Spring Arts & Culture Crawl

West of the Schuylkill, an arts and culture scene is thriving. Opportunities to soak in the sights and sounds — from museum and gallery exhibitions to live music, visual arts, dance, and theater performances — abound.
Penn is a mecca for the arts year-round, but it’s tough to beat a walk through campus when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Bookmark these seven stops and take in all the signs of spring, including a new slate of innovative programming, exceptional exhibits, and stunning performances from some of the city’s most beloved cultural destinations.
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Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Entertainment
Address

3680 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

First up on the list of venues to add to your social calendar this spring? Annenberg Center Live. A main attraction for thousands of ticketholders each year, Annenberg is known for its wide range of programming and performances in theater, music, and dance. All signs point to a dazzling new season, one designed to bring local and global creative expression from the past and the present to the forefront. Whether it’s a critically acclaimed concert, play, or dance that catches your eye, Annenberg is one of the most vibrant contemporary cultural scenes in the city right now. Arrive early, and prepare to join a lively exchange driven by a diverse array of talent. 

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POD

Dine
Lunch
Dinner
Address

3636 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Conveniently located at the epicenter of Everything Arts & Culture, there’s POD Restaurant for a pre- or post-show bite to remember. Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr takes “food as art” to a whole new level at this playground for Pan-Asian cuisine. Sushi served from a conveyor belt? You bet. Count on Pod for masterfully prepared sushi and sashimi, colorful cocktails, ultra-modern decor, and a varied and meticulously executed menu (drawn from the Japanese tradition with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean influences). Sushi not your shtick? You may find the cardamom fudge brownie alone worth the trip.  

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Institute of Contemporary Art

Play
Museums
Address

118 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

If “free for all” sounds like music to your ears, a trip (or two or three) to the ICA is in order. And with three exciting new shows (Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective; Colored People Time: Mundane Futures; Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen), there’s no better time to take a trip to 118 South 36th Street. Looking for a family-friendly art experience? Don’t miss the VIP Visiting Infants and Parents program. On the first Saturday of each month, the museum invites parents, caregivers, and children ranging from infancy to 24 months old to tour the exhibitions and partake in art-related activities specifically designed for future art connoisseurs. Have a stroller? Step right up.

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Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Play
Museums
Address

3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Daily Dig, Coffee with a Keeper, Crafternoons, Museum Mile, Conversational Corners, Great Stuff, Crawl Out Thursdays…it’s hard to pick just one Penn Museum program to point you towards. Whether you are drawn to the CliffsNotes version of a curator’s deep dive into an extraordinary artifact, prefer your coffee with a side of conversation, or like the idea of a different kind of happy hour, you’re in for Not Your Average Day at the Museum. And if you have little ones in tow, you’re in luck: there’s an equally impressive collection of kid-approved events, including the ever-popular sleepover 40 Winks. Fancy a flashlight expedition and a night among Egyptian kings, anyone?

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Arthur Ross Gallery

Play
Museums
Address

220 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

What’s happening at one of Penn’s most beloved exhibition spaces? SOY CUBA / I AM CUBA: The Contemporary Landscapes of Roger Toledo. If you were looking for a good reason to stop by the Arthur Ross Gallery before summer rolls around, this is it. The exhibition presents the work of Cuban artist Roger Toledo, best known for landscape paintings that grapple with contemporary issues of mobility and stasis, along with the rapidly dissipating markers of Cuban history during a time of intense change and increasing socio-economic instability. Researched and developed by Penn art history students who traveled to Havana to meet with the artist as part of a seminar taught in the History of Art Department, the exhibition is free and open to all.

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Cinemark University City Penn 6

Entertainment
Address

4012 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ready to sit back and relax? There’s a seat with your name on it waiting on Walnut Street. With six screens playing all the major releases, Cinemark greatly increases the odds of finding entertainment in the nearby radius and on short-order for young professionals, hospital staff, students, faculty, locals, and visitors alike. The Penn location gives seniors a break on Mondays ($6.25 per ticket all day), and everyone is eligible for Discount Day every Tuesday ($5.50 per ticket all day). Surprise your significant other, meet a friend, take the family, or sneak out for a matinee on your own but whatever you do, don’t forget to hit the concession stand before you settle in. If the rare bucket of movie theater popcorn is wrong, who wants to be right?

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The Rotunda

Entertainment
Address

4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

With an artist in residency program, an art gallery, ample studio, performance, and screening space, and a “come one, come all” philosophy, the Rotunda is a magnet for those who appreciate the eclectic arts. The free, for-all-ages community gathering space hosts north of 300 events a year, so it’s well worth checking out their calendar before embarking on your crawl. Depending on the timing, you may be able to catch a popular festival and any number of performance types, including live music, film, spoken word, theater, art, dance, youth programs, and various experimental genres.

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Dine
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Snacks
Address

3401 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Summer Fridays may still be a few months out, but “Free Concert Fridays” has an equally nice ring to it. Next week, back away from your desk and head to WXPN Free @ Noon to enjoy a mix of roots rock, folk, and country music at World Cafe Live. The venue is only a few blocks away from Franklin’s Table, so why not make plans to meet up with a friend and enjoy a seasonal slice from Pitruco Pizza or grain bowl from High Street Provisions before heading to the show? Also on offer: sandwiches, sushi, falafel, sustainably sourced burgers, smoothies, açaí bowls, iced coffee, tehina shakes, and pretty much anything else you could be craving.

Step outside of Center City, or take a longer look around streets you’ve walked a thousand times one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated cultural districts awaits.

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