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The Now List: Summer in Philadelphia

Art and the outdoors go so well together in Philadelphia, especially during the summer. Concerts and exhibitions are only part of the fun; there’s also a long, celebratory buildup to the Fourth of July — and what better place to enjoy Independence Day than in America’s birthplace? Here are a few options for a fun-filled summer in Philly.


1. Moonlight Kayak

Get a different vantage point of the city with a guided moonlight kayak tour of the Schuylkill River journeying from Walnut Street Dock to Fairmount Water Works. A riverboat tour is also available in the evenings, departing from the same dock.

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Exterior hotel view at night.

2. Welcome America

Start celebrating America’s independence a few days early with this eight-day festival across the city, leading up to the 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks. Different locations showcase fireworks, live music and more. June 29-July 4.

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3. “Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights” at the National Constitution Center

The exhibit at the new George H. W. Bush Gallery features one of 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights. Alongside is a first-edition stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, as well as a rare copy of the first public printing of the U.S. Constitution. Through December 2017.

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Rocky Statue in front of Philadelphia Art Museum.

4. “Wild: Michael Nichols” at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Experience the work of legendary photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols as he explores some of the world’s most remote regions. This award-winning, National Geographic photographer leads viewers through his moving and influential animal and nature work. Exhibit is part of this summer’s Art Splash family program. June 27-September 17.  

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5. Fringe Festival

The annual Fringe Festival comes to neighborhoods across the city with more than 1,000 dance, spoken-word, visual arts, theater and music performances. Each artist finds his own venue — anything from a street corner to a gallery. The festival also brings food and music to the Delaware River waterfront. September 7-23.  

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A staircase leads to a room with multiple framed portraits on the wall

6. “Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Experience the iconic work of Honoré Sharrer in this one-of-a-kind exhibit. Through her art, rediscover the socially charged 1940s, the politically volatile 1950s, the commentary of the Pop Art movement and beyond. June 29-September 3.  

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