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What’s New in Philadelphia

February 7, 2020

The city is always evolving and advancing with new restaurants, venues, attractions and developments to enhance the visitor experience.

Top travel publications put Philadelphia on Best Trips List for 2020

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens photo courtesy of PHLCVB.

National Geographic’s global travel experts picked the 25 most exciting destinations for 2020 and Philadelphia is the ONLY city in the U.S. to make the cut.

Condé Nast Traveller selected Philadelphia as one of 14 of the best travel destinations for 2020. The only U.S. city to be featured, the publication cites Philadelphia’s “embarrassment of dining riches” and that the city is “more than the sum of its cheesesteaks.”

Fashion District Philadelphia

Fashion District Philadelphia photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

The $800 million renovations of East Market are well underway for the section of Philadelphia that has been called “America’s hottest retail corridor” by JLL. The 4.3 acres renovated expanse will feature stores and restaurants and a pedestrian-friendly streetscape with greenery, entertainment, food trucks and more, just steps away from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Adjacent to this space is the Fashion District Philadelphia, which opened September 19 with fashionable finds, engaging entertainment, and modern dining. The new development along Market Street -just steps from Reading Terminal Market and the Pennsylvania Convention Center – is home to retailers including Century 21 Department Store, Burlington, H&M, Nike, Columbia and Samsonite. Dining options include City Winery — a culinary and cultural wine experience offering fine dining, classes, concerts, and private events— as well as local favorite Chickie’s & Pete’s. The District will offer an entertainment zone including Wonderspaces, a unique, immersive art experience; AMC Theatres, a dining movie theater; and Round 1, an upscale bowling alley with ping pong, billiards and arcade games. Visitors can take advantage of a full-service concierge which offers a complimentary Visitor Savings Pass with special deals from participating retailers.

Philadelphia Museum of Art reopens public space closed for decades

Philadelphia Museum of Art North Entrance photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB

The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrated the reopening of its North Entrance, an architecturally significant space originally built in 1928 and intended for public use. Architect Frank Gehry was brought in to respect the vision of the original architects, honoring the modernized Neoclassical style that Horace Trumbauer and his chief designer Julian Abele had chosen for their design for this landmark building, while adapting it to present and future needs. The project has recovered 22,000 square feet of space for public use including information desks, coat check, new museum store, espresso bar, seminar room and an educational studio for children. Visitors can now enter the building through restored original wooden ornamental massive Tiffany doors to a grand entrance lobby with ceilings soaring more than 24 feet and proceed to the museum’s arched Vaulted Walkway, with newly restored Guastavino tiles. By fall 2020, upon conclusion of the museum’s Core Project renovations, more than 90,000 square feet of renovated space will be open to visitors with 23,000 square feet of new gallery space. Read more: Philadelphia’s Museum Mile

Penn Museum debuts reimagined spaces, including the new Sphinx Gallery

New Sphinx Gallery at the Penn Museum. Photo by E. Sucar for University of Pennsylvania.

The Penn Museum was founded in 1887 to showcase findings from the University of Pennsylvania’s more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions around the world. On Nov. 16, 2019, the Mexico and Central America Gallery and the Africa Galleries reopened with upgrades to the Mexico wing plus dynamic new displays for visitors that span 3,000 years—from stone monuments from Belize that depict powerful kings to colorful textiles from Guatemala. The Africa Galleries, which boasts one of the largest collections of artifacts from the continent in the United States, welcomes new interpretive exhibits and artifact displays that recreate the stories from Africa’s great kingdoms and rich cultures. In the Main Entrance Hall, the museum’s legendary 3,000-plus year-old Sphinx—the largest in the Western Hemisphere—takes up residence and welcomes visitors to the museum. The 12.5-ton red granite icon has been off-view to the public since 2018.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove

Photo courtesy of the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is situated on the historic 18th-century farm where 18-year-old John James Audubon lived when he first came to America from France in 1803. About 30 minutes from Center City Philadelphia, the center offers an immersive museum and bird sanctuary that includes digital displays and first editions of Audubon’s iconic The Birds of America. Exhibits include the interactive WOW Birds! Gallery, which delves into bird habitats and traces the migratory patterns of different species through light-up maps. Prime bird-watching opportunities abound along Pawlings Porch and learn about the phases of a bird’s life on the kid-friendly Fledgling Trail. Step back in time by touring Audubon’s historic stone farmhouse to find artifacts and original paintings from the birding pioneer. The grounds are open year-round from dawn to dusk.

The Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia

Photo by J. Pellegrini for Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia.

Crowning the new Comcast Technology Center – the tallest building in Philadelphia – is the new Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. The hotel, with 219 guest rooms and 39 suites, features Comcast’s award-winning X1 Video Experience, a luxury full-floor spa and an indoor infinity pool on the 57th floor. Guests have access to an express glass elevator that arrives directly to the property.

Also on-site are restaurants from James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick and Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. JG SKYHIGH, the new fine-dining spot on the 59th and 60th floor, has forty-foot floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic city views. Designed by legendary architect Norman Foster, the Comcast Technology Center has a five-story winter garden and 120-foot illuminated lantern that sits atop the building. The Four Seasons Philadelphia is now accepting reservations.

Learn more about new hotel developments in Philadelphia.

Laser Wolf

Branzino photo by M. Persico for Laser Wolf.

An Israeli grill from the team behind the acclaimed Zahav opened in Fishtown in a former warehouse, serving Israeli skewers, hummus, baba ganoush, and more. Laser Wolf is designed with the feel of the popular Machane Yehuda Market, or “shuk,” in Jerusalem, 1301 N. Howard Street, Fishtown. Read More: New Restaurants in Philadelphia

Wells Fargo Center Renovations

Wells Fargo Center photo with new Kinetic 4K center-hung scoreboard. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

One of the country’s busiest arenas, the Wells Fargo Center will complete a $265 million renovation project by the end of 2021. Enhancements to the home of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers include the world’s first Kinetic 4K center-hung scoreboard, 8,000 brand new lower bowl seats, a high-tech sports book lounge and more.

Learn more about Philadelphia’s Stadium District Venues

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