An eclectic melting pot of Philly’s smaller neighborhoods, Center City has the most to offer with the greatest variety. Kick off your summer with one of the biggest citywide events this year: The 23rd Annual LGBT PrideDay Parade (June 10, noon). June is International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, so show your support with this 1.6-mile parade through the Gayborhood featuring Grand Marshal Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, New York-based pop-rock band BETTY and lots and lots of drag queens. The parade culminates in the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing with food, vendors, more performances and a special event with headliner/talk-show host Wendy Williams. (See page 42 for more details.)
Call your doctor. The Kimmel Center is infecting everyone with boogie fever when Earth, Wind & Fire play (June 15, 8pm). These legendary gods of funk are bringing the spice of life and spacesuits, ’fros and falsettos to the Broad Street venue for its 2012 Guiding Lights Tour. Backed by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, original members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson will show you how to get down.
Keep the party going and check out the twirling tassels and titillating dances at the Pennsylvania Burlesque Festival (June 29 to July 1). The event will feature national burlesque and sideshow stars throughout the weekend. Then, head down to the Hampton Inn (1301 Race St.) for the Burlesque Bazaar on June 30 and July 1 (10am-5pm) to peruse showgirl stock: custom corsets, headdresses, accessories and more.
If you’re looking for something a little more tame to entertain the kids—or your inner child—spend the weekend screaming for ice cream. The Super Scooper All You Can Eat Ice Cream Festival comes to Penn’s Landing on July 2-4 (noon-5pm) for three days of gluttonous, gastronomic pleasure. Just $7 get you as many scoops of Ben & Jerry’s, Good Humor and Turkey Hill as you can handle, with the cost of admission going to support the Joshua Kahan Fund to cure pediatric Leukemia.
Burn off some of those calories and join one of the largest art projects this city has seen. The Color Run (July 8, 8am) isn’t just about running; throughout the 5K race, spectators will blast the sweaty runners with “color dust.” By the end of the race, you and your pristine white T-shirt be a work of art. Live music, food and a paint war will commence at the finish line.
Don’t forget to head back down to Penn’s Landing for PECO’s annual Multicultural Series to learn what makes Philly such an interesting city. The string of free outdoor festivals all summer long celebrates Islamic, Portuguese, Indian, Hispanic, Southeast Asian, African and Caribbean cultures. Food, music, vendors and live performances will fill the Great Plaza for another summer to entertain kids and parents alike.
Continue your cultural awakening at the Festival of India celebration on Aug. 18 (1-7pm) in honor of India’s Independence Day. Watch traditional Bollywood song-and-dance numbers, browse exhibits of Indian musical instruments and shop from vendors selling spices, cuisine, jewelry, clothing and crafts representing various regions of the vast country. (Alexis Sachdev)
Primitive Level Signals. Rutgers University art professor LiQin Tan presents two art series—“Brain Spirit Levels” and “Burl +4”—to conceptualize the brain as spiritual and cognizant matter. June 1-23, 11am-6pm. Dalet Gallery, 141 N. Second St. 215.923.2424. daletart.com
Norm MacDonald. Though remembered best for his somewhat rocky tenure on Saturday Night Live or, more recently, his sports show on Comedy Central, MacDonald actually started out as a writer for Roseanne. June 7-10. Times vary. $27-$39. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001. heliumcomedy.com
Camp Tabu. Hosted by local comedian and writer Alejandro Morales, this monthly comedy showcase brings Philly’s most talented comics together for one night, on one stage in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. June 8, July 13 and Aug. 10, 9pm. $5. Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, 200 S. 12th St. 215.964.9675. tabuphilly.com
Islamic Heritage Festival. One of the largest Muslim festivals in the country, the 20th annual event features open-air bazaars, boat rides, Islamic crafts and vendors selling jewelry and foods. June 9, 2pm. Free. Great Plaza at Penns Landing, Columbus Blvd. at Market St. 215.928.8801. delawareriverevents.com
Flag Fest 2012. This week-long celebration commemorates the 21stcentury incarnation of the first Flag Day. June 10-16, various times. Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St. 215.629.4026. historicphiladelphia.org
Grouplove. You know that song in the iPod Touch commercial about going to someone’s best friend’s house? Well, that song belongs to this much-talked-about band. June 11, 7pm. $15. TLA, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
Summer Singles Event and Wine Tasting. Enjoy fabulous local wines, cheeses of all kinds and the warm company of other singles in the area. June 13, 6:30pm. $35-$40. Pinot Boutique, 227 Market St. 215.627.9463. pinotboutique.com
Judah Friedlander. Recognized for his work on 30 Rock, Judah Friedlander has appeared in more than 20 films including Zoolander and Wet Hot American Summer. June 14-16, various times. Helium, 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001. heliumcomedy.com
Art Star Thursdays. This summer, the Art Museum partners with Art Star to host free demonstrations and hands-on tutorials every Thursday. Upcoming tutorials include bookmaking, letterpress and jewelry-making. Every Thurs. through Aug. 9, 1pm. Free. Art Museum, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.763.8100. philamuseum.org
Schuylkill Banks Movie Series. This summer, catch six different viewer-voted movies under the night sky, including The Muppets (June 14), Footloose (July 12) and Moneyball (Aug. 23). June 14-Aug. 23. Various times. Free. Schuylkill Banks. 215.222.6030. schuylkillbanks.org
PGMC 30th Anniversary Concert. Come listen to the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus as they sing at their 30th anniversary concert, “Legacy: Celebrating 30 Years Towards Harmony.” June 15, 8pm. June 16, 2pm and 8pm. $25-55. Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. pgmc.org
Looking for summer excitement in your neighborhood—or an excuse to explore new parts of the city? Either way, you’re golden: Here’s our compass-based manual for locating the hottest fun to be found around Philly, one direction at a time!
OK, so maybe South Philly doesn’t have as many museums and theaters as Center City. It also lacks the bustling college scene of University City and all the super-trendy, “up-and-coming” allure of North Portfishington. Nevertheless, when you take a stadium complex, a beautiful green oasis, a vibrant arts community, and a slew of stellar dining establishments and mix them together into one giant melting pot, inevitably you wind up with a pretty awesome recipe for summertime amusement.
From the convenient entertainment hub that is NoLibs to the booming cultural mecca better known as North Portfishington, there are pretty much an endless supply of things for you to do, see, hear and eat this summer in North Philly.
Who’s ready to have too much fun in West Philly this summer? We are!
Unless you weren’t already convinced, hopefully we’ve proven to you by now that Philly is jam-packed with awesome summer events. But for a little suburban staycation, we threw in our top picks for events happening outside city limits.
Sunny enthusiasm, morbid fascination or retro nostalgia: Whatever mood you feel like cultivating in your culture, you can find it just inside the roundabouts-northerly edges of the Philadelphia city limits.
PW's Summer Guide 2015