Things to Do in Greater Philadelphia for Memorial Day Weekend 2023
New Philly experiences, museum exhibitions, outdoor fun and more...
The unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day weekend (May 26-29, 2023) is when we put things in cruise control for a while, breaking out our sunglasses and white clothes in preparation for all the summer fun ahead.
Looking to jumpstart your Memorial Day planning? The long weekend is the perfect time to visit Philadelphia (and trust us, we know a thing or two about that).
Set aside some time to discover a new Philly restaurant or hidden attraction, check out can’t-miss exhibitions like Disney100: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute and explore the city’s green spaces and dual waterfronts.
Get into a summertime frame of mind and partake in some long-weekend action with our top picks for things to do over Memorial Day weekend in Greater Philadelphia.
Discover Something New in Philly
New restaurants are popping up in Philly all the time, adding to the city’s already-stellar reputation as a can’t-miss dining destination (see: Philly’s recent James Beard Award nominees ). Stay ahead of the culinary curve with our list of new restaurants in Philadelphia , which includes the plant‐based Italian BYOB Pietramala, conveyor‐belt sushi spot Kura Sushi and more.
A high-rise rooftop park (Cira Green), the 150-year-old headquarters of the Pennsylvania Freemasons (The Masonic Temple), a full-scale model of a 17th-century Japanese temple guest house (Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center). No, these aren’t scenes from Everything Everywhere All at Once . They’re all spots you can visit right here in the City of Brotherly Love. Get familiar with another side of Philly with our list of the city’s hidden gems , featuring 21 places you (probably) don’t know about.
Can you keep a secret? Yeah, neither can we. Just be cool because Philly is full of low-key backroom bars such as Backroom at Blind Barber, sensual speakeasies like Hop Sing Laundromat in Chinatown and even an underground bowling alley at Harp & Crown. Feel like the ultimate insider on your visit with our guide to hidden bars and restaurants in Greater Philadelphia .
Through Sunday, July 30, 2023
This new exhibition spotlights Japanese printmaking in the post-war period and celebrates the continued local interest in, and contributions to, contemporary Japanese and Japanese-American print-making and illustration.
Through Sunday, August 27, 2023
The House of Mouse celebrates a century of dazzling audiences with a brand-new exhibition, making its world premiere in Philadelphia. Disney100: The Exhibition opens the vaults for behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of the company’s most popular characters, films, shows and attractions, offering 10 themed galleries with interactive installations covering everything from Snow White to Star Wars. Pro tip: Score complimentary tix to the exhibition when you book the Visit Philly Overnight Package for stays through August 20, 2023.
Through Sunday, October 8, 2023
“Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?” Nearly two dozen artists interpret that question in new artworks that appear in this collaborative exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and The African American Museum in Philadelphia . This landmark exhibit invites visitors to consider complex issues from multiple viewpoints.
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April 21 – July 16, 2023
Lace up! This spring, the Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink at Dilworth Park paints the town rainbow with colorful springtime skate sessions. Vibrant overhead art and the checkerboard rink floor bring good times and retro vibes. For more fun, chow down at the Dilworth Park Café, fuel up at the Air Grille pop-up beer garden or hop your way through the Dilworth Park dancing fountain. Advance reservations for hour-long skating sessions are strongly recommended, and discounted Matinee Skate sessions are offered Mondays and Tuesdays.
Summer Twilight takes the historic tours, exhibits and art installations that the Eastern State Penitentiary is known for, and mixes in hands-on activities, monthly themes and new events. Cool off with drinks at the Fair Chance Beer Garden on the penitentiary’s baseball diamond, offering craft brews from Triple Bottom Brewing Co .
Memorial Day Events
In addition to the Museum of American Revolution ’s permanent exhibits, special programming for Memorial Day includes pop-up discovery carts highlighting the daily lives of Revolutionary War soldiers, sailors and privateers. In addition, kiddos can participate in hands-on activities by making memorial-themed ribbons and creating revolutionary-themed thank you cards for members of the American Legion. Admission is free for all veterans, active military members and Blue Star Families all weekend long.
More Things to Do
Giddy up! The country’s oldest and largest event of its kind features equestrian disciplines, exhibitions and an old-fashioned country fair at the Devon Show Grounds.
Put on your most comfortable and glamorous walking shoes. This 90-minute walking tour (covering about one mile through Philly’s Gayborhood ) focuses on local LGBTQ icons, the evolution of Pride in Philadelphia and modern issues facing the community. Tickets are required.
Every year, Paddle Penn’s Landing makes a splash with boat rentals and aquatic fun for the whole family. If you’re not floating on the Delaware in an animal-themed paddle boat, what are you doing?
Where: Penn's Landing Basin
Film fans can find works by established and emerging Latino filmmakers at the annual Philadelphia Latino Film Festival . The lineup typically includes feature films, shorts, animations, web series and documentaries, along with workshops and discussions. Stay tuned to the festival website for scheduling details.
Boat dance party? Boat dance party! This DJ mash-up on the Moshulu — a historic sailing ship permanently docked at Penn’s Landing — pits throwback hits from the ’90s against more modern Top 40 tracks. Tickets are required for the 21-plus-party, which lasts until 2 a.m.
Essential Philly Experiences
We knew you’d ask about the cheesesteaks. And you’re absolutely right to — Philly’s most famous sandwich is famous for a reason. Check out our picks for the best places to find a cheesesteak in Philly , including the tourist-y spots you’ve likely heard about and more than a few places you may not have. While you’re in town, be sure to grab other iconic Philly treats like a delectable, doughy soft pretzel and water ice , a spring and summer staple.
First time in town? With all the history, art and culture, it’s hard to know where to start. We get it. Why not begin with the basics? Get a jump on your Memorial Day weekend itinerary with this list of the 10 most essential things to do on your (first) visit to Philadelphia , including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and, yes, the Rocky Steps.
Late spring is arguably one of the best times to visit Philadelphia. Philly’s green spaces spring to life this time of year, with residents and visitors picnicking in Center City squares, sunbathing on the waterfront, and exploring miles and miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails. Check out our list of Philly parks for warm-weather fun.
You’re bound to be thirsty after all that exploring. Cool off with a round or two at one of the more than 115 (yep, we counted) craft breweries located in Greater Philadelphia . Looking to hit more than one brewery? Do the responsible (and convenient) thing by taking the train. Check out our guide to craft breweries within a 10-minute walk of Philly subway stations or spots within a five-minute walk of regional rail lines .
Bonus: Keep Cool with a Hotel Pool
There’s nothing better after a summer-like day of exploring the city than cooling off in a pool — preferably one with a view. Before you book your stay , check out our complete guide to hotel pools in Philadelphia .