Looking Ahead: 13 Reasons You’ll Want To Be In Philadelphia In 2013

2013 promises to be a big year for Philadelphia, with the return of PIFA, the U.S. Open, construction hopefully starting on the Reading Viaduct and so much more. (Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC)

What a year it’s been for Philadelphia.

2012 saw Anthony Bourdain film his georgia dui penalties, the Penn Museum http://uristocrat.com/tag/air-jordan-custom/, the Academy of Natural Sciences auto loans after bankruptcy discharge, a snazzy new hotel open on Independence Mall, one of the world’s most renowned art collections open its doors right on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and an epic music festival bring Jay-Z, Kanye West, Santigold, Jill Scott and more huge stars to Philadelphia.

Rest assured, 2013 will be no less impressive than 2012. To help drum up some excitement for what’s in store for Philadelphia over the next 12 months, we’ve pulled together a roundup of 13 reasons you’ll want to be in Philadelphia in 2013.

Check it out below; and hit the comments and Twitter with your favorite moments of 2012 and what you’re most excited for in 2013.


Pennsylvania Ballet’s brand new home: In January 2013, the ballet’s dancers, Artistic Staff and the new School of Pennsylvania Ballet will move into their gorgeous new home on the Avenue of the Arts. The complete development won’t be complete until spring 2014 — courtyard, administrative offices and a green roof — but it’s super exciting nonetheless.

Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse: The Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House and Skyspace not only offers a place for gathering for the community, but also offers spectacular sky views thanks to the Skyspace designed by acclaimed light artist James Turrell. The Skyspace will be opened to the public all year round at scheduled times and is sought after by many modern art appreciators. Skyspace’s welcome phenomenal views of the sky and fill the room they are located in with lots of sunlight. The Chestnut Hill Meetinghouse will open in Spring 2013.

Benjamin Franklin Life and Legacy Museum: After a two-year renovation, the Benjamin Franklin Life and Legacy museum is reopening in Franklin Court in summer 2013. Unlike most, this museum is housed mainly underground. The giftshop and “ghost house” are the two aspects of the museum that are above ground. The museum will be full of artifacts from Franklin’s life and interactive exhibits to teach visitors about the life of the influential man.

Check out the rest of our 13 reasons you’ll want to be in Philadelphia in 2013, below.


Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection at the African American Museum: Celebrate the Queens of Motown, The Supremes, at the African American Museum in 2013. From January 25-June 30, the museum will present an exhibit full of Supremes history. There will be more than 30 gowns worn by the women, gold records, rare video footage, album covers and more.

Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod at the Penn Museum: Making the last stop of its American tour at the Penn Museum, Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod is an ancient floor mosaic that has been immaculately preserved over the years. The 2,000-year-old piece of history will take up 300 square feet of a gallery floor at the Penn Museum before making its way to its permanent home in Israel.

Big Bugs at the Morris Arboretum: Get ready for some huge (and thankfully fake) bugs at the Morris Arboretum in the spring. On April 1, 2013, the arboretum will unveil the work of sculptor Dave Rodgers who created astronomical bug sculptures made of trees, branches, vines and other natural materials. Check out the 16-foot and 1,200 pound praying mantis and the 25-foot long ants among many other bug sculptures.

Spy: Secret World of Espionage at the Franklin Institute: From May 4-October 16, 2013, get a rare and exclusive look into the world and history of spies at the Franklin Institute. Check out items from the CIA that have never been seen by the public, high-tech gadgets and more than 200 other artifacts.

Dinosaurs Unearthed at the Academy of Natural Sciences: Roaring, moving, life-size dinosaurs invade the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University from October 12, 2013-April 6, 2014 for a multi-sensory experience for the whole family. State-of-the-art and scientifically accurate — down to the feathers on T. rex — this exhibition will feature more than a dozen realistic, full-bodied dinosaurs,plus skeletons, fossil casts of skulls, claws and horns, real specimens of mosasaur teeth, Oviraptor eggs and the ever-popular coprolite (dino poop). Compelling activities like dig sites will encourage hands-on exploration of dinosaurs.

Events To Look Forward To

The 2013 U.S. Open: You don’t have to be a big-time golf fan to be excited about this: for the first time in more than 30 years, Philadelphia is hosting one of golf’s four majors. The 2013 U.S. Open will be played at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore. That means all of golf’s biggest stars — Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, et al. — will be in Philadelphia for one week this coming June to play for one of golf’s biggest championships… and you can be there. Will Tiger break his drought of victories in a major? Will Phil finally win a U.S. Open? Will Rory crush the field as he did at last year’s PGA Championship? We don’t know, but we definitely want to be there to find out.

Beyond the Garden Gates tours at Longwood Gardens: Get a behind the scenes look at all of the hard work that goes into all that is Longwood Gardens. Learn the secrets behind hanging the hundreds of thousand Christmas lights each year and the designing of their impressive fountain shows. Explore areas of the grounds that have never been seen by the public eye. Beyond the Garden Gates tours are available on select days throughout the year.

Second Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts at the Kimmel Center: Back for its second year at the Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) is bringing guests back in time and to the future with the theme, If You Had a Time Machine. The ideas of past artists will be revisited and possible art images of the future will also be displayed. Look forward to 50 events ranging from music to visual arts. Plus: “Daringly
High” from Fly School Circus Arts will feature a month of flying trapeze lessons 25 feet above Broad Street on the Avenue of the Arts, and the first-ever flying trapeze ticketed performances.

Diner en Blanc Philadelphia 2013: No date or location has been announced, but Co-Chair Natanya DiBona has confirmed that Diner en Blanc will definitely be returning for 2013. Stay tuned for more information!

70×7 The Meal Presented by The Mural Arts Program: Over the next year, Mural Arts will collaborate with artists Lucy and Jorge Orta to stage the largest version yet of “70×7 The Meal,” an ongoing series of visual and performance art pieces staged throughout the world that gather people around a communal table to engage in dialogue around a chosen theme. Working in partnership with the Food Trust and Farm to City, the Meal staged here in Philadelphia will focus on food equity and sustainability. The artists, based in France, will make several visits to Philadelphia between now and fall 2013 to lead a community engagement process. On an early October evening in 2013, 2,000 people will gather in a public space to bring the work to life.