Many of Historic Philadelphia's museums and landmarks close their doors when the sun goes down, but at other nearby spots, the fun is just beginning. From movies to murder mysteries, parks to pubs, the vibrant Old City neighborhood offers after-dark activities to pique the interests of visitors and locals into the late evening hours.
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Crowds of eager art lovers head to Old City on the first Friday evening of the month for free art openings and special exhibits at more than 20 galleries, including Wexler, Snyderman, and Pentimenti. Many locations offer light bites and wine to draw in traffic. Retail stores like Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Third Street Habit and Mode Moderne use the increased foot traffic as an excuse to stay open later than usual. Plus, after 5 p.m., metered parking spots are free between Front and 5th Streets and Walnut and Callowhill Streets on First Fridays.
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Some of the city's most celebrated restaurants are located right in Old City, where many kitchens stay open through the early morning hours. Stephen Starr's Buddakan, a modern Asian eatery, serves dumplings, edamame or shrimp until midnight on weekends. Khyber Pass Pub dishes out po' boy sandwiches and craft beer until 1 a.m. For cheesesteak enthusiasts, Sonny’s Famous Steaks offers classic Philly cheesesteaks, cheese fries, burgers and onion rings until 3 a.m. on weekends.
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DJs from all over the region and all over the world come to drop the needle in Philly. Get in on the action at venues like the rooftop Stratus Lounge and bottle lounge Bleu Martini. The DJ at National Mechanics drops tunes that appeal to its hipster clientele, and during warm weather months, Morgan’s Pier morphs from a laid-back waterfront hangout by day into an indie music dance party by night.
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Dance the Night Away
Partiers burn up the dance floor throughout Historic Philadelphia. Show off your Latin moves at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, join a party on the water on the Spirit of Philadelphia boat cruise, or learn or show off ballroom skills at Society Hill Dance Academy.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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When the mercury rises, so does Historic Philadelphia’s assortment of outdoor beer gardens and roof decks. Suds fans choose from more than two dozen brews at the Independence Beer Garden serves up two dozen brews, seasonal snacks and a spectacular across-the-street view of Independence Hall. For even more historical views, the second-story deck of Revolution House puts patrons nose-to-nose with the steeple of Christ Church. At the Delaware Waterfront home of FringeArts, seats in La Peg’s courtyard garden are the perfect place to sip cocktails with spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Penn’s Landing’s Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest give visitors a place to hang outside in warm or cold weather.
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Historic Philadelphia is a craft beer lover's paradise. At 2nd Story Brewing, a local farmer and her brewer-son make India pale ales, barleywine. and pilsners. Across the street, Eulogy Belgian Tavern keeps 30 international choices on tap as part of their 400-item-long beer list, while beer pioneer Michael Naessens runs the program at Bierstube German Tavern. Irish P?l uses digital screens to show off their 40 craft drafts. Drinkers in the mood for moonshine, however, ought to check out the city’s only such cocktail list at Market Streets’ Silence Dogood’s Tavern.
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If you're looking for a dose of good, old-fashioned romance, you'll find it in Historic Philadelphia. Pinot Boutique’s wine classes guide drinkers through tastings that pair varietals with Philly treats, like cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Tastykakes and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. The Clay Studio’s Date Night is messy, dirty and lots of fun, as couples sip on wine or beer and make pottery. To add some suspense to your evening, bring our date to Bistro Romano, where the Murder Mystery dinner theater includes a four-course Italian feast. For live music from national and local acoustic singer-songwriters, take in the intimate café setting at Tin Angel.
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No matter your interest, there's a tour in Historic Philadelphia that's right for you. Independence After Hours offers a coveted opportunity to "sneak" into Independence Hall, meet George Washington, Ben Franklin and other Founding Fathers, and eavesdrop on their discussions about the future of the American colonies. To explore Philly's spooky side, join Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour and be prepared to encounter an otherworldly presence in the streets and alleys of Old City. For the 21-and-over set, the Tippler’s Tour is a chance to combine a bar crawl with educational stops and samplings at local taverns.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Old City is home to one of the most kid-friendly parks in the city, Franklin Square. This green oasis includes an award-winning playground, eclectic carousel and 18-hole mini-golf course with scaled-down versions of iconic Philadelphia landmarks like Boathouse Row and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. For a sweet treat, head over to The Franklin Fountain, where servers don Victorian-era costumes and dole out scoops old-fashioned ice cream, sundaes and fountain drinks with timeless appeal. Before the night is over, be sure to stop at Shane Confectionery for sugary snacks to bring home.
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In addition to three locations of the popular, independent movie-minded Ritz Landmark Theatres, Historic Philadelphia offers unexpected alfresco venues to catch a show. Audiences bring blankets and bottles of wine to the courtyard at the Betsy Ross House on First Fridays from June through October. Popular films play outdoors to crowds on Thursday nights from June through August at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing.