11 Philadelphia Museums to Visit at Night

Bypass the crowds of tourists and see your favorite exhibits in an entirely new light (moonlight!).

philly museum night franklin institute

Visit the rooftop observatory at the Franklin Institute at a special nighttime visit of the science museum / Photograph courtesy of the Franklin Institute

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Spring Garden
Did you know? Every Friday night, the grand dame of Philly museums stays open till 8:45.

The Insectarium, Holmesburg
Monthly evening beer gardens include access to the museum, butterfly releases (!), games and, of course, beer (next one: August 19th). Advance tickets recommended.

The Rosenbach, Rittenhouse
Once or twice a season, the renowned museum and library hosts “Bibliococktails in the Garden” in its twee backyard, with admission to the house, themed literary programs and cocktails. Registration required.

The Betsy Ross House, Old City
The monthly First Friday Movie Nights from June through September offer alfresco screenings of quirky films in the courtyard (BYOB) and admission to after-hour tours of Betsy’s house. Get there early; the courtyard fills up quickly.

philadelphia museum barnes foundation art

The Barnes Foundation / Photograph by R. Kennedy courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

First Fridays at The Barnes Foundation, Logan Circle; and Science History Institute, Old City
In honor of First Fridays, these spots stay open late on a monthly basis. Check their websites for the specifics.

Sphinx at the Penn Museum / Photograph by Eric Sucar

First Wednesdays at Penn Museum, University City; and Please Touch Museum, Fairmount Park
Meanwhile, on first Wednesdays, the Penn Museum and PTM keep their doors open late.

The Franklin Institute, Logan Circle
The adults-only Science After Hours quarterly event features cash bars, access to all the exhibits, and live performances. Next one: October 28th. Registration required.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Fairmount
Night Tour: Summer Twilight,” running Thursdays through Sundays from now until September, includes a tour of the historic prison, interactive exhibits, and access to the Fair Chance beer garden run by mission-driven Triple Bottom Brewing. Advance tickets recommended.

Eastern State Penitentiary / Photograph by John Van Horn

Independence Seaport Museum, Society Hill
Two options here: Newly extended hours mean you can tour the cruiser Olympia and submarine Becuna until 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays through Labor Day. Or take the “Pirate Rum Challenge,” which involves cocktails, plank-walking, cannon-firing and lots of sea shanties. 6 to 9 p.m.; for adults only.

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Published as “150 Ways to Do Philly Like a Tourist: Nights at the Museum” in the July 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.