work as the coronavirus cancelled events, many, like Andrea Cipriani Mecchi, are capturing life in quarantine from a distance.

 

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83. Create a custom candle with Wax and Wine. Though you cannot go to the store to sample the scents, you can still DM or email the company your order. This post will walk you through the details.

Food

84. Send your loved ones quarentining away from the city a gift basket from the Pennsylvania General Store full of Tastykakes, Utz Chips, and other Philly treats.

85. Learn how to swirl your wine glass with authority by taking a class through the Wine School of Philadelphia for $10.

86. Indulge in a classic Philly comfort food. Order frozen Pat’s King of Steaks cheesesteaks from Goldbely to save for a late night snack or call in your order. If you prefer Geno’s, you can order here. Or make your own cheesesteak at home with Campo’s cheesesteak kit for $18.99.

87. Try your hand at recreating local restaurant meals at home, thanks to these make-at-home meal kits.

 

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88. Buy restaurant merch to support your favorite local spots. Just think how much cooler you’ll look on your next Zoom call representing Philly’s scene.

89. Forget sourdough! Bake this chocolate bakha recipe from Camille Cogswell, executive chef at K’Far and one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs.

90. Shake up your cocktail game with help from these tips from Paul McDonald of Friday Saturday Sunday.

91. Make some of the best bread in the city at home thanks to Via Locusta’s foccacia recipe.

92. Get take-out from the pizza places, burger joints, Indian, or Chinese restaurants and more of our favorite spots with this list.

93. Observe Marc Vetri at work as he garnishes his panettone chocolate/strawberry loaf in his Instagram videos. 

 

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94. Pretend you are down the shore strolling the boardwalk and order yourself a box of Shriver’s salt water taffy. You can also order other Jersey shore highlights like Johnson’s Popcorn.

95. Tip your top restaurants that are missing out on business as Philadelphia remains in lock down. You can find a list of GoFundMe and other donation sites here.

Animals

96. Check in with the Philadelphia Zoo at 2:00 p.m with their Facebook live videos. You can ask the zookeepers questions about the animals in the comment section on Facebook. If you didn’t know the difference between a legless lizard and a snake, you will after meeting reptiles Nazar and Zea.

97. Meet aquatic animals with Adventure Aquarium’s online activities. The little blue penguin is especially cute! You can watch more penguin videos on the Adventure Aquarium Instagram and complete educational worksheets with your preschoolers.

 

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98. Get to know the dogs and cats on the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society Instagram. We think feline Angela Martin wins for best cat name. The head of the party planning committee would be proud.

99. Let these therapy dogs help your kids gain confidence reading with PAWS for Reading. Sign up for a slot on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. through the Free Library.

100. Explore the Academy of Natural Science’s animal videos. We couldn’t stop smiling watching Lulu the sloth tour Dinosaur Hall. However, we didn’t think we needed to meet a hissing cockroach, yet, here we are.

Additional reporting by Sophie Burkholder.

Correction: A former version of this post referred to Visit Philly’s Philly Live Weekends as Philly Weekend Live. We regret the error.